• January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    prayThen Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  (Luke 18:1)

    Strolling through the scriptures this week I discovered some nifty things about prayer.  Some nifty things that encourage me to be more faithful, more diligent and more persistent in my pursuit of a deeper prayer life.

    Persistence in prayer must mean… praying all the way through…until the answers comes.  Not stopping.                                                                        No matter what.

    1. God expects us to pray persistently for ourselves. 
     As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this? ‘Yes, Lord,’ they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you’; and their sight was restored. (Mat 9:27–30)

    Picture it…2 blind guys following JESUS.  Stumbling through the streets, crying out to the LORD.  And they didn’t stop.  They didn’t give up.  They didn’t turn back.  These guys followed JESUS all the way to HIS destination…and when JESUS went indoors they caught up to HIM, they came to HIM…and they asked again.  They persisted in prayer till they received their sight.

    2. God desires us to pray persistently for our kids
    Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.’ Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she said, ‘but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Mat 15:21–28)

    A desperate mother, having heard of this JESUS, and knowing that HE is in the area, pursues HIM…with a specific request…healing for her daughter.  JESUS at first does not even answer her!  HIS disciples then try to rid themselves of her!  JESUS next states that HE won’t be helping her since she is not Jewish! Finally, as she is begging for help for her child…JESUS basically calls her nothing more than a dog! But this mama doesn’t stop…she doesn’t relent…she doesn’t give up her determined request. This desperate lady persisted in prayer till her daughter was healed.

    3. GOD wants us to pray persistently for our friends.
    Then he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” ‘Then the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.’ (Luke 11:5–8)

    I like this friend.  I’d like to be this friend.  This friend sees the need of his buddy and he wants to meet it. But he knows he can’t…so he persists in prayer. He asks and keeps asking.  He is bold in his request.  He is specific in his request.  And he doesn’t quit till he gets what he’s asking for.  This guy persisted in prayer until his friend was provided for.

    I guess JESUS meant it when HE said…
    So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.’ (Luke 11:9–10)

    And I guess continuing to ask for ourselves,
    persistence in seeking for our kids,
    and knock, knock, knocking for our friends

    is a good way to pray in 2015.

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    8311888133_120026fdd5_m

            Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in         Christ Jesus……Thessalonians 5:17

    I tend to marvel at the simple things.

    The beauty of a family 4-square game in the middle of my country road.

    The glow of my dusk to dawn light, that captures the falling snow and makes it glimmer, at
    2 AM.

    The grand-girl that cuddles on my lap, resting her head against mine, while reading a bedtime story.

    Simple.  Precious.  Marvelous treasures.  Things I love and live for.

    Yet the biggest marvel of them all is when I look into the WORD of GOD…and find the truths tucked inside…. that GOD designed for me to find…and wonder at the simplicity of the GOSPEL…and the uncomplicated steps of obedience.  I absolutely marvel.

    I wonder at the man with the withered hand…and marvel that JESUS told that man “Hold out your hand.” to receive his healing.  Simple obedience.

    I ponder the blind fellow whom JESUS told “Wash your eyes in the pool.” to receive his healing.  Easy obedience.

    I smile at Commander Naaman, the leper, as he was told to “Dip in the dirty river of Jordan 7xs.”  to receive his healing.  Everyday obedience.

    I read each day about real life people…doing real life things…in their real life towns…in their real life times.  Simply.

    “Walk around Jericho 7 times.”
    “Break those clay pots.”
    “Hold up your rod.”
    “Tie this scarlet thread to your window.”
    “Come upon them from the back of the mountain.”
    “Put your nets down on this side of your boat.”

    Do-able obedience.

    Acting on the WORD of GOD… when it comes to us… is what will give us our everyday breakthrough.

    If the man with the withered hand refused to reach out his hand.  His hand would have remained withered.

    If the blind fellow declined to rinse his eyes.  He would have never seen.

    Naaman almost stayed a leper after becoming angry that such a simple request was made of him…just dump in the Jordan?  Way too easy.

    Now my life isn’t being recorded in the pages of the BIBLE.  But it is on display for all to see.  And I am keenly aware that I have daily choices to make.  Choices that will show me obedient or disobedient to the reveled will of GOD.  Choices that may determine my future and will forge a path for others to follow.

    So even on a bad day.  A flu day.  An I-cant-take-this anymore day.  A my-baby-is-sick-and-I-cant-change-it day.  A how-am-I-gonna-pay-that-bill day.  An I’m-sinking day.  I have a choice to make to honor GOD and respond to HIS WORDs to  me.

    Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in         Christ Jesus……

    The marvel of it all….the simplest of things…written in the WORD…for me to do today…in my here and now…in my time and space…in my situations…

    GOD made sure HE gave me something I could do…something that would seal me in HIS will today.

    Marvel.

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    dbushThe Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…Exodus 3:7-8

    On days like today its good to remember…to stop and recall…in the midst of it all…some real, solid truths… that don’t change with time or circumstance.

    By the grace of GOD, I am able to pull from 2 old testament verses and apply them to my single-tired-worn-out-mama-life today.  Just like my GOD planned for me to do.  Amazing.

    Years ago the LORD spoke these words to HIS servant  Moses.  They are no less true for GOD’s servants today.  Timeless truths.  Ageless reality.

    I have surely seen the affliction of My people….God sees.

     I have given heed to their cry …..God hears.

     I am aware of their sufferings…God knows.

    I have come down to deliver them…And HE has a plan.

    Just what I need to remember.

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    dowbaby

    It’s Christmas morning.  Early, early. I lay on the floor of an upstairs bedroom. Burning with fever and in pain from a very sore throat, yet I chuckle at how I must look wrapped in a big, worn, fuzzy, white robe.
    “I look like a sheep,” I guffaw to myself, “A big, old sheep.”
    “Well, that’s not so bad girl,” I answer myself, “You are a sheep, a sheep of His pasture.”

    I quietly begin to reflect on a familiar “sheep verse” Psalm 23…THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT.  In my mind’s eye, I picture sheep in a pasture being led by their good Shepherd. And I see me, walking alongside, in my sheep robe.

    After a few moments of pondering sheep, I glance up to the bed to check on my beautiful daughter Bekah.  My Bekah.  She seems okay for the moment.
    My shoulders relax a little. I smile at the sight of Bekah’s little sister curled up at her feet on the bed.  Sick with worry herself, my youngest Lissah, lays beside her beloved sissy on the soft mattress and sleeps.  Knowing that I couldn’t be far away, I had retired to the floor… in my sheep robe.

    Now fully awake on the cool bedroom floor I turn my inward thoughts of worry and pain to outward thoughts of sheep and shepherds. I begin to consider the shepherds more fully.  I envision those faithful shepherds tending their ordinary sheep…doing their ordinary job…in their ordinary way…with no extra help…way out in the field…sleeping on the ground…keeping a watchful eye on their sheep…and no one to make them tea when they have a sore throat.
    Yeah, I think about those shepherds on that ordinary night.
    The night a baby changed everything.

    I imagine those shepherds after an another uneventful evening, gathering by the fire to warm themselves. They periodically squint into the darkness to eyeball their sleeping sheep. These men often cease their lively chatter and quietly tip their ear to the surrounding hills listening intently for sounds of approaching danger. Satisfied that all is well, they resume their nightly routine around the brightly burning fire.
    The night a baby changed everything.

    After deciding who will take the first watch of the night, the shepherds begin to lay their bodies on the cold hard ground. A few of them pull a rock close to rest their heads upon. All is still. All is quiet.
    The night a baby changed everything.

    The sleepy men lean back and look upward with tired eyes upon the star filled sky. They have seen this sky hundreds of times before. The familiar starry hosts are the shephards welcomed night lights. They cast a beautiful glow upon the pastures and sleeping flocks. Seems to the shepherds another normal evening. The night a baby changes everything.

    “That night shepherds were staying in the fields, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
    Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God…
    When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
    They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger…The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”
    The night a baby changed everything.

    Merry Christmas

     

     

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    in_jesus_arms For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, His wisdom, and His goodness]..Colossians 1:4

    I have a daughter who suffers greatly…every single day.  Without exception.

    She is brave in the face of this constant suffering.  Very brave.  And courageous.  But its long and its hard and its scary.

    When a mama stands by and watches her child suffer, she feels so helpless.  Cause everything in that mama wants to fix it…and heal it…and take it all away…somehow.

    So whats a mama to do when boo-boos turn into tumors…and scrapes turn into seizures?  And kisses and band-aids don’t take the pain away anymore?

    Well, she works through her own suffering, inflamed by helplessness…when hopelessness sets in.

    Then she turns and she leans…and she leans hard…on HIM.

    And as she leans, she trusts…not in part of HIM but the whole, because part won’t be enough to hold her up…not this time.

    She trusts in HIS power.  HIS power to heal.  She knows with one glance HE could heal her daughter.
    Yes, HE could.

