Friday, October 26, 2012

Weakness is His Strength

Many know this story; but for those of you who do not... Gideon was a man of God. In the book of Judges, we read chronicles of how he led Israel. His name means "Mighty Destroyer." But it was his  faith, not his name sake, that led to the destruction of massive armies. 

In the 7th Chapter of Judges, Gideon led the Israeli army against the might forces of the Midianite and the Amalekite Armies.  He had with him well over thirty thousand fighting men.  They were a force like no other in that time; and, many had heard of their strength and valor. The Army of Israel knew of the fear they struck into the hearts of other nations.  

God also knew of Israel's pride and how Israel would boast of their accomplishments.  He needed the Israelite people to trust in Him alone; not in their own strength. So, being a God like no other ("Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like Me." Isaiah 46:9), He made a decision like no other.  He advised Gideon to send some people home. All but 300 men. Gideon was to attack two of the strongest armies of his time with only 300 fighting men. 

Judges 7:The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” 7:8. So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. 

God was with Gideon and he gave him and Israel victory.  God blessed his faith and his obedience. Gideon believed in God's power...not his own resources. 


Our God is a God of numbers (among other things). I wonder, in my life, what are the areas where I am putting faith in my own calculations and not in my God. My finances? My family? School? What if I used my shield of faith to combat the large numbers this life threw at me instead of counting on my breastplate of righteousness to deflect their attacks. 
Father God, El-Shaddai~ My Provider, I take my hands off of this World and its devices. I trust in You and know You alone are supreme. I need Your perfect strength to fight all of my battles. I let go of the faith I have in myself. I put all hope in You. 

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Long Awaited Hello


I feel it first in my throat.  It starts as an ever growing swell, making breathing a labored task. I know I am powerless against them.  I feel them coming long before they arrive. My face turns flushed; then the moisture starts to trickle slowly out of my eyes.  The tears; nothing will stop them.   Once they decide they want release, they simply flow.  I know you see me; but, I am trying my best to hide.
            I don’t know how it always seems to take me by surprise.  I have known for months this day was coming.  Yet, as the days draw nearer, I seem to become more and more distraught.  Perhaps I have mistakenly been thinking that if I refused to acknowledge your departure, then it wouldn’t have to come.  
            Leaving is a part of our love.  It has been from the start.  You were a soldier when we met; our union wouldn’t change that.  If absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, then we really have the fondest hearts.  I sit here and watch as you pack the many bags and equipment you will need; all the time I am looking at the calendar and counting down the days until you will be home. I have written you a letter and slipped it into your assault pack.  You always find my letters when you reach your destination. They get you through the first week; which is always the hardest for us.
            Your flight will soon leave.  I feel the tension between us start to grow. We talked about this. We go through our own version of the grieving process every time you get orders to leave. Right now I am angry at myself; and, angry at the Army. I should not have pushed this date out of my mind as my last attempt of denial.  I knew you would have to go.  I should have been better prepared.  Why would they take you from me now?  Why so close to the holidays?  Why now? We just moved here and you are the only friend I have.
        But you accepted this responsibility; and, you know of my resiliency. You smile and take my hand and remind me it is never good bye with us.  We just have to wait out the distance before we can say hello again. 
                     My husband and his beautiful family.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Character... (Daniel Chapter 1)

J.C. Watts, a former US politician, is quoted as saying "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught" 


In the first chapter of Daniel, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had laid siege to all of Israel and carried into exile the inhabitants.  He then chose some of the young men of royal blood to be taught in his ways and put to work in service and allegiance to him.  One of those young me was an Israelite named Daniel. The king commanded that those chosen be fed a portion from his own table, which was a high honor. Because these foods were prohibited to his faith, Daniel refused. The story goes on to say that he was shown favor by the guard and he and three friends were allowed to eat within the diet required by his faith and how his appearance was "healthier" looking than that of the other individuals after just ten short days. 
Later, when Daniel was presented to the king, "The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service." ~ verse 19. 
David and his friends were captives in a strange land, far away from family and their priests. They could have easily chosen to eat the foods that were a sin to their faith; but, they chose to do what was right to them. . . even though no one would ever know.  
But God knew. God showed them favor and blessed them because they did what right by the laws He set forth. Doing the right thing may not always look good to those around you; but, it will always earn you the favor and blessings of a loving God. 
Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.


So whether you are at work, home, school, church, or out with friends. . . remember you define your character. Receiving the praise and applause of those around you may seem great; but, it will be short lived. 

Father God, I choose to do the right thing even though I know it is not the popular thing. I choose to be blessed. Help me to make my life choices....guide me in Your ways! I love You and I thank You for Your unfailing love and the MANY blessings You have given me. 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Hero Wears Combat Boots

My mom, an avid Facebooker, posted a picture to her profile a few days ago and tagged it as a picture of my husband. It looked kinda like this:

I thought it was adorable.... It also sparked my curiosity of what the Biblical heroes were like. So I started reading through some of my favorite stories...

