This is WAR!

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4:1

…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12

Have you experienced days when you felt like you were front and center on the battlefield of life? Me, too.

I can remember when my kiddos were tadpoles; how hard it was to get them up and dressed on Sunday mornings. I didn’t like being the last family in the door at church, so I tried just about everything I could think of to change their habit for Sunday morning shuffling. As a young mom, I looked for the answer to all this Sunday morning confusion in books, speakers, child-rearing videos, and finally by pleading with the Lord for some kind of a solution. This felt like spiritual warfare to me!

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power!!!

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ve got to know we have a target on our backs! We have an enemy, and we have a sin nature. We have hopes and dreams that aren’t always so holy, and we have tongues and mouths that get us into trouble quicker than you  can say, “Jack Flash!” Speaking from our honest place, we will confess to battles being waged inside and outside, upsides, and downsides, with never-ending confusion. It’s enough to make a young mom cry.

The saving grace for us is knowing that we are 1. Not alone, 2. Equipped with a divine defense mechanism in our God-given armor, and 3. Able to push back the forces of evil on our knees, crying out to God.

Today, if you’re reeling from the sulfurous stink of the enemy breathing down your neck, don’t try to battle him alone. Don’t punch, don’t kick don’t whine, and don’t wait. Drop to your knees and pray, pray, pray for God’s protection, provision, and most of all, His power to take that bad boy down.

Our Defender and Champion is always only a prayer away.

What kind of struggles going on in your life have you convinced that there is a battle waging for your soul?  How constant are you in prayer for yourself and your family?

The Bar of Common Sense

At the bar of common sense Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad; but bring them to the bar of faith, and you begin to find with awestruck spirit that they are the words of God…We act like pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God.  –Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I was recently celebrating my birthday with a friend, and we were swapping stories and doing what we women are wont to do with our friends when she made a statement about being called to do something by Jesus that others could not understand.

Her father thought she was loony.

Her mother thought her daft.

Her children were scared to death.

Even my friend was terrified for what it might mean for her and her family to follow Jesus, unwaveringly.  What might He have in store for her?

How might her life change?

What terrible fate awaited her, trusting Jesus as she had decided she must?

The devil often uses fear and the threat of losing our easy life to dissuade us from following Jesus!

How many times might we confess to having similar feelings to that of my friend when being asked to trust Jesus?  Fear, rationalization, the voices of the many—they all work together to make us either doubt we have heard God correctly, or doubt that He can take care of us in our need.

Doubt is the enemy’s stock in trade.  He uses it so many times against us, because it’s worked so many times against us. 

Today, let’s put the kibosh on fear!

Let’s tell the “worries” and “what ifs” that they are not welcome at our house any more.

Let’s take the doubts and the memories of past failures, and fling them into the deepest seas.

Today, let’s make a conscious decision to trust fully the One who knows us best.

Today, let’s risk what we have, to have what He gives.

With Jesus, nothing is impossible, and with God empowering us, there is nothing we cannot do.

Let’s bring our fears to the bar of faith today.  Together, we can do what we could never do alone–together, we and Jesus!!!

What have you been afraid of doing, even though you persistently hear God challenging you to do it?  What is holding you back?

It’s gonna be okay!

The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now.  Joshua 9:18-19

Have you ever been conned?  Ever taken in by a lie?  Ever deceived into protecting someone who you shouldn’t have been protecting?

Maybe you’ve hurt someone with your decision when you believed your decision was rock solid, to find after the fact that you didn’t have all the facts.  Oh, me, too!  It stinks!

Regrettably, being a believer doesn’t shield you from these kinds of experiences.

Lesson learned!

I’ve also learned that as believers, we need to check-in with God before we make any decision, and when we check in, we need to be sure that we are as neutral in our thinking as possible.  We need to go to God with minds that are clean slates, open to His ways–ready to embrace his methods of doing, guiding and leading. We need to let go of preconceived notions about what is right and proper, because we don’t know everything there is to know about everything. Not knowing puts us in a compromised position.

When we go to God for advice, we need to let God speak, and we need to be willing to do what He tells us to do. Period.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Did I hear an Amen to that?!

Here’s the thing:  We are not always close enough to God to hear Him when he whispers out his warnings, and sad are we when we have not heard, for it is then that bad things happen.

Joshua 9 is the story of deception and intrigue among nations. I love the tale, because it makes clear to me that even a mighty warrior like Joshua had trouble, sometimes, knowing who to help and who to pass by.  In the third through thirteenth verses of chapter 9, we see a major spy campaign taking place. One that leans heavily on trickery, and seeks to see Joshua undone.

Here, Joshua missteps.

Here, Joshua is taken in by a con-man.

The results are regrettable!

The Good News in this story, though—and folks, there is ALWAYS good news where God is concerned–is that Joshua’s mistake is not a doom-sealer.  It’s not the end of life as it could have been for Israel. It’s not even all that horrible.  Why? Because, God!  God was in the mix and He’d taken charge of Israel.  He’d decided to be their Power, Protector, and Provision in this strange and scary land He’d given to them.

With God, good things happen!

I’m not going to tell you the end of the story for Joshua and the fighting Hebrews.  You’ll have to find a Bible and find the book of Joshua, and read it for yourself.  I could never do justice to what God has already provided in His Word, so I’m not going to try.  Go, seek, find. You’ll be glad you did. Then circle back around and leave a one-word comment on this blog post. One word that struck you as significant as you read through Joshua 9?  Inquiring minds want to know what your one word would be.

Remember, I’ll be waiting!!! What is your ONE-word SIGNIFICANT thought?

When has God been your Power in a time of need? When has He been your Protector?

ps: you can leave more than a one-word comment if you want.  I take two, three, and ever four word comments all the time on my blog! 😉

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?