Thursday, March 27, 2014


Lately I've been thinking a lot about coming into obedience to God and finding areas where I can serve Him and I read a piece of scripture today that really made me realize relationship and communication with God are key to everything else and is what He desires most. Seems so clear and makes so much sense - How can I be in obedience to God when I am not consistently asking Him what I am supposed to do?

David was beloved of God, a man "after His own heart" and David was in constant communication with Him. David talked so easily to God, and not only in generalities but specifically. In the scripture below he first asked if he should go to Judah. God answers yes. Notice that wasn't the end of the conversation, David then asked for specifics, "Where should I go?" And God told him Hebron. So he went.

David inquired of the Lord. Then he listened to him and obeyed. So simple, yet I seem to get it backwards and try to obey without first listening to what I'm supposed to do!

2 Samuel 2:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

David Anointed King Over Judah

In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.
The Lord said, “Go up.”
David asked, “Where shall I go?”
“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
So David went up there......

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Keep Your Excitement

The past couple weeks I have felt a tug on my heart that I need to seek out where I am in rebellion and come in line with God's will and I am very excited about it. You know what I mean - that excitement you feel when you know God is making Himself known and the anticipation that He is about to move in your life. I can sense His stirring and directing and it is exciting, even if it means taking a hard look at my life and recognizing weaknesses and failings because ultimately that equates to opportunity and growth and new adventures.

This was what the sermon was on today - our calling and obedience, so I was waiting eagerly for the preacher to start when a memory came to me. It was during my high school basketball days. I remembered one game in particular when we were playing in our small hometown gym. The score was close, it was nearing the end of the game, I remember the crowd being loud and adrenaline high. The boys team was suited up and ready to go and they were all standing in front of their locker room right next to where I was getting into position. The buzzer was about to sound, it was the final seconds and the ball was passed to me. I remember hearing one of them yell "Shoot!", and I did, right as the buzzer rang. 3 points - swish! Game over, we won and I scored the final points! I was excited. I jumped in the air, thew my fist up and yelled. I began to run toward one of my friends to celebrate, only to see her look at me with wide eyes and say "OK" (the way you say it when you are making fun of someone who has done something weird). Obviously she was embarrassed at my open show of excitement. I shrunk about 4 feet I think. I will never forget that feeling of exhilaration diminished to shame in a matter of seconds.

See, this may not sound like anything big, but we were teenage high school girls from a small town, within an even small clique. We were supposed to maintain a level of coolness, not let it all go out in front of everyone. What was I thinking!? So the big game moment should have been something I shrugged off and walked away from, with a little swag of course, but not with an outburst! I should have known better! And please note I'm not picking on anyone here because I will admit I did this to others too, expected a certain behavior or attitude to be cool or part of the group or whatever you want to call it. 

So, back to the present, I had the memory and immediately felt God speak to my spirit and say, "Don't let anyone quell your excitement." And it occurred to me, these times are not any different. People all around us have certain ideas of what we should do or not do, say or not say, how we should act, how we should spend our time and money, and the list goes on and on. Most of us want the people around us to join in our excitement for God but it's ultimately their choice and if they look down on us or shame us for it somehow, we cannot let it curb our enthusiasm. Obviously, certain situations and conversations require discretion and we should always think of how our words and actions affect others, but if we follow God there will be people who decide not to participate with us or accept us. They might think our excitement and the things we do are unintelligent, over the top, unqualified, uninspired or even wrong. But if we are truly following God and His Word, we can't let that stop us from fulfilling our purpose and living the exciting life God has for us. We simply can't let what someone else may think steal our joy and excitement. 

I looked up the word "quell" because I thought it was interesting that God would use that. Sometimes I know its God speaking because its a word I'd never think of in my usual thinking! It means to quiet, to pacify, or reduce to submission. I certainly can see through that memory and can think of other circumstances in my life when I have felt like I have been reduced to submission, quieted or simply pacified at times, haven't you? It's an awful and oppressive feeling. So my prayer today is that I will follow God without reserve. It seems odd to pray for stubbornness but I prayed for a stubborn strong will and resolve to follow Him. And not to worry about what others think as long as I am obeying the Lord and truly following the path He has for me. I prayed for a "face set like flint". I have a long way to go, but I know with God's help I'm on my way there! I pray you are too! Let it all out, without holding back, unashamed! Follow God with grit, determination, and excitement expressed without reservation! That's freedom, and its ours if we will take it!

Isaiah 50:7
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Get Your Feet Wet, Part 2

Yesterday, my husband  read the Get Your Feet Wet post and said he felt the post lead him to more confusion. He feels we (he and I and our family) have been waiting on the Lord for a while and haven't had a revelation of direction. And I agree, we have, we have discussed where we should be and where we should serve without getting a sense of direction for a long time. And to him, for me to say those verses could mean either move ahead and get started or wait for the Lord leads to further confusion. And I can see that. However, I think it is the perspective of "wait" that presents the confusion.

