29 June 2013

What God calls a "great musician".

Scripture: Amos 6:5

"You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David."

Observation: In surrounding verses, the Lord God condemns the people for their shallow and flesh-pleasing lives.  But this one stood out to me the most: He dismisses their music, not on grounds of lack of skill or beauty, but because, unlike David, they do not worship.

Application: I have always loved music.  I have memorized and sung for as long as I can remember.  I've learned to play various instruments (only one very well), and have always found incredible joy and peace in music . . . singing hymns at the piano was what got me through the intensity of adolescence.  And I find it so telling that this musical hypocrisy is specifically called out as the Lord decrees judgements against the wealthy and powerful of Israel.  The Israelites are in trouble because they cheapen the glory of music and serve themselves with it. They say they are "great musicians" like one of the most faithful followers of God, when in reality they are selfish, foolish, shallow, and wicked.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite verses, Doctrine and Covenants 25:12.

For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

Nowhere, but nowhere, in that verse is talent mentioned.  The only qualification for blessings to be poured out from heaven upon the heads of those singing to the Lord is righteousness.  I don't care if you can't carry a tune in a bucket--and neither does the Lord!

Prayer: Lord God of Israel, reach out to those with music in their souls, so they will find You, no matter where they are, or what their lives might look like right now.  Let them turn their musical passion towards You, and send the Holy Spirit in power into the hearts of those who hear them. My life has been so blessed--and sometimes saved--through music.  Please, reach out in power to those who have this gift, and bless them to turn it to Your name's glory. And let me use whatever gift I might have in serving You wherever I might be! In Jesus' name, so be it.  Amen.

28 June 2013

Not yet, Lord. Not yet . . .

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:8

[As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor's] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day--and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

Observation: Joy, a wonderful, amazing, beautiful and beyond description joy and love will, at the Second Coming, flood those who love and yearn for and live after the manner of Christ.

He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor. (Prov 21:21 AMP)

Application: I really do long to physically be in Christ's presence, and for Him to return to the earth and set all to rights. But at the same time, my heart aches so much for those that don't have an assurance of the remission of their sins, and I don't want Christ to come quite yet. There is so much yet to do, so many yet to reach.

Prayer: Father, let me find all those I am sent to find in this life, and to embrace them in the arms of Christ's love.  Fill me with that love to overflowing, so everyone I touch, everyone I speak to, everyone I look in the eye, everyone who even sets eyes on me, will FEEL Your love, and never be the same again.  I don't want to do any of Your work under my own power or influence--I want to simply be Yours.  Make me Your instrument, so the gentle tendrils of unspeakable divine love may reach out and twine around people's hearts, drawing them inexplicably back to You.  Please.  Let the souls of Your children feel You, and even if they don't understand what is happening, awaken their souls to Christ. In Jesus' name, so be it! Amen.

27 June 2013

He's all Yours, God.

Tonight I finally discovered who has been spreading far and wide in my ward the assertions that I'm agitating for women to hold the priesthood, and headed into apostasy.  (Which is so far from the truth!)  I'm so relieved to finally know who it is, and at first I wanted to approach him, and in two sentences tell him the truth and formally assign him to repair the damage he has done to my name and our ward.  But more than anything, I just want it to stop. I want the spreading of cancerous judgement amongst the members of body of Christ to end.  I want this brother to begin to have an understanding of the pain and damage he wreaks as he, of his own wisdom and understanding, fights pitched battles against imagined foes, leaving swaths of collateral damage along the way.

And then I read the third chapter of Paul's second epistle to Timothy.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 8-14 NLT

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.  But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.  You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it.  Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

Observation: I live in difficult times, filled with people that will work against God's will and purposes; and plenty of them will be within my own church family.  And even then, what I'm dealing with right now is peanuts to what Paul and Timothy endured.

Application: I need to hold to what I know to be true. Those who agitate against me (or other simple followers of Christ) will eventually be exposed through their own actions.  It's not for me to spring to my own defense, for Christ is my defense, my rock & my salvation.  I have been told, so clearly and so sweetly and gently through His Spirit, that my job is to pray for this brother, and anyone else who does the same.  To bless them and love them and do all I can to be a window to the Light and Love of Jesus Christ.  Christ can and will defend His own.  Odds are, nothing I could say or do in and of myself would do any good; and it could possibly be turned to even more evil.  But if I leave this battle to Christ--to Him who has the right of judgement and mercy--it most definitely will be settled in the best way possible . . . Jesus can change this man's heart and mind.  I, myself, most assuredly cannot. (There is one in our church family who has tried, for two years, to reclaim his good name against this brother's black opinion. And utterly failed.)

