Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's In Your Closet?

So, we come to the end of another year...2009. What a year! There were challenges and triumphs. There were heartaches and celebrations. God has blessed us so this year with His faithfulness and provision. He carried me through back surgery. We were blessed with a granddaughter. I have re-connected through Face book with many friends I knew from church and school  growing up in Texas. It's been so fun to catch up with many of them. In fact, if any of you are reading this post, I would just like to thank each of you who have encouraged me and prayed with me through this year. I would love to have a reunion at my house for you all!
But I always find myself at the end of a year, so thankful to have it over and done with and ready for a "fresh start" in the new year.
But does it always work that way?
Have you ever wondered why all the New Years Eve celebrations have pictures of old men representing the current year and a little baby representing the new year coming in? I believe the point they are trying to make is that one life has ended and a new one has begun. That's kind of depressing to me. I have decided to think of it a little more like cleaning out a closet....out with the old and in with the new. Throw out all that old stuff that you don't like anymore, or doesn't fit anymore, or just doesn't seem to be working for you and start fresh.  A new day...a new beginning...a new start.
But how many times do we start "fresh" and fill that closet with the same stuff we had before? 
Our "new" beginning isn't so new, is it? Have you ever looked at that closet and thought "I don't wear any of that stuff, I should get rid of it." But then, you don't because if you threw it out....your closet would be empty? I have a closet full of clothes I never wear because they don't fit anymore or I just don't like them. Some were clothes that were given to me and I feel bad about getting rid of them. So, they just sit there filling up my closet. Because if I got rid of them...what would I put in their place?
What's in your closet?
*Is it full of old promises waiting to be fulfilled? Promises made to you? Promises you've made to someone...or perhaps even to yourself? Promises you've made to God about things you will do or things you will give up?
*Is your closet full of expectations? Are they expectations you have put on someone else? Perhaps they haven't done or become the thing you had "expected" them to do or be. Or perhaps you haven't become the person that someone else has expected you to be. Expectations you have put onto yourself?
*Is your closet full of regrets and  disappointments? Disappointments in what you have or haven't done? Disappointment in God for not having done what you asked or expected of Him? Disappointment in not being where you thought you would be by now? Regrets for mistakes made or missed opportunities?
So, let's clean out that old closet. 
Let's take the old promises and look at them again. First of all, who made the promise? If it's someone you love, give them grace. We all make promises and do our best to fulfill them. But sometimes things just don't work out the way WE plan them. If it's a promise God has made you...his promises are yes and amen. They will come to be. But we must wait for HIS time....not ours. Put the promises others have made to you back in the closet and wait with grace and patience. I have some things in my closet that I'm holding onto "just in case".  Those promises may still come to be. But take God's promises out and wear them. Remind Him of His Word and in doing so, remind yourself of His faithfulness.
Next come the expectations. Oh my goodness...most of those expectations are just garbage!! Get rid of them! I have come to learn in the past few years that I will NEVER live up to the expectations of others...either real or imagined. Did you know you can imagine expectations of others? And sometimes the expectations we put on ourselves are so unrealistic, we set ourselves up for failure. There is only one person whose expectations I am required to live up Father's. He is the only one who can lay out the standard to which I am expected to work towards. And I am so grateful that His grace and mercy cover my failures and inadequacies. Look at the expectations in your closet, evaluate them,throw out the unrealistic ones and don't go get anymore!
Now let's go through those regrets and disappointments. What is regret? Let's think of it as that favorite blouse that you saved up for months to purchase. It's a beautiful deep royal blue and you look amazing in it! But, the first time you wore it, you decided to start a load of laundry before you left the house. And while adding bleach to the wash you dropped the bottle and the bleach splashed all over the front of your blouse. Now it's ruined!! You'll never be able to wear this blouse! Oh, the disappointment, "but...I can't throw it away! I just bought this blouse - it's brand new! I'll just put it here in the closet." Why? So you will be constantly reminded of your mistake? Of your disappointment? You can't fix it; you can't change it; you can't reverse it. We don't need to carry around our "bag of regrets" as my sister calls them. You will, unfortunately, have enough people in your life to remind you of your mistakes and failures. You don't need to do it yourself. Throw them out!
So now that we have cleaned out the closet, what do we keep? Well, we have the promises of God, the expectations of God, His robes of righteousness, the armor of God that He has give each of us. We have the hope and future that He has for us. Let's add one more thing....Dreams.
I have a confession to make. I don't dream anymore. I used to dream....don't all little girls? But there were so many of those dreams that never came to be so I just stopped.
There is a sweet young lady who attends my church that I have had the pleasure of knowing  and watching grow over the last 20 years from a young teenager to a precious, loving wife and mother. In fact, it was her blog that encouraged me to begin my own. Her post this week was entitled "Dream a little dream with me" and it touched a spot deep within me.
Walt Disney wrote "a dream is a wish your heart makes."  I guess all dreams do originate in your heart. Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Can you imagine what would happen without dreams? Automobiles started with a dream. Computers began with a dream. Airplanes, space travel, television, telephones....all began as a dream someone had to improve our way of life.
What if Joseph had never dreamed? Yes, he was a bit young and foolish and boasted to his brothers about his dreams. But I imagine as he sat in that pit, and later as he sat in that prison cell, those dreams were what got him through each day.  God had given him a glimpse of his future and the greatness he was promised. 
Dreams are those things we hope for; and faith is being sure of what we hope for. So, if our faith is from God, then wouldn't our dreams be from God?  I've had dreams of what I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do. But, unlike Joseph, I have not hung onto them as I should have. I have boxed them up and stuck them on a shelf in the back of my closet. Some of them I have tossed out with the old. 
As I said earlier, the end of a year always brings a thankfulness that it has ended and the anticipation of starting over. All things new! Lay it all down...put it behind you. But then, I found myself in 2 Corinthians 8.
"So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can't. The heart regulates the hands."
Just when I thought I could end this year and start new, Paul tells me to finish what I have started. Go back to the dreams I've been given and continue to work on them. Though some of them haven't come to fruition yet, God has given me what it takes to finish; to keep at those dreams.

