Tag Archives: love

Daughters of the Star Breather!

20 Oct

WE ARE DAUGHTERS OF THE STAR BREATHER!
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!

The Corner of the Familiar and the Future . . . Written by the Mother of the Bride

16 May

little do

I am at an intersection – a unique place of ending and beginning. . . the corner of the familiar and the future.  Days of being a much needed Mommy are coming to a close. They have been ebbing away for quite a while but it seems that my Sweet Girl becoming a wife closes the door with a bit more of a hushed goodbye than her exiting for another year of college.babydo

It’s an end to an era of cuddles on the couch, brushing her hair out of her face when she doesn’t feel good, and keeping her room exactly like it is for the next time she comes home. It’s the beginning of preparing for visits from the newlyweds and Brett and I finding our footing in this last stage of empty nesting.

I’m thrilled for the new life that awaits her but I simultaneously ache for the warmth of the life that has already passed. All too quickly she has grown from a delightful, sweet child into a wonderful, vibrant woman. I’m going to be sad not to have a ringside seat for all the changes that are coming her way and the idea of peeking at her life as it is displayed on facebook and Instagram makes the melancholy run down my face.

We’re at an intersection – leaving behind and moving forward. She’s leaving behind rural living to move to the city, a place far more suited to her eclectic little life palette. She loves the busyness of it all—the people, the sounds. She even likes too much light shining in her bedroom window now but I know that in that urban setting . . .her heart will remember a sky filled with too many stars to count. I’m hoping she’ll remember the fireflies that lit up the trees across the road like Christmas lights and the ones she trapped in mason jars before they became symbols of shabby chic and kitschy drinking glasses.

I’m hoping that when she’s navigating the traffic, lanes filled with cars and activity, there will be a part of her that will have a small urge for the quietness of Biddinger Boulevard. The place that deer would walk up to the back deck and I would convince her Santa had sent them to check on her. santadayThe place where Barbie shopping centers grew into empires and the American Girls lived. The home where her love for the magic of following A Rabbit in the Garden changed over the years to a love of following the White Rabbit and the magic of Wonderland.

I’m at an intersection—voices of the past echoing and new songs forming for the future. Celebrating that her soon to be husband knows her so well that he bought her a record player for a wedding gift while tilting my head to eavesdrop on the past and hearing the creepiness of Little Mary Fagan move from Nanny’s lips through my heart to meet her ears. And somewhere along the way, my mind swallows up those eerie notes and they are replaced by the theme song from Gilmore Girls and then quickly segue’ –appropriately I might add—into the voice of Taylor Swift as I crack open my favorite old card from years ago and hear . . . all my best days are with you.

Straining my ear backward to listen in one more time as Sleeping Beauty thuds to the kitchen floordaddysgirl and the Handsome Prince rolls his wheelchair to her rescue while simultaneously hearing the Bride-to-be make honeymoon plans with the red-haired Boy on the other end of the phone. Leaning into the past to hear her giggle as Uncle Scar and Don Karnage make an appearance through her Daddy’s voice and listening to one song after another play on the computer as they try to pick the perfect one for the Father-Daughter dance that is coming so quickly.

We’re at an intersection . . . beautiful memories in the rearview mirror and new scenery just ahead. Remembering so vividly the big vocabulary of the tiny blond-haired toddler of the past and seeing the brilliance of the young writer who speaks with such insight in the here and now—wondering what the future will hold. Reminiscing about the little one who rode on the power chair’s battery pack with her Daddy manning the controls and having my eyes fall on the wedding dress she will wear as she walks beside his power chair down the aisle. Looking back in delight at the little girl she was and gazing with wonder at the young woman she is –so beautiful, so breathtaking.

britt with board

I’m at an intersection . . .and no matter which way I look –behind me or before me—I see Jesus. I see a heritage of life . . . redemption then and freedom now. I see Love . . .mercy yesterday and grace today.   Rather I gaze forward or backward . . . I see Him. My God whose blessing cannot be contained and whose promises for joy and life abundant know no time constraints. I see Him and my heart rejoices that His love toward me reaches beyond me and His grace is bigger than my mistakes. I see Him and my heart cries out in praise that He has changed her faith heritage –redeemed our family line—and His love extends to a thousand generations of those who love Him.   – And I smile at the blessing in the distance—knowing that when little red-haired grandchildren arrive someday they will be the first generation to be born into a family of full throttle Christ followers. Oh Lord, I stand at the crossroads, the intersection . . . the corner of the familiar and the future . . . and I am utterly amazed by Your goodness.

Lessons from Lent: Day 26

19 Mar

 

creation swap lessons from lent coffee cup Kelly Sikkema 22940

An Explanation of Lessons from Lent

In the next 40 days (15 now because you have already accomplished twenty-five), 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 Twenty-six

March 19, 2015 ~~ 1 Corinthians 9-16

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.

1 Corinthians 9

Am I not an apostle (a special messenger)? Am I not free (unrestrained and exempt from any obligation)? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you [yourselves] not [the product and proof of] my workmanship in the Lord? Even if I am not considered an apostle (a special messenger) by others, at least I am one to you; for you are the seal (the certificate, the living evidence) of my apostleship in the Lord [confirming and authenticating it]. This is my [real ground of] defense (my vindication of myself) to those who would put me on trial and cross-examine me.

Have we not the right to our food and drink [at the expense of the churches]? Have we not the right also to take along with us a Christian sister as wife, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas (Peter)? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from doing manual labor for a livelihood [in order to go about the work of the ministry]?

[Consider this:] What soldier at any time serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of the fruit of it? Who tends a flock and does not partake of the milk of the flock? Do I say this only on human authority and as a man reasons? Does not the Law endorse the same principle? For in the Law of Moses it is written, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn. Is it [only] for oxen that God cares? 10 Or does He speak certainly and entirely for our sakes? [Assuredly] it is written for our sakes, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher ought to thresh in expectation of partaking of the harvest. 11 If we have sown [the seed of] spiritual good among you, [is it too] much if we reap from your material benefits?

12 If others share in this rightful claim upon you, do not we [have a still better and greater claim]? However, we have never exercised this right, but we endure everything rather than put a hindrance in the way [of the spread] of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ.

13 Do you not know that those men who are employed in the services of the temple get their food from the temple? And that those who tend the altar share with the altar [in the offerings brought]? 14 [On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel.

15 But I have not made use of any of these privileges, nor am I writing this [to suggest] that any such provision be made for me [now]. For it would be better for me to die than to have anyone make void and deprive me of my [ground for] glorifying [in this matter]. 16 For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)! 17 For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission.