Prayer: God, bless this man.  Bless his heart to soften and swell with love towards ALL of his brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.  Reach out your all-powerful hand and gather him in to Yourself, move in his life and make Yourself manifest unto him, even if it's as powerfully as with Saul and Alma the Younger.  Rise up and protect your gentle sheep, and show this brother the reality of what he has done.  Harrow up his soul with the true knowledge of his actions, and let him turn to You, so you can forgive and heal him, PLEASE.  Bless him with love from all sides--love expressed in ways that surprise and touch him; love unexpected and, in his mind, undeserved.  Let him accept this love . . . and let it change him forever for his own good and Your name's Glory!  Yes, I want this behavior to end--but more than that, I want this brother's heart to be at peace.  I want him to see the good in others, and no longer be so frightened by other people.  Let him trust in YOU, and give him blessed, sweet, peaceful rest.  Please . . . please, I plead with You, as the one who holds mercy and judgement in Your hands.  So be it, in Jesus name! Amen!

26 June 2013

Pursuit and Sacrifice

Scripture: Jonah 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 2:9, 20-22 AMP

"Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness. But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!"

"For that [Gospel] I am suffering affliction and even wearing chains like a criminal. But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!"

"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work. Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.

Observation: God is freedom. God is deliverance.  God is abundance and love and an endless future bright and shining. And He offers it to us, no matter how soiled our past, or humble our beginnings.

Application: Before I was saved, I gave my time and energy to stuff.  Temporal, mortal, physical, stuff.  I was a Hobby Queen.  And I hoarded all of my supplies and goodies so I could do whichever one I chose, whenever I chose.  And I compulsively shopped and watched sales flyers and emails so I could garner yet more against some unforseeable day ahead.  I was one who paid regard to fales, useless and worthless idols.  Mine were just fabric, beads, paper, and yarn.

And then everything changed.  God blasted into vapor the carefully and long-constructed fortress I had built 

And now, when God asks something of me, I rejoice! I sacrifice with a voice of thanksgiving both audible and in my heart, and count it as no sacrifice at all, for God's ROI is off the charts. ;o)  Not only do I have His sweet assurance that He has already made all provision for me for the rest of my life, (including crafting beautiful things) but His generous blessings continue to flow more and more as I open my heart and submit to the Holy Spirit.  This freedom in Christ fills the gaping hole I had been trying to fill with lovely colors & texture, shining beautiful things, with crafting and hoarding.  The dark corners are filling with light, and the love and joy that comes from that satisfies and motivates me more than anything else.  Who would have EVER guessed that something as intangible in nature as freedom could fill such a void?

And that brings me to the last bit . . . Paul's urging to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace so I can be a vessel set apart and useful for God's own purposes--a vessel overflowing with freedom, yet still empty and waiting for God to fill it. The knowledge that God is working in me, and both using me every moment I let Him as well as preparing me for future purposes He has for me, is more exciting than I can ever say. :o)  And how do I know this? By the fruits of the Spirit in my life.  They are sweet; so, so sweet.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, I praise and glorify You and the high and holy purposes You have for Your children, and that I get to step into the walk You have prepared for me.  I'm ready to burst with excitement as soon as I really stop and think about that . . . so please, remind me and help me to stop and think about it often!  You have taken such good care of me--and I can see Your hand in even the darkest times of my life, now that I look back . . . and I pray I'll NEVER be blind to it again.  Take the rest of this life, Father; take this heart; take the fruit of Your teachings and word and love and keep on using them up for Your glorious purposes.  There is nothing that brings joy and love and happiness and laughter into my heart (and my home!!!!) the way You do when I give everything to You.  Please, don't stop.  Don't let me stop.  I don't ever want to forget the contrast between the night of the life of my own making and the brilliance of the light of Your life for me. Show me where I can sacrifice.  Show me where I can give.  And let me continue to learn of You, and walk in the meekness of Your Spirit, so Your love might pour out of my life and into the lives of those around me, that others might feel this same miracle, this same mind-blowing freedom, this same joy.  In the name of Him whom I praise daily for His miraculous intercession, even Jesus Christ. Amen. 

25 June 2013

Life in Christ: So, so good.

The Lord is teaching me, very methodically, through the pattern of my journal entries.  I'm learning to watch for lessons and patterns on a larger scale than before--not just gems in individual verses, but the flow of my entries over the last few days has been very instructive to me.  1) The wages of sin are death & destruction, but in Christ we are saved. 2) The Lord warns His people before destruction comes. 3) How seriously am I taking my spirituality? 4) Destructions are coming, but the Lord will warn me.  5) The Lord is faithful, and He will restore all that ever seems lost as a result of the destructions He sends.

Pretty cool, eh?

And now, onto my LJ entry (which is part of that pattern previously mentioned.)

Scripture: Joel 1:2-5, Joel 2:25-27 NLT

"Hear this, you leaders of the people.
Listen, all who live in the land.
In all your history,
has anything like this happened before?
Tell your children about it in the years to come,
and let your children tell their children.
ass the story down from generation to generation.'After the cutting locusts finished eating the crops,
the swarming locusts took what was let!
After them came the hopping locusts,
and then the stripping locusts, too!
Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you wine-drinkers?
All the grapes are ruined,
and all your sweet wine is gone."