So, Lissa, this post is dedicated to you. Thank you for reminding me that I need to dream. As I look over the past year and "clean out my closet" I will remember those dreams and include them. I will take them out of the box and put them with my other "clothes". So each day, as I put on my robes of righteousness, my belt of truth, my shield of faith; as I carry with me the promises of God and walk in HIS expectations, I will take with me my dreams. And together I will "Dream a little dream with you".
To all my friends and family, I love you all! 
Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Baby...

"You will be with child and give birth to a son, 
and you are to give him the name Jesus."
Luke 1:31
I am a Grandma! I know, hard to believe, huh? But my son and his wife have just had their first child. A girl...little Allison Lucy. She is precious! And I do believe the most beautiful baby in the world!  I may be a bit prejudiced however.

Sharaya gave me a beautiful gift. She allowed me to be in the room as she gave birth. Having had five children myself, I am fully aware of what goes into giving birth. But, I have never witnessed it myself.
What an amazing accomplishment! 
The gift of life...the miracle of birth. 
Giving birth is no easy feat. It's a lot of work having a baby! Even with all of today's modern technology. Sharaya gave birth in a nice clean hospital. She had lots of medical professionals coming in and checking on her every few minutes. She had gizmos and gadgets recording her vitals and those of the baby. She had medication to help with the pain. She had her mother and myself to help her with expectations of labor, birth and delivery, and her husband by her side...wishing he had a Grilled Stuffed Burrito from Taco Bell. And a waiting room full of family ready to welcome in this new little life.
Perhaps it's the season, but it got me to thinking of another young girl and another little baby.
Mary didn't have the use of a nice clean hospital. She didn't have the assistance of medical professionals coming in every five minutes to check her vitals. She didn't have monitors hooked up to the baby to keep check on the heartbeat. She didn't have medication to help ease the pain. She didn't have her mother nearby to tell her what to expect or how to "breathe" through the pains.

Mary had a stable. A dirty, smelly barn full of animals. Mary only had her husband. And her husband wasn't the father of the baby. She didn't have family waiting, ready to shower love on this little one. Most of them had probably turned their back on her...not believing her story of who the Father was and how she came to be in this situation. Mary didn't have anyone to tell her what to expect. No one to tell her if what she was experiencing was normal, or if perhaps something was going wrong.
Mary was alone...
A young girl giving birth...
to the Son of God.
Mark Lowry wrote an incredible song called, Mary, Did You Know.  He raised some very interesting questions.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you holding is the Great I Am.
Sharaya gave us Allison Lucy Ehlert. And while she will forever change our lives, we have no way of knowing what God has in store for her little life. I don't know if she will be a prissy little girl or a tomboy. Will she like apples or oranges? Will she like to sing or want to play an instrument? Will she like chocolate or vanilla? Will she become a leader? Will she prefer to serve? Will she have a heart for missions? Will she rather to teach children? 

One thing I do know...God has a plan for her. He has purposed that she be born at this time, in this place, to these parents.  

Mary may or may not have known the answers to any of the questions Mark Lowry posed. The only things she knew were what the angel had told her. That He was the Son of God and was to be named Jesus. But  she rested on the same promise we do...God has a plan.

God planned that Jesus be born at that time, in that place, to those parents. To become flesh and dwell among us. To save a people from their sins.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
       and the government will be on his shoulders.
       And he will be called
       Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
       Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah 9:6
And He came to us as...
A Baby

Thursday, November 26, 2009


"I will heal their waywardness. 
I will love them lavishly."
Hosea 14:4 (MSG)

