Wednesday, May 30, 2007's hard to explain

So I won't even try. I have just gotten back from the ER. Diagnosis: Fractured Elbow, as in one or more breaks in the bone.. No more bike riding , playing basketball at lunch, or playing baseball with the kids, at least for a while. Will go see the orthopedic specialist in the next couple of days... Boy is it hard to type!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Omission or Commission?

I used to be content in my way of thinking especially in terms of right and wrong. Recently the Holy Spirit has given me much to consider and it is bringing about some paradigm shifts. Those who know me well know that I love to read. That is not an exaggeration at all. I love to read! It is nothing for me to have four or more books started at one time and nothing to finish a book at one setting. : ) So what does this have to do with anything? Well, recently I was reading a few books simultaneously and I found myself pondering a common theme in each of them. Sins of omission vs. sins of commission. The books, in case anyone is interested, are Return to Holiness by Gregory Frizzel, Rescued by John Bevere with Mark Andrew Olsen, Driven by Eternity by John Bevere, and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. I highly recommend all of them. I also recommend the classic allegory Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard which I am reading again this time aloud to my family.

Back to my point today... What are we not doing that is keeping us from all that God desires for us?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Growth Opportunity vs Adversity

I was reading this morning in 2 Chronicles chapter 14 (this is what happens when you don’t have a planned devotional or daily reading—you just open your Word and pray God enlightens you in some way!) Truth is I was not prepared in the way I normally am and so I was grasping at straws (or so I thought!). In reality, God had a word just for me and maybe even a word for you.

Take note of one of the descendents of King David who ruled in Judah, King Asa. In verse 2 we see that, “And Asa did [that which was] good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.” That is really nice. Then I noticed that he “commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.” and I thought well sure, he could do that since he is the king and all, but it isn’t like I can go around and command my neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family to seek God and obey His commandments. Nice thought though. Anyway, Asa tore down the idols and built up fortified cities and was free from wars for 10 years. Life was good and God gave him and Judah rest. Verse 7 says: “So they built and prospered.” Sounds great doesn’t it?

Minister Debbie Stackhouse is always telling us that growth comes through adversity so I am guessing that after the period of rest God wanted Asa to grow a bit more because adversity came in about a million Ethiopians in battle array. What did Asa do? He hasn’t had to fight a battle in a long time (for that period 10 years of no fighting was amazing) and his army was only 580 thousand with some spears and bows. Asa cried out to the Lord his God. I want you to note just a little point here. He cried out. It doesn’t say he prayed long hours, nor does it say that he fasted and donned sackcloth. It simply says “Asa cried out to the Lord his God” and this is what he said: "Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!"
Lesson: Sometimes we just need to cry out! Straight from the gut and out of our own helplessness we need to just cry out to God.

I am getting excited now and thinking that maybe this isn’t such a bad place to turn to this morning. Hey, at 4:00 in the morning you need something to keep you from dozing off and Holy Spirit inspired Word will do the trick if your heart is hungry. So I keep reading on into chapter 15. (Somewhere in the back of my mind I kept thinking of Asa as being one of the ‘bad’ kings and now I want to find out why I thought that. I hate being wrong even when it is only in my own little head!)

Chapter 15 starts out sounding like things couldn’t be better. Asa gets a word from God directly from the prophet Azariah encouraging him and giving him a promise. Take a look:
"Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. 5 And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. 7 But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!"

Talk about a promise. Sounds too good to be true but it wasn’t because God is good! We read that Asa went ahead full steam with the inspiration from the words of the Lord and he and all of Judah ‘entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; and whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. Then they took an oath before the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams' horns. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.’ (2 Chron. 15:12-15)

I guess in this day and age the majority of people would say he had turned ‘fanatical’ or that he was ‘going overboard’ in his fervor to seek God. I know one thing for sure, we need a King Asa!! Someone who will take a stand for God so that God will take a stand for them!! Verse 17 says that Asa’s heart was loyal all his days. Lord let my heart be loyal to You and Your Word all of my days!!

“And there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.” End of chapter 15.