The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.
It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
Once again you will have all the food you want,
and you will praise the LORD your God,
who does these miracles for you.
Never again will my people be disgraced.
Then you will know that I am among my people Israel,
that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other.
Never again will my people be disgraced.

Observation: The sharp contrast between these sets of verses reinforces what I last posted about--that life in Christ is so preferable to life in sin!

Application: This feels like a benediction straight from the Lord to me.  When I fired up my Bible app this morning, I was a little apprehensive, expecting more death and dismemberment.  But instead, I read this beautiful song in Joel 1-3, and finished with words of comfort and prophecy . . . and an even more awesome bonus: that women are specifically mentioned alongside men as recipients of the spiritual gifts to be poured out upon Yahweh's people:

"Then, after doing all those things,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams,
and your young men will see visions.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on servants--men and women alike."  --Joel 2:28-29

(You know, I haven't yet found a place where the Lord himself ever says women are not to be treated exactly as men are--He doesn't seem to make a distinction.  The only verses I've found that proscribe women's behavior have been Paul's own opinion & practice; not "thus saith the Lord". Yes, the Lord has nearly always called men to lead & be the front-line people for His work . . . but I have a personal belief that has more to do with violent times and the fact that in most of the past, women have been overwhelmed with childbearing and childcare.  That's not always true anymore. We have the blessing of being able to spiritually & prayerfully determine our family size, and our times aren't as violent or physically dangerous for spiritual leaders.)

Prayer: Yahweh, I thank you so, so much for the promise of the rich comfort of Your Spirit in generous abundance.  I praise You that You not only extend these prophecies and blessings to nations and groups of people, but on an individual scale . . . that I can lay hold of these promises at any time in my life as I yield to Your Spirit and Your Will.  I glorify Your Name and feel Your Love through the miracle of Your Grace, and do so in Jesus' name! Amen.

20 June 2013

God really WILL work WITH us.

Scripture: 2 Kings 4:26-37

[Elisha speaks to his servant] Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’” “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the L ord  has not told me what it is.” Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?” Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel ; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.” But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the L ord  lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her. Gehazi hurried on ahead and laid the staff on the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life. He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.” When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed.  He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the L ord .  Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again!  Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!”  She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.

Observation:

As I read this story, I kept waiting for the judgement of God to fall on the mother of the child and deny her the miracle she sought.  To me, God has always seemed so mercurial and moody in the Old Testament.  But it didn't . . . which was a beautiful lesson for me.

Application:

This story showed me, so powerfully, that while there are instances where God metes out judgment that seems harsh, He will also come and meet us where we are (I know--getting repetitious here, right?), and work with us, and forgive us the mistakes we make sometimes.  This mother must have been frantic; so desperate.  And He forgave her for that.  My impression is shifting from what it has been to one of trust and greater faith . . . that if God does something that seems harsh, it's always wholly deserved, and the thing that person really and truly needs to give them a decent shot and coming unto God again.

The mother also had powerful faith.  There were plenty of points in the story where things didn't go perfectly & smoothly, as some miracles did. And at any one of them, she could have thrown up her hands and given up, turning away from her Lord to mourn her son.  And yet, she didn't . . . even when Elisha's first attempt to heal her son failed.  Would I do that? Would I hang that tightly to my faith in Him?  Would my faith be that strong?

Prayer:

Lord, help me see more of your mercy and lovingkindness in the lives of others.  And increase my faith--make it strong and unbreakable, so no matter what happens in life, no matter how illogical or foolish my faith might make me look, I will always lean on You, and trust in Your care for me and mine.  And these puny words don't even begin to express the depth and strength of this desire.  Please . . . fill it! In Jesus' name, so be it.  Amen.

19 June 2013

Look! A prophet!

Look! A prophet!

Scripture: 2 Kings 3:11-12 NLT

But King Jehoshaphat of Judah asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD with us? If there is, we can ask the LORD what to do through him."  One of King Joram's officers replied, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here.  He used to be Elijah's personal assitant." Jehoshaphat said, "Yes, the LORD speaks through him," So the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom went to consult with Elisha.

Observation:

It's so attractive to seek out a prophet and to hear from my God through her or him.  Human nature wants something tangible--but even more, it wants something easy, and guaranteed.  Let the prophet pour him- or herself into the worship and devotion and the word.  Human nature just wants to drink from the fountain of life that flows from that kind of worship.

Application:

Prophets are a gift from God to His people, just as prophecy is a gift from God to specific people. I treasure prophetic words spoken to me, and the support and guidance of those with that gift in power.  That said, I have always felt an assurance that God is just as eager to speak directly to me.

Prayer:

Lord of Heaven and Earth, show me how to better listen for Your voice; how to live so You can speak to me in power!  I will hear and heed Your word through others (and I praise You for speaking to me in ANY way), but I hunger and thirst for You, personally, in my life.  And I rejoice that you turn none away that seek you! In Jesus' name, so be it . . . and amen.

18 June 2013

Who's Whispering in Your Ear?

