Friday, August 31, 2012

The Perfect Offering

As I continue to journey through Revelation, and through life, I am always asking God questions. As I read through chapter 14 this afternoon, I paused on verse 1-5. "This sums it all up right here, doesn't it, God?" I mused in a silent prayer.

"I saw--it took my breath away-- the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, One Hundred and Forty Thousand standing there with him, his Name and the Name of his Father inscribed on their foreheads. And I heard a voice out of heaven, the sound like a cataract, like a crash of thunder. And then I heard music, harp music and the harpists singing a new song before the Throne and the Four Animals and the Elders. Only the Hundred and Forty four Thousand could learn to sing the song. They were bought from earth, lived without compromise, virgin-fresh before God. Wherever the Lamb went, they followed. They were bought from humankind, first fruits of the harvest for God and the Lamb. Not a false word in their mouths. A perfect offering."

Purchased by God from this earth. Bold enough to live without compromise for the God I love. Pure before my Savior. Wherever He goes, I will follow. He alone is my God. Truth seeker, Truth speaker, Truth walker. This is my offering before my God.
Say That Again, Jesus, You will stand on Mount Zion and it will take my breath away!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Beginning and the End

The first part of my week was pretty exhausting, so by the time last night rolled around I went to bed before my ten year old. This morning when I woke up, I prayed to God for a slower day. He has been whispering for me to be still in my mind and to wait upon Him, yet the days are filled with a rush of getting my children ready for school, and getting my houses ready for people to see, and packing things into boxes, and just the maintenance of everyday stuff. My conversations with God are constant, and I like that He has continually come back to me with the reminder to remain still in Him and to just wait. He reminded me this morning that He has always been with me from the very beginning, even though I have not always believed that, and He will continue to be with me til the end. He led me back to Revelation again chapter 1.

" Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. 
John to the seven churches that are in Asia; Grace to you  and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood and He has made us to be a kingdom , priests to His God and Father-to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen Behold He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.
'I am the Alpha and the Omega,  Says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'"

I loved reading these verses this morning.  God makes it very clear that He always has been and always will be! He is The One, The Everything, The Beginning, The Middle, The End, He is my Existence, He is The I Am, He is my I Am, my Moment, my Revelation, my Beginning, my Was, my Now, my End. I am nothing without Him.
He loves me, right now. "To Him who loves us." He is active in my life, pursuing me, loving me, wrapping me in His arms, watching me, protecting me, making plans for me. He is the Lover of my Soul! He has "released me from my sins" God of my past. Taken all of my sins and thrown them far away, washed and cleansed me, released me from the chains, and covered me in His blood. He has renewed me and restored me to be a holy people, a priest, holy for Him. It really is amazing.
He is mighty to be praised, then, now, and forever!  Look at all that He has done, all that He is doing, and all that He will do. He loves me and you, He has freed me and you, and we are a holy nation being sent out to proclaim the good news!  He continues to heal the wounds that bind, and speak through the voices that surrender to His will.
Jesus, I am here. I know You were there for me then, You are here for me now, and I surrender my future to You. You say that You love me, You say that I am free, You say I am holy, Say That Again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Surprise Visit

This morning we were finishing breakfast, when the front door opened and we heard a voice say "are you ready for us?"  I gave my husband a surprised look, as we peeked around the corner to the front door and saw our real estate agent looking through our door! It was 8:00 in the morning, and, um, no, I was not ready! We were expecting him and the 20 other agents that were tagging along with him to come at 6 pm, not 8 am!! My husband quickly made his way to the front door, as I made a quick escape upstairs to whisk away any dirty clothes that might me laying around on the bedroom floor. My husband told him that we were expecting him that evening, not in the morning, but he said that they always come in the morning. So, he waited outside for a couple minutes while we did a couple quick touch ups, and then we let them all in.  They all commented on how nice our house smelled, we had just had pancakes so that was a bonus.  The guys liked the basket ball hoop in the foyer, and one guy wanted to have a conversation about how the church these days does not hold people accountable, he read the verse on my wall, the master bedroom was a hit, as well as several other things. But, the big question is, will it sell?
We were caught by surprise and it reminded me of the verse in Revelation 3:3

"So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you."