I had to keep reading now because it did not say ‘and Asa died’ or that ‘Asa turned his heart’ so why did Asa have war after 35 years??? My inquiring mind wanted to know… So chapter 16 begins with telling of the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign and how this king of Israel came up against Judah and built Ramah. It was like some type of blockade so that no one could go in or out of Judah. Now at this point I am wondering what the big deal is and then in the back of my mind I am remembering that point noted above regarding adversity. Ah hah! God is getting ready to grow Asa again!

Sure enough! Here is how it goes down: Asa sees the threat. Asa decides to call on a few favors and family ties. Asa figures out how to handle the situation and takes charge. War is avoided. -- Or is it? Asa soon gets another visit from yet another prophet with another word from the Lord. This word was neither so encouraging nor full of the promises he wanted to hear. Listen,
"Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars."

Wait a minute! Hold on a second there! Asa didn’t seek Baal or any idols! Asa merely used his God-given intelligence to strategize and plan for the kingdom. How is that a sin?! This just doesn’t sound fair at all! I mean, after all, aren’t we supposed to use wisdom and counsel? God seems to be going a bit overboard now. Why didn’t He send the prophet before Asa made the decision for the treaty with Syria? It didn’t mention that Asa’s heart had turned or that he had stopped seeking God.

Looking for my own answers kept me reading and sure enough Asa responded just like I would have. Asa got angry too and although it says he was angry at the messenger I wondered if he wasn’t also deep in his heart a little angry at God. He failed this growth opportunity.

God is generous with us and was with Asa also, because God gave him another growth opportunity, through yet another adversity, to see if he was ready for the next level. The trial came within the next three and a half years, Asa was badly diseased in his feet and his anger must have turned into a deep bitterness because despite the Lord’s earlier promises ( “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you;”) he turned to physicians instead of God. He was severely sick for two years and still did not turn back to God and he finally died in the 41st year of his reign. What happened?

“The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you;”

I want to take you back to Chapter 15 verse 17. Remember where it says that "Asa’s heart was loyal all his days." All his days means that even though Asa failed his growth opportunities he didn't fail God completely. He remained loyal just not all that God desired him to be. I guess that means that Asa wasn't angry in his heart against God either because you cannot be angry at someone and remain loyal. So Asa simply failed to remember God's promises and failed to recognize the opportunites that God presented him with. God is always looking for opportunities to show Himself strong and He uses us and our adversities to do it.
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chron. 16:9)"

Monday, May 21, 2007

9:49am Pray Hard!

Zep 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame,
Zep 2:2 Before the decree takes effect-- The day passes like the chaff-- Before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you.
Zep 2:3 Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger.

Forgive us Lord!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today I woke up feeling like a total failure.

• I haven’t called Kendra in forever -- what kind of friend am I?
• I haven’t gotten the projects together for the Sharefest. I really am the worlds worst procrastinator. I must not want to change because that has been on my prayer list forever!
• Rushing again this morning and what kind of time is that to spend with Jesus when I am already ‘running late’?
• I didn’t get an email out to Michelle yesterday. Some kind of prayer partner I am!
• Prayer partner? Ha! I haven’t talked to Tijuwana or Caroline in at least a month!
• When is the last time Jordan took a shower? I don’t even know if his homework got done last night…
• What day is it? I wish we could skip Friday this week, Saturday and Sunday too come to think of it.. Too many commitments this weekend! Grrrr..
• Why bother? with anything… I am so tired and tired of being tired.
• I still need to get my bills done – a lot of good it did me to schedule them if I don’t sit down and do them.
• I feel fat and lazy.
• My house is a mess – I am a horrible housekeeper and steward of God’s house.
• I STILL have clothes to be folded and I took the time to finish Jennifer’s book last night!
• I have no self-control.