Scripture: 1 Kings 22:13-14

Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Michaiah said to him, "Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king.  Be sure that you agree with them and promise success." But Michaiah replied, "As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say."

Observation:

Michaiah prophesied counter to four hundred rabidly patriotic and highly-favored prophets.  He truly said only what the Lord gave him to say.

Application:

I'm not a stranger to opposition, or clinging to what is good and right and true when others around me are choosing wickedness or worldliness.  But I've been taken in, in the past, when the wrongdoing was clothed in the culture and traditions of church.  I don't ever want to be led that way again . . . even when there's a huge crowd of my peers, all throwing themselves into the wrongdoing that looks so good, right, positive, and true.  (And dare I say, sometimes even patriotic?)  No traditions of men, no powerful leader, should trump the Word and Will of God.

Prayer:

Lord, are you seeing a pattern yet? :o)  I want so much to not be deceived--to listen to Your Spirit and to follow YOU.  Please, show me the truth of all things I ask, and help me to let Your love shine out from me so powerfully that there can be no doubt of Whom I serve.  In Jesus name, so be it.

17 June 2013

Clothed in Love

Scripture: Colossians 3:6-12

"But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.  Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.  Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.  In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,  circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,  slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. 

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father."

Observation:

Once one knows Christ, one must be different.  Old lives fall away, and the new life in Christ emerges.  Spending the rest of my life clothing myself in love is a beautiful honor full of joy.  I don't want to hold anything against anyone.  God forgives--and so will I.  (Thankfully with His help!)  No one that has ever done wrong to me or mine will suffer at my hands, even if it's only in my own mind.

Prayer:

Lord, please let Christ's peace rule in my heart . . . I want that so much, forever and ever.  I want to clothe myself in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  And more than anything, help me to forgive! Show me my unforgiveness--the dam that holds back love for someone else, and dissolve it so Your love can flow from me to anyone and everyone You will.  In Jesus' name, so be it. Amen.

16 June 2013

You're Doing It Wrong!

Scripture 1 Kings 18:37-38

"Oh, LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself." Immediately the fire of teh LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust.  It even licked up all the water in the trench!"

Observation:

Elijah "did it all wrong" when it came to the sacrifice.  It was a burnt offering--and yet he doused it over and over.  Then, not only did the Lord make up for that, and accept his sacrifice, but the fire from heaven consumed the altar stones, the dust, and removed every last drop of the dousing.

Application:

We don't have to discipline ourselves into perfection before we can meet God where He is.  When we turn our hearts to Him, He will search us out of our wildernesses.  When we turn from our sin toward Him, (which is only spiritual pivoting! Even the weakest of the weak can do that!) He will come find us, no matter WHERE we have hidden, and cleanse us from our sins, change us into new creatures, and make us holy.  Nothing we do makes us holy.  It's only God.

Prayer:

Father, please, always come find me when I'm lost.  Guide me out of my wandering in the weeds, and continually cleanse me with Your Love and Your Spirit.  Remind me early to turn to You, so I never have to be lost again.  In my Savior's name, amen.

Eyes of Faith

Scripture: 1 Kings 17:23-24

Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother.  "Look!" he said.  "Your son is alive!"  Then the woman told Elijah, "Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord speaks through you."

Observation:

It's a wonder to me that the widow didn't know Elijah was a man of God already.  She was still living, fed many days by the oil & flour that miraculously appeared.  Maybe she thought Elijah had food cached somewhere, but wanted to appear destitute?  But she surely couldn't explain away her son being brought back from the dead.

Application:

How often do I disregard evidence before my eyes of the work of God, waiting for something amazing?  Or look for a physical (or known spiritual) sign, instead of praying and asking directly?  I never want to explain away as commonplace anything that I can attribute to God through eyes of faith.

Prayer:

Father, let me see Your works in all things around me, and let me listen ever more closely to Your Spirit for confirmation.  In Jesus name, Amen.

15 June 2013

War and Peace, Courage and Care

Today's post is yesterday's reading and today's combined . . . and I learned so much from so many passages that I've kept this post in the same format as my scripture study journal: passages & applications/thoughts, with occasional prayers. All scriptures quoted from the NLT.

1 Kings 16:10-11: Zimri walked in and struck him (Basha) down and killed him. This happened in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. Then Zimri became the next king. Zimri immediately killed the entire royal family of Baasha, leaving him not even a single male child. He even destroyed distant relatives and friends.

The enemy doesn't play nice.  He's out for complete & utter destruction of those who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Chr 13:11-12: “We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him.  So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”

When I keep the Lord's commandments--whether logos or rhema--the Lord will be with me.  God is faithful . . . and when I do what He has commanded, He is bound to bless me.  If He didn't bless those that keep His commandments, He wouldn't be faithful . . . and I know God is faithful.

2 Chr 14:6: During those peaceful years, he was able to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah. No one tried to make war against him at this time, for the Lord was giving him rest from his enemies.