I just finished a book called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's basically a re-telling of the Book of Hosea. The men in my family have asked if it's a love story or can a guy read it. My answer...absolutely, to both questions! Yes, it is a love story.
A story of sacrificial love.
A story of undying love.
A story of redeeming love.
And it's a story to which every woman and man can relate.
In the book of Hosea, God tells the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. In this book, the man is Michael Hosea and the prostitute goes by the name of Angel. It's set in the gold rush era of California. This man, Michael, loves God, talks with God, walks with God. He obeys God. This woman, by the very nature of what she does, is unclean. She has been used, abused, disparaged, and is considered of very little worth.
Do you know what your worth is?
In the biblical story, Hosea marries the prostitute Gomer,  and brings her into his home, and she bears him children...but she runs back to her old way of life.  He had bought her, paid not only a monetary price for her, but the emotional and social price of uniting himself with a prostitute.
He redeemed her.
But, she continues to return to what is familiar to her. To the only thing she knows how to do. The thing that she perceives to give her some control over her own life. And Hosea continues to pursue her and bring her back to peace and safety and shows her his love over and over and over again.
Jesus came to redeem us. He sacrificed his reputation, His time, His place on Heaven's throne... His life, just to give us a new life.
A better life.
A life we can be proud of.
A clean life.
A free life.
But how many times do we run back to the familiar? To the only thing we think gives us control. And how many times does He woo us back? To return to Him and His safety, His peace, and His love over and over and over again?
Remember, the book Redeeming Love is a re-telling of Hosea. My favorite line in the whole book occurs after Michael has brought Angel back after she has run away. He asks her what it is she wants...what is she looking for? Angel replies back, "Freedom! I just want to be free!" Michael looks at her and says quietly, "You are just don't know it yet."
Jesus gave His all to give us freedom. And He did it long before we were ever born or even knew we needed to be set free. The price has been paid. The redemption is complete. All we have to do is accept it. Rest in it. And we are free.
You are you know that yet?
Redeemer is defined as "one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs." Jesus did that once and for all. He avenged our wrongs with the ransom payment of His life. He restored our rights as sons and daughters of the Most High God. He gave us back our self-respect; He made us clean.
He set us free
Just like the prostitutes in both stories, all of us have, in one way or another, been used, abused, lost our self-worth, been told we are worthless and unclean. And just as these woman were given second chances and a new life, we also have been given new life. We have been set free, some of us just don't know it yet. No matter the mistakes, no matter the number of times we have returned to our old ways and old thoughts, we are free.
Lay it down.
Walk away from it.
Never to return.
We have a ....Redeemer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Thankful Heart....

“…let us be thankful, 
and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
Hebrews 12:28

It was that time of year again, early November. The weather had changed, the days were shorter, the chimneys were smoking. And the mail box was full of ads...

It was almost Christmas!

There was such a sense of anticipation and excitement that year. Everyone was so excited for Christmas! The neighbors down the street already had their Christmas lights up. The stores all had the holiday decorations on the shelves. Almost everyone I spoke to was preparing to or had already begun playing Christmas music. As a church choir, we had been preparing for Christmas since September.

I love Christmas...the lights, the aromas, the giving. But, I'm afraid that in all of the excitement and preparation we forget a very important day...


The world tells us that Thanksgiving is a day for feasts and football.  A day for the family to gather and enjoy each other’s company....or get on each other’s nerves. It is a long weekend to spend shopping for Christmas; or a couple of days to work for double time and a half. But the day was meant to be set apart to remember our blessings and be thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for. God has given me...
  • A wonderful husband who loves me and our children and works hard to provide for us.
  • Five amazing children who love God with all their hearts, and bring such joy, laughter, love and encouragement to me each and every day.
  • Two beautiful daughters-in-law who love our boys and complete them, coming along side them to encourage and support.
  • Our first grandchild.
  • God has blessed us with a home when we had none; food, when the cupboards were bare; finances when we were in need.
  • Friends and family who listen and support us.
  • Health, strength, love, mercy, grace, joy, peace, restoration.
  • And so much more!
I do love Christmas...and I feel the same excitement and anticipation that I sense in so many others each year. But before we get caught up in the Christmas season and its celebrations, remember to take a day, or two, or three and have...a Thankful Heart.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Peace Speaker...

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."
Mark 4:39 (KJV)

     I love the weather here in the Northwest. Not only do we have four very distinct seasons, but within each of those seasons are varying weather patterns. This gives us very diverse and sometimes, surprising climate changes.
     Today was a perfect example. I woke up to beautiful sunny skies and cool temperatures. Rather mild for a November morning. I went about my morning activities and around 2 pm went out to run some errands. As I left the grocery store and headed for home, the skies had become dark and gray, the wind was howling and pushing against my car and the rain had begun to fall. Cold, icy, pellets of rain.
     I found myself remembering a song I had sung years ago written by Geron and Becky Davis. It begins....
It was such a lovely day.
  The sun was shining bright.
The gentle winds were blowing my way
Not a storm cloud in sight.
Then suddenly without warning
A storm surrounded my life....

     I began to reflect on the storms I have withstood in my life and how so many of them seem to come out of nowhere. Does that ever happen to you? Everything seems to be going just great and suddenly...the storm blows in!
A car repair
A broken relationship
A foreclosure notice 
A layoff notice
A dreaded diagnosis

     Storms come in all shapes and sizes. They come in the dead of night, or the light of day. The winds blow, the waves crash, the trees fall. Is it the suddenness of the storm or the severity of the storm that knocks us down? Not sure it matters either way...I think what matters is what we do in the storm.
Are you in a storm? 