God has blessed me with His Word, I have heard it. His children have heard it. I have ample opportunity to receive His Word, keep it in my heart, and repent of anything I need to repent of.  If I do not make this choice, the choice to let truth penetrate my heart, and be revealed, then I will not be awake, and He will come like a thief and I will be surprised and unprepared.
In verse 5 it says this:

"He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before the Father and before His angels."

To overcome is to receive His Word, keep it, and repent. To overcome is to be awake and know that He is coming!
Say That Again, Father, You will clothe me in white garments and write my name in the book of life, You will hear my name! Say That Again, Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Word of God

I spent most of my day working at our ministry house yesterday. I disassembled my office.  For me it was a sad time, because I have always loved being in my office; it's been one of my favorite places. It's been a retreat room for me, a place I would go to pray and take a break when needed. My favorite things were in my office, and pictures of my children. My favorite chair. The old yellow couch that reminds me of my grandmother. Special things, and special memories.
I made my office into a bedroom, so the house would show better.  We had an old bed frame in the garage and box spring, so when my husband came later we carried it to my office and set it up. I threw a blanket on it and tossed on some pillows. I also thanked God that I don't have to sleep on it.
I worked the rest of the afternoon in another part of the house, and packed more boxes. By the time I had one room packed I knew that I would need a moving party to get me and my family out of our home and the ministry house! God has brought me to a place of less anxiety and grief, as He walks me through the changes in our life. I don't know where we are going, or what it is going to look like, but I do know my final destination. I do know He is with me, and He has promised to never leave me. I do know that He has called me for adventure and for His Kingdom here on earth, so I will go.
In Revelation this morning I was so moved when I read of the coming of my Jesus:

"Then I saw Heaven open wide-and oh! a white horse and it's Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head  many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that's known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as 'Word of God'.
The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS."

In my little world, I'm moving out of two houses and raising children, and figuring out life. But, it's really not about my little world, it's about His Kingdom.  My office is insignificant, as well as moving, and all the gazillion boxes, if this means that He will use me in some way to further His Kingdom!  He is the Word of God, which resides in me. Wow, the day I see Him coming on that white horse, is going to be one move I will be pretty happy about!
King of Kings, Say That Again, You are the Word of God and You are  coming again. You reside within me and moving to Heaven is going to be my best move!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Lamb

It has been on my heart to read the book of Revelation again, so I've been pouring over the pages. I love the way it starts out: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants....who testifies to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ."  And, a few sentences down, " Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things which are written in it."
The book or Revelation was given to John, he was willing to be challenged and willing to receive a revelation from God! And, when he did it was treated almost immediately as scripture.
In church yesterday, one of the ladies started talking about Revelation 4:8,

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, The Almighty, who was and Who is and Who is to come."

She commented on how noisy heaven must be with all the bowing, talking ,singing, and casting off of crowns! And, it brought a smile to my face.

Revelation is full of turmoil and tribulation, warnings! The verse I rested on this morning was this:

"For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their Shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the 'water of life' and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." chapter 7:17

Say That Again, Lamb of God, You will Shepherd me and guide me to springs of life. You will wipe all my tears away!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Conqueror

In my experience of raising boys, they want to conquer something all the time. My ten year old son is constantly in battle, he conquers his breakfast, his sister, the furniture, the stairs, etc...He doesn't just casually do something, he turns everything into a wrestling match, sword fight, or boxing tournament. He's out to conquer his world!
This morning I started reading in Revelation 2, and I was met with this:

"Don't quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing.  I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you..... Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death"  (Message)

"To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it." (NASB)

"Here's the reward I have for every conqueror, everyone who keeps at it, refusing to give up: You'll rule the nations, your Shepherd-King rule as firm as an iron staff, their resistance fragile as clay pots. This was the gift my Father gave me; I pass it along to you-and with it, the Morning Star!" (Message)

Do not give up! Keep going, there is a Life-Crown waiting, I want my crown, and I want some hidden manna along with a new name! But, even more than that, to know that I am safe from devil death, safe with Jesus, because I am a Christ conqueror, His power working through me to overcome all things, this is what I want! Christ in me. The fire He brings, the passion, the life, all of this is how I continue to overcome and persevere. To conquer. This is Christ bringing life to His Kingdom here on this earth, through His saints, His chosen children.
Jesus, Say That Again, You have promised me a Life-Crown, manna, a new name, great rewards, and safety from devil death. Jesus, Say That Again! Through You, Your children will conquer!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Word