I feel like the Lord will give me rest at some point.  That the Lord will be with me and my family.  That we will have a period of rest from intense spiritual warfare. I'm not expecting a complete absence of conflict & difficulty . . . I'm sure Asa still had plenty of domestic disputes and squabbles . . . but his kingdom was secure, and he was free to serve the Lord in it, and teach Judah to do the same.

2 Chr 14:9-15: Once an Ethiopian  named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men  and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah,  so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah.    Then Asa cried out to the L ord  his God, “O L ord , no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O L ord  our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O L ord , you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!” So the L ord  defeated the Ethiopians  in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled.  Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar, and so many Ethiopians fell that they were unable to rally. They were destroyed by the L ord  and his army, and the army of Judah carried off a vast amount of plunder. While they were at Gerar, they attacked all the towns in that area, and terror from the L ord  came upon the people there. As a result, a vast amount of plunder was taken from these towns, too.  They also attacked the camps of herdsmen and captured many sheep, goats, and camels before finally returning to Jerusalem.

And, even if attacks come during that time of peace, the Lord will fight my battles for me; and while I'll need to diligently do what He instructs, I'll come out blessed more than ever before in the end.  Israel came home with "many" animals on their way back from letting the Lord defeat the Ethiopians . . . animals meant meat, milk, medicine & nurturing foods, fertilizer, leather, wool, sinew, horn & bone--and probably more sustaining & useful things than I'm aware of.  After this, Judah sacrificed 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats.  And I doubt that was a huge percentage of the plunder.  (When the Word says "many", it means many. lol)

The Lord will bless me with what I need, in abundance, when I trust in Him and follow Him with firmness and rejoicing.

Philippians 4:4-9: Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

And here's how I go about that. The way to find peace and strength and bring the God of peace into my home and my life.  Yes! :o)

Philippians 4:18-20: At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.

The Lord truly will take care of those who help Him take care of His own.

2 Chronicles 15:7: But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.

I will be strong and courageous.

2 Chronicles 16:9: "The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

'Nough said.

Colossians 1:22-23: This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.  Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

Duly noted, and firmly decided.  I will never forget the darkness of the years without Christ . . . and will not drift away from the assurance I now hold. Even though I never desired or intended evil, actions have moral value and definite consequences--and they reaped evil upon me and my family.  It's simply beyond beautiful that I can now see the healing of Jesus Christ flowing through what was once barren and parched, and the tilled fields of my home & family flooded with His grace, and the ground simply bringing forth in abundance.

Colossians 1:27: " . . . And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory."

Hallelujah, and Praise Him!!! :o)

Colossians 16:9-14: So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.  For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,  who purchased our freedom  and forgave our sins.

This prayer is truly powerful to me.

Father, I very much want to know, clearly and completely, Your will for me, and to have spiritual wisdom and understanding, so the way I live can always honor and please the You and Jesus, and my life will produce every kind of good fruit, and I'll grow as I come to know You and Your Son better and better.  Lord, please strengthen me with Your glorious power so I will have all the patience I need, and be filled with this joy.  I long to walk in thanksgiving and rejoicing before You, always.  In Jesus' name, amen.

13 June 2013

Believe God . . . and test ALL others against His Spirit.

S: 1 Kings 13:16-18, Philippians 3:15-16, 18

“No, I cannot,” he [the man of God] replied. “I am not allowed to eat or drink anything here in this place. For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’” But the old prophet answered,
“I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the Lord : ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’” But the old man was lying to him. (1 Kings 13:16-18 NLT)

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. (Philippians 3:15, 16, 18 NLT)

O & A: When God commands, trust NO ONE who contradicts Him. Only God can release you from an instruction He has given--but even then, God doesn't change His mind. I'm reminded of something Pastor Matt Wakefield said: if God does something once, it's His nature. 

And then, the passage in Philippians comes in to make sure I don't get over-zealous in that principle:

"Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.  But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ."

I should never cause strife in following the former. I should never allow differences of opinion to steal the light & spiritual strength God has poured out on me. God will show each person the truth they are willing to receive--and I need to look to Him, and Him alone!, to find the resolution of differing opinions, no matter the topic. 

P: Father, I pray for wisdom in Your Spirit, to walk in love and peace and patience with all those around me. Guard my tongue and heart, so I can just love and serve where You will. I praise You for your generous provisioning and tender loving care in my life, and can't wait to draw ever nearer to You! In Jesus' name, Amen. :-)

12 June 2013

Into the weeds.

Scripture: 1 Kings 12:29-33

"He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan--at either end of his kingdom.  But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there.  Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people--those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi.  And Jeroboam instituted a religious festival in Bethel, held on the fifteen the day of the eighth month, in imitation of the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah   There at Bethel he himself offered sacrifices to the calves he had made, and he appointed priests for the pagan shrines he had made.  So on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a day that he himself had designated, Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar at Bethel.  He instituted a religious festival for Israel, and he went up to the altar to burn incense."

Observation: I know this is the ultimate Cliff's Notes version of this story . . . but even so, how easily the Israelites were led into something so totally against the faith they had been taught, and supposedly lived.

