Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Word...

“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.” 
John 1:1

  Have you ever tried to wrap your mind around that verse? I remember memorizing it as a child and it’s phrased so melodically, that it was one of the easiest verses to learn. . But did I ever really understand what John was saying? I’m not entirely sure I do now! But when you stop and think about how many times you hear the phrase “The Word of the Lord…” in the Bible, you begin to realize – there is power in that Word! I say “begin” because there is no end to this realization. 
  • He spoke the Word and all creation came into existence (Genesis 1)  
  • He spoke the Word to Abram and a nation was created (Genesis 15)  
  • He revealed himself thru His Word (1 Sam 3)  
  • He gives correction thru His Word (1 Kings 19)  
  • He spoke the Word and cast out demons and healed the sick. (Matt. 8:16)  
  • He spoke the Word and the wind and waves stood still (Mark 4)  
  • His word brings life (John 8:51)
I did a search and discovered the phrase “the Word of the Lord” 255 times in the Bible; 242 of those were in the Old Testament. I didn’t actually read them all, but I did scan through them. Most of the instances I read were times when the Word of the Lord came to the prophets who then spoke that Word to people. Of those 255 scriptures, only 13 of them were in the New Testament. Most of those came from Jesus’ disciples teaching the Word of the Lord.

I know you are going to think I have taken a U-turn in this conversation, but just be patient with me. Pastor Alec spoke this morning about living day to day looking for “Oh my word” moments with God. That’s what really got me to thinking about this. 

Throughout my lifetime, I have had many “Oh my word” encounters with God. There were times when I thought that surely all was lost, only to have Him miraculously step in and save the day. And there have been times when I “wished” for some little thing, only to be amazed as I walk around the corner and find that “wish” granted.

But, I can’t say that I walk each day actively looking for those encounters. He gave an encouragement to live each day in such a way that “Oh my word” moments are the norm and not the surprise.

John tells us in Chapter 1, Verse 14 that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. So instead of hearing “the Word of the Lord”…the Word walked side by side with them.

The Word put on humanity…The Word put on a Name…Jesus. He put on our weaknesses and discomforts. Walked on our dirty, dusty roads. Lived with our frustrations and temptations. Put up with our attitudes and bad moods. Experienced first hand rejection, humiliation, loneliness, pain, suffering, hunger, thirst, weariness...death.

Side by Side…the Word among us.
Jesus...the Word among us.
    • The Word still speaks and calms the storms.  
    • The Word still speaks and heals the sick.  
    • The Word still speaks and reveals Himself.  
    • The Word still speaks and brings correction and directions.  
    • The Word still speaks and brings new life.  
    Kind of brings new twist on the phrase…
    "Oh My Word!”

    Monday, September 14, 2009


    After the fire came a gentle whisper.” 
    I Kings 19:12
    Ever really needed to hear the voice of God and wonder why He’s not talking to you? Yeah…me, too! When I am in that place, it seems so desolate. I went to Pastor Bill Coleman’s class yesterday and he spoke on that very subject. What do you think of when you hear the word desolate? 
    Ever been there?
    Mount Horeb
    Elijah ran there in 1 Kings 19 trying to get away from Jezebel and Ahab. He had just killed all the prophets of Baal and prayed fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice and rain down on drought stricken land. But then he ran to Mount Horeb and the only path there was through a desolate land.
    He was alone… 
    The land was barren and empty...
    He asked to die. 

    Pastor Bill both reminded me and enlightened me with this message. His enlightenment… "Our place of desolation is our place of preparation.” That statement tied in with Pastor Ron’s message of the week before on