18 What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel. 19 For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].

20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to men under the Law, [I became] as one under the Law, though not myself being under the Law, that I might win those under the Law. 21 To those without (outside) law I became as one without law, not that I am without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.

22 To the weak (wanting in discernment) I have become weak (wanting in discernment) that I might win the weak and overscrupulous. I have [in short] become all things to all men, that I might by all means (at all costs and in any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ]. 23 And I do this for the sake of the good news (the Gospel), in order that I may become a participator in it and share in its [blessings along with you].

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. 25 Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.

26 Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. 27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].

1 Corinthians 10

For I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, that our forefathers were all under and protected by the cloud [in which God’s Presence went before them], and every one of them passed safely through the [Red] Sea, And each one of them [allowed himself also] to be baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea [they were thus brought under obligation to the Law, to Moses, and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God]; And all [of them] ate the same spiritual (supernaturally given) food, And they all drank the same spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them [produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality], and the Rock was Christ.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity). We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did—and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day!

We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did—and were killed by poisonous serpents; 10 Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were [a]put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). 11 Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].

13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [b]adjusted and [c]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [d]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

14 Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God). 15 I am speaking as to intelligent (sensible) men. Think over and make up your minds [for yourselves] about what I say. [I appeal to your reason and your discernment in these matters.]

16 The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the Messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ? 17 For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents].

18 Consider those [physically] people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners of the altar [united in their worship of the same God]? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is [intrinsically changed by the fact and amounts to] anything or that an idol itself is a [living] thing? 20 No, I am suggesting that what the pagans sacrifice they offer [in effect] to demons (to evil spiritual powers) and not to God [at all]. I do not want you to fellowship and be partners with diabolical spirits [by eating at their feasts]. 21 You cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the demons’ cup. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demons’ table.

22 Shall we thus provoke the Lord to jealousy and anger and indignation? Are we stronger than He [that we should defy Him]?

23 All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 24 Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].

25 [As to meat offered to idols] eat anything that is sold in the meat market without raising any question or investigating on the grounds of conscientious scruples, 26 For the [whole] earth is the Lord’s and everything that is in it.

27 In case one of the unbelievers invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is served to you without examining into its source because of conscientious scruples. 28 But if someone tells you, This has been offered in sacrifice to an idol, do not eat it, out of consideration for the person who informed you, and for conscience’s sake— 29 I mean for the sake of his conscience, not yours, [do not eat it]. For why should another man’s scruples apply to me and my liberty of action be determined by his conscience? 30 If I partake [of my food] with thankfulness, why am I accused and spoken evil of because of that for which I give thanks? 31 So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

32 Do not let yourselves be [hindrances by giving] an offense to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God [[e]do not lead others into sin by your mode of life];

33 Just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything I do, not aiming at or considering my own profit and advantage, but that of the many in order that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 11

Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).

I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.

Any man who prays or prophesies (teaches, refutes, reproves, admonishes, and comforts) with his head covered dishonors his Head (Christ). And any woman who [publicly] prays or prophesies (teaches, refutes, reproves, admonishes, or comforts) when she is bareheaded dishonors her head (her husband); it is the same as [if her head were] shaved. For if a woman will not wear [a head] covering, then she should cut off her hair too; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her head shorn or shaven, let her cover [her head].

For a man ought not to wear anything on his head [in church], for he is the image and [reflected] glory of God [[a]his function of government reflects the majesty of the divine Rule]; but woman is [the expression of] man’s glory (majesty, preeminence). For man was not [created] from woman, but woman from man; Neither was man created on account of or for the benefit of woman, but woman on account of and for the benefit of man. 10 [b]Therefore she should [be subject to his authority and should] have a covering on her head [as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, [c]that she may show reverence as do] the angels [and not displease them].

11 Nevertheless, in [the plan of] the Lord and from His point of view woman is not apart from and independent of man, nor is man aloof from and independent of woman; 12 For as woman was made from man, even so man is also born of woman; and all [whether male or female go forth] from God [as their Author].

13 Consider for yourselves; is it proper and decent [according to your customs] for a woman to offer prayer to God [publicly] with her head uncovered? 14 Does not [d]the native sense of propriety (experience, common sense, reason) itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is a dishonor [humiliating and degrading] to him, 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is her ornament and glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

16 Now if anyone is disposed to be argumentative and contentious about this, we hold to and recognize no other custom [in worship] than this, nor do the churches of God generally. 17 But in what I instruct [you] next I do not commend [you], because when you meet together, it is not for the better but for the worse.

18 For in the first place, when you assemble as a congregation, I hear that there are cliques (divisions and factions) among you; and I in part believe it, 19 For doubtless there have to be factions or parties among you in order that they who are genuine and of approved fitness may become evident and plainly recognized among you. 20 So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the supper instituted by the Lord that you eat, 21 For in eating each one [hurries] to get his own supper first [not waiting for the poor], and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.

22 What! Do you have no houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and mean to show contempt for it, while you humiliate those who are poor (have no homes and have brought no food)? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, [most certainly] I will not! 23 For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread, 24 And when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance.

25 Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance.

26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord’s death until He comes [again]. 27 So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ’s] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself.

30 That [careless and unworthy participation] is the reason many of you are weak and sickly, and quite enough of you have fallen into the sleep of death. 31 For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition], we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment]. 32 But when we [fall short and] are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined and chastened, so that we may not [finally] be condemned [to eternal punishment along] with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you gather together to eat [the Lord’s Supper], wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together to bring judgment [on yourselves]. About the other matters, I will give you directions [personally] when I come.

1 Corinthians 12

Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed. You know that when you were heathen, you were led off after idols that could not speak [habitually] as impulse directed and whenever the occasion might arise. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.

Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, [a]extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same. And there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord [Who is served]. And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all.

But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit. To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; To another [[b]wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ([c]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues.

11 All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.

12 For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 13 For by [[d]means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and [e]by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one limb or organ but of many. 15 If the foot should say, Because I am not the hand, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body? 16 If the ear should say, Because I am not the eye, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where [would be the sense of] hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where [would be the sense of] smell?

18 But as it is, God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body, each [particular one] of them, just as He wished and saw fit and with the best adaptation.