I really believe these thoughts are from the Lord. Yesterday, I prayed that God would lead my reading outside of my normal study, and Joshua 3:8-10 is where I ended up (see yesterday's post). Today, I prayed for guidance as well, and Luke 24 and Acts 1 and 2 validated to me the notes from yesterday.

After Christ was crucified and resurrected but before the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples, Christ instructed them to wait. In the "Great Commission" (see Luke 24:44-53) when the resurrected Christ appeared to the disciples, he said in verse 49 "And behold, I am upon you; but you are to stay in the city [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with power from on high." That underlined word "stay" in the KJV is "tarry", which according to Strongs (get ready this is interesting!) is an active form of the Greek word kathezomai, which means "sit down". The root word in kathezomai is kata, which denotes intensity. That could seem confusing as well - to actively and intensely sit down, but I think there is definitely meaning in that. The disciples were instructed to wait, but this was not an instruction to do nothing! In fact, it was a time of great intensity and activity as they worshiped and prayed and prepared for what the Lord was about to do, and we know this was a time when amazing and terrifying things began to happen for these Christians.

So, lets look at what the disciples did with that instruction to wait. In verses 52 and 53, this is right after Christ instructed them to wait and then ascended, it says about the disciples "And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God." Skipping to Acts 1, verse 12 starts at the place with them returning to Jerusalem, where they were instructed to wait. And they did, but not passively. According to verse 14, they were of "one mind, continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." So they prayed as a family and as a group of people all focused on Christ, I imagine very intensely. As the chapter moves on, they chose leadership, they discuss Old Testament prophecy and how it is fulfilled and they commission an additional member of their core group. This wasn't a time to do nothing! This was a time of getting ready.

Then, in Acts 2, they were again together for Pentecost. The Passover was 50 days ago according to my commentary, so they have been waiting on the Lord for a while, but still devoted and focused on prayer and still connected. Starting verse 1 they are all together in one place and (verse 2-4) "Suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting....And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..."

They didn't know when the Holy Spirit was coming or what it would direct them to do, but they devoted themselves to study and pray and worship until it was revealed, and the result was it was revealed mightily to them! This was the beginning of extraordinary purpose and duty for these people. From here, Peter, the denier, becomes the great preacher. They are given gifts to speak and to perform miracles. Others join their service, including Stephen, who was stoned to death and Saul, the killer of Christians who later becomes Paul who becomes a great missionary/preacher/church leader and who even writes numerous books of our bible. They continue to proclaim the gospel to all people, not just the Jews, and even though they are arrested, beaten and most of them martyred for the things they proclaim, they continue and ultimately set the path for Christianity.

So, I agree with my husband that it does seem confusing to say scripture said to either get started or wait, but in my opinion, to wait is to get started! It is to begin devoting ourselves to prayer, worship, and study and to start actively seeking Gods will for us, not passively waiting for something to just happen or appear when we are not looking for it.

Another interesting note is after Christ appears to the disciples and tells them to wait in Jerusalem and ascends, Acts 1:10-11 says "And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?...." I think our problem is we have been waiting passively. Like the disciples, we have been just standing here "looking up into the sky". It's time quit standing here just gazing and begin to wait actively in intense prayer and worship and seeking of God - kathezomai!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Get Your Feet Wet

Joshua 3:8 - You shall, moreover, command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, 'When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'

Are you facing a challenge? Looking for somewhere to serve? Have a problem you need to overcome? Seen an injustice that needs to be fixed?

Regardless of how insurmountable the things we face appear, God is able to overcome and ready to help us.

I found so much to glean from this verse:

Sometimes we have to get our feet wet before we will see what God will do. He may be calling us to something and we can't see the full picture, how it will play out or the exact direction we need to go; Or we may see a problem or injustice we need to fight against/overcome but it seems like it is too big and we don't know how we would ever really make a difference. It's times like these when God may be asking us to simply wade in. He sometimes requires a small step of faith, which may be to simply get started or to take a few steps into whatever our "Jordan River" may be and He's there waiting to show us the unimaginable things He will accomplish through us if we are obedient to take that step.

Sometimes we need to be still and watch for God. At times we might prefer to jump right in and solve a problem immediately but God may have different plans. He may be asking us to wait on Him to show us what He can really do. We can't overcome by our own strength. We shouldn't let our hopes and expectations be damaged because things aren't moving as quickly as we would like. We should take the steps necessary for obedience and watch and wait for God to work and to direct our next steps. Notice the command to the priests was to step in and stand still, it was not to run in and the forge their way across. He didn't require them to fight the strong waters of the Jordan or to carry all their baggage across and risk drowning. He asked them to step in first and then He would make a way for them. He would stop the waters and make the river bed dry so they could walk across. I'm sure if they contemplated methods of crossing before the revelation that He would do this, walking across the Jordan on dry land wasn't really an option they considered. God makes plans that we can't know or understand, sometimes we have to be patient and wait for them to be revealed without forcing our own solutions.