Application: I know people are people . . . and that I, PERSONALLY, am subject to the same weaknesses, albeit sans an actual golden calf.  What, in my life have I followed popular culture off into the weeds on?  What part of my practice of faith is twisted and convoluted into something, while recognizable, completely perverts the purposes of the Lord in my life?

(What was it with the Israelites and calves, anyway? Why would they so eagerly worship one of the very things that the law required as sacrifice? And sacrifice calves to a golden calf? That's just really twisted.)

Prayer: God, please please please, grant me discernment.  Let me see myself, and my actions, as You do.  Suffer me not to be led into temptation, but let every red alert klaxon sound at the first whisper of the enemy in my ear, of the first deceptive emotion the evil one tries to pass off as my own.  Show me more of Your love, more of the Holy Spirit, so the enemy's ability to deceive me grows ever weaker, and my devotion and love of Your Light grows ever stronger and more entrenched day by day.  In the name of He who is the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, amen.

11 June 2013

Traditions of My Fathers

Scripture: Philippians 1:10-11, 20 NLT

"For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God."

"For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past.  And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die."

Observation: It's only through Jesus Christ that truly righteous character can come.  Everything else is deeply tainted with the philosophies of men, and damns us. It's when we frequently or continuously experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we can truly discern between the two.

Application: Never before in my life have the philosophies of men been so starkly apparent to me.  I'm appalled by some of the things I've read that members of my church have taken as prophecy--when they're nothing more than the strong opinions of our 20th century church leaders which have become tradition, followed with blind (i.e. damning) faith.  It's like the story of the newlyweds we've all heard.  The wife would always cut the ends off the roast before putting it in the pan. When asked by her husband, she would stick firmly to her answer: "Because that's the way you cook roast."  Finally, he pressed her until she admitted that she had learned it from her mother, and didn't know why it was "the way".  The next time the couple visited the wife's parents, the husband asked his mother-in-law why she cut the ends off of her roast.  She had the same answer as her daughter: "Because that's the right way to cook roast." And, upon further pressing, she told him she had learned it from her mother.  It took some patience, but finally the newlyweds went to visit the wife's grandmother.  The husband managed to take the grandmother aside and ask her why she cut the ends off of the roast.  The grandmother laughed, and answered: "When my children were at home, I only had one roasting pan--a rather small one.  I cut the ends off so the roast would fit!"

I'm in a process right now of discovering just how many perfectly good roast ends I've discarded over my life, and the joy of abandoning those wasteful and spiritually beggaring practices.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Joseph Smith was a prophet.  He saw the Father and the Son: discrete, individual, infinite and eternal, glorified and resurrected gods.  I sustain our current leaders as prophets, seers & revelators . . . but I fully recognize they are men, just as Joseph was. Joseph would be the first to speak up and say he made mistakes--a lot of them.  That the members of the church shouldn't take anything he said on his credit alone, but should pray for confirmation, and seek to receive the same revelations themselves.  The Restoration was, in part, about demolishing the high and thick walls organized religion had erected between God and His children. There is no scriptural guarantee that the prophet will not lead the church astray; indeed, that contradicts the precious principle of agency that God the Father was willing to sacrifice a third of the hosts of heaven to preserve.  He didn't force them to stay--even then, His children had complete and total agency.  I will no longer live in such a way as to discard my agency to flatter the traditions of my fathers--no matter how couched in pleasant terms they may be.

Prayer: Oh, God grant me power in the Holy Spirit to discern, and lead me clearly as to when I should hold my tongue and keep the peace, and when I should speak.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

10 June 2013

Godly Parenting

Scripture: Ephesians 6:4, NLT: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."

I also really like the AMP version of this verse: "Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord."

Observation: Good parenting is *Godly* parenting. It comes from Him, through the Holy Spirit and His Word, and those around us who speak into our lives. (Logos and rhema. See? She can be taught! lol ;o)

Application: I have read a pretty nice stack of parenting books, from Ferber's cry-it-out to the most radical of attachment parenting. And, while I was able to learn some good & helpful things (nearly all of which came through the obvious love some of the authors had for babies and children), the love of Jesus and the tutelage of the Holy Spirit have been the most powerful and transformative.

Prayer: Father, please teach me YOUR ways in my home. Your love alone has revolutionized my family and healed so many things that have been broken for so, so long. I LOVE watching You move in our lives, and the healing and joy you shed so generously over us. Please, show me how to interact with my children, how to teach and gently train them, as You would in my place. Thank You SO MUCH for my family--and for Your love that makes it such a joyous journey. I praise You and rejoice in the glorious light of Your love! :o) In Jesus' holy name, Amen!

He IS.

Scripture: Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. (Ephesians 5:1, 2 NLT)

Observation: I love the admonition to imitate God. (My younger brothers would now chime in about how I acted high & mighty as we grew up . . . ;-) But really, God doesn't act high & mighty. He just IS. All powerful. Omnipresent. Omniscient. But also all-loving, all-forgiving, patient, humble. THOSE are the powers of godliness.