Last night I realized that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and there was no way that I was going to be able  to get to the right place at the right time. I had made a major mistake on my schedule, and left someone sitting alone in a coffee shop waiting for me. It felt pretty bad. Once I realized which day I was actually living in, some days seem to run together and I haven't been keeping track very well, and noticed that even with a calendar, I am a scatter brain,  my abandon coffee shop friend and I rescheduled. But, still, it doesn't feel good on either end. 
This morning, when I got up, still not having slept the greatest in the night, I prayed right away for God to lead me in His Word. 1  Peter 1 popped into my head, and so I turned there in my bible. I have always loved to read in 1 Peter. Today as I read through chapter 1, He spoke to me just as I needed.  I love the way the chapter starts out in the Message:

Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!

God's calendar is perfect. He had his eye on my friend, and on me last night, I can know that everything good from God will be mine and hers!

The chapter continues with this promise:

Blessed be the God  and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the dead.

He has caused me to be born again to a living hope, I have everything to live for, including a future in heaven, that future starts right  now!  So, He is keeping careful watch over me, my future, and promising that I will have it all:

to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I have experienced that the things here on earth fade away. They come to an end. Relationships end. The stuff we gather in our lives end, even the homes we live in. For me, I have had many ends. But, I have also had beginning's, and God is promising me that the treasure in heaven will never fade away, and He is also promising me a protection by His power, I just need to have faith.
The chapter continues with many priceless words that helped me this morning. His Words. I like the way it wraps up in the end:

Your new birth comes from God's living word. Just think: a life conceived by God Himself! That's why the prophet said, 
The old life is a grass life
it's beauty as short lived as wild flowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God's Word goes on and on forever.
This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

His Word deeply rooted within my very soul, like fire that cleanses, like passion that moves. His Word gives me the hope I need to keep moving, keep speaking, keep thinking, keep being obedient to Him. His Word marks my life with His name, and through Him all things happen.
Jesus, Say That Again, continue to speak Your Word into my heart and soul. It does not fade, Your Word is forever!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Goodbye

My son and daughter in law have gone back to school, taking my grandson with them. I offered to make a trade of some sort with them, but there was no interest. I will miss them. I will miss my grandson, he has been a joy this summer. I liked the days that I was able to babysit him, and I look forward to more.
I hope to see all of them again soon, for I know he will grow fast and he will make a lot of changes. The first year of his life is exciting for all the people around him, because we get to watch him grow, and he grows well.
He reminds me a lot of his sweet mother, but most people are reminded of his amazing daddy. Either way, he's got it made.
It's pretty cool being a grandma. It's a blessing to see my very own son father his child and love his wife. I am looking forward to what the future holds in terms of more grandchildren :)
Say  That Again, Jesus, You have given me gifts, like grandchildren. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Box

I've been slowly working through my closet. I gave away a lot of my shoes, the ones I don't wear anymore. And, yesterday, I packed up a bunch more in this box. I snapped a picture, and realized later that my picture was sideways. Oh well.
I had one shoe without a mate and still have not found it. Don't know where it could have gone. Even shoes loose their partners.
My closet has always been full of treasure, and I found a few yesterday. Some good, some not so good. It's a big closet. I needed a big box for my shoes, the ones I didn't give away, and I'll need another one for the ones I left in the closet.
I'm thankful for the box.
And, today I'm thankful for shoes.
And, I'm thankful for walk in closets.
And, I'm praising God that He has gifted me with all of this. 
I have friends that have been bringing me lots of boxes for our stuff. The stuff for the house we live in and the stuff in our ministry house. It's been very thoughtful and kind. I'm thankful for them, and for their boxes.
This morning I asked God what I should read and He led me to Psalms 4. I love this chapter, especially starting at verse 3:

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;  The Lord hears when I call to Him. 
Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Offer sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord.