Another point to note is that the Jordan River was not the Israelites greatest obstacle. Once they crossed and came to the Promised Land, there would be established peoples they would have to conquer -the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. That's quite a list! God used the miracle of drying the Jordan River bed not only to get them closer to their destination, but also to show them He was there and He would assuredly make a way for them to overcome these people.

Verse 10, in reference to making the Jordan River bed dry - Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite.

God used the crossing of the Jordan to increase the faith of the Israelites so they would have confidence in His leadership and provision as they made their way through the Promised Land. What will we do with what God asks us to do? Will we respond in complete obedience or will we go our own way? I pray we learn to be obedient in every situation, whether it requires stepping in and moving forward or standing still and waiting on God. May our faith be increased by simple acts of obedience and the resulting miracles and breakthroughs provided by our all knowing and unimaginably creative and powerful God!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lessons Learned - Chicken Money

My boys are determined to raise money to buy chickens. My husband built a coop for them and we have some friends that have chickens who have offered us eggs and their incubator. So, we saw this as an excellent opportunity to teach the boys about free enterprise! They are doing chores to raise money to buy the eggs and use the incubator to hatch them, and then will raise the chickens and sell the eggs. It will be their responsibility to take care of them, buy feed, etc., and they will be able to sell their eggs (it helps that Mimi and Granpa run a year round retreat center always in need of eggs!).

I learned a lot from one of my boys yesterday. Yesterday we made a list of chores and the amount of money each chore was worth. The oldest boy was gung ho about it! He wanted to raise all they money he needed to buy the chicken eggs yesterday, all of it! So he ran around, paranoid his younger brother would get to do a chore that would leave him out of chores and therefore short of money. Regardless of how many times I told him we could come up with more chores if they did all of those, he was in tears at times scared he wouldn't make enough. He was so concerned he tried to withhold chores from the younger one (who was uninterested anyways! That's another issue in itself! haha). He held so tightly to what he thought he needed to do to make money and didn't want to share, even though he said if he raised the money he would buy all the chickens for he and his younger brother. In his resolve to make sure he took care of it, he was panicked that he wouldn't make enough money or have the opportunity to make enough money to get the eggs.

I was thinking about this and how it relates to me and my relationship with God. If you knew me, you would probably know that I am pretty tight with money and get pretty panicky myself over it. My son was representing how God must see me sometimes. See, he has parents who want him to get chickens, who have plenty resources to get him the chickens, who would love to watch him be happy over them, who think they are good for him, and support him in that. Why he can't see hints of that when we built the coop for him anyways, I don't know! The chores were just a learning exercise. Not to mention, our friends would give them the eggs and let them use the incubator for free! We just want them to have fun learning how to manage money and have a fun way to gain some responsibility...because as parents we see the big picture and know this can be for their good!

How silly I must look to God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, when I worry He may not supply me with enough resources. He works for my good, He loves me, He has everything I could ever need. If I will trust Him and realize His vast resources, how much more peaceful and enjoyable life would be!

I was so blown away watching my son be paranoid for no reason, I couldn't understand why he wouldn't listen to me when I was telling him I had what he needed and he would get what he needed. Sounds so familiar!!

Philippians 4:19

King James Version (KJV)
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Call To Repentance

Quick note - I am still working on getting the genealogy finished, my notes were not as good as I might have hoped so its taking longer to type than planned, but I am still working on it.

Today though I felt led to Jeremiah 3. I was reading a book (Named by God by Kasey Van Norman) on our vacation this week and it made a statement that stuck with me. She was talking about maturing in Christ and she said, "This can't just be a side hobby or something we do when we have extra time, it must become our daily reason for living." So when I prayed this morning about where I should read and came to Jeremiah 3 I thought it really validated that statement.

Jeremiah 3:1 - God says, "If a husband divorces his wife and she goes from him and belongs to another man, will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me," declared the Lord.

That verse really spoke to me about splitting our loyalty between God and other things in our life. When we choose to go our own way and give into our selfish desires rather than following the Lord, we pollute ourselves. We are disloyal to God anytime we put anything above Him.

But there is a beautiful section of scripture following where God calls us to repentance. In Jeremiah 3:11-23, God proclaims that He is a gracious God and if we return to Him, acknowledge our sin and disloyalty, He will no longer be angry. He will accept us, and not only accept us but bless us. He is talking to Israel in these old testament scriptures, but God does not change and whatever was written before, is also written for us:

Romans 15:4

Amplified Bible (AMP)
For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.
The blessings listed in Jeremiah for those who return to God are impressive and include the following:
- God will give us teachers who are after His own heart to feed us knowledge & understanding.
- His presence
- Strength o overcome the stubbornness and evil in our own hearts
- Unity with our brothers & sisters in Christ
- Fellowship
- Beautiful inheritance & land
- Relationship with God as Father
- Strong ties with God so we will not turn away
- Healing for our faithlessness
- Salvation
So my prayer today is that we will rise up in humility and admit our disloyalties, bring them before the Father and start living in His blessing. God is a gracious and forgiving God, bring anything to Him and lay it at His feet and begin to live loyal to Him and be blessed beyond measure!