19 But if [the whole] were all a single organ, where would the body be? 20 And now there are [certainly] many limbs and organs, but a single body. 21 And the eye is not able to say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 But instead, there is [absolute] necessity for the parts of the body that are considered the more weak. 23 And those [parts] of the body which we consider rather ignoble are [the very parts] which we invest with additional honor, and our unseemly parts and those unsuitable for exposure are treated with seemliness (modesty and decorum), 24 Which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted (mingled, harmonized, and subtly proportioned the parts of) the whole body, giving the greater honor and richer endowment to the inferior parts which lack [apparent importance], 25 So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the parts [share] the suffering; if one member is honored, all the members [share in] the enjoyment of it.

27 Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]. 28 So God has appointed some in the church [[f]for His own use]: first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; [speakers in] different (unknown) tongues.

29 Are all apostles (special messengers)? Are all prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God)? Are all teachers? Do all have the power of performing miracles? 30 Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

31 But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love].

1 Corinthians 13

If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can 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 [c]in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

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

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) 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 [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

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

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, 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 or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([d]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; 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 fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).

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

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.

12 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [e]in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand [f]fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been [g]fully and clearly known and understood [[h]by God].

13 And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 14

Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ([a]interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).

For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding]. But [on the other hand], the one who prophesies [who [b]interprets the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching] speaks to men for their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation.

He who speaks in a [strange] tongue edifies and improves himself, but he who prophesies [[c]interpreting the divine will and purpose and teaching with inspiration] edifies and improves the church and promotes growth [in Christian wisdom, piety, holiness, and happiness].

Now I wish that you might all speak in [unknown] tongues, but more especially [I want you] to prophesy (to be inspired to preach and interpret the divine will and purpose). He who prophesies [who is inspired to preach and teach] is greater (more useful and more important) than he who speaks in [unknown] tongues, unless he should interpret [what he says], so that the church may be edified and receive good [from it].

Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in [unknown] tongues, how shall I make it to your advantage unless I speak to you either in revelation (disclosure of God’s will to man) in knowledge or in prophecy or in instruction? If even inanimate musical instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone [listening] know or understand what is played? And if the war bugle gives an uncertain (indistinct) call, who will prepare for battle?

Just so it is with you; if you in the [unknown] tongue speak words that are not intelligible, how will anyone understand what you are saying? For you will be talking into empty space!

10 There are, I suppose, all these many [to us unknown] tongues in the world [somewhere], and none is destitute of [its own power of] expression and meaning. 11 But if I do not know the force and significance of the speech (language), I shall seem to be a foreigner to the one who speaks [to me], and the speaker who addresses [me] will seem a foreigner to me.

12 So it is with yourselves; since you are so eager and ambitious to possess spiritual endowments and manifestations of the [Holy] Spirit, [concentrate on] striving to excel and to abound [in them] in ways that will build up the church. 13 Therefore, the person who speaks in an [unknown] tongue should pray [for the power] to interpret and explain what he says. 14 For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the [d]Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody].

15 Then what am I to do? I will pray with my spirit [by the [e]Holy Spirit that is within me], but I will also pray [intelligently] with my mind and understanding; I will sing with my spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me], but I will sing [intelligently] with my mind and understanding also. 16 Otherwise, if you bless and render thanks with [your] spirit [[f]thoroughly aroused by the Holy Spirit], how can anyone in the position of an outsider or he who is not gifted with [interpreting of unknown] tongues, say the Amen to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 To be sure, you may give thanks well (nobly), but the bystander is not edified [it does him no good].

18 I thank God that I speak in [strange] tongues (languages) more than any of you or all of you put together; 19 Nevertheless, in public worship, I would rather say five words with my understanding and intelligently in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a [strange] tongue (language).

20 Brethren, do not be children [immature] in your thinking; continue to be babes in [matters of] evil, but in your minds be mature [men]. 21 It is written in the Law, By men of strange languages and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and not even then will they listen to Me, says the Lord. 22 Thus [unknown] tongues are meant for a [supernatural] sign, not for believers but for unbelievers [on the point of believing], while prophecy (inspired preaching and teaching, interpreting the divine will and purpose) is not for unbelievers [on the point of believing] but for believers.

23 Therefore, if the whole church assembles and all of you speak in [unknown] tongues, and the ungifted and uninitiated or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are demented? 24 But if all prophesy [giving inspired testimony and interpreting the divine will and purpose] and an unbeliever or untaught outsider comes in, he is told of his sin and reproved and convicted and convinced by all, and his defects and needs are examined (estimated, determined) and he is called to account by all, 25 The secrets of his heart are laid bare; and so, falling on [his] face, he will worship God, declaring that God is among you in very truth.

26 What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all. 27 If some speak in a [strange] tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one [taking his] turn, and let one interpret and explain [what is said]. 28 But if there is no one to do the interpreting, let each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God.

29 So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said. 30 But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent. 31 For in this way you can give testimony [prophesying and thus interpreting the divine will and purpose] one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be stimulated and encouraged;

32 For the spirits of the prophets (the speakers in tongues) are under the speaker’s control [and subject to being silenced as may be necessary], 33 For He [Who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God’s people), 34 The women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says.

35 But if there is anything they want to learn, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [[g]for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church].

36 What! Did the word of the Lord originate with you [Corinthians], or has it reached only you? 37 If anyone thinks and claims that he is a prophet [filled with and governed by the Holy Spirit of God and inspired to interpret the divine will and purpose in preaching or teaching] or has any other spiritual endowment, let him understand (recognize and acknowledge) that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.

38 But if anyone disregards or does not recognize [[h]that it is a command of the Lord], he is disregarded and not recognized [he is [i]one whom God knows not]. 39 So [to conclude], my brethren, earnestly desire and set your hearts on prophesying (on being inspired to preach and teach and to interpret God’s will and purpose), and do not forbid or hinder speaking in [unknown] tongues. 40 But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion.

1 Corinthians 15

And now let me remind you [since it seems to have escaped you], brethren, of the Gospel (the glad tidings of salvation) which I proclaimed to you, which you welcomed and accepted and upon which your faith rests, And by which you are saved, if you hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing.

For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold], That He was buried, that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold, And [also] that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. Then later He showed Himself to more than five hundred brethren at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. Afterward He was seen by James, then by all the apostles (the special messengers), And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one prematurely and born dead [[a]no better than an unperfected fetus among living men].

For I am the least [worthy] of the apostles, who am not fit or deserving to be called an apostle, because I once wronged and pursued and molested the church of God [oppressing it with cruelty and violence]. 10 But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me. 11 So, whether then it was I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believed [what you adhered to, trusted in, and relied on].