Application: Imitating God, when you understand the basics of His nature, is such a simple thing. "Do no harm," in essence. God is all that is good, and all that is good for me.

Prayer: Dear God, show me more of yourself, I pray. Please, gently teach me humility, patience, forgiveness. (I'll leave all the "omni" stuff to you.) I am ready to learn. In Jesus' name, Amen.

The Difference

Scripture: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 NLT)

Observation: This passage shows so well the difference that should exist in those who profess Christ.

Application: I have never desired bitterness, anger, or harsh words--but I have passed through long years where it poured out of me despite anything I could do. I was so far from my Yahweh--so anguished and exhausted inside--that kind of behavior was a fruit of that internal climate. That makes my life now so much more precious. I rejoice wide and deep in each moment of love and peace.

Prayer: Oh, Father, never let me drift from You again! Remind and correct me, for I glory in Your goodness and the way You teach your children. Thank you for the amazing love I've found, both straight from you, and in the body of Christ. In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!!! YEAH!!!!! :o)

07 June 2013

Life Underwater

Scripture: Ephesians 3:16-29 NLT

"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

Observation: There is a richness, a fullness, a glory, a rest, a safety and an all-encompassing nature in God's love.  It's like the ocean . . . vast beyond comprehension, powerful beyond measure. But, unlike water, we SHOULD breathe in deep the love of God!

Application: How often have (and do!) I fight against God's love? I struggle in the tempest of life, come near death for lack of water, scorch myself in the sun, when all I really need to do is stop struggling and let the incredible love of God encompass me.  My natural inclination is struggle--to go it alone on the surface, puny as I am, with sure death as my reward--but, once again God's wisdom is 180 degrees from the natural.  God's oceanic love is the richest air I've ever breathed; the currents the gentlest and safest rest I've ever had.  He takes me where I need to go, shows me what I need to see, and lightens the weight of this world on my shoulders.

God absolutely wants diligence--to eschew laziness, idolatry, and all other forms of wickedness.  To follow His Spirit wherever it takes me--and that often means hard work.  But the diligence is a love offering; a gratitude offering; a peace offering full of joy and light.  I can't earn anything from Him.  I qualify through the state of my heart . . . and all that I do, I do for Him, because I love Him, and trust Him.  Because I have felt the outpouring of His love wash over me and literally change me from the inside out.

Prayer: Lord, help me always to learn Your ways--to trust Your wisdom over my own.  I want to rely on You wholly--and see Paul's prayer made manifest in my life, that I may experience Your love, be made complete, and sink my roots deep into Your love.  Amen!

06 June 2013

I Trust the Chief Cornerstone

Scripture: Ephesians 2:19-22 KJV

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Observation: Christ is the chief cornerstone--the very first foundation stone laid, from which the entirety of the building (and sometimes the entire town) was then laid out.  He determines the orientation and alignment of the entire kingdom.  And when we join with the believers, He aligns and incorporates us into His glorious and miraculous platt.

Application: This has been one of my most precious treasures in scripture for nearly fifteen years. (Hence the KJV. Nearly every word has special significance to me.)  Not only am I, as a follower of Christ, given familial status with the believers, but this promises me a meaningful work in Christ's plan.  He has a purpose for me--whether sheathing or house wrap, framing or window, door, roofing, eave, paneling, lintel, or flooring.  And because Christ is the chief cornerstone, I can always trust Him, and what He communicates to me.

I have always (and I mean ALWAYS--as long as I can possibly remember) longed to help.  To serve, fix, improve, or lighten a load.  Knowing that God has a purpose for me in His kingdom--a place in His household--means so, so much.

Prayer: God, grant me patience as I wait on You.  Open my eyes, and make them discerning so I can see what You would have me do, both in this season of rest, when You're teaching me so many things in new ways, and in seasons to come, whatever they may be.  I only pray I might be fitted for Your work, in Your way, and in Your timing.  In Jesus' name, amen!

05 June 2013

Just Trust Him

Scripture: Psalms 33:16-22 & Ephesians 1:18-20 NLT

Psalms 33:16-22
The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
Don't count on your warhorse to give you victory--
for all its strength, it cannot save you.
But the LORD watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the LORD.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD,
for our hope is in you alone.

Eph 1:18-20
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rock and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.

Observation:

I am so puny and helpless in the battles whose outcomes truly matter. My own wisdom is foolishness, and I'm weary and worn out with exhausting my own strength to forge a path on my own when His way is already made so clear and smooth.

Application:

God will watch over and help me . . . and He wants me to trust Him. The whole point isn't to "do it right", but rather to follow the Holy Spirit in whatever comes my way. (It sounds so totally obvious, but it dawned on my soul with such powerful clarity and peace. :o)

Prayer:

Yahweh . . . Abba . . . please guide me. Show me what You want me to do in every instance. Answer Paul's prayer for me, as I don't want to rely on the arm (or mind!) of flesh any more. I want to spend my strength on **You**. In Jesus' name, Amen.