Again, God has the "be still" message ringing in my ears. And, saying again to me, to trust in Him. I like how He affirms that I am set apart for Him. Just as I have gone through my closet and set apart certain shoes, methodically choosing which pairs will be boxed up, He too sets me apart for Himself to be in relationship with Him.
God, my Lord and Savior, Say That Again, when I call to You, You will hear me. You have set me apart, and I will be still and trust in You.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Healing Power

I appreciated the Sarah Young devotional yesterday. It reminded me that God is the God that heals, and brings restoration to broken bodies, minds, relationships, hearts, and lives. I was reminded that it is through Him that there is immense healing power. Just by being connected to His Spirit, there is healing, and then when I come before Him and ask Him for what I need, there is much more.
I've been thinking about yesterday's devotional and the part that said this: "As you grow more and more intimate with Me, I reveal my will to you more directly."
It reminded me of Paul and the three times he went to God and asked Him to remove the thorn in his flesh. Each time the answer God gave him was no! God told him that His grace was enough to see him through. God did not heal him, or take away the thorn, but instead taught Paul to press more into Him and trust Him to meet his needs. The healing Paul received was a healing of the heart, a healing of trust.
In my own life, there are many areas that I bring before the Throne of God. I will often cry out to Him for healing. I ask, and sometimes I do receive, but often I feel as if I am not receiving the healing that I so long for. But, as I look at this and discuss this with God, I know that is not true. My prayers have been for Him to reveal truth to me to reveal His glory, through His revelations there has been much intimacy and growth with Jesus. Through His revelation of truth, I have learned that I must trust Him, and I must find a hedge of His people to wrap around me. Through His revelation of truth, He has prepared me to speak more openly, and to live with open hands on this earth.
Sometimes, because there is a thorn in the flesh, it is hard to see the healing. But, it is there, and there is more to come. But, it is God's way, in His timing. I have to trust in Him and know that He has begun a good work in me and He will complete it. He has a plan and a purpose, and as His Saint, His chosen child, I can boldly go before His Throne in my time of need and receive mercy and grace. He will touch me with immense healing power. Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, You have the healing power, and You continue to touch my life!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bigger Picture

It's hard for my husband and I to believe that we've been married 30 years and our family has grown to this! It started because the two of us fell in love, and now our sons are married and having children. Our two younger ones are growing quickly. Life is moving at a rapid pace. God knew when my husband and I met that there would be a much bigger picture, and He knows that there is still a bigger picture to come. 
I am not always able to see the bigger picture. Sometimes in my time of need, all I can do is get through today. The bigger picture is too much to think about. Yesterday in church, the pastor read Hebrews 4: 16, and it felt so good to me:

"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

The bigger picture for me is God. I can walk boldly to His throne of grace anytime, and receive His mercy and His grace, in my time of need! He will pour it out, like buckets of living water, into and onto my weary soul.  The days that feel like they are too big, the moments that seem overwhelming, the lies the enemy tells, the losses life throws my way, all of it I can bring before His throne to receive His mercy and grace. 
God does know what the bigger picture is for our family, He is the Path, and we are walking. We fell in love, He has blessed us with richness in each other and richness in Him. Oh, what mercy and grace He has for me! Say That Again, God my Savior, You have invited me before Your throne to receive Your grace and mercy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Family Day

Today has been a good day for our family. As I've mentioned many times, I feel very blessed to have my family, my husband, my sons, my daughter in laws, my daughter, and grandchildren.  They have all richly blessed my life. We spent the day together today, and it has been a lot of fun.
We met at the park this morning so my son could take our family picture. With all of us, dogs included, we had 17 in the picture. My son's profession is photography, still it is a challenge for him to photograph his own family and get in the picture himself!
We were running late, so while waiting for the slower members of the family, my two daughters and I took a detour to the coffee shop for iced coffee. Slow pokes can't put a damper on iced coffee!
Picture taking was a lot of fun and I'm eager to see the final result.
After pictures we took our tubes to the river for our annual river float. Every year, in August we tie our tubes together and float down the river for three hours. Its fun, its relaxing, sometimes it's crazy. This year, upon arrival, we discovered that the biggest tube had a really big leak. My husband and sons attempted to patch it, but no luck. So we doubled up, and headed down the river. We played, we talked, we swam. We ate our snacks.  It was fun to float, and be together.
Our evening ended with dinner to celebrate my daughter in laws birthday. She is deeply loved and we are excited be there and have dinner with her.
It's been a day of blessings and rewards. God has given this day to me and my family and I am thankful. He has reminded me once again that I have a family that loves me. Even, when some things do not go exactly as planned, when I am with the ones I love, I am blessed and have a nice time. It is good.
Jesus, Say That Again, You have blessed me, and You are good.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Devoted

This morning I was led to read Colossians 4 and in the 2nd verse it talks about prayer, again:

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving."