12 But now if Christ (the Messiah) is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen; 14 And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded). 15 We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised; 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is mere delusion [futile, fruitless], and you are still in your sins [under the control and penalty of sin]; 18 And further, those who have died in [[b]spiritual fellowship and union with] Christ have perished (are lost)! 19 If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hope only in this life and that is all, then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.

20 But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. 21 For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. 22 For just as [because of their [c]union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their [d]union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive.

23 But each in his own rank and turn: Christ (the Messiah) [is] the firstfruits, then those who are Christ’s [own will be resurrected] at His coming. 24 After that comes the end (the completion), when He delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every [other] rule and every authority and power. 25 For [Christ] must be King and reign until He has put all [His] enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death.

27 For He [the Father] has put all things in subjection under His [Christ’s] feet. But when it says, All things are put in subjection [under Him], it is evident that He [Himself] is excepted Who does the subjecting of all things to Him. 28 However, when everything is subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also subject Himself to [the Father] Who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all [be everything to everyone, supreme, the indwelling and controlling factor of life]. 29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being [themselves] baptized in behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

30 [For that matter], why do I live [dangerously as I do, running such risks that I am] in peril every hour? 31 [I assure you] by the pride which I have in you in [your [e]fellowship and union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily [I face death every day and die to self].

32 What do I gain if, merely from the human point of view, I fought with [wild] beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised [at all], let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will be dead. 33 Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. 34 Awake [[f]from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God’s presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame.

35 But someone will say, How can the dead be raised? With what [kind of] body will they come forth? 36 You foolish man! Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first. 37 Nor is the seed you sow then the body which it is going to have [later], but it is a naked kernel, perhaps of wheat or some of the rest of the grains. 38 But God gives to it the body that He plans and sees fit, and to each kind of seed a body of its own. 39 For all flesh is not the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for beasts, another for birds, and another for fish.

40 There are heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars) and there are earthly bodies (men, animals, and plants), but the beauty and glory of the heavenly bodies is of one kind, while the beauty and glory of earthly bodies is a different kind. 41 The sun is glorious in one way, the moon is glorious in another way, and the stars are glorious in their own [distinctive] way; for one star differs from and surpasses another in its beauty and brilliance.

42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. [The body] that is sown is perishable and decays, but [the body] that is resurrected is imperishable (immune to decay, immortal). 43 It is sown in dishonor and humiliation; it is raised in honor and glory. It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and endued with power. 44 It is sown a natural (physical) body; it is raised a supernatural (a spiritual) body. [As surely as] there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, The first man Adam became a living being (an individual personality); the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving Spirit [restoring the dead to life].

46 But it is not the spiritual life which came first, but the physical and then the spiritual. 47 The first man [was] from out of earth, made of dust (earthly-minded); the second Man [is] the Lord from out of heaven. 48 Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust (earthly-minded); and as is [the Man] from heaven, so also [are those] who are of heaven (heavenly-minded). 49 And just as we have borne the image [of the man] of dust, so shall we and so [g]let us also bear the image [of the Man] of heaven. 50 But I tell you this, brethren, flesh and blood cannot [become partakers of eternal salvation and] inherit or share in the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (that which is decaying) inherit or share in the imperishable (the immortal).

51 Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed) 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed). 53 For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death). 54 And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished [h]forever) in and unto victory.

55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? 56 Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law. 57 But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].

1 Corinthians 16

Now concerning the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints (God’s people): you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do. On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come. And when I arrive, I will send on those whom you approve and authorize with credentials to carry your gift [of charity] to Jerusalem. If it seems worthwhile that I should go too, they will accompany me.

After passing through Macedonia, I will visit you, for I intend [only] to pass through Macedonia; But it may be that I will stay with you [for a while], perhaps even spend the winter, so that you may bring me forward [on my journey] to wherever I may go. For I am unwilling to see you right now [just] in passing, but I hope later to remain for some time with you, if the Lord permits. I will remain in Ephesus [however] until Pentecost, For a wide door of opportunity for effectual [service] has opened to me [there, a great and promising one], and [there are] many adversaries.

10 When Timothy arrives, see to it that [you put him at ease, so that] he may be fearless among you, for he is [devotedly] doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 So [see to it that] no one despises him or treats him as if he were of no account or slights him. But send him off [cordially, speed him on his way] in peace, that he may come to me, for I am expecting him [to come along] with the other brethren.

12 As for our brother Apollos, I have urgently encouraged him to visit you with the other brethren, but it was not at all his will or [a]God’s will that he should go now. He will come when he has opportunity.

13 Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ([b]your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!

14 Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us).

15 Now, brethren, you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts and our firstfruits in Achaia (most of Greece), and how they have consecrated and devoted themselves to the service of the saints (God’s people). 16 I urge you to pay all deference to such leaders and to enlist under them and be subject to them, as well as to everyone who joins and cooperates [with you] and labors earnestly. 17 I am happy because Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus have come [to me], for they have made up for your absence. 18 For they gave me [c]respite from labor and rested me and refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Deeply appreciate and thoroughly know and fully recognize such men.

19 The churches of Asia send greetings and best wishes. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church [that meets] in their house, send you their hearty greetings in the Lord.

20 All the brethren wish to be remembered to you and wish you well. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 I, Paul, [add this final] greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord [does not have a friendly affection for Him and is not kindly disposed toward Him], he shall be accursed! Our Lord will come! (Maranatha!)

23 The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

24 My love (that true love growing out of sincere devotion to God) be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen (so be it).

And with hearts of LOVE, we lift the Amen

#lessonsfromlent

From the tone of Paul’s admonitions and exhortations, I get the feeling that he is a little dismayed that the Corinthians are squabbling over . . . well, over everything.   It looks as if the “report Paul received” was much more than a passing . . . “Boy those Corinthians!” thrown out in casual conversation. Somebody clued Paul in on every detail and we’re just getting a peek at the highlights, it seems Paul will save the small stuff for when he is actually face-to-face with them . . . .

And those were to be the opening words of Lessons from Lent: Day 26.

But the more I pondered over the truth of these passages, I knew I was to be silent on this text and leave you with only one thought . . . No matter what translation we read, it’s all about love.

Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us). 1 Corinthians 16:14 AMP

Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV

And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 NLT

Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 NASB

Let all your things be done with charity. 1 Corinthians 16:14 KJV

Your every action must be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 HCSB

Everything you do should be done lovingly. 1 Corinthians 16:14 ISV

Everything you do should be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 NET

Do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 GW

Let all that ye do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 ASV

Let all things ye do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 DARBY

let all your things be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 YLT

creation swap all about love heart in bible Marian Trinidad 7896

It’s all about love . . . #lessonsfromlent

She Loves Me More: An Open Letter to my Mom

28 Dec

I feel God is prompting me to write a book and in response to that I have begun the process of sifting through all the spiral notebooks I have written in over the years. It’s a little bit like the process of revisiting the memories and the people when you’re sorting pictures. You can’t just drop it onto the top of a pile until you’ve looked it over, fingered the edges of it, smiled at it or cried with it, and let the “all of it” wash over your heart one more time. I realize as I am reading over that description that I am very much dating myself chatting about the mounds of unsorted pictures I have tucked away in totes, so for the younger sisters that I pray are reading and will be spurred toward love and good deeds as a result of being here—replace the words that chat about physically touching, feeling, and piling photographs with words like clicking, dragging, editing, and creating folders. I have no doubt that no matter how you preserve your memories, rather an old school Polaroid or Cloud storage, the sentiment and the desire to linger over the moments is the same.

young momI recently came upon a letter I wrote to my Mom a couple years ago but never mailed. I contemplated rewriting and sending it to her and then wondered to myself about the possibilities of encouraging another daughter to tell her Mom exactly how she sees her if I were to share it. Might someone take an extra moment to really look at the woman she is and see her. . . her strength, her sweetness, her beauty, her vulnerability, her sacrifice, her scars.

God has put me in a very unique place of appreciating the days with my Mom right now, even if our only contact is a quick text during the day. He’s opened my eyes through the grief of others and the place I have gone in life with my own Sweet Girl and began to show me who my Mom is not just as my Mom but as the woman, friend, daughter, sister, wife, grandmother, and so many more things that she is. All the roles she has had in her life, all the comfort she has given friends, all the love poured out – all the things that she does day in and day out to speak love into her world—to be beauty in motion.

Mom and me ribbetSo my hope in sharing this right now, as this year draws to a close and another lays before us, is that you might be prompted to use some of those dwindling moments to really look at the women who have invested in your life, see the high cost they paid to love you so well and then let them know how precious they are to you.   And if I may be so bold as to suggest – write it down for them. Give them a piece of their love story and their legacy etched out. Let it be something they can pull out and read on days they aren’t feeling really precious to anyone, to run their fingers over on a down day, and let the “all of how you see them” wash over their hearts one more time.

We’re just on the other side of celebrating the birth of love and the gift of life so what say you and I give one more gift to the women we love. . . the ones who have influenced, guided, and shaped us? I’ll lead the way and put a big red bow on this just for my Mom. I’ve left all the errors in punctuation, the grit of emotion, and all the other imperfections of the original handwritten letter because Momma’s don’t require editing or censoring. They love the all of you and . . . they love you more. moms card ribbet

SHE LOVES ME MORE: An Open Letter to my Mom

Hi Mom,

I wish I had some fancy paper to write on but I don’t so this notebook paper will have to do. Britt found this card the other day when we were out shopping and said, “Hey Mommy, this is in the romance section but it reminds me of you and Grammy.”

I read it, thought it was cute and picked it up thinking I would drop it in the mail to you to cheer you up this winter. Obviously I didn’t get it done and I’m glad about that because this card has taken on a whole new meaning as it has sat here in my house with life going on all around it.

I hope I can explain this right Mom and find the perfect words to say it all. If I can, you’ll feel very loved and noticed and seen. And that’s what I want, for you to know that I see you and you matter.

You know that the last few months have, for whatever reason, been some of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. I started crying when Baby Dog died and I haven’t stopped. It seems like an avalanche has fallen and I’m trying to live my life crawling through the rubble.

You’ve been through so much coping with all that has gone on in life and in your effort to protect me from your hurt you’ve been keeping pieces of your heart locked up for a long time and that’s made it seem like I’ve lost a bit of you sometimes. Then Lori was diagnosed with cancer and the roller coaster of emotions that came at the thought of losing her was almost too much. Britt graduated and left. We packed you up and you guys left too. And Brett’s had one health issue after another pummel him throughout it all.

The next August came and Britt left again, Angie died, and then the Baby Dog. Brett’s still fighting and on some days it seems we are losing. Mikey has passed away and the ruins seem to keep piling up around me. Life is just difficult right now. I’m hanging on to the words of Isaiah and knowing that God is the Restorer of the ruins and the Repairer of broken walls, but it’s still difficult.

So I was taking down the Christmas stuff and thinking to myself “Why did I even put this up? Nothing matters to anyone. You work hard to love people, make them feel special, and nothing matters.” And right there, in the middle of my less-than-attractive pity party, it hit me like a lightning bolt.

I started wondering how many times you were going through difficult things but still worked hard to love all of us in tangible ways and make us feel special, cared for, and loved. I wondered how many times you did things, all by yourself feeling like you were the one no one wanted to be with or even saw.  Doing it all with the weight of the world on your shoulders and feeling like nothing mattered.

I WISH I WOULD HAVE NOTICED all the things you did and appreciated it then instead of looking back and realizing it now. The truth is Mom, IT ALL MATTERED.

Even though I’ll never know all the million little details and the big sacrifices you’ve made, IT ALL MATTERED. You poured yourself into making me, me and my brother, my brother and into being by Dad’s side through everything. We are who we are because everything you are and everything you did, IT ALL MATTERED.

Another truth is, you really do love me more because I haven’t fully learned how much I love you yet. God keeps showing me all these ways that you have loved me and continue to love me that I just didn’t know. Until you experience some things for yourself you just can’t wrap your mind around it.

moms letter ribbetI do love you so much but I’m certain it isn’t as much as I will love you. I’m getting older and we have more shared experiences than before and sometimes when I’m in the middle of something and I think, “this thing’s about to kill me,” your face pops into my mind and I think to myself, I know she felt this way too and she got through.

So never think that the thing you did didn’t matter. Every single one did, the ones I’ve noticed and the ones I’ve yet to see and I appreciate them all, especially the ones I’m yet to discover. I love you Mom, but yeah, you’re right, you love me more. Thanks for always being the winner of that argument.

I love you – Bunny

The closest I can figure from the things I am chatting about in the letter I wrote this at the beginning of 2013. Why didn’t I send it? Why did I wait? I don’t know but I don’t want another day to pass without her knowing and I want to be the one who shows her beauty to the world.