     I mentioned before that I hate storms. As a young child and teen, I used to run to my parents or my sister's room at night when a storm hit. If I was home alone I would huddle somewhere clutching a pillow until the storm passed.  

     Now, my daughter hates storms. Though she doesn't like the thunder or lightening, what really frightens her is the wind. The thunderstorms we have in the Northwest aren't nearly as severe as the ones we can have in the south. So, sometimes I think it's silly that she gets frightened. But, I guess it doesn't really matter how severe the storm is to's how severe it is to her. And I think that's true of any storm we face. Your storm is not my storm and shouldn't be measured by my fears and anxieties. The real question is...
How do we handle our storm?
Who do we run to?
Where do we find our peace?

(Sorry, again...that was three questions!)
Let's continue the song....

But even in the storm
I could feel the calm 
And here's the reason why...
I know the Peace Speaker
I know Him by name.
I know the Peace Speaker
He controls the winds and waves
When He says "Peace, be still"
They have to obey
I'm glad I know the Peace Speaker
Yes, I know Him by name.

     Jesus...our Peace Speaker...the one who not only created the wind and the waves, but controls the wind and the waves. With those three little words, "Peace, be still"... all is calm. All our fears can be released, all our anxieties can be soothed, all our worries can be set aside with confidence. 
But will we let them?

     When Jesus spoke these words, He and His disciples were on a boat crossing the sea. A huge storm arose and the disciples were frightened, worried and anxious. Jesus, however, was down below sleeping....peacefully!
No fears
No worries
No anxieties

     "Well, of course", you say, "He had nothing to be fearful, worried or anxious about."   Yes, that's true...but, He speaks peace to my storm. And all He has to do is say, "Peace, be still" and my fears and worries and anxieties have to obey!

     Unfortunately, I have to admit that there are many storms that have come my way when I didn't "wake up Jesus" so to speak. I have spent too many storms huddled in a corner clutching a pilow. Or trying to toss things overboard to lighten the boat. Or blaming someone else for the storm. I've even felt ashamed when others said my storm was no big deal. When all I really need to do is call out to Jesus.
So, are you in a storm? 

Don't huddle in a corner. Don't toss things overboard. Don't blame someone else for the storm. Don't let others tell you your storm is no big deal. Call out to Jesus...let Him speak peace to your storm.
     I love how the Amplified Bible states this...
"And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness)."
Mark 4:39
     The storm was muzzled...the winds exhausted from the beating of His spoken word...and the calm was immediate! The result? A perfect could you have anything less than a perfect peacefulness from the perfect...

Peace Speaker

(Thank you, Geron and Becky, for writing this beautiful song)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."
Isaiah 9:2
Have you ever been going along in life and felt like you were walking in the dark? Tripping over obstacles you did not see or losing your way on the path set before you?

The other night I was in the kitchen and the wind was blowing hard outside. I was standing there pouring a glass of tea when the lights went darkness. I knew there was a flashlight on the counter right behind me, but I couldn't even see the counter. Just then, the lights came back on. I turned and grabbed the flashlight...just as the lights went out again. I thought to myself...there's a message here.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." 
Psalm 119:105
It's one thing to know where the light is...but it's another to have it in hand ready to use when the lights go out. I remember listening to a message by Joseph Garlington where he said, "When God shuts one door, He opens another...but it's hell in the hallway!" I can totally relate to that, but would like to add that sometimes it's dark in the hallway...
I need a lamp for my feet and light for my path.
Often we ask God to show us the way we should go, expecting the answer to be a detailed, step-by-step plan. But, sometimes we only get a "little" illumination...just enough to see the next step, or to see the obstacles that might be in our path to trip us. We want it to be bright and sunny all the time, but sometimes we have to travel our roads in the night. Darkness surrounds us and we need a great light.
Are you walking in darkness?
Just a few days after that night when the lights went out I had to get up early and take Mark to work so I could use the car that day. As I was returning home, the sun was coming up and it was a beautiful cloudless day. I checked my email, showered, dressed, read my Bible and then went to go about my day. Suddenly I realized it was raining. I posted a note on Facebook asking, "What happened to the sun?". A friend responded back, "It's still shining above all those clouds". Another dear friend responded to that saying, "There's a devotional there".
Sometimes, even in the daytime the clouds seem to obscure the light.
Those "cloudy" days can make us feel like we are walking in darkness. Sometimes instead of clearing away the clouds, He gives us a "lamp for our feet and a light for our path". And always, under the "shadow of His wings" to give us  protection from the storms around us.
What are the clouds above you?
Jesus is the Light of the world. Let Him shine His light on your situation. Let Him remove the doubt and fear; the confusion and uncertainty. Let Him reveal the path before you...even if it's only one step at a time. Keep His Word before you in your heart and mind, ready to come out your mouth to defuse the darkness of any situation at any time.
Faith...Trust...relying on the light...sometimes just enough for what we need at the moment. But, light just the same.
Not only is God the creator of light, He is the...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


"I will make breath enter you, 
and you will come to life."
Ezekiel 37:5

I was reading Ezekiel 37 in my devotions. I am fascinated with the Valley of Dry Bones. The Spirit of the Lord takes Ezekiel to a valley and he walks up and down among these old dry bones. When Ezeliel was asked if these bones could live again, he replied, "Oh Sovereign Lord, only You know".

