229-Obedience

Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.  Joshua 8:8

The book of Joshua is an amazing chronicle of the early years for Israel, post-slavery; the years after living on sand dunes; the years when manna disappeared.  In those early years men donned their battle gear and went to war, with the result being that lands rapidly changed hands.

Joshua’s record of Jewish history conveys the amazing story of how God led his people out of misery and made provision for them in a land flowing with milk and honey.  It wasn’t all easy peasy though, this claiming of the land. Strategies had to be plotted, lessons learned, and “beginning again” was so often the case that the concept of starting over could have been adopted as their national anthem.

Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have your orders.

As God’s man on the Canaan frontier, Joshua knew that getting the job done depended on a few important principles.

1.  Purify yourself so you can hear God’s command clearly before you begin.

2.  Whatever the Lord commands, do that and only that!

3.  Never, ever let fear or the persuasive voices around you keep you from doing what God has called you to do.

4.  Remember: Your strength does not depend on flesh, nor blood, nor even mental acuity. This is God’s fight!

Today, as we go to prayer for ourselves and others, are we ready to “do what the Lord has commanded,” or do we think our way might be a better way?  It’s not.

Rushing into battle unprepared can spell disaster for you and yours. Much better, is the way of the Almighty. Take time to hear it today in prayer. Take time to perform it.  Take time to be the leader God’s calling you to be in your circle of influence today.

See to it!  You have His orders!!

How has taking the time to listen before acting helped you serve God better?  What have been some nasty consequences for you when you didn’t take that time to listen and hear, before moving into action?

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WordPress congratulated me on 10 years of blogging on this site today.

TEN YEARS!

TEN YEARS…

It doesn’t seem possible.

Mr. Jared Barden got me started here (although he’s a much more controversial writer than I), and the love of God and all things Scripture have kept me going.  Still, I can hardly believe it’s been ten years.

Thank You, Lord, for keeping me interested in the things that interest You. Thank You for this amazing life you’ve granted me.  Thank You for always guiding me back to you when I get sidetracked, and Thank You for never letting me wander too far from Your side.  You are a good, good God and I love You!  Thank You for continually giving me something else to comment on, or share with my readers!

And you…those readers that have stuck by me…both the old faithfuls and the newcomers to the party, THANK YOU for reading what I write.

Thank you for supporting my blog.

Thank you for commenting when a post hits home with you, and for encouraging me through your comments posted to my cell, instead of my blog (you know who you are!).

Writing is my passion.  Writing about God, my particular blessing!  Knowing you are reading what I write, the frosting on my bloggy cake!  I love youz!!!

So thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Ten years! Wow! I wonder what the next ten will bring?!

What thing have you done for ten years now that you are proud to claim as your own?  What do you want to accomplish in the next ten years?

Not in part, but the whole

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o’ my soul.  — Haratio Spafford’s, It Is Well With my Soul

And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Are you like me? Do you find fascinating the stories of Saints who through tragedy and rhapsody have found a way to glorify God with their grief?  The grief and glory story of Haratio Spafford is what inspired him to pen that old hymn, It Is Well with My Soul.  Fascinating!!

Just, Wow!!!

This past weekend I had an experience that was fascinating for me. While attending The Healing Journey Boot Camp I felt (not in part but in whole), the relief associated with turning over a sin burden to Jesus.  I bear it no more.

No more, people!!!

Our God has the power to make sin disappear, so that we bear it no more!

If you have a sin, a wound, or a painful place in your heart that keeps nagging, pulling, tearing at your soul until you’re finally ready to give it up—bear it no more—Jesus is who you want to reach out to today.  The God-Man, who erases burdens, cancels debts, takes sin off our shoulders, and loves, loves, loves us for all our days.

Jesus is the true Soul Saver and He’s the only Sin Taker.

Today, you can have more than a simple exchange of words and a duty done attitude with God.  Listen: sins don’t need to be dragged around like a ball and chain through a miserable existence you call life.

Joy is available!

A clean slate can be yours.

Do-overs are God’s delight!

Don’t miss out on the miracle!

Pray, believing and expectant today.  Jesus is waiting!

Has your sin been dealt with—not in part, but in whole?  If not, why not?  I’m here to talk. Call me if you need a loving witness or a listening ear.

 

 

Every time…

Every time I share,

Every time I open my heart about things that matter to me,

Every. Time. I. Feel. Exposed.

Vulnerable…

Known.

Every time is like the first time I opened a vein,

Bled on the page,

Bound and gagged my expectations,

Tried again.

Funny,

The love and the loathing mix,

And the One takes over.

Provides power.

Power pushing me.

Power teaching me,

Power shaping me.

I’m a captive at the keyboard,

Compelled by it’s allure,

Restless,

Wanting,

Anxious, both to give and to withhold.

Medicine for my soul.