I looked up the word Devote, just so I was very clear on what that meant, and here's what I found out:

Devote: to give up or appropriate to or concentrate on a particular pursuit, occupation, purpose, cause, etc to devote ones time to..

So, in Colossians, I am learning again to be devoted to prayer, which means to concentrate, occupy myself with, devote my time to prayer. Purpose my life with prayer.  While I am praying, my attitude needs to remain alert with an attitude of thanksgiving.
I think that sometimes it is challenging to be alert with an attitude of thanksgiving when it feels like my circumstances are crumbling around me. I need the strength of Jesus to hold me up, and enable me to be  alert and to be strong. I cannot do it without Him. I am weak. I am tired. I need His grace and mercy to cover me.
Lord have mercy on me today as I devote myself to You in prayer. Pursue me with Your passion, reveal Your truth to me. Say That Again to me, Jesus, and I will pray.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Power of Prayer

I experienced a powerful prayer yesterday, the kind that made my bones tingle. I could feel the Spirit move deep within me, and I knew the Presence of God was there. I like to pray, because often I just know that God is there with me when I pray, sometimes more than others. Yesterday, was one of the more powerful times.
I looked in my bible to scan a quick review of prayer. I started by looking at the Armor of God again, and see that I am to take the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God) with all prayer and petition. I am to pray at ALL times in the Spirit! This is the kind of prayer that requires faith and trust, it's consistent and it's intense. It's a prayer full of strategy. It's the kind of prayer that heals, and changes my life.
In Ephesians 6:18 it says this:

"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints"

When I pray all the time for all things, change happens.
This verse also says to "be on alert" for me that is a prayer that is more intense. The kind of prayer where I am focused and alert on a particular subject or need. The enemy does not like it when God's people are alert in prayer, and there can be a lot of opposition, and so I have to remember to speak His truth from His Word during times like this.
And then, there's the strategic prayer. I will pray for the boldness of the Spirit, so by His power I can go into the world and without fear or shame declare the goodness of Jesus Christ. I will pray for boldness to speak His truth, His way, in His time with perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Today, Lord of the Universe I will pray. And today, I know you will speak to me again. Say That Again to me, Your power runs deep through prayer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Witness

Today as I was listening for Jesus, He brought a verse to mind, one that I was reminded of just yesterday. It is "Be still, and know that I am God." Be still and LISTEN to me is what He was saying to me today. Be still and hear the truth of who I am and who you are in me! Be still and know of the plan that I have laid out for you! Be still, and I will whisper to you. Be still, and know that I am God, so you can be my witness! In Isaiah 43: 10 I read this:

"You are My witnesses, declares the Lord, And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me."

As I thought about this more, and listened more throughout the day, Zephaniah 3:8 came to mind. This is what it says:

"Therefore wait for me, declares the Lord, for the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather the nations, to assemble kingdoms, to  pour out on them my indignation, all my burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of my zeal."

In this verse I heard him say He is the Witness of all things. In Him I must wait and trust, for He will bring everything together, Him, not me.
In the meantime, I am here to be used as His Witness, to further His Kingdom, to be a light on a hill, for Him.

The last verse that came to mind as I was fishing with my children was Revelation 12:11

"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."

The Word of their testimony! He continues to call me to speak, to witness, to testify for Him. All of His children are called to speak the Word of their testimony, to continue to Say That Again! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Big Shake Up

I asked my son to begin the process of cleaning his room out. I gave him some boxes so he could pack his stuff, and told him he needed to clean out all the treasures he stuffed under his bed. This was not an easy task for him, or for me. I worked hard to not interfere with my son's method, but there were a couple times that I questioned the things he chose to keep and the things he chose to throw away. My husband, took over the task later, and also questioned his choices. My son told him that he was holding on to all the special gifts that certain people had given him, those are the things that matter to him the most.
Working through all his treasures and getting them in boxes and making his room presentable for showing our house has been a big task.  We had to shake up his room, sift out the special gifts, throw out the stuff he wouldn't need or use, clean it all up, and rearrange the pieces.
God does the same thing with me. He shakes me up, discards the stuff not needed and keeps the gifts He has given me. I love the verse in Romans 11:29 where God promises this:

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

God has blessed me with many gifts, and with a calling on my life. He has promised that these gifts and this calling are irrevocable. His Spirit works through me to enable me to use my gifts and my calling according to the hope of my high calling. God will allow all that is unneeded to shake out of my life, so my heart is able to seek His Kingdom and further His kingdom more each day.
He will show through me, as His Spirit works.
My son did not enjoy the process of the room shake. It was a lot of work. But, each time he found a special gift that was hidden in all the stuff, he was excited. And, once the job was done, it felt really good. But, it was a grueling job. I know how he feels.
Say That Again, Lord Jesus. Your gifts and the calling you have given me are irrevocable. You have promised!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Last House Event

Yesterday we had The House Retreat at our ministry house. It was a very nice day. I was blessed by all the women that came, and very blessed, again, by my Team. God has surrounded me with lovely women, He has sheltered me and kept me and continually shows me that He loves me. It is through His people that He shelters me. He calls me into relationships, and it is through relationships that I learn to be more like Him!
We are selling our ministry house, but I believe God will show us new territory and lead our ministry to His hearts desire. It is my prayer that Our Team furthers His Kingdom, and I believe He will show us how to do that.
Say That Again, Jesus, You are my Shelter and You bring people into my life to Shelter me. Thank you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Granite Counter Top

We looked at a house yesterday in the country. It was a lovely house. My kids and my husband liked it. I liked it too. But, as I was walking through it,  I also noticed that it did not have granite counter tops in the kitchen! To add to the kitchen problem, it had an electric stove, which to me is kitchen torture. I didn't hesitate to point these faults out to God, and mention to Him that the kitchen I will be leaving is far better. He didn't hesitate to remind me that I am the one that prayed for my heart to be penetrated and my territory to be expanded! He went on to remind me of a verse in Psalms 62:7

My help and glory are in God-granite-strength and safe-harbor God--

Oh yeah, this is about God, not me! Why do I always forget that?  I can walk a journey and get caught up in the granite counter tops and the gas stove? yup, I sure can.  The funniest part about it all, I don't even cook that often! God wants my Granite and my Fire to be Him.  He continues to tell me that He is my Home, my Strength, my Safety, and He will light the path.  I continue to pray radical prayers, and He answers them.
Say That Again Granite God, You are my Safe Harbor, and You will travel with me and I will always be Home!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The New Sign

When I came home this afternoon, this is the sign that was in front of our house.  Of course I am not surprised, because I've known for a long time that this sign would come, but still, I did not want to see it. "Hope" realty, does not feel hopeful to me today.
On the optimistic side of things, today was a day of great progress for me in other areas.
Today, I ate a good sandwich.
Today, I laughed with my friends.
Today, I worked in the yard and it looks great.
Today, I heard God speak to me, and felt His embrace.
Today was a day of progress. Progress is hope. Hope gives me faith. Faith brings trust.
Today, I believed that maybe I could try again and it would be okay. Hope. It was a sign of things to come.
Say That Again, Jesus. You give good signs all the time, signs of hope.  I am watching.

The Embrace

It has been a long week for me, a stressful one. As I reflect on the stories of Jacob and Joseph in my bible, I think I have been more of a Jacob than a Joseph. When I woke this morning, after a restless night, the words God gently spoke to me were: "Let me embrace you." As I walk through the days ahead, I am invited into His arms.
We have a women's retreat this Saturday at our ministry house, the preparation for this has taken a lot of think time.
We have two houses to move out of within the next month and a half, our own home and our ministry house. This has taken a lot of prayer and adjustment.
We have life going on, and God wants to embrace me?  In my mind's eye I can picture myself wrapped in His arms, woven into His being. I feel safe there. In His embrace, I am Home. In His embrace, I am prepared. In His embrace, He brings His ministry to His people.
I received a text this week from a friend that simply said this: "Lord have mercy." Ah, mercy! kindness and compassion, Lord have mercy and embrace me.  I thought about her text a lot through out my day yesterday, asking The Lord for His mercy often, and praying for mercy upon others.
Jesus, my Lord and Savior, Say That Again to me. Embrace me, Your mercy fully woven through out my being, wrapped totally in You.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Temptation