Mom beautiful ribbetProverbs 27:2 says to let another praise you and not let it come from your own mouth so Sweet Sister please do not remain silent where she is concerned. Walk your Momma into 2015 with the full knowledge of the love you have for her. Send her into a fresh year knowing that all the ones behind her counted. Put a big red bow on your love for her and be certain she understands who she is to you. Let her know that your heart sees behind you and in front of you and it ALL MATTERS, that she matters. And even though our Moms and our situations, our ages and our locations may be different this is one thing we all have in common—no matter how much I love my Mom, no matter how much you love your Mom . . . .SHE LOVES YOU MORE.

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*Written with a grateful heart and much love for my Sisters walking through such loss right now and allowing me to learn from all you are going through. I love you so dear friends.

*If you’d like to put your letter to your Mom in the comments section here feel free to do that. If you’d like me to put it on Glimpsed Glory’s facebook page I’d be happy to post it for you just e-mail me at glimpsedglory@yahoo.com. If you’d like a public place to share it, I’ll provide it.

The Overwhelmed Life

11 Nov

It was put before me recently to explain what God’s Word means to me. Not in an apologetics, logical, reasoning, I’m going to try and convince you to see it the same kind of way but in a heart-all-out-there personal kind of way. I’m not certain I had ever contemplated anyone wanting to know that before and honestly, creation swap heart Stephen Ramkissoon 4959 graceI wasn’t prepared for the emotions, affection, and love that meditating on the personal meaning of God’s Word brought about in me. There was a sense of this “almost too much Lord” in trying to string together with some kind of clarity exactly what it means to me to sit so close to the Throne and be welcomed there.

One of my favorite songs right now is Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. It came on the radio the other night as I was driving home by myself and I was so engulfed in the mercy of Jesus, the pure love of Him, that I was exactly what the title of the song said . . .Overwhelmed.

creation swap blue2 Joshua Lenon 5971 bigdaddyweaveThe most beautiful pictures slid through my mind. I saw myself running to the arms of the Father with Jesus – the very One who had made the way – right beside me whispering “Go child, go.” And He had tears in His eyes. I felt absolutely covered in Him. Even as I let my mind’s eye wander back and re-experience the moment, I feel the love for Him well up in my throat. See, I’ve been praying not only to love Jesus but to be in love with Jesus. For me, those pictures, being lost in the wonderment of Him, marveling at the All of Him, was confirmation that He hears our every prayer.

This challenge, to give shape and form to what the Word means to me, brought about that same overwhelming sense of affection and love. I didn’t worry about being able to offer the Scripture references that led me to write what I did or make certain there was a commentary written by someone smarter than me that confirmed what I thought, I just let myself see Him. Experience Him. Worship Him.

I let myself feel His embrace and the overwhelmed in me poured onto the page.

The Bible, the Word of God, the Voice of Heaven, the Breath of Love—is life to me. Nothing else stirs me, energizes me, moves me, thrills me or humbles me like He does. I am left slack-jawed and steeped in awe that He would stoop from Heaven to speak to me –the very worst one. But He does. Over and over again He does. And with every syllable I hear Him whisper, “I love you.” And my heart reaches back with, “I love you too.”

Girlfriend, isn’t He just too much? I always encourage women to take His promises as their own . . . to get up close with His Word and breathe It in – because I know that’s the only place we’ll find the tenacity and courage to really live and love with abundance on this temporal planet. Only when I inhale Love, when I meet Him in the pages of His Word, do I have even a slight chance of getting my flesh out of the way and exhaling any semblance of it. Breathe in “Capital L” Love. Breathe Out “little l” love. Watch God and do what He does. See His posture of love and try to stand the same way. Observe Christ and copy Him through the power of the Spirit. Look at the way He wears Love from head-to-toe and put on a matching outfit.

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Oh Sweet One, we cannot watch Him, we cannot keep company with Him, we cannot observe Him without falling in love with Him. We breathe Him in and then breathe Him out. The Bible is not black words on white paper. It is life!

On both sides of the Covenant Line –His Word is life!

They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. Deuteronomy 32:47

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. John 1:1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 1 John 1:1

. . . so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:15-16

And Sister make no mistake that the Word of Life has a name . . .

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

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Revelation 19:11-16

That, Beloved, is who is beckoning you to His side. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords wants to speak to you from the pages. The Word of Life wants to overwhelm you and me with “Capital L” Love. . . . to breathe life into our souls. Not spoon fed life – real, dig-into-it-myself and come up with my lungs and heart full of Him life. Because while we can certainly glean from the insights of others, we absolutely cannot breathe with the Spirit second hand.

And Sweet Friend, the beauty of it is we don’t have to. Pick up your Bible. Pull the app up on your phone. Listen to it on your headphones. Whatever choice sits before you– choose it! And Girlfriend, when you do, you can be confident that what you will find will be absolutely oxygen to your soul.  For you my Friend have chosen to sit before the Throne in the very Presence of Love, to inhale the Word made flesh, and to take in the All of Him.  You have chosen to live, you have chosen the overwhelmed LIFE!

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(Overwhelmed Music & Lyrics: Mike Weaver / Phil Wickham)

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.

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OUR SISTER’S STORY

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!

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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

Passion Week . . . Good Friday

18 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18:28-19:42

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”  And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted so after he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover.” And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” Do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.

Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Now the chief priests and the elders stirred up the crowd and persuaded them to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”  Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? The man you call the King of the Jews?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.”” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” And they cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” And they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers.Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”  When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.  Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him over to their will to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus away inside the palace into the governor’s headquarters,and they gathered the whole battalion before him and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they began to salute him, they mocked him,. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.  (The Gospel of John has a similar prior to Pilate turning Christ over to be crucified. I chose to include both.)

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross and as they went out, they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. There they crucified him and Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

When they had crucified him, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says

 “They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross over his head. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

So they did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying,Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel; come down now from the cross that we may see and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour while the sun’s light failed. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

.And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so one of them put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.  But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice,

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,”

and having said this he yielded up his spirit and breathed his last. 

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said,

“Truly this was the Son of God!”

And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

When it was evening, there came a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council and a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, who had not consented to their decision and action and was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead.  And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesusby night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were there, sitting opposite the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

The next day, . . . . .

AMEN

 

 

  

Love Speaks . . . Do You?

6 Apr

Image

Urgency to learn to love

—that was the topic of the last post.  It hit home with me in big ways and whenever God draws my attention so completely, an exclamation point on His message is usually in my near future.  This post was no exception.