Mixture of sensations…

Mesmerizing mystery.

The act.

Too much, and not enough,

I leave it, torn.

To speak and be found out,

or to remain silent and bleed within?

Writing!

My blessing and my bane.

 

 

Love Changes Us

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Cor 12:10

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.’  –The Velveteen Rabbit

Love, real love, has a price tag attached to it, doesn’t it?

For the sake of love we forfeit our autonomy, become preoccupied with the object of our affections, and toss aside any notion we might have had that we can ever again forge a plan without taking the feelings of another into consideration.

Ah, love, it changes us!     

When we love, our contact with others has the power to rub our fur off, stain the insides of our ears, and cause our otherwise beautiful features to crinkle, wrinkle, and fade.  Don’t believe me on this one?  Ask any mom whether or not she thinks love has changed her.  She will quickly tell you that the “her” she was before having a baby, and the “her” she was after having a baby were not the same.

Love carried in a womb nine months changes a woman!

The Apostle Paul said that loving the Lord Jesus changed him.  It made him more willing to suffer for his Savior.  It made him able to actually “delight” in weakness.

Delight in insults.

Delight in hardships.

Delight in persecutions.

Loving the Lord changed Paul so that he was able to delight in difficulties (which I’m guessing includes all the other various things a prophet suffers for his Lord, in addition to Paul’s short list).

The Apostle Paul was a wise man, for he saw the benefit of change—of becoming something different because of love—and he agreed to the struggle in order to reap the rewards.  Eventually, he realized that Love had made him something he’d never been before.

REAL!

Strong, though weak.

Empowered!!

Today, as we move through another day in God’s kingdom, will we remember what truly surrendering ourselves to Jesus can mean for our lives?  The same change Paul saw take root in his life can take root in ours.  All we have to do to see it happen is lean in to the Lord a little more each day.

Are you ready to be REAL and CHANGED?  It all begins with Love!

How has love changed you into a different person?  Are you happy or sad about the person you’ve become?

Its in our attitude

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.  Song of Solomon 4:7

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  –Winston Churchill

As we edge our way closer to Mother’s Day, we think it proper to brag on the women in our midst, just a lil bit.  We don’t want to cause any pride spillovers, mind you, or put any stumbling blocks in anyone’s way, but come on—The women in my life, yeah, they are awesome!  Deserving of my praise!

Let’s give it up to the softer side of our church family—the amazingly talented and dedicated women in our midst. We are so glad to have them brightening our lil corner of God’s kingdom!

You’re amazing, ladies, and we love you!

Smart women of God everywhere know that a good attitude wins the day!  From the moment their loved ones crawl out of bed in the morning until they tuck them back in at night, godly moms never stop teaching, teaching, teaching through their actions.

Words, deeds, hugs, story time, and even spankings can be building blocks to greatness when the attitude is right. A woman with a good attitude can build empires and steadily ready the next generation for greatness through love and perseverance.

Ladies, our attitudes as we approach each new day have the power to either win the victory or send us to the deepest dungeons of regret.

In most cases, the choice is ours.

We can either trust in God, and get ‘er done with a thankful heart, or we can moan and complain, feel insufficient to the task, and end our day on a sour note.

Today as we go to prayer, ladies, let’s lead with an attitude of gratitude for all the great things God has done in our families, and most of all for our Jesus!

Attitude is a little things that can make a big difference. May ours be always and only shaped by our King.

Who is that lady in your life that shaped and molded you in godly ways?  How are you shaping and molding the lives around you with your attitude?  

Be Careful Little Mouth!

Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.  “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.  But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”  Esther 4:11-13

Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.  Ecclesiastes 10:20

“Be careful little mouth, what you say. Be careful little mouth, what you say. For the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little mouth, what you say.”  Remember that song from childhood?

The song reminded us as children that God sees all that we do. The Bible reminds us as adults that God hates the proud, and that He has a book, a big one, where he instructs his angels to make notations.  The notes they make concern us:  Our words, our actions, and when God feels it appropriate to share with angels, our intentions.  That God keeps such a “journal” can be kinda spooky, and unpleasant if you 1.  Believe in God and the mighty power He possesses.  2. Live a prideful life that is not surrendered to Him, and 3. Don’t appreciate others bringing up your speckled past.

Be careful little mouth, what you say!

As we go to prayer this morning, let’s keep wicked Haman in mind.  Why Haman?  Because Haman teaches us a lesson about being careful with our words, thoughts, and deeds. Haman teaches us to pay attention to what we say about others, and ourselves. Haman hangs in the end for his treachery!

We remember Haman as we go to prayer today, because we want with every part of our being to be people UN-like him.  Instead, we seek to be a blessing to our Father up above, and to be careful-about what we think, what we say, and most of all what we take pleasure in.

Don’t be a Haman today; be a blessing!