Judges chapter seven names a man, Gideon, who was an amazing hero and warrior. He was obedient and loved to "play the odds" at numbers. He killed thousands by leading a few (about 100) into battle. 1 Samuel 17 speaks of a Philistine hero named Goliath. He stood more than a foot taller than the tallest of any Hebrew man. He was a fierce warrior who knew no fear. A godless man who fell at the toss of a stone from a slingshot. The stone was thrown by another hero appearing throughout 1 Samuel. That hero was David who the Bible speaks of as being handsome, ruddy, and small in stature. He went on to become the most respected king of Judah and Israel. Throughout the Old Testament are many examples of men who heroically changed the future  of nations by stepping out into society and taking risks most men of their time were either too fearful or comfortable to take. . .

My hero is no different when it comes to taking risks... He asked me to marry him (which is a HUGE risk in and of itself).  He wears flip flops, sneakers, combat boots.... and he pumps my gas. He takes me to the grocery store and holds open the door for me. He says nothing as he waits hours for me to get dressed and fix my hair. He walks the dogs and washes the dishes. Some mornings, he cooks me breakfast instead of me always doing the cooking. Then, after he works all day, he fires up the grill and prepares our dinner.

He treats me with respect; and values my opinion as an equal partner would ("Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7). In my hero's eyes, I am a precious gift... and he guards me with his life.

He leads our family (of me and two dogs) from on his knees.  He is a warrior at work and in his prayer life. He worships and loves; and fights for his beliefs. He prays with me and for me. He not only reads his Bible, but also uses it in our everyday lives. On Sundays, he takes me to church.... then home to do our devotionals as we spend our day just talking and loving each other. He is my Hero. . . AND yes! He does wear combat boots.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Big Day Today!!!!

Today is my wedding day! So, prayers appreciated!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What You Leave Behind

This morning I was at my kitchen sink finishing up a weeks worth of cleaning. I stood looking out the window, past the trees in my front yard to the roadway below.  After a few seconds, I noticed a car stop abruptly beside of my garbage can.  A man quickly jumped out and reached for an old, broken shower door I had hauled to the roadway this week. I watched as he inspected the metal frame then proceeded to stomp out all of the glass in order to take with him his small treasure of scrap metal. I can only assume he was planning on cashing it in for a little money.

On the ground is now this pretty prism of sharp glass shards of all sizes.... sharp, broken pieces of glass left in an area of my yard where neighborhood children frequently play and wait for the school bus.  My roadside visitor stopped briefly intent on finding and gaining his treasure, then scurried away leaving someone else to clean up a dangerous mess.

In all of my dealings, whether personal or professional, there is always something I leave behind....we all do. An impression, a legacy, a thought... Today I wonder how many times I have taken some of life's treasures only to leave behind broken shards of glass upon which others coming after me may stumble or fall; causing pain or scars. How many scars do I hold in my heart caused by broken glass left behind by another?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

My God in Whom I place all trust, You are good and You give good gifts to the ones You love.  I know the fruits of  Your Spirit. As a branch coming from the vine of Your Spirit, constantly pruned by You, help me in all of my dealings to leave behind treasure just as precious as that which I may take. I love you.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

But I am Right

There are times when I know I am right.... but what does that matter with respect to eternity? Recently, I had a mechanic take advantage of me. He literally took my money then refused to fix my vehicle. So I am left with a broken car and without the money to fix it. I was angry; I told God that I was. In all respects he stole this money and left me in a bind. I am already working two jobs and trying to pay for my Love's wedding band (I have just three weeks until the wedding).

God has given us an amazing gift. We have free will to make our own choices in life. We can make choices that are for our good and for the good of others; or, we can do just the opposite. This mechanic exercised his free will and chose to take advantage of someone less fortunate than he. He is also not a Christian.

Now, I have a choice to make. The Bible tells me this:

1 Corinthians 8:1 "...We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."

I have a choice. By making this choice I will effect the eternity of someone else. I can make life miserable for this mechanic by telling his employer; telling all who know him; or even taking him to small claims court. Or, I can be an example of Godly love and pray for this man.

Luke 6:28 "bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

My prayer is that this man will come to know Christ. I know I am in the right and I have options to regain what I have lost. I would be justified in that. But will proving and justifying myself make my life better? While it is true that I may get back the money I need to fix my car, What will it prove to this man? Will he see the love of God in me as I get my revenge?

In life, I see that people sometimes hurt others. The level of pain depends on the amount of importance the injustice is to the one hurt. I believe this man's soul is more important than my pride, my pain, and my car. So I choose to exert God's love for this man and to pray that he turns to God. I choose to build him up through prayer and petition.