04 June 2013

Ethics of Fools

Scripture: Proverbs 29:9 & 25 NLT

9. If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
25. Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.

Observation: Wisdom follows a *wholly* different set of ethics than foolishness. (If foolishness could even be said to follow ANY set of ethics.) No matter how hard a wise/upright/ethical person tries, defending themselves against fools only reaps discord and feeds the foolish one's claims.

Application: If I were to try to defend myself against those who circulate speculations, I would only be stirring the pot they fill with their actions. I need to let Christ fight my battles, and rest in Him, and bask in His light. In so doing, anyone who actually takes a second to look at me--to actually see me, and not their preconception--will see for themselves the truth of the matter.

"I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken." --Psalms 62:1-2

Prayer: God, please continually show me Your way. Let me rest in, and trust ONLY in, You. Fill me with Your love, so the glory of Your goodness is all the defense I need, in Jesus' name. Amen.

03 June 2013

Let Bitter be Sweet

3 June 2013

Scripture: Proverbs 27:7 NLT
A person who is full refuses the honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. (HCSB says "trample on a honeycomb", and NIV& KJV says "loathes honey from the comb". I love YouVersion's Bible app.) ;o)

Observation: We humans are fickle--so often allowing a change in circumstance to alter our priorities. In some cases, it's a good thing. Taking this proverb literally: eating when we're full is so hard on our bodies. But figuratively speaking, this proverb points up a damning practice. (Damning simply because it stops us, as a dam stops water.) God, and His correction, tastes so sweet so me when I'm broken . . . after a while, when the crisis abates, and my human nature tries to reassert itself and acclimate to the "new normal", how eager will I be for His guidance, for the honey of His word?

Application: Needs are allowed, so often, to determine or heavily influence priorities. How do I stay vitally aware of my need for God, so deeply and with such detail, that His movements in my life are always treasured, no matter how bitter they taste? I might not know exactly, right now, but He does. :o) And I'll pray for the ability to retain in remembrance my need for Him.

Prayer: Lord, help me always remember my need for you. Guide me daily, teach me in Your Spirit, and show me every day, every moment my heart or mind is turned toward You, how life is so much better with You! I don't ever want to slide into complacence with You, in Jesus' name, amen.

 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

~ Mosiah 4:11-12

02 June 2013

On Escape

Scripture: Proverbs 23:31-35 NLT:

Don't gaze at the wine, seing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it. I didn't even know when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?"

Observation: 

We, as creations of the God of all, desperately crave freedom. It's a deep longing for escape. Escape from my daily grind, from the things that seem to bind me down. Surrender. Fun. Rest. Joy. And the enemy has provided innumerable ways to seek it. So, so many . . . and ALL of them wrong because they'll never truly satisfy the need I have. They soothe for a time, but leave me more empty and hungry at the end, because they push me away from Yahweh. I want to really BE, in the same way that He exists--in incredible freedom and pulsing vital reality. God REVELS in His existence, and in every tiny little thing we do that pleases Him. He laughs, dances and claps and rejoices in our good efforts, and can't wait to pour out His approbation on us. That's what I crave, really. I want Him. And He is the only thing that will fill that craving.

Application: 

I don't ever want to seek an escape in anything but the LORD. He is SO much better than anything else. I've tried my share of ways to fill that hole . . . and all they do is deepen and widen it. I lose myself in darkness when I don't seek the light. But the fruit of surrendering myself to Him, of worshipping with abandon, are so, so good. I want to sing and dance and shout out loud. :o) I wish there was a way to do that without waking the kids in the early mornings . . . lol Maybe God will show me how. :o)

Prayer: 

Oh Lord, don't ever let me forget how Good you Are! Show me how to worship You in every step, every thought. Help me find greater freedom in Your Grace, and learn to live and breathe only You. I've never found such freedom anywhere else--and nothing can compare to You! In Jesus' name, Amen.

(Update: He did show me how: I went running. lol It was great!)

01 June 2013

God as Victor

Scripture:
Proverbs 21:31 NLT - The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD."

Observation:
It takes a tremendous amount of time to train a horse well--even for basic usefulness. Even more time to fully train for a specific, more advanced purpose. But even with an entire nation's worth of perfectly-trained horses, God is the creator of them. Their amazing strength and beauty, the softness of their eyes, the sheen of their hides in the sun. Astounding creations He made, full of glory and majesty. And even then, even if we have to go to battle with completely wild horses, or without any at all, God can bring us off victorious without breaking a sweat. :o)

Application:
I'm learning, so much more and more, how much I truly need to rest in Yahweh. (The Jewish word for "I AM". How I love that name for Him!) HE is the victor . . . and I am beyond amazed at His goodness and love and mercy that enfolds me and pulls me into His victories, and fills my life with them. He fights my battles, and it is SO good!

Prayer: 
Oh Lord, please, let me see your arm revealed in all things. Fight my battles, subdue my enemies under your feet, and let me come off a conquerer in Christ Jesus. Amen!