What is your favorite Bible story?  Why do you love it so much?

Sanguine with some Melancholy on the side

When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.  In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.  Esther 4:1-3

The other day I heard James McDonald preaching on a variety of personality types that make up his pastoral staff. When he spoke about the Sanguine personality, I could see myself in what he said.  Sanguines are expressive and hopeful.  Anyone who knows me would say that’s a good fit for this writer girl.  He also talked about Melancholies, and again, I saw myself in the things he said.  Melancholies are artists and moved by their emotions. That is so me.

I’m moved by my emotions way more than I would like to admit, and it only seems to increase in intensity the longer I live. I wonder if that is because my subconscious knows my days are numbered and wants to break out and express itself as much as possible before the last sun rises over my life?  I’m not sure about that, but I’m guessing something internal knows I yearn to express myself to the world, and that is why I’m so melancholy much of the time.

When I read the first three verses of Esther’s story in the Bible this morning, it hit me again–that sense that I’m not alone in being a Sanguine with some Melancholy on the side.  In those verses, there is a lot of wailing and mourning, before weeping and more wailing.  There is a lot of expression packed into those few verses, and a lot of emotion, stirred up by suffering.

Were I in the shoes of the Jews at this time in history, I would have been wearing a big ole sack cloth, too.  I would have been throwing my fair share of dirt in the air, and I would have looked pretty pitiful.  What amazes me about this display of emotion that the Jews are expressing vividly in the 4th chapter of Esther, though, is that it pretty definitively marks them.

But wait, don’t tears falling on my cheek on Sunday when the message is hitting home with me mark me, too?

Aren’t people perceiving me differently, and maybe with a lil bit of contempt, as I show my emotions in expressive ways?

Are the Phlegmatics in the room disgusted with my flagrant divulging of inner emotion?  Would they show it, if they were??  😉

I bet there are some who see this display I try to hide but can’t as attention-seeking weakness on my part and they turn their heads. They might think less of me, or even gossip about my lack of control with others because of these expressions.  Doesn’t all this mark me and make me a bigger target for the enemy?  Doesn’t it point to me as someone deserving derision by well-behaved and controlled individuals in our society?

Aren’t I sticking out like a red thumb when I act in emotional ways?

Here’s the thing, folks: I can no more stop the water works once they get going, than I could stop a freight train headed my way while standing on the tracks with my shoe lace stuck between rails.

Well, that’s not really true!

I could hide my emotions. I could leave the room when I get chocked-up. I could make sure I’m never, ever put in a position to get teary-eyed in a crowd ever again, but that would be living a lie. No, I will not do it!

Neither would the Jews.

I’m in good company when I respond to God with emotion.  It may not be pleasant for me or those around me to let the tears fall when I’m feeling particularly blessed, and it might be uncomfortable for them when I let my hands go up when I’m being moved by the Spirit of God.  It might be unpleasant when I mourn a loss in public, or my voice breaks while speaking at an event, but that’s the way it is.  I am me, and I try really, really, really hard when I’m with God to be authentic.  Not for His sake. Goodness, no. He already knows my heart condition.  I do it because joy and happiness, sorrow and loss, they are all real emotions deserving of truest expressions by me.

I am Lori; a crazy, mixed-up, emotional mess at times.

“Many lay in sackcloth and ashes,” too despondent to do anything else when times get tough.  They feel deeply.  These, too, are people of God, marking themselves for slaughter.  I want to be more like them, not less.

Whatever the cost may be, I never, ever, forever-and-ever-amen want to be anything other than what God made me to be—a Sanguine, with a lil bit of melancholy of the side.  How ‘bout you?

What personality type are you?  Which one do you wish you could be?

 

DoodleHoose Share

You absolutely MUST check out the latest at Doodlehoose.  HI-larious!!!

Did this piece during a professional development at the Memorial Art Gallery. It’s a drawing based on a sculpture by the French artist Antoine Bourdelle. It’s called Young Warrior With a Sword, but I have dubbed it- Checking My Pits Before Battle. Here’s a pic of the actual sculpture in bronze. I think that guy […]

via A Night at The Museum — Doodlehoose

A Jar, A Bible, and A Schedule

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Disclaimer: This one is a longer post, but hopefully worth the read!

Outta the gate I’ve got to say, I’m not a big fan of prophecy. 

Truth be told: I find prophetic books in the Bible unsettling.  A lot of them are weird, and other-worldly, and confusing.  But, God!  He had given me the book of Ezekiel to read, and man, oh man, was it an eye-opener.

I’ve been going to The Healing Journey classes offered in my area this year, you knew that, right? The class facilitator recently proposed a new and different way for reading through God’s Word.  What was suggested was that we ladies write the names of the books of the Bible on slips of paper and cut them into tabs, one Bible name for each tab of paper, then deposit said tabs in a glass jar for safe keeping.