    She trusts in HIS goodness.  HIS goodness that HE hears the middle-of-the-night prayers of this tired, worn-out mama.  In HIS goodness…HE does hear.

    She trusts in HIS wisdom.  HIS wisdom that has withheld the healing…at least for now…because Wisdom sees further…and Wisdom runs deeper…and Wisdom knows better…than she ever could.

    And by the grace of GOD she doesn’t get stuck, wanting only HIS power…or loving only HIS goodness…but embracing also HIS wisdom

    And she leans hard into all three.

    She leans hard.

     

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    baby jesus 

    THE HOPES AND FEARS OF ALL MY YEARS….ARE MET IN THEE TONIGHT…

    I love Christmas Caroles….and holiday songs.  They are blasting all over the radio these days, and rightly so.

    So often I find myself singing along from memory…choruses etched in my brain from Christmases past. Humming along to the familiar tunes.

    Not so often do I stop to ponder the meaning of those beloved songs.  Or slow down enough to digest those words penned so long ago.

    Traveling home tonight, I quietly crooned along with O’ LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM….familiar, pretty, and festive.  The pressures of my day were lost for a few minutes while I drove in solitude to the next checkpoint on my “to do” list.  It was just me…and quiet…with a song.

    My mind was not geared towards thinking.  It was on automatic. Automatic driving.  Automatic stopping. Automatic singing.  When a verse from that Christmas Carole wafting from the radio took me by surprise. That one verse wrapped around me like a warm comforter on a cold winters night…and it held me tight.

    I smile and snuggled into that verse and let it hold me.  I changed one little word and made it my own.
    My own personal little Christmas Song that  I would allow to  encircle me through out  this holiday season.

    THE HOPES AND FEARS OF ALL  MY YEARS…ARE MET IN THEE TONIGHT…

    What a tremendous, wonderful, blessed thought…
    Every one of my hopes…meet JESUS!
    Every one of my fears…meet JESUS!
    Every hope and fear of all my years…let me introduce you to JESUS!
    HE’D like to meet you tonight.

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    mary

    “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
    Luke 2:19

    I ponder a lot of things in my heart.  A lot. Usually, mostly worried thoughts and anxious attitudes.  Usually.

    I believe us girls have a way of carrying our concerns close to our hearts especially when it comes to our kiddos. I think we are wired like that. We carried those babies in our bodies for nine months, but we will carry those kids in our hearts forever.

    Like every mama, Mary carried her baby in her body for the duration of the pregnancy and then carried her Son, in her heart.  But beautiful Mary, the mama of Jesus, did a cool thing.  A real cool thing.  A thing I often forget to do. It’s something I want to learn to do better and more often. Mama Mary was mindful to gather the amazing, wonderful about her kid.  She took the time to collect the mysteries and possibilities about her kid.  Mary purposefully would grab hold of and pull together all the excellent potential about her kid.  And she would hide those things in her heart like a stockpile of hidden treasure. Then this Mary would pull that cherished accumulation of good stuff out frequently, and she would look it over and over. She would meditate on it.

    There were words spoken over Jesus life when He was a baby. These prophetic words were spoken directly into Mary’s ears. These were the words God knew she was going to have to remember as she mothered His child.  Mary was going to have to remember. Mary needed to hide those words away for later, for another time, another day when life would get hard.

    Now, I’m a mama of many children.  And none of them are Jesus.  Yet, I am determined to follow the example of Mary in mothering my babies.  I am intent on remembering the good stuff, the fun stuff, the creative stuff, the wonder stuff and the mark of potential of every one of my nine kids.

    I am more resolved than ever to pull out of my treasure box of memories the promises of scripture and the words from the LORD, spoken over my kids lives, directly into my ears.  I intend on pondering and musing over and meditating on the hidden treasure of my heart until it becomes the thoughts at the forefront of my mind. Just like Mary did.

    This year I’m going on a search for buried-under-worried treasure.  I am intentionally looking for some lost gold. I am going to dig through the treasures hidden in my heart till I see the glimmer and shine of bright jewels. And when I find it I’m going to meditate on it a lot. A lot. A lot. Just like Mary.

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    Open-BibleThe Old Testament is loaded with prophesies foretelling the coming of a SAVIOR.  Loaded.

    These prophesies give credence and credit-ability to the BIBLE.  If the prophesies did not come true GOD would not be real.  And the Scriptures would be invalid.

    Four (of the many) prophesies pertaining to the birth of the MESSIAH continue to amaze me as I re-read them this Christmas season……..