Jacob's son, Joseph was thrown in a pit, then sold, then hauled off to Egypt. Clearly his brothers did not look upon him fondly, they told Jacob that big fat lie about his death, and then Jacob basically grieved for years.
Joseph, even though he was sold as a slave, was blessed by God. Genesis 39 says this: "The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man."
It's not that he didn't encounter any problems. He was a handsome dude, chapter 39 also says this: "Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance." His master's wife noticed this and looked upon him with desire. She very much wanted Joseph to be with her, but Joseph refused. Then one day he went to the house to work and  she was there, she caught his garment saying to him "Lie with me"  He left his garment in her hand and fled! She called for help accusing him of wrong doing. When his master heard of it, Joseph did not even defend himself! So, he was taken off to jail.
But, The Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor even in the jail!
My favorite part in this story, is how Joseph ran. He was tempted by a beautiful women, but he did not sin. He did what we are all suppose to do when faced with temptation--FLEE!
God provided a way of escape, and he took it, without hesitation. He didn't even stop long enough to grab his clothes, he just ran.
I am bombarded with temptation all the time. For me the temptation is to quit, or to run, or hide. I'm tempted to isolate forever, complain longer, or maybe just be hopeless!  I'm tempted to not persevere, to curl up in a ball with a blanket and a book and pretend life is different. I can flee from those temptations, I can pray, and resist. God will rescue me. He has promised to never leave me or forsake me, and to overflow me with His Presence.
Jesus, I will see Your Goodness, hear Your Goodness, and speak Your Goodness all the days of my life, and flee temptation. You will rescue me when I call. Say That Again, Jesus, You will rescue from temptation!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Family Line

So one of Jacob's son's, Judah, went off to the land of Canaan and found himself a wife. Her name was Shua. She had three sons, and they named the three son's Er, Onan, and Shelah. The sons grew up, Judah found them wives. For Er, he found a women named Tamar. But, sadly, Er was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord took his life--er, what now?
So, Tamar, was left without a husband, Judah came in on the scene to his son Onan and told him to go  be with Tamar. Onan, wasn't overly excited about the idea, so he avoided creating offspring, which in turn was displeasing to God. Consequently, Onan's life was taken as well.
Judah, told Tamar to wait around for Shelah to grow up, then she could marry him. But, he didn't follow through with his word, Judah was afraid that Shelah would die too. So Tamar ended up taking off her widow's clothes and sitting at the city gate. She had a veil over her face. When Judah saw her, he invited her to come be with him, not knowing who she was.
As it turned it, she conceived. She became pregnant with twins from her father in-law. When Judah discovered later the in's and out's of all that had happened, he confessed and did not have relations with her again.
During childbirth, one of the babies put his hand out and the midwife tied a red thread around his wrist, saying: "This one came out first." But then he pulled it back and his brother came out first. She said "Oh! A breakout!" So she named him Perez, meaning breakout. Then his brother came out with a red thread  on his wrist. They named him Zerah, meaning, bright.
Perez is an ancestor of Jesus! God took this ungodly situation and put him in the family line of the Messiah, despite the fact that neither Judah or Tamar were Godly examples.
Jesus, I love how you have chosen me and put me in Your family line! I may not always be the best example, but I'm Your family. Say That Again, I'm in Your family line!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Favorite Son

Jacob hasn't seemed to settle down too much yet, and I'm in Chapter 37 of Genesis. His son, the oldest of Rachel's two, which is Joseph, is clearly his favorite.  In fact, he loves Joseph so much that he decides to make him a varicolored coat. This type of coat signified favor and meant that Joseph would receive the birthright. All of his brothers saw that their father loved him more, and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms! That sounds like a stressful family environment, don't you think? I know when my son and daughter are bickering with each other, it creates a much longer day.
Matters were not helped at all when Joseph had a  couple dreams that strongly indicated that he would rule over his family. It caused some anger and more jealousy with the brothers. So much so, that when he went out to check on his brothers as they were tending the sheep, they pitched him into a pit. Then, later when a caravan of Ishmaelites came along they sold him!
When the brothers went back home to their father, they had Joseph's varicolored coat, which they had stained with the blood of a male goat, and they told Jacob, their father that Joseph had been devoured by a wild animal. Hmm? See the family pattern? Like father, like sons?  Just a little scheming going on, some betrayal, and deceit.
Jacob was beside himself with grief. His favorite son, devoured by a wild animal. Dead. He tore his clothes and mourned for many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. All he could do was weep.
I look at this story and marvel at God's grace. These are the ten sons of Israel that threw Joseph in the pit, sold him, then came up with an elaborate story about his death. Yet, still God used them to build  a nation, His Beloved people. God was able to fulfill His purpose and His plan even though the enemy of their soul was continually attacking them! God made promises, He was steadfast, faithful and true, the entire time.
I can apply so much of Jacob's story, the story of his sons, to me and my journey with God. I've read it all hundreds of times, but this time, God is pointing out new things, and I like that. It feels a little more personal.
Say That Again God of Jacob, You are on this journey with me, and You will remain steadfast, faithful, and true, the entire time!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Helmet of Salvation