God, give me Your love and Your strength to look past the pain inflicted on me by others. Help me to look at the lives of others in respect to eternity. Help me to build up others through Your love. I know that knowledge and wisdom are gifts from You; but so is salvation. Teach me how to turn the other cheek. Help me to pray for the salvation of others in Your holy name! I love You!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trust

An infant learns to rely on the hand that feeds them. In our reality we choose to believe that hand will be their mother...and it usually is. I am not an expert on babies... but I recently had the opportunity to watch a dear friend as she nurtured her baby boy born almost three months premature. At birth, his weight was 1 pound 9 ounces. His head was the size of a tennis ball. He was the most precious little thing I have ever seen. His chocolate skin was so smooth and I remember how shocked I was to see that his tiny hands, the size of a little toy doll's, had the smallest little fingernails on them. It was so sweet how gently my friend cared for him... and really amazing at how he was so comfortable with her touch. Almost as if he knew she meant him good and not harm.

I think babies are pretty smart. They know how to apply total trust in someone or something. Perhaps this is why Christ said we should become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 "And He said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

If you follow my writing, you see that my life has been turned upside down and wrongside out these past few years... I have learned to give up what I thought was control in my life and focus on placing all hope in the One in Whom hope NEVER dissappoints. Peace has settled on my heart with respect to my chaotic life.... And I am not afraid. He hears me; I trust in His ability to answer my prayers.


1 Chronicles 5:20"...He answered their prayers, because they trusted in Him."

Loving Father, help those who read this to trust in You... Your love never fails ~ Psalm 13:5 "For I trust in Your infailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation."


Baby Jayce's dedication at The Refuge Church ( www.therefuge.net )

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Forever

Just how long exactly will that be? The dictionary defines forever as an adverb meaning continually, for all time. My mind cannot fully grasp the concept; yet, the thought of forever gives me hope for my future.

In 1 Kings chapter 9, God the Father... the Mighty One of Israel, was having a conversation with Solomon the King. He told Solomon that He had heard his prayer.... and then in verse three, God said:

“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. "

Always, continually, for all time.... His name will be on the temple forever... In the Old testament this was true for the temple built by Solomon unto the Lord God. In the New testament, this is true about a different kind of temple. One fashioned for the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit of a loving and Mighty God.

1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own;"

As a child of God, formed in His image and carefully crafted, my body is a temple holy unto the Lord. When I accepted Him, He wrote His name on my heart forever. His promise to me is that His eyes and His heart will always dwell here. Invite Him in to stay forever. He will hear your prayer. Learn the difference that His eyes and His heart can make over the span of forever.

Hope manifested.





Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why Not All of It?

One by one, little by little, mountains have moved in my life. God is slowly giving resolution to some pretty tough trials I have been facing lately. These trials include all areas of my life: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and financial. Looking back, I see His footsteps walking along beside me on the path I have trudged.

I stand on His promise to rescue me from the financial hardship I have been thrust into. I have witnessed Him change the hearts of banks and creditors against whom I thought there was no hope... Then I remembered His promise of blessings and provision to me; and, the words He spoke over me. Three years ago, as I was praying over my finances, He said to me, "I am going to do something in your finances that will shock and leave in awe all who hear of it." I was overwhelmed with joy! WOW! What is He going to do? Then I lost my job after the market crash... afterwhich, I lost the ability to walk and landed 170K in medical debt.... now I find myself in foreclosure.

To date, 160K in medical bills have been paid! I am walking.... wait... I run! I now have a job; and, am starting to see the debt slowly diminish. With the recent lottery frenzy that swept the land, I prayed, "God, why don't you just let me buy a ticket and win the lottery? That would take care of all of my debt and would definately leave all in shock and awe!"

This morning He replied...

Deuteronomy 7:22 "The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you."

Wait..... what?

Little by little, the Lord is eliminating my debt. He knows what is best. He also knows that if He were to wipe out all of my debt in one sweep, the "wild animals" increasing around me may cause me more harm than the debt itself would have.

Thank you my God for being patient and loving enough to, little by little, fulfill the promises You have made to me. There is no one faithful like You!

Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands."


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Look Into Your Storm

I was deeply saddened by the recent news of the devastion throughout the United States brought by terrible storms ravaging the land. The pictures alone were enough to melt even the hardest hearts.... Then God took me to the book of Ezekiel. I read the first two chapters the start of which had Ezekiel standing by the Kebar river with the exiles when there came a powerful storm:


Ezekiel 1:4 "I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal....."


Storms are not new. This world and its inhabitants have been plagued by storms since the beginning of time. How we weather the storm; however, changes with our seasons. Ezekiel chose to do something I don't know that I could choose... He looked. He looked into the storm; and, as I read on, I noticed he looked past the storm.


