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March 2006
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Watch and Pray

Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  (1 Peter 5:8-9)

My 3 year old has the whole vigilante thing down.  He runs around in the back yard making sure that not even a bird lands in our back yard.  What a little protector he is.  Even as he runs on his way back inside the house his little head and eyes are looking about patrolling the airspace around our house.  Oh, did I not mention that my 3 year old is a Shihtzu?  The fur flies on that little dog.

Isn't it funny how a dog can be so diligent in keeping watch for predators when we as humans have so difficult a time looking out for our own well being?  Even Jesus couldn't get His disciples to stay up with Him for an hour and pray.  (Matthew 26:40-41)  My friends, spiritual warfare is real.  If we are doing what God wants us to do, Satan will go to any lengths to bring us down.  He will work on our insecurities, our families and our life circumstances to try to take our eyes off of our purpose.  None of us, no matter how strong we think we are, are exempt.  For example, here are the "accusations" I hear in my mind from the wicked one that I frequently have to cast down related to my leadership of women's ministry at our church:

1) You can't adequately minister to the ladies at your church because you are not a mother.

2) How can you be effective when your husband isn't very involved in the church?

3) Why do you think you can teach the bible, you surely don't know as much as "so and so".

Lies, all of them.  Lies from the Accuser to try and stop what God is intending to do.    Thankfully, I know that I have access to the power of the Holy Spirit who is greater than Satan to cast down these imaginations and press on.   I choose to listen to the voice of truth inside of me and shake my fist at Satan's feeble attempts to derail God's plans. 

So what lie is Satan trying to get you to believe?  Remember that our best defense against him is to pray.  Let's go to God now:

Father, I thank You right now that You are the creator of heaven and earth and have the power over Satan.  I thank You that the wicked one is to You like an insect is to us - that He is no match for Your glory and power.  Please help us to keep watch over our hearts and minds by maintaining the disciplines of daily prayer, bible reading and alone time with You.  You are our only hope, peace, joy and strength in this crazy world.  Please reveal to us today where we've failed you with our thoughts and actions and let Your light shine through us mightily.  Let us know for sure that we are not alone in our trials and help us to remain stedfast in our laboring for You.  In Your precious Son's name I pray. Amen,

LBY Week 5-Peace

Peace.  Everyone wants it and if they don't know that they want it when they find it they know it is what they've been missing.   I spent the last week in Las Vegas and as I took time out to do each day's lesson, I couldn't help but think about the lack of inner peace in our world today.  People look for satisfaction in the thrills of this life only to find that in this world they will never find what they are looking for.  My heart goes out to the "peaceless" souls who try to make it through this life's journey without the peace of God.  Do you have peace?  I'm not speaking of the peace of a boring life because there is no activity and thus the waters are smooth, but the peace of an exciting life with the peace inside of us that only Jesus can give. 

I do have that peace, most of the time.  Why? I have peace with God because Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is my Savior and my Lord.  He is the source of peace through the reconciling power of His blood on the cross.  (John 14:27, Ro 15:13, Gal 5:22) Peace starts through a saving knowledge of Jesus.  Without it, our minds and hearts will always be in a state of unrest as God seeks us out and attempts to draw us to Him.

The second reason that I have peace is because I really do try to keep my eyes focused on eternity, what Jesus wants me to do (even though I feel as if I often fall way short of His expectations for me).  I love the chorus of that old hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus".

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

If, no matter my circumstances - relationship problems, ministry problems, heatlh problems, etc. - I keep my eyes focused on Him and what I'm really on this earth for, I will have peace and joy no matter what because I won't be able to see anything else in the brightness of His love and purpose for me.  If you can sometime, try this exercise to illustrate my point.  At night, turn off all of the lights in a room except for one and look into the light (please don't blind yourselves).  If you are really focused on the light do you see anything else?  So it is with Jesus and our problems.  If we focus our "eyes" on Him, our problems, although still present, will seem small or "dim" in the light of His glory.