My amazingly awesome group leader, Berny A, gave us all a jar she made for us.  My jar is so pretty.  

Thank you, Berny!

Once we were alone with our jars, we ladies were instructed to bow our heads and prayed for the Lord’s guidance in picking our next book of the Bible to study.  Once we had prayed, we were asked to draw a name from the can or jar in which the tabs had been stored.  In this way, God would be put in charge of my Bible reading and devotional times.  Easy, right?!

My first draw: Philemon!

I rejoiced, because Philemon is a small book of the Bible and an encouraging one.  I dove in, read it quickly, and then journaled my significant thoughts about its message to me (a tool I learned to use in The Healing Journey class, so helpful).

In Philemon, I found a message of motivation and forgiveness, and encouragement to always be looking for God’s purpose in the things that happen in life.  Philemon suggested that I hold everything in life with a loose fist.  It also reminded me that the things I enjoy most in life have the most power to sway me toward personal pride and accomplishments.  Reading Philemon reminded me that God’s greatest blessings come from surrendering everything I have to Him. I was off to a great start with this new reading method.

My next draw ended in personal astonishment–the book of The Revelation! 

Really, God? Revelations!?  I’m only two books into this thing and you want me to read that? I was stunned.  Like I said at the onset of this post, I’m not drawn to prophetic utterances.

I read The Revelation of Jesus Christ with as open a mind as I could.  Here is what I learned:  No matter how kind, loving, or forgiving God is, some people will not love Him back. Also, no matter how punitive his approach to mankind, no matter the harshness of His touch or the terrible circumstances that are brought about by our sinful conditions, some people will not relent from sinning. They will not stop.  Will not reach for a life saver. Won’t. Can’t. Refuse!  The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ showed me what lengths God is willing to go in order to save us from ourselves. Wow!  Especially wow are those letters to the churches in this book. If you haven’t read them in a while (or ever), do it now.  They are relevant to our lives in the church today.

It was time to draw again, and what do you think fell out of that jar?  Ezekiel!!!!! 

Yep—another prophetic book, and I was being asked to see this as God’s will for me at this time!  I hesitated.  I did not want to do it. Ezekiel?! Really? Have you read the book of Ezekiel? Have you tried to absorb what’s written there about creatures that have four faces, and 2 sets of wings, and movements that are stiff and awkward, and eyes all over them and their accompanying wheels within wheels? Have you tried?

Eyes, folks.  Tons of eyes, everywhere! My significant thoughts on Ezekiel were these:

Ezekiel’s record of life with God is weird. Can you imagine receiving this stuff in the form of visions from God every day, or a couple times a year, or ever?

Ezekiel’s record of life with God is sad. His beloved wife was taken from him to make a point with God’s people, and he was forbidden to mourn her.  Hard stuff. Tragic stuff. Difficult to understand stuff! Prophecy.

Ezekiel’s record of life with God is frightening.  The prophet was asked to tell sinner and saint alike that national destruction was on its way.  A mighty enemy army was marching toward the great city and it would rob them of all the blessings they had enjoyed.  A cruel and unforgiving force was barking at their door, howling to get in, and the oppressors would be given an advantage (by God!), helping them scale walls and peel back gates of security, in order to enter the holy city.

Ezekiel’s record of life with God proves God is good to His word! Fueled by holy integrity, God will create circumstances that leave people broken in every way.  It’s done out of love, but it hurts just the same.  Again and again in this book God is recorded as having said, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Thankfully, Ezekiel ends with a promise that the people of God, after their punishment is completed and they are ready to return to their Lord, will return.  They will rise again to become a mighty nation. Out of obscurity, they will become famous once more.  They will once again be gathered to His holy city. Boundaries will again be laid.  Protections will again be put in place. They will testify to God’s miraculous love for them once more.

I needed to read Ezekiel’s prophecies now, at this point in my life, because I needed to be encouraged.  I needed to understand that our God is willing to go to any lengths to preserve men’s souls and set them back on the path of righteousness.  I needed to understand that Love will deliver a punishment so painful that God himself will cringe as the destruction begins. Because He must.  Because He cares that much.  Because left to ourselves, we would rot from the inside out.  The good news:  After the pain is over, God’s healing prevails.

Philemon…Revelations…Ezekiel.  Powerful books. Powerful messages to me.

This weekend I picked another slip of paper from the jar.  This weekend, God spoke again to my waiting heart.  This weekend, He once again directed my reading.

When I pulled this weekend, Esther was the tab that popped out of my reading jar!

Esther: a book I love! Esther: a record of evil wanting to have God’s children, and God making sure it doesn’t.  Esther: For a time such as this.  Bring it on, Holy Spirit. Bring it on!!!

What is your favorite book of the Bible?  What is the one book that you would quickly say is not one of your favorites?