I woke up feeling nothing like one who is filled with the Spirit of the living God. However, I know that the Word of God says that I am:

 Loved by God ~ John 3:16
 Forgiven ~ Col 1:14
 Born Again Child of God ~ Rom 8:16
 Delivered from the Powers of Darkness ~ Col 1:13
 Redeemed from the Hands of the Enemy ~ Psa 107:2
 Called with a Holy Calling ~ 2Ti 1:9
 Created in His Image Rom ~ 8:29
 Not of This World ~ John 17:16
 Healed by His Stripes ~ 1Pe 2:24
 Free from Fear ~ 1Jo 4:18
 Crowned with His Loving Kindness & Tender Mercies ~ Psa 103
 Redeemed from the Curse of the Law ~ Gal 3:13
 Free from the Law of Sin & Death ~ Rom 8:32
 Heir of Eternal Life ~ 1Jo 5:11-12
 Heir to the Blessings of Abraham ~ Gal 3:14
 Heir of God & Joint Heirs with Jesus ~ Rom 8:17
 Blessed with All Spiritual Blessings ~ Eph 1:3
 His Workmanship Created in Christ Jesus ~ Eph.2:10
 Being Transformed by the Renewing of Our Minds ~ Rom 12:2
 Daughter of God ~ Gal 3:26
 The Elect of God ~ Col 3:12
 Filled with the Holy Spirit ~ Act 2:4,39
 Complete in Him ~ Col 2:10
 Going in His Name ~ Mar 16:15-18
 Strong in the Lord & in the Power of His Might ~ Eph 6:10
 Doing All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Us ~ Phl 4:13
 Daily Overcoming the Devil ~ 1Jo 4:4
 More Than Conquerors ~ Rom 8:37
 Overcoming by the Blood of the Lamb & the Word of Our Testimonies ~ Rev 12:11

But that is not what I felt. Feeling and knowing are not the same thing and when we operate only on what we feel, we walk in our flesh; but, when we walk in the truth of His Word, we walk by faith in the spirit. I choose to walk in the spirit by faith!!

I woke up in the flesh but I praise God that I am now walking by the spirit and choosing to walk in faith and not by feeling.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tanzania Leadership Conference

Pictures from Bishop Alex Titus in Tanzania of his family and from a Leadership Conference this year.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hard lessons from Daniel

Daniel 5:20-22 “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.”
(This is God through Daniel speaking to Belshazzar regarding King Nebuchadnezzar.)

"But you his son, Belshazzar,
have not humbled your heart
, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven… and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.”


This is the interpretation of each word. Mene: God has numbered your (days) kingdom, and finished it; Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; Peres: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

From my study yesterday I realized I don’t want to be like either Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar! I don’t want pride or a lofty spirit to keep me from glorifying my Lord.

I confess my selfish heart and submit it to You Father to transform into a heart like Yours! Keep me from a haughty attitude or spirit. I rebuke the spirit of pride and the pride of life and state with all authority given me through the blood of Jesus Christ, “Get out of my life and every area of my life that you have tried to corrupt!” I thank You Father, that the Holy Spirit You have given as a comforter will replace the self with Your love and Your life and a desire to do Your will, Holy Spirit have Your way in me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lessons from Daniel

Last Tuesday night in my Leadership class we were given a verse in Daniel to read and for the life of me I couldn't find the book of Daniel in my Bible. On top of it all I was sharing my Bible with someone else! Horror of all horrors, a spiritual person like me who can't even find the book of Daniel!!
The irony of it is I was mentally singing the books of the Bible song where it goes "Isaiah, Jeremiah..who wrote Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel who were true to their God!"
It was like when you want to get somewhere or find something and you are looking right at it but can't see it.. Maybe no one else has ever done this. The good thing that resulted was I felt this strange 'unction' that I needed to revisit Daniel because there was something that I was "missing" and wasn't seeing regarding this book. It plagued me for three days and when I finally pulled myself away from the New Testament and went back to read Daniel the first thing that really struck me was in verse 8. Then I decided to read the book and look at the verbs used with reference to Daniel to see what type of man he was. These are my first glimpses of his character.

"But Daniel purposed in his heart" 1:8 -- Determination, resolve, fortitude

"Daniel said …..’please’” 1:11 -- Gracious, manners, respect

"And Daniel continued..." 1:21 -- Perseverance, persistent, faithful

"Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom.." 2:14 -- Slow to speak, judgement, knowledge

"Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:" 2:17 -- Power in the unity of believers, 'where two or more are gathered.'

"Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven." 2:19 -- Recognition of Whose favor he had, praise and adoration to the giver of all things

"Then Daniel, whose name [was] Belteshazzar, was astonished for one hour, and his thoughts troubled.." 4:19 -- Not all things are easy, the answer sometimes requires our deep searching and prayer

I wonder, what do verbs in reference to me say about my character?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I realized recently that for all that I say and do throughout any given day only one thing will matter at the end of my life. Did I love Him? Did I love Him in my words? Did I love Him in my behaviour and attitude? Did I love Him in my actions and motives? Did I love Him more than 5 or 10 minutes? Did I love on Him all day?

Someone close to me once said to me after an apology, "Words are cheap, your actions speak much more richly." I was really hurt at the time because I felt my words were sincere but upon reflection I realized that their words were very true and my motivation for apologizing was not because I was 'sorry' but because I desired peace in the relationship. My intentions were for peace not repentance nor did I truly feel I was wrong.

In my relationship with Jesus, do I say what He wants to hear while inwardly thinking of what I desire in selfish motivation? -- That in itself is ridiculous considering that the God of the whole universe and every living thing already knows my motivations, thoughts, and desires better than I even understand them. Yet, I know that I operate at times as if I am not an open book to the Author who is writing me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Faith like one of these little ones.

Jordan has Strep. I was actually getting VERY nervous when he got so sick so suddenly. I didn't want to scare him though so didn't start calling everyone or act too upset. He woke me up in the middle of the night Saturday early Sunday morning.. Panting hard but not wheezing. I listened to his chest and it wasn't a wheeze just panting hard and his heart beat was racing. I thought he felt a little warm but didn't wake him up. He woke up himself a little after 4am and said he didn't feel good and would I pray for him. I prayed and then took his temp and it was 102.1 and so I gave him some Motrin. He then had some diarrhea and said his head really hurt and his legs hurt. He went back to bed and woke up around 9am and said he felt much better could he go play outside and could I please make bacon... I didn't know what to think because I thought for sure we were headed into a major asthma episode or something.
Sunday after Church he was running a temp again and this time complaining that his legs hurt and he couldn't move his neck without it hurting. (This is when I got scared. I remember the little boy next door to my sister in Albany, GA who died of menengitis!) By 5pm Sunday it was a matter of just hovering over him to see if I needed to call 911 or take him to the ER. He was not responding to the Motrin any more and so I added Tylenol and still couldn't get his fever to break 100.8. He was uncomfortable even lying down and complaining that his throat felt like it was closing up. "It feels really small mom" and yet my experience here with the ER was not the greatest so I felt if we could hang on until 8 am on Monday when his pediatrician could see him we would be much better off. Not to mention the $100 co pay for ER that usually was a waste. NOT at all like our medical care in Tucson!!
I had taken him to the doctor twice in the past 6 weeks and both time he had these same symptoms but tested negative for Strep. I kept thinking of some hidden disease that was not being found and really wasn't doing my state of mind much good but was praying non-stop.
Yesterday after the doctor looked at him and took the Strep test again. 3rd one since March! Came back after 10 minutes and said, "It is VERY, VERY Positive for Strep!" What exactly does that mean? VERY, VERY Positive?? You know I asked! She said he has a severe case of Strep and that is why he wasn't responding to the Motrin or Tylenol. So it may have been in his system for a long time but just not showing up on the fast test that they do in the office there. Anyway, he is going to school today. (12 hours on Antibiotic was good enough in this case) and he seems to be feeling better already. Last night was rough on him and he knows to call me if he feels bad during the day today. I had to smile last night when Jordan asked me if I would ask Pastor Harry to pray for him when he gets back from Slovakia. I praise God for the healing He has already done in Jordan and I praise Him for the faith of my little one!

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About Me

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I love Jesus and want my life to be a reflection of His life in me!

A Good Read...

  • Rooms by James L. Rubart
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Any book written by Terri Blackstock
  • O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson
  • Black, White, Red (trilogy) by Ted Dekker
  • Driven by Eternity & Rescued by John Bevere
  • Under Cover by John Bevere