This morning I read about the Helmet of Salvation. It's part of the crucial armor that God tells us to put on. The last piece of armor a Roman soldier would put on was his helmet. It was made of bronze and leather, and clearly, it protected his head. If he was hit in the head, he was out---probably for good!
The Helmet of Salvation is my protection from the battle in my mind, it gives me the ability to reason logically and wisely from a biblical worldview, no matter what the enemy throws at me. This is something God does for me, I can't do it.  When I wear the Helmet of Salvation, I'm making the choice between eternal truth and fatal error, life and death. By wearing the Helmet, I am keeping God's truth, His very Word, within my mind, so that I am able to fight off the lies of Satan! As long as I have the Helmet of Salvation, my mind will be filled with the foundational knowledge of my secure eternity. I will understand who I am, and walk in my authority as God's child. I will understand that all His promises are YES.
A lot can happen in life, I've discovered that. We win some, we loose some. We die. And, then we wake up to God's glory! So, as I'm walking along winning and loosing, I want to have my armor on. I want to know His truth and have it secure within my mind, so that when the enemy of my soul comes at me in full attack, and he does come, I will be ready. The truth sets me free. The enemy attacks with lies, but I have on my Helmet and with that Helmet my mind is filled with the foundational knowledge of His Word. The enemy attacks, but I have on my Helmet, and I know I have the authority to put up my defense of truth, and stand firm in freedom. I am God's child, and I will speak His Word!
Say That Again, Jesus, You have given me armor. You are my protection, my safeguard, my Hedge, my Firewall. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Messed Up Family

I'm still reading about Jacob. At the end of Genesis 35, I've learned that Jacob's daughter was raped and Jacob ignored the issue in chapter 34. His sons, being completely outraged, murdered an entire town to rescue her. Then, in chapter 35, God told Jacob to move and He gave Jacob a new name. He named him Israel! Also, in this chapter, he lost his beloved wife, Rachel after she gave birth to her second son.  His father also died. And, I am told he had twelve sons!
At the bottom of this chapter, the last time I read through Genesis, I wrote this:
"It's a pretty messed up family! But, God uses this family, not because they are such great candidates, but because He has chosen  them by His grace alone."
I also noticed that God told Jacob to go to Bethel, and live there. Jacob did go to Bethel, but he didn't stay there or live there, he left!  What a guy. I'm fascinated with the way God pursued Jacob, and built a nation, yes, an entire nation upon this man! ISRAEL.  This is the promise God gave to Jacob:

"But Israel shall be your name.
I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you.
The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, And I will give the land to your descendants after you."

God speaks this wonderful promise to Jacob and then Jacob trotted off and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder, not Bethel. Still, God used him.
I like that God keeps pointing me to the story of Jacob. It brings a smile to my face every time, and laughter. I need to laugh. And, I'm so amazed at God's grace and patience. I can see myself doing the very same things that Jacob did, so I'm encouraged by his story. I want God to use me, to pursue me, to continue to speak to me. And, He is, because He has chosen me.
Say That Again, Father, You have chosen me, because You are a God of amazing grace!

The Palms of His Hands

In the devotional read to me yesterday I was reminded again that I am engraved in the palms of God's Hands. As I was thinking about that this morning, I wondered if that means God has tattoo's on His Hands? My name, tattooed on His Hand?  I like this picture. It brings to life, even more the vision of being captured in His Hands, which is exactly where I want to be all the time.
There's a lot of circumstances, a lot of feelings, a lot of unknowns right now for me and my family, but God is always reminding me that I am still captured In His Hands during all of it. It doesn't feel good, sometimes I am afraid, lonely, tired, frustrated, angry, perplexed, but other times I am happy and reassured again that He is the One with the plan and still in charge of this journey.  I'm the one that asked for the adventure, and the one that asked to be used for Him, so as I remain captured in His Hands, the Hands that are tattooed with my name, I will rejoice today for the gifts He gives.
Say That Again, Jesus, Your Hands capture me, and say my name, how cool is that?