I write much about living love out loud, stepping out in kindness so that the world sees a difference—

Loving every chance we get. 

But, I don’t write much about giving voice, word along with deed, to the lost about their need of Jesus Christ.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

I’m certain you know the little catch phrase, “If you live a sermon, you never have to preach one.”  I’m not discounting the power of a life lived well – to glorify God and increase the Kingdom–but I am wondering, if maybe like me, you may have used this particular mindset to excuse yourself from sharing the gospel with those who need desperately to hear it.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  Romans 10:17

Most often the people who need to hear it from us are those closest to us because they’ve seen our transformation.  They know who we were and can see who we are, but many times those are the ones we’re most afraid to speak the Truth to. There is so much to lose, they may reject Him, and what terrifies us is they may reject us as well. 

We can quote the verses all day long about blessed are those who are persecuted because of My Name  when we are at arms length from the thing but when it’s up close and personal I have to think that the hurt of separation is still going to sting.  We can talk about how the division that Christ brings in many relationships shouldn’t take us off guard because He tells us in His Word that mother and father will be split from children and brother will forsake brother on account of Him.  Well, it might not take our intellect by surprise but our hearts may be another matter altogether. But, even knowing these things, for me the time for deed alone has ended.  For me . . .

It is time to speak.

The fruit in my life, the fruit in your life, can’t authenticate a thing if I don’t give voice to the Who I believe in.  Our deeds can never match our words if there are no words.

One of my prayers for this year has been to . . . .

Fearlessly fear only God.

And He is answering by gently pulling back the veil so that I am able to see the areas I am still shrinking back in.  I too often let the fear of man set my path, choose my words, restrain my love.  Because true love . . .

Christ-like Love will risk me to reach them.

If I am desiring to observe Christ and learn a life of extravagant love, expecting nothing and offering everything  than I am going to put all of me on the line.  I won’t hold back a thing because

Our Jesus has withheld nothing of Himself.

He gave up His heavenly home, put on earthly skin, and came to walk among us.  He wasn’t concerned with His comfort.

He was concerned with us.

He lived in unbridled holiness and Love on this planet and endured hostility, rejection, and in the end, humiliation as the soldiers mocked and spit upon Him.  He was not consumed with Him.

He was consumed with us.

He died the unimaginable death, on full display while they continued to taunt Him, “if you are who you say you are . . .”, “If you really are the Son of God” .  And still, He was not focused on vengeance.

He was focused on forgiveness.

Sweet One, Christ lived love out loud – but He spoke Love as well.  His actions matched His Words.  The fruit of His life authenticated every holy utterance.

To Love Like That – I must do the same.

To Love Like That – You must do the same.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2

Live it out to be sure – but speak the Truth.  Share the gospel.  Love the ones you love enough to tell them that they NEED HIM.   I’m afraid if we allow the fear of separation and rejection to keep us quiet then we will risk the ultimate separation when our time on this planet is done.

Be strong and courageous

– love without limits—

 love without caution.

Love was offered knowing rejection would be the response.  Love was given feely.  No strings attached. No demand for love in return.   Because here’s the stunning truth, even those who have not repented in their hearts, confessed with their mouths, or professed love for God, well, they are still loved by God.  Are they saved?  Absolutely not.  But are they loved?  Absolutely.

His desire is for them to come home.  He created us for complete love fellowship with Him.  He wants us to realize the depth of our lost sin condition and accept the Gift of Grace who wore flesh to save us.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

That is Love.  He is Love.  Long-suffering, compassionate, Love.  It isn’t what He does.

Love is Who He is.

The hard question then is . . . Do I really want to Love Like That?

The answer is yes.  But I so confess that I’m not sure how.  And I am asking God to move every bit of me out of the way and fill me up with every bit of Him.

I came face-to-face with what seemed to be a life and death situation with someone I love.  I had always thought that if I just lived it out, she would see a difference.  I thought it would make her want to know why and how we do life on the Boulevard the way we do in the face of much trial.  But Sister, it was not enough

As we drove to the hospital, my heart was filled with regret because I had not spoken.  Had I lived?  Yes.  But had I loved?  NO!  Because I would not risk me for her.  I would not give love freely with no strings attached.   I chose caution over extravagance.

So I praise God that “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” but in the same breath I confess the sin of fear to Him and ask that He strengthen me of Spirit–not allowing me to continue in the footsteps of self-preservation. 

It is time to speak.

So Sweet Reader, I must ask you this, do you know Jesus as your Savior?  Have you acknowledged the sin in your life and asked for forgiveness in His Name?  If not, do it now.  Do not wait.  Today is the day of your salvation.  If you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart you will be saved.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  Romans 10:9-10

It is time to speak.

There are no “official words”  and you will not find the “Salvation Prayer” in any particular chapter or book of the Bible.  Beloved, just talk to Him. 

Pour your heart out to Him. 

Confess your need of Him. 

Be filled with the Love of Him.

If you’re not certain what to say, this is a prayer that can guide you, but it isn’t the words – it’s the heart giving voice to them:

Oh My Father,

I come to you in the name of Jesus, Your Son, whom You Sent for me. I am a sinner who needs you and I repent of my sinful way of life–

I need your forgiveness.

I believe that Your One and Only Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins and Father, I want to turn from my life of sin and live for Him. Your Holy Word promises, that if I confess the Lord and believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead,

I will be saved. 

I believe Your Word Lord. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word,

right now I am saved.

Thank you for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. Grace that never leads to license, but rather always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself. Thank you Jesus for living for me, dying for me, and giving me eternal life through Your resurrection. 

In Your Blessed, Holy Name I pray.  Amen.

Sister, if you’ve spoken that prayer for the first time today, welcome to the Kingdom of Life!  Death has no hold over you and the angels of God are rejoicing.  Please find someone to tell.  Get to a Bible-based group of believers.  Study the Word of God.  Do not be the seed on rocky soil burning hot for a moment and then quickly snuffed out by the troubles of life.

And if this wasn’t your occasion to pray, I’m asking God to bring a great cloud of witnesses into your life who are not afraid of rejection, separation or the loss of you to share this message with you again.  I’m asking Him to convince the ones close to you that it is time to love you extravagantly and confirm for them that it is time to speak.

Blessings to you Sweet Sisters around the world.  May His Love give the gentle boldness we need as you and I go forth in His Name and may we speak.

2 Corinthians 4:13

He is the Worthy One!