Have you ever walked among a valley of dry bones?

This is past the Valley of Death. These bones were dry and dusty. Death had come and gone and time and  weather had bleached the bones white.   
What bones are in your valley?
Was it the death of dreams, relationships, ministries....hope?

What happens after death has come and gone? What do we do with the bones? Some of those dreams were wonderful and exciting...Some of those relationships were our best friends. And without hope, where is our future?
We can find a new dream. We can look for new ministry opportunities. We can make new relationships. We can put our hope in something or someone else. But the ones that have died will dry up and become dusty bones.And without the breath of life, the new dreams, ministries, relationships and hopes are just as dead as the old ones.
The Spirit of the Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and tell them to come to life. As he did, the bones came together, tendons and flesh appeared....but he saw that there was no breath in them.
Do we do that sometimes? Make our plans...move forward with our hopes and dreams only to realize there is no life in them? What are we missing? 
"Prophesy to the breath...'O breath, breathe into these that they may live..."

I wonder how many times we run ahead of Him and don't stop and ask him to "breathe into these that they may live"?
It's not just the big dreams and hopes that can become dry bones...sometimes it's just our everyday life. I was writing this today, and three times I stopped and put it away. I just couldn't seem to articulate what was in my heart and mind. It wasn't until I was sitting in prayer meeting tonight that I realized...I was one of those dry dusty bones. There is nothing huge or daunting in my life that is the problem. I am just feeling a little dry. 
I needed the breath of God...

I looked up the word "breath" in Strong's Concordance and it actually means...spirit. So, would that mean the breath of God is the Spirit of God?
As I sat there tonight, I breathed a quiet prayer, "God, I need a fresh breath of Your Spirit". And just like stopping and taking a deep breath of fresh air can relax the tension in your body, a fresh breath of His Spirit can blow away the dust and fill your spirit with His Spirit.
Pastor Alec has been speaking to us lately about being led by the Spirit in all that we do. What would happen if we asked God to breathe His Spirit on us fresh each day? Do you know what happened in Ezekiel's valley? 
"When Ezekiel did this, breath entered them and they came to life and stood on their feet.. a vast army"

What kind of army could we become? What battles would we win that perhaps we are now losing? Would He bring life back into some of those dreams we thought were dead and gone? The relationships we have lost? The hopes we had given up on? 
Breath of God, breathe on me....

Monday, October 26, 2009


"The Lord will guide you always..." 
Isaiah 58:11  

I'm doing a Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer called "One in a Million". The section that I am going through right now talks about our wilderness.  

Have you ever found yourself in a wilderness? 

I think most of us assume that when we are in that wilderness place it's because the enemy is fighting against us, or perhaps, we have taken a wrong turn and put ourselves there. And I believe both of those are possibilities. But didn't God take the Israelites through the wilderness....on purpose?  
The easiest and most direct route from Egypt to Canaan was about a 30 day journey east, and yet God led them south. He knew they would have to face the Philistines and they were not prepared for battle. Exodus 13:17 tells us He knew they would change their minds and go back to Egypt 
Priscilla said in her book, "He often chooses a wilderness journey for us to give us an opportunity to experience Him in a way we might miss if we were in a place of ease and convenience". 
So, again...have you ever been in a wilderness? 
Who was your Guide? 
God doesn't always guide us down the path we expect - but, He does always guide us. He requires whole-hearted devotion....and trust.  
Trust...not one of my strengths. Perhaps that's why I find myself in the wilderness so many times.
There is so much to be learned in the wilderness. God wanted the Israelites to learn to be obedient and to test their intentions.  
What is He teaching you? 

I would never have chosen the path my life has taken the past few years. There was turmoil, hurt, loss, desperation, fear, panic...but there were moments of celebrations and rejoicing, also. You see, much like the Israelites, I had battles to fight, choices to make, lessons to learn. 
Didn't always win the battle 
Didn't always make the right choice 
But the lessons were invaluable!
Desperation requires we cling to a life line. My lifeline was God. I clung to Him will all my might; and with Him as my Guide, I was able to make it through my wilderness. And along the way not only did I learn much about myself, but about my God, also. 
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, "...He led humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart..."  
What's in your heart?
A lot of what was in my heart was independence, and self-reliance;  inadequacy and lack of self esteem, always looking for approval, and mistrust.  But in the wilderness, I had to... 
depend on my Guide 
be loved by my Guide 
look for approval only from my Guide 
and…TRUST my Guide. 

God positioned the Israelites to see great miracles.  I, too, have seen miracles in my wilderness.  

I don’t now what your wilderness may be, or how long you have been there. I don’t know what your “Promised Land” is…but I do know this… 
“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” 
Isaiah 58:11 
Always remember, He is your… 

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Do you ever read some of the stories in the Bible and think to yourself, “People! What were you thinking?” I have just finished reading Chronicles and the history of the kings. These were God’s people…His nation. They had been delivered from slavery and given the land where they were living. And yet, they kept forgetting who brought them there. 
Don’t we do the same thing?