I guess you can figure out that I'm not doing a typical summary this week of the lesson.  However, you are getting what God spoke to me personally.  God has really been speaking to me the last couple of weeks about the number of commitments I have in my life.  I've been feeling a little stressed, even though I have a lot of fun with everything I'm doing, because of all of the activity.  As Beth Moore sad in the video on peace - I have peace like a river, not like a pond!  And, let me tell you, with all I've got going on with ministry, my job with my husband and maintaining my home, I'm on a white water river!  Can anyone else relate?

So I guess my big lesson was a reminder that the more I pour out of myself to others with ministry involvement, the more personal alone time I need to spend with Jesus, abiding in His love and peace.  I need to spend more time just sitting still in His presence, even if it takes me 15 minutes of sitting there to let my mind slow down to a stop and let the adrenaline cease running.  Just as I spend time in the word of God every day, I need to spend more time in personal prayer and silence....just listening.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thansgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will gurad your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lord, I want the peace that only You can give.  Please show me how to make frequent & serious stops of doing, doing, doing and let me just rest in your presence.  Amen.

Addie Heather* Carol
M Rach Jeana
Jenn Amanda MamaB
GiBee Boomama Maria
Blair Heather Nancy
Janna Flipflop Robin
Sherry Patricia Tara
Lauren HolyMama! Faith
Christy Eph2810 Karin
Leann Rachel Janice
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

Out of Egypt

No, this post isn't about my getting back into town from the lovely desert of Las Vegas, Nevada.   Pardon my sarcasm, but I prefer the green grass and trees of the midwest over dry desert lands any day.  I am happy to announce today that this has been the first day in a week that I have been cough drop free!!  Yippee, I'm definitely on the mend!!!

As I left Las Vegas, I followed Moses in the book of Exodus out of Egypt (Ex 2:15)  and up God's mountain Ex 3:1).  I like how this pictures us leaving our "worldly views" (our Egypts) to begin a relationship with God.  Pretty cool huh?  Moses left his education & wealth to become poor for a God he did not even know he was seeking.   Take a look at what Hebrews 11:24-27 says about Moses:

Heb 11: 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:  for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

I find the story of Moses amazing.  Amazing that such a learned man of Egypt would be afraid to lead the nation of Israel.  Amazing that Moses left all of his "creature comforts" to seek a God that he didn't even know.  Isn't that proof that God is in continual pursuit of our souls?  God wanted a friend and found one in Moses. 

What is your "Egypt"?  Is their something you are hanging on to that God wants you to give up so that He can use you for His greater glory?  I know that God has something for you.  We all have been there at some point and we will all be there again.  When we finally realize that His ideas are better than ours and that He alone is our reward, we will finally reach our full potential for Him.  Lord, let us fully submit to your will.

Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of  the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Fulfilled Promises

Promises are sacred to me.   When I say I'm going to do something I follow through and if I can't follow through I usually don't commit.  I expect the same treatment in return.    Yet I find that there are many people out there who don't value their commitments as strongly as I do, or as strongly as God does.

Aren't you glad that when God says something that He means it and that He will follow through?  Intellectually, we know these things, but practically it is a little harder to remain hopeful about a promise when we are tasked with difficult circumstances and God is taking His own sweet time in answering our prayers. 

So where am I going with this anyway?  Well, I finished the New Testament and am now back to the Old Testament once again.  I"m excited about the storytelling of the Old Testament and what God will teach me through them this time around.  I'm glad I've got friends like you to join me in the journey.  Skipping Genesis, because I have recently studied it pretty well with the Beth Moore Patriarchs study, I'm finding myself in Exodus 1.  The Patriarchs are long since gone and memories of Joseph in Egypt have faded.  The children of Israel, after starting with only 70 (Ex 1:5) have now multilplied exceedingly and the Egyptians, worried about the Hebrews taking over, have started treating them harshly.  However, no matter how terribly they were treated, the nation of Israel kept multiplying.

Yes, this is a nice story, and makes me reminisce about Charleton Heston & Yul Brenner in the original Ten Commandments, but what meaning does it have for my life and yours.  Plenty, I say, if we look hard enough.   This is a story about God finally fulfilling His promise to Abraham, about getting too comfortable in the place where we are, and about growing in faith through trying circumstances.  I'll leave you with three principles that I pray you can apply to your lives as well.

1) God delivers.  Although not in the timeframe we often expect, God always does what He says He will do.  Abraham was promised that through his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:16-18).  We start to see the fulfillment here in Exodus 1.

2) God won't allow us to get too comfortable.  Remember that until the time the Egyptians started persecuting them, the Hebrews were pretty content in Egypt doing their thing.  I wonder if the persecution was God's way of moving their nation to action because they had gotten complacent.

3) God blesses us even in the trials.  The Hebrews couldn't help but multiply.  Exodus 1:12 says "but the more they were afflicted, the more they multiplied and grew."  What do you think the non-Christian world thinks when we Christians can stand with joy in the midst of our tribulations and grow stronger in our faith because God is helping us get through them?  The blessing comes when we look inside ourselves and realize that God is still on the throne, we can trust Him completely, and our faith and witness grows because of our reliance on God.

Slice of Heaven

In my post yesterday I wrote about joy and how that we can endure anything if we know that we will have that jumping-up-and-down- dancing-around-busting-at-the-seams kind of joy waiting on the other side of our trials.  Ladies with children, I know that you understand this from first hand experience if you have children.  The pain of childbirth is endured because of the joy that is to come with a new little one.   Another example would be that the "suffering" related to overhauling a golf swing is worth it for the joy of that long and straight drive landing in the middle of the fairway that may happen once the swing is perfected.  :)  I'm having golf withdrawals from being sick, can you tell?  :)  Okay, back to business. 

Friends, the ultimate trial for us is life on this earth.  We were not made for it, but for eternity with God.  Our own "garden of Eden" - that joy set before us -  is yet to come in the paradise of heaven.  Our lives are just vapors here in the big scheme of eternity (James 4:14).  For me personally, understanding this principal has helped me endure many a personal trial.

Christians, have you ever really thought deeply about what awaits you in the next the life that last so much longer than the puff of smoke of our earthly lives that we can't even imagine it?  If you haven't recently, I suggest you give Revelations 21 and 22 a thorough reading.  It will definitely make you yearn to be in heaven!

Here are my favorite verses about heaven and the New Jerusalem which we will see one day:

1) "It's all good" in heaven.  (This one is especially precious to me in light of my recent but almost gone flu attack.)

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more flu death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more coughing pain: for the former things are passed away.  (Rev 21:4)

2) We'll all be trust fund babies.  We will be joint heirs with the King of kings and Lord of lords living in our mansions of glory (John 14:2-3)!

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Rev 21:7)

3) Everything will be beautiful.  I'm not a huge jewel freak, but just thinking about streets of gold, pearly gates, jewels on buildings and a crystal sea makes me eager to catch a glimpse of it.  (Rev 21: 18-21, Rev 22:1) 

4) We will see Jesus and He will light up the place.  Sigh.  What a time that will be when we finally get to see Jesus face to face.

Rev 22:3-5 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.  And there shall be no more night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

So, do you think these things are worth enduring our races of life for?  I sure do.   If I know there is Light at the end of the tunnel, I can withstand a lot of discomfort, can't you?

Joy Cometh ...

... and the "crud" leaveth.   :)  I am SO ready to be well again from this flu.  I guess the one thing I can count on from past experience is that it doesn't last forever.  So, to my suffering friends around the world...there is hope!!

Okay.  I need to stop letting the decongestant talk and get to business.  As I listened to the video on "Joy" of a Beth Moore study I'm participating in, I couldn't helped but be overcome by thoughts of some dear Christian friends I know, and even those I don't know, who are experiencing the kind of searing pain from life's circumstances that is temporarily dampening their joy.

I love to encourage people.  To listen to them, take their hand, to put my arms around them and tell them that they will see a brighter day is something that really blesses me.  Hope.   Don't we all need it?

In black and white, and sometimes red, on the pages of our bibles we can see the truth of God's promises through the tears brought on by our circumstances if we know where to look.  As I watched that video last night, Beth brought to remembrances some of my favorites words of life and I'll share them here.

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life:  weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.  (Psalm 30:5)

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, brining his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:1-5)

Tell me these aren't words of life to your weary soul.  Joy cometh, my friends, no matter where you are!  The bible tells us so.  Our Savior, Faithful Friend, and Creator of the whole wide world tells us so.  As Beth so eloquently says it, we will never learn how to dance before Him if we never learn how to mourn before Him.  Like Christ, we too can endure anything...anything, if we know that we will have that jumping-up-and-down- dancing-around-busting-at-the-seams kind of joy waiting on the other side of our trials.  We will have that you know, if not in this life, in heaven.  Guaranteed.  Just keep your eyes on Jesus and we can rejoice in the Lord no matter what.. 

Hebrews 12:1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

LBY Week 4-Joy

And he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (1 Cor 12:9 NKJV)

Strange verse to start off a discussion about joy, huh?  Well, I haven't had a very joyful week as I came down with the flu (fever/sinus kind) on Tuesday and have missed out on some of the most beautiful spring weather we've had here in KC to date.  Oh, and did I mention that I missed my tee time on Wednesday because of a 100 degree fever?  Waaahh.  I guess I'm good at boasting about my infirmities, not boasting in them as Paul says he would most gladly do.   Can I still have the power of Christ resting upon me when I'm complaining?  Probably not. 

Maybe I should correctly say that I haven't had a very happy week in my struggle to survive, and althought the fever is gone, as of today, the coughing has begun. (Cough, cough, sniff) After all, our sources of joy are not in our circumstances, correct?  Joy comes in the following packages:

  1. Our salvation.  (Ps 51:12)
  2. Discovery of our perfect treasure, Jesus (Mt 13:44, Luke 10:21)
  3. Restoration.  (Ps 71:20,23)
  4. Abiding in Christ. (John 15:1-17)
  5. Fellow Christians (1 Thes 2:19-20, 1 Thes 3:9)

I guess I should say that the joy of the Lord has been my strength this week (Neh 8:10), literally.  I have my salvation. I've discovered some cool things in scripture and reflected on how God has restored me from some events in my life in my recent past.  I've been abiding in Him because I couldn't abide on the golf course and I've got great Christian brothers and sisters in Christ.  Last but not least, I am well enough, barely, to attend the Casting Crowns concert tonight with some beloved "sistren" tonight as I'd planned. 

So I'll leave you with a quote from Beth (end of day 4) that I believe if applied can sustain our joy through anything:

"When we allow God to train us so that receiving and obeying His Word becomes our "high," we will know the fullest expressions of His joy."

Have a great day, sisters!

Eating the Book

I wish I could see a show of hands out there of how many people when doing their daily bible reading actually look at the cross-references to other verses in their bibles.  I wonder how many people aren't really aware of how much a good study bible and a little extra effort can open up God's word to them in a whole new way.

Admittedly I don't look up the cross-references in my bible every day that I spend in my bible.  However, when I do, it is always so cool and I wonder why I don't do it every time I study.  Perhaps it is because I'm being lazy and just reading rather than studying.  Can anyone else relate?  Today was one of those days when I experienced the coolness of the bible.  Of course, I'm reading in Revelation and we all need extra help there!

In Revelation 10 we see that our friend apostle John is having another vision.  This time in the vision he was given a little book to eat.  Yes, to eat.  (Rev 10:9)  Does this sound familiar?  If it hadn't been for my trusty center column references, I wouldn't have remembered a similar scene in Ezekiel 2:8-3:3 either.   Hence, the coolness.  Here are the similarities between the two passages:

1) Visions.  Both passages (Ezekiel 2-3, Rev 10) were visions given to prophets (Ezekiel & John) by God.  The cool - I'm loving this word today- thing is that Ezekiel was written over 600 years before Revelation and yet the vision is probably the same vision.

2) Rainbows.  Ezekiel 1:28 and Rev 10:1 both picture the bearer of the book/scroll as being surrounded in a way by a rainbow.

3) Words of Judgment.  Both the scroll and book referred to in each passage contained words of judgment to be delivered to the people.  (Ez 2:9-10, Rev 10:11)

4) Command to Eat & Taste of Honey.  I still can't imagine eating a book.  However, the prophets did what they were told and it tasted sweet as honey.  Hmm...weird.  (Ez 2:3, Rev 10:10)

So, what do you think?  Do you think this may have been another revealing of the same vision? Just remember, that there is a lot of prophecy in the bible about the end times outside of the book of Revelation.  Everything ties together in some way in God's word.