23 Jan

What a wild and wonderful journey my Jesus has taken me on with Glimpsed Glory this past year!  I can’t begin to tell you how He has ministered to my soul by letting me write these little blips here in rural anytown, USA and then witness His Holy Hand spread them all around the globe to be read over 5000 times. Please be certain that what you hear in that last statement is all about Him and raise your hands with me to PRAISE OUR GOD for every Sister who has stumbled across these pages.

If you’re wondering why we’re taking a chronos moment to just sit at His feet in awe of this specific work of His Hands, it’s because Glimpsed Glory marks its first anniversary today.  Full confession is that I was a little hesitant to share the remarkable work He has done because I didn’t want it to be misinterpreted as a pat on the back to me.  More truth is that the enemy of my soul and the adversary of His Kingdom has used that particular trick to keep me quiet more times than I can tell you so as a child of the King, I’m claiming Psalm 8:1-2 and as the praise flows from my heart into every stroke on this keyboard I believe the Word of God and know that the foe and the avenger is silenced.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens.  From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  Psalm 8:1-2 (NIV, 1984)

So let me shout His Glory, boast of Him, and make it clear – whatever good thing has come from Glimpsed Glory, whatever hearts have been encouraged, or whatever spirit has been refreshed . . . that’s all Jesus.  The Father has given the nations to the Son as His inheritance, the ends of the earth are His possession and the Spirit is about the business of beckoning His children home.

He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalm 2:7-8 (NIV, 1984)

It’s to our great delight that He allows us, in whatever way He chooses, to participate with Him in the Kingdom work. Through His saving grace He has made us ministers of reconciliation and commissioned us to spread the good news of the Gospel.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV, 1984)

01/23/2014: Country Flags =Readers Around the World

01/23/2014: Country Flags =Readers Around the World

And look how accessible He has made the world to us!  Only our Extraordinary God, our limitless, uncontainable Holy One, would have opened up such an unconventional avenue and sent such an unexpected messenger.

So if it worried me that sharing my awe at the fruit He has produced might be mistaken for placing the spotlight on me, why did I choose to celebrate it?  Why did I draw attention to it?

The answer is at the top of the page.

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.  They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”  Luke 5:25-26 (NIV, 1984)

And at the side of the page.

But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV, 1984)

The Extraordinary at work in and through the ordinary points to His greatness not mine.

I have tried since the first post on January 23, 2013 to be as transparent as would serve you well about my own unrighteousness and utter ordinariness so there would be no confusion over who was bringing life and breath to the words you were reading.  If you roll your cursor over the picture of me and my man at the side and click, you will go to a permanent page on the blog explaining who I am and who I am not.  It’s a message I pray that each visitor to Glimpsed Glory reads because I want every reader to be certain that only God does big things with small lives and to know without a doubt that the most important words they will read come from Him and not from me . . .

My own experience confirms for me that neither a righteous background nor an extraordinary intellect is a requirement for looking beyond what we can see and Glimpsing the Glory of the One we cannot. In fact, I am walking, talking assurance that the “Extraordinary of God” will be revealed to the most unrighteous and utterly ordinary among us. (excerpt from A Message from a Fellow Sojourner)

Sweet One, I hope what you are finding in these posts is the same thing that you find throughout the pages of His Word.

. . . The Redemption story from start to finish . . .

  . . . the intervention of Love in the life of the unlovable . . .

. . . Intercession by the One who is Worthy on behalf of the worst . . .

. . . astounding rescue, absolute grace, unwavering faithfulness . . .

It’s all about HIM.

God Is Faithful

It’s all about His rescue and intervention in the life of a girl “like Rahab” and the Love it shouts to us today. . .

Rahab the harlot, who lived long before me, is how I know that God loves me regardless of my sin history.  Rahab the called, who chose to trust God to preserve her life, is how I know He works for the good of those who love Him.  Rahab, the redeemed, who had no idea what awaited her in Glory is how I know that my mind cannot conceive the goodness.  (The Resolve to Go Beyond, Feb 7, 2013)

It’s all about realizing afresh that the Risen One, the One who spoke Outside the Tomb, has called us to the abundant life. . .

See that’s who I want to be.  I want to be the woman who realizes the depth of her healing so profoundly that she refuses to return to her home and stays just a little longer.  I want to be the one who weeps because my heart cannot stand the fact that I am not near Him.  I want to be the one who desires to see Him so badly that I stoop down and strain my eyes in hopes of getting just one more glimpse.  I know that one day He will say my name in Glory, one day He will say your name in Glory.  We will recognize His voice and Beloved when we turn, oh the love that will pass between the Healer and the healed.  But in the meantime Sister, for the redeemed and the released, there is life outside the tomb – abundant life.  Live it to the full Girlfriend.  Live it to the full.  (Life Outside the Tomb, Apr 2, 2013)

It’s all about trusting the One Who was, the One Who Is, and the One Who will be to always be Who He declares Himself to be. . .

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. (Step Off the Edge and Into Love, Nov 21, 2013)

It’s all about Him.

The One Who redeems. (Job 19:25)

  The One Who intercedes. (Romans 8:34)

  The One Who IS the Great I AM. (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58

And so I find myself, these many months later, having glimpsed His glory again and again, more confident, more thankful, and more convinced than ever that the words I echoed from the Book of Malachi and the Book of Hebrews one year ago today are trustworthy and true. . . .

I, the Lord, do not change.  Malachi 3:6

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

I pray that it is the same for you Beloved.  I pray that your time here is time with Him and that He has spoken to you through His Word over and over again through the last year.

Girlfriends – ones I know and ones I am yet to meet –may I just say how I admire your tenacity and your desire for Him. If you are here, if you are visiting this site, I know you are searching for the More of God and I know with absolute certainty that He will not disappoint you. He will be the God He has promised to be since He set our chronos time in motion.  He determined the place and the time that simply would not be complete without you in it—thank you for letting me share in a small part of your journey.  You mean the world to me and fill me with great joy.  I so hope we will have another year to seek hard after Him and run the race side-by-side.  May God bless each one of us with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to glimpse His Glory.

They will be gathered from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.   Psalm 107:3

They will be gathered from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Psalm 107:3

He Never Leaves Us Empty

11 Jan

Day 11 of the New Year.

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

Christmas on the Boulevard

Christmas on the Boulevard

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

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

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

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

These have come so that your faith

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

may be proved genuine

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

Though you have not seen him, you love him;

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

him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Galatians 5:1

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

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

Galatians 5:1

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

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

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

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

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

against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Heart Full of Him.

eph319

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

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

Ephesians 3:19

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