The books of Kings and Chronicles lay out the history of the Kings of Israel and Judah. A king would begin his reign and follow all of God’s commands.
He would tear down the idols.
He would restore the temple.
He would reinstate the feasts and festivals.
He would command the people to follow God’s laws.

Then, after his death one of his sons would come along. You would think that having this Godly king as a father, he would have the same beliefs, standards and principles. But amazingly, time after time the son would come to power and return to their wicked ways.
He would put back the idols.
He would use the temple for his idol worship.
He would forgo the feasts and festivals…  
And the people would follow him…..
Where was the faith of the people? Was it in their God or was it in whatever king was reigning at the time? Why did no one, priests included, say “Wait a minute! I don’t really care what the king does, but I’m going to obey my God!”
I don’t begin to understand the times and ways of that time period. Maybe like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland they would hear “Off with your head!” But it seems to me that they just followed the tide and didn’t make God their God. 
Where was their fear? 
Did they fear man more than they feared? 
Where is our fear?
Do we fear man for than we fear God?
King Josiah was 8 years old when he began his reign. When he was 16 years old, he began to seek the God of David. When he was 20 years old, he began to purge Jerusalem and Judah of the idol worship. When he was 26 years old, he assigned men to repair the temple of the Lord.  In the process, they found the Book of the Law. It was brought to Josiah and read to him. He was grieved at discovering that the nation’s fathers had not kept the word of the Lord. He changed the way things were done from that moment on.
He celebrated the Passover
He appointed priests to the temple duties
He had the Levites return the ark to the temple.
He commanded the people to worship God… 
And the people followed him……

When Josiah died, one of his sons became king….Jehoiakim. “And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God.” And again… 
the people followed him…
Nebuchadnezzar finally came in and took over and so began their captivity.
Three things I noticed as I read through Chronicles.
First, these people were followers. Whatever king was on the throne, he set the standards and they followed. I understand now why Jesus called us sheep. We tend to blindly follow the leader.
Second, time after time after time, when they returned to God, He took them back. Manasseh was an evil king, but “…when he was in distress he sought the favor of the Lord and humbled himself greatly before God…And when he prayed, the Lord was moved …and listened to his entreaty.” (2 Chronicles 33:12, 13)
Another thing occurred to me though, that I thought was interesting. Even though Josiah was just a little boy of 8 when he began his reign, and his father Amon was an evil king… “he began to seek the God of David.” Why?
There must have been a remnant.”
Doesn’t God always leave a remnant? God always planned to have a people, and even though the people kept wandering off, He always kept a remnant. He promises that even in the end of the age, there will be a remnant. A piece of His perfect plan that will not be lost.
The only explanation I can come up with for God to act this way is…Mercy. To continually forgive us when we vacillate so in our convictions and actions is the act of a merciful God. How many times have I said, “Lord, I believe” and then turned away when it doesn’t go my way? Or I have to wait too long for an answer? Or I don’t receive the answer I want? And yet, when I realize I have gone my own way and call out to Him…He
is moved 
and listens 
and forgives. 
All because of His….


Sunday, October 18, 2009


"You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemy".
Psalm 23:5 (NLT)
As I have spent the past few weeks seeking God and searching for a clearer revelation of who He is, I have had the opportunity to pray with and for several women. These women have all come from different backgrounds, ages, and circumstances. But all have one thing in common....they love God with all their hearts and look to Him to be their everything.
Their circumstances have been, and still are, formidable. These aren't just little "I wish" prayers. These are life altering circumstances... 
  • A single mom who received a layoff notice...She needed God to be her source.
  • A wife and mother called back for a second mammogram...Her fear was great and she needed God to be her peace and strength.
  • A woman who recently had a mastectomy and was doing so well the doctors said the choice for chemotherapy was hers...She needed God to be her healer and give her wisdom.
  • A woman whose marriage had fallen apart... She needed God to be her comfort.
  • A woman whose mother was coming for an extended visit and their relationship was strained...She needed God to be her patience and help her love with His love.
  • A woman who had just bought her first home....While filled with joy and excitement, she needed God to be her provider.
All of these women had critical issues they were facing. But each one of them knew the Source to run to.
Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need." (NLT) Everything we have need of, God already has provided for us.
Verse 5 of this Psalm says He has prepared a table, a feast, for us. I picture this as a veritable feast with more than we could ask or imagine on it (Ephesians 3:20). When you are invited to a feast, what do you expect to find? Being from the south, we had numerous potluck dinners after church. And everyone would bring out their best casseroles, salads, breads and desserts. More food than you could "ask or imagine" would show up and be laid out on the tables. There was no way you could even have just a taste from every one of them.
God's table is laid out with something so much greater than food. On His table is our...
...all of this and so much more.
The rest of that verse tells us that this table has been laid out "in the presence of my enemy". You know what that tells me? Our enemy is fully aware of everything that sits on that table! He knows that the answer to every trial he has put in our path is right there in front of us....and he will do whatever he can to prevent us for walking up to the table and receiving what we need. All the fears, the anxieties, the worries, the sicknesses, the disappointments, the irritations....every thing has been put in our path to distract us from the feast on the table.
My commitment, my desire, is to boldly walk up to the table, in the presence of my enemy, and take from it...
The source I need
The peace I need
The strength I need
The healing I need.
The wisdom I need
The comfort I need
The patience I need
The love I need
The provision I need
Because He is my..... 