    According to the WORD the SAVIOR had to be:
    1. Offspring  of a virgin.  (Isaiah 7:14)
    2. Born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
    3. Called out of Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)
    4. A Nazarene. (Isaiah 11:1)

    How in GOD’S Green earth can 1 person fulfill all of that?

    1. Offspring of a virgin.  Uh?  Okay, this is a miracle.  Yep.  I don’t need my health classes to figure that one out.  But born of a virgin…that said “Yes, LORD.”…a virgin that believed GOD…a virgin that embraced the call…a virgin that held on and didn’t let go…all her life.  WOW.
    And Joseph, the husband that didn’t “divorce” Mary.  That didn’t shame her.  That didn’t have her killed. That chose to believe GOD and care for Mary and his step son.  Hmmm.
    Prophesy 1…fulfilled.

    2. Born in Bethlehem.  Ruler, Caesar Augustus, sees fit to order a census of all the inhabited world.  And ya gotta go.  Cause its law.  Back to your roots.  Back to your people.  Back to your  family’s town.  And be counted.  Mary, being betrothed to Joseph,  has to make the trip with her man.  And while in Bethlehem it came about that the days were completed for her to give birth.
    Prophesy 2…fulfilled.

    3. Called out of Egypt.  King Herod gets wind of the news…a new king has been born!  A promised king!  A ruler!  This infuriates King Herod.  No one is gonna take his place.  In an attempt to destroy the newborn king, Herod orders all the baby boys to be killed.
    Simultaneously, the LORD warns Joseph in a dream and Joseph rises in the night and takes the child and his mama to Egypt…away from the ruling powers of Herod.  There they live…until they are “called” out of Egypt, by GOD,  to return to Galilee.
    Prophesy 3…fulfilled.

    4. A Nazarene. When the LORD told Joseph that King Herod was dead and it was safe to return to his country, Joseph loaded up his young family and headed to the regions of Galilee and came and resided in a city called Nazareth. All through the New Testament JESUS is referred to as JESUS of Nazareth.
    Prophesy 4…fulfilled.

    For unto us a child is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder: and HIS name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace….Isaiah 9:6

    Just exactly as the BIBLE said a few thousand years ago.

    GOD’s gift to man…born of a virgin, in the little town of Bethlehem.  Called out of Egypt, to be a Nazarene.

    All wrapped up in a bundle in the manger, strategically, deliberately, mercifully.  GOD came to man.

  • January 14, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    office-death-dragging-legLife has a way of bursting in on me and upsetting me.  It just does.  And today was one of those days.

    Don’t talk to me today about fair, and just and righteous and “agreed upon”….cause that just ain’t happening.  Not today.

    Today life brought unfair, unjust, unrighteous and “broken pact”…yep, brought it right up to my doorstep.  And pushed through my front door.  Didn’t even bother to knock.

    I could feel it…i could taste it…i could smell it….UNFAIR, UNFAIR, UNFAIR!

    “You want me to do what???  And why???  When your doing this and that!!!  and NOT doing these and those!”

    ummmmm…NO! Absolutely, Positively, NO!

    I ushered Mr. UNFAIR to the door and kicked him out.  See Ya.

    I turned to head back into the kitchen when i heard that still small voice rise up from inside of me….and it was part of a scripture….and i stopped….”Really LORD?  Really….”

    Making my way quickly to my computer to pull up the whole verse, i passed a kid in his room and spurted, ” I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna like this!”

    Google, Google, Googled this……..Luke 6:28

    27“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

    32“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

    35“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

    As i read these verse I began to tilt my head slowly to the right….my shoulders arched up towards my chin…my lips pursed tightly…every muscle tensed…and I think I may have thrown up in my mouth.

    I couldn’t deny the truth of the words of Scripture staring me down from the glow of the computer.
    I also couldn’t deny my flesh’s response to those truths.
    I guess that’s what happens to the human heart when a sword pierces it.

    Hebrews 4:12…..
    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    My obedience was quick.  Cause I know me.  Give me a little time.  Just a couple of minutes and i can cook up a rebuttal to those verse…and justify why I am an exception, in this case!

    My obedience may have been quick, but it wasn’t pretty.  Getting there was ugly.  One day i look forward to quick AND pretty obedience.  I’m certain GOD can work that out in me.  But today I’ll settle for quick obedience.  And i won’t think twice and I won’t look back.

    Cause today when life burst through my door…by the grace of GOD, according to HIS WORD, through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT…..I did the fair thing,  the just thing,  the righteous thing,  the “agreed upon” thing…just like I should.  Cause i belong to JESUS.