When he chose to look to and then past the storm, the Heavens opened up and he saw the glory of God ~ Ezekiel 1:26-28 "Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be His waist up He looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down He looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around Him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking..."


Then the Spirit picked him up and stood him up... and God said do not fear.


In our lives, we will face storms. We can choose to hide and hope in our own devices to protect us; or we can look past our storm where we will see the glory of a mighty, loving God. A God who tells us to fear not because He is in control and has the power to calm even the raging winds and hush the fiercest waves ~ Psalm 107:9 " He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed."

My God, may I always remember to look past the temporary storms of this life and see the glory of Your Presence. May I feel Your strong arms picking me up and standing me up. May I always hear Your voice telling me to "fear not!" I know you are in control.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dissolves When Wet...



Mother Teresa once said, "the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." I spent some time thinking about her statement and about how true it proves in my very life.
Hunger can be satisfied with bread but we can never quench the desire for love in our hearts. We try to fill it.... with alcohol, drugs, sex, works, and money; but all of these things only supply a watered down sense of fulfillment and are short lived. Which leaves us, not only continuing to hunger for love, but also feeling ashamed for our sins/behaviors.
We long for an unfailing and unconditional love of our hearts to fill a void that dates back to the beginning of the creation of man. Since mankind's separation from the Divine there has been a constant emptiness in our hearts and a longing for completeness that can withstand the test of time and will not dissapate due to life's challenges. In our human minds we cannot conceive how this emptiness can be restored and so we use our corrupt judgement in an attempt to satisfy a deeper longing that we incorrectly think is only surface deep.

Our hunger for love reaches the very core of our life. Proverbs 19:22 states, "What a man desires is unfailing love....." We want a love that doesn't fail; a love that is everlasting; a love that is true; and a love that lacks conditions. This hunger can be satisfied... but only with the love of an Amazing and Loving God.

His Word tells us in Jeremiah 31:3..."For I have loved you with an everlasting love..." so we know His love will never end. In Psalm 13:5, "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation" reminds us His love will never fail us.... Romans 5:8 reminds us, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us...." This just shows that it has nothing to do with who we are or what we have or Will do... He loves us unconditionally. He always has and always will. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the World that He gave His ONLY begotten Son so that WHOSOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." He loved us enough to send His son as the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we will never have to be separated from Him. All He ask is that we believe and accept His love.

My God... my Father.... Lover of my soul... I am so grateful for this love that is beyond my simple mind's comprehension. Your love withstands the heaviest rains and storms of my life... it satisfies my deepest desires and fills my heart with joy. Thank you for the strength to believe and for loving me in spite of me. I love you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Funny, quick story



Ok, so if you know me, you know I have this amazingly weird English Bulldog named Gracie Marie. A few nights ago, I was sleeping in the bed with her (she believes that the lower half of the bed belongs to her and I let her think it). My Gracie Marie has had a terrible doggie cold along with some congestion in her little lungs, so she was snoring worse than usual.

Anyway, I was sound asleep when I heard what I thought to be the voice of a old man saying, "hey!" This startled me and brought me quickly out of a deep sleep. Again I heard the voice,"hey!" Not sure whether or not I should move, I started looking around trying to see if I could locate the intruder (my x-cop instincts started to kick in).

Then I started to think to myself, "he sounds nice, maybe he is a nice intruder or a vision from God." I heard it a third time, "hey!" I remembered in 1 Samuel how the Lord called to Samuel three times in one night to get his attention. But then realized that my God knows my name and would use it to call on me. So.... I inched closer to Gracie Marie (I guess I was thinking she would protect me?)... then I noticed that she had not been awakened by the intruder. In fact... she was snoring away... and as I listened I realized, due to her congestion, her snore sounded something like this....


snnooooocccckkhhhhhh...... hey! ....... snnooooocccckkhhhhhh...... hey! .......snnooooocccckkhhhhhh...... hey! .......snnooooocccckkhhhhhh...... hey! .......

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

You're Not Alone


It is VERY early in the morning where I am and my home is so quiet. The only sounds right now are those of my radio playing praise music and my bulldog snoring. I love mornings like this. In the stillness of my home, it gives me a reminder that I am not alone.
My life is not easy; yet, it is peaceful and I am confident in all things that I do not live this life alone. Joshua 1:5 tells me, "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." This promise is again repeated in Hebrews 13:5. We may wander from the presence of our Lord; but, He will never leave our hearts. He is always pursuing us desiring a relationship.
He wants to make our lives peaceful, full of love, and stress free. He wants us to know that He hears our prayers and is responsive to our pain. He wants to turn all things around for our good.
2 Samuel 2:7 "In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears."
Psalm 40: 1-3 "I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

My God, thank you that I always feel your presence and hear Your still, small voice. Help me to understand that my sin is the only thing that keeps me from drawing closer to you. Forgive my sins and cast them from Your presence as far as the east is to the west.