Friday, October 16, 2009


"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty". 
Psalm 91:1
Have you ever needed a shelter in a storm? I know up here in the Northwest you think you have "storms", but I grew up in Texas where we have "STORMS". I have never liked thunder and lightening. I remember as a young teenager being home alone during the summer break. In Houston, we would have a short thunderstorm roll through almost every afternoon. During those storms I would be sittinig on the couch (away from the windows, of course) clutching a throw pillow tightly to my chest. When the storm finally passed, my fingers would be stiff from holding on so tight. 

As I have prayed this week, I have asked God to show me something else about Him. Tonight He reminded me of something I already know and have recently experienced.
This past summer I had back surgery. I have had problems with my back for years, but it suddenly came to a head in May. It became unbearable and within a few weeks I was having surgery for a herniated disk. It went surprisingly well, and the doctors said I healed very quickly. Just don't ask me too many details about those six or eight weeks....drugs do funny things to the mind.
Drugs also do funny things to the body. When I came home from the hospital they sent several pain killers with me. After taking them for about three weeks, I realized I didn't need them anymore. So when I ran out of them, I didn't refill the prescription. Unfortunately, I hadn't been informed of  the horrific withdrawal I would experience. Four days of no sleep, constant crying, jittery, depressed. It was terrible. During the day I could keep busy and seem almost normal, (except I was always of the verge of tears) but the nights were dreadful. To lay in bed, tired from the day and yet eyes wide open. To feel as if there was no hope, and yet know in your heart and mind that everything was OK. 
Shaking, crying...feeling dread. 

Then Sunday came. The choir sang a song I had not heard before. "I'll Trust You". 
You are my Refuge
In You I'll trust.
You are my Fortress
In You I'll trust.
I'll not dread the terror by night
For angels are all around me
So I will not fear.
 There was that word....dread. I had said that word the night before. "I dread nighttime..." But I was reminded that I have 
a refuge...
a fortress...
a shelter
The storms of life are a reality. There is no way to avoid them. We will face circumstances everyday that will require strength and courage and fortitude and determination. They will bring fears and anxieties and uncertainties. 
But there is a shelter... 
A place to rest...  
Under the shadow of the Almighty. 
I listened to this song nonstop for three days. I still experienced the withdrawal symptoms. I still had to walk through the valley. But I did it with the knowledge that I was under the shadow
This Sunday, I get to sing this song with the choir. I can stand declare "I'll trust You" knowing that when the next storm comes, I won't experience it alone.
I find my strength in the knowledge that He is right there with me.  I find my rest in the knowledge that He is my refuge...
my Shelter....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Short "Musing"

Just a short thought that came to me in church tonight...

Have you ever had someone say or do something to you that was really painful? And though you knew it was no fault of your own, you still struggled through the circumstances to work toward restoration...only to still feel unaccepted or rejected? It's a horribly discouraging path to walk. It seems that no matter how hard you try, you're just not accepted. Maybe for them, it's just easier to pretend you aren't there than to admit they had a part in the "fall". 
On a much grander scale....much grander...
don't we do that to Jesus? 
Think about it... ever since Adam and Eve, man has been making the mistakes. Jesus paid the price, did all the work for restoration , and yet....He's still rejected and unaccepted by the very ones He came to save. 
How great must be the pain He feels at that rejection....
makes mine seems so trivial.

Monday, October 5, 2009


“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   
Matthew 28:20
  We had a women’s conference at church a few weekends ago. I was only able to attend the Friday night session. It had been a busy and hectic day and I hurried to arrive at the church, thinking I would be a little late. However, I slipped into my seat a little early and as I let out a big sigh I said, “Lord, I really need You to meet me here tonight.”
Almost immediately, in my spirit I heard, “I’m already here”.
How silly of me. Of course He was already there. God is present everywhere at all times! He was in the car with me as I was rushing to deliver children to their various activities that night. He was with me all day as I carried out my daily responsibilities. His Spirit dwells in me, so of course He was with me!
Why do we think we have to coax God to meet with us? We get to church and “invite” Him to come! Was He not in the car on the way? Was He not at home while you were doing laundry, or scrubbing floors, or teaching children (I’m a home school mom)? Was He not sitting at your desk with you at work?
Personally, I know it’s not just a matter of Him not being with me, but of me being to busy to notice He’s there. I guess what I really meant, was "Lord, it's quiet now...can we talk?"
Sometimes I get so caught up in the busy-ness of life, that I don't acknowledge Him being with me until I get to church and we begin to worship. My prayer to Him that night was to help me remember that He is present…with me…at all times. But then that started me thinking…how would we behave if we stayed aware of His Presence at all times? 