Finally, surprisingly enough, I did get an element of personal application today from this verse:

Rev 10:10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

No, the application wasn't to go eat lunch.  :)  I thought about how my time spent in God's word is so sweet sometimes and how its words are sweet to my soul as said in Proverbs 16:24.  However, when the words are something that I need to share with another brother or sister in Christ in love to exhort them to change their behavior, the words can be "bitter" in my gut, because it is not always easy to speak the truth in love. 


Spending the past couple of days in the book of Revelation has been fun, but it is very difficult to blog about.  I'm reading about the prophecy of the judgment that will befall the world in the end.   I'm reminded about how the Left Behind series pictured all of the plagues, specifically the locusts from the bottomless pit. (Rev 9)  Now those were some kind of bugs, mind you!   Puts ants & brown recluse spiders to shame.

So, what can I pass on here?  What has always intrigued me about human nature is that it takes us so long to wake up and see that changing our ways just might result in a better life.   We are so intelligent, but our stubborn pride keeps us from achieving all that God has for us.

In Revelation 9:20 we see an example of such hard headedness.  Remember, the people living through the tribulation period had just suffered six terrible plagues and even at this point, their stubborness blows me away.

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. (Rev 9:20 NKJV)

This brings to mind the Egyptians & Pharoah in Moses' day who despite the plagues still didn't believe that God was THE God and was bigger than them.  Why is it that is is so hard for us to see the truth even when it is right in front of our eyes?  Is it really any wonder that we are warned time and time again to keep away from idols?

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  Amen. (1 John 5:21 NKJV)

Do you have an idol in your life that you are trusting in for happiness?  Our idols may not be wood, stone, brass, silver or gold, but we have them just the same in the form of our careers, our money, our children, our spouses, our hobbies or even our friends to name a few.  Anything that we put ahead of God can become an idol.  I guess my final thought is this.  Why do I think it is so terrible of the people spoken about in Revelation when I go through my own "plagues" from time to time, yet still continue in my own ways?   Definitely something to think about. 

Celebration of Weirdness

Well, I've been tagged by Boomama.   As you know, I rarely participate in the "fun" memes (Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen, etc.) because they don't fit into my blog's theme.  However, if I am tagged, I will participate because (1) I love getting to know the little things about people and (2) I do like to be a team player.  So, please, before you read these weird (if I can come up with some) things about me, please take the time to read my real post for today on Rev 1-3.  Okay?

So, the game is this.  I'm supposed to tell everyone six weird things about myself.  Personally, I'm not sure they will be as entertaining as some but they are mine.  Okay, here goes:

1) Milk is complicated.   I hate milk, unless I'm drinking it with chocolate chip cookies, oreo cookies,  those awesome Lofthouse cookies or brownies.

2) Its a texture thing. I like banana and strawberry flavored foods, but I do not like the fruit themselves.   Ewww...

3) Tragic thrills.  I get a thrill out of natural disasters or tragedies...flash floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.  I don't know why that is because I don't want anyone to get hurt and I don't want to be a part of them, but they are just exciting to me.

4) Keep hot food hot.  I am really obsessed about eating my hot food when it is hot.  It stresses me out to drive home with McD's french fries because they lose some heat on the way home.

5) Loose socks - yuck. It really bugs me to see people in their sock feet when the sock is flapping loosely off the end of the toes.  If my socks get that way, I will change them or take them off.

6) Layered food preparation - Some foods can only be made ready to eat in certain ways. They just don't taste the same any other way.  :)

Baked potato - salt first, then butter, then cheese, bacon & finally sour cream on top. No chives.
Tacos - meat first, then lettuce.  Add cheese, then tomatoes, olives, sauce and finally sour cream on top.
Oreos (double stuff a must-and more than one at a time) - twist apart, eat "stuff", twist apart, eat "stuff", then eat all the outsides at once ---- with milk!! But no dunking.

Okay.  That is my six.  Unfortunately, I could have done more. I'm weirder than I originally thought!  I'm sparing everyone the tag though because I don't want to retag.  Hope you enjoyed the weirdness!