What would we say?    
What would we do?    
How would we treat others?    
How would we spend our time?    
What music would we listen to?    
What books would we read?    
What would we watch on TV? 
I don’t mean for us to get all stuffy and pious…self-righteousness is not the answer. This doesn’t require us to spend 18 of our 24 hours a day in our prayer closet. Think about when Jesus walked with His disciples. Didn’t they fish? Didn’t they prepare meals? Didn’t they laugh and enjoy life together?
Remember when they were walking along the seashore and the disciples tried to shoo the children away? Jesus stopped and played with them! I remember as a child my Sunday School teacher, Sister Long, had a picture of Jesus sitting on a rock with the children gathered around Him. But, for some reason, I have always pictured in my mind Jesus playing tag with them on the beach.
Don’t know why…just the way I pictured it.
The disciples had daily responsibilities to attend to…and Jesus was there with them. In all that they did…He was there. 

He still is... 
So, when we are going about our responsibilities…cooking meals, washing clothes, going to work, chauffeuring children, preparing for church activities, or even relaxing and having fun…He’s there with us. The challenge…if we stayed aware of that, would it change the way we go about those responsibilities and activities? 

Would it change the words we say?    
Would it change the things we do?    
Would it change the way we treat others?    
Would it change how we spend our time?    
Would it change the music we listen to?    
Would it change the books we read?    
Would it change what we watch on TV? 
I know there are times I speak and wish afterward I hadn’t. I know there are times I do things I probably wouldn’t do if I remembered He was standing right beside me. I think God would watch TV with us…but would we might have to change the channel sometimes. I think He would watch Dancing with the Stars with me, but like my 12 year old son, He would probably say, “They need to put some more clothes on!” But I’m sure there are some shows He would prefer to step out of the room if I were watching them.
Remember the Charles Sheldon book, What Would Jesus Do? A few years ago it started the movement with WWJD printed on everything. It was really so overused, that now people tend to roll their eyes when you mention it. But in reality, we need to ask ourselves…”What would Jesus do?” Or maybe we just need to stop and ask Him, “Jesus, what should we do?”
Because you know, He is always…  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Holy One...

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory ."
Isaiah 6:3

I know I have written about God being Holy before, but I have new thoughts on the subject. Not different…just knew. God is constantly teaching.
I've been reading a book that had me compare the vision given to Isaiah in chapter 6 to the vision given to John in Revelation 4.
  • Both were visions revealing the Holiness of God to these two men.
  • Both visions had God seated on the throne.
  • Both were visions of the seraphs surrounding the throne with 6 wings who were constantly calling out "Holy, Holy, Holy". As they did, the 24 elders who were also surrounding the throne, fell to their faces, cast their crowns at his feet and began to worship Him.
  • Everything shook. 
While it was a study on the Holiness of God, what really struck me was the Worship of God. The question presented to me was, "Are we that intentional with our worship? Are we too casual with the way we come into the Presence of God? How can we develop a greater reverence for Him?" (Ok…that was three questions).
The challenge is that while God is Holy and Awesome and should be approached in reverence and fear, He also tells us in Hebrews 10 that we can come into His Presence with confidence. So how do we balance the reverence and the boldness? All of these things were still fresh in my mind on Tuesday night as we began worship. It struck me that the songs were focused on His Holiness. And I thought, "Lord, how DO we approach your throne with boldness and not be arrogant or casual in our worship?"
The first picture that came to me was Esther, who knew that if she approached the king without being summoned she faced a death sentence. Yet she knew she needed the king to move on behalf of her people. He was in his throne room with all of his elders surrounding him. And I’m sure there was singing and dancing. 
  • I imagine that she bowed at his feet like was customary for approaching a king. 
  • I imagine she was shaking in her slippers.
  • I imagine her heart was pounding with fear.
  • I imagine King Xerxes was astonished that she would do what she did.
  • He had no idea what was on her mind.
  • He had no idea what her request would be.  
The second picture is similar, but oh so different.
Again, the King is on His throne. Again, He is surrounded by His elders. Again, there is singing and probably dancing. BUT… 
  • This time we have the King of Kings on the throne.
  • This time His elders are on their faces worshiping Him.
  • This time the singers are seraphs moving around the throne.
  • This time we have permission to enter the throne room with confidence.
  • This time we have the assurance that if we ask anything, He will hear and answer.
  • This time the King already knows what we have need of.
  • This time the King is pleased to see us.
I try to picture in my mind the throne room of God with the seraphs calling out "Holy, Holy, Holy" and the elders falling on their faces, and it never stops! This is not casual worship! This is not..."Oh, it's time to go to church and sing worship songs". This is constant, intentional, purposeful, heartfelt...worship.
Isaiah said the "whole earth is full of His glory". Worship doesn't happen just in church. It happens everywhere...all the time. You can enter His Presence anytime, any place. In fact, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior you ARE in His Presence all the time, everyplace. 
So, how DO we enter the Presence of God with both confidence and reverence?
We don't have to wait for an invitation... 
We've already been invited to come and dine.
We don't have to fear reproach...
He welcomes us with open arms.
We enter with confidence of His love for us and reverence of Who He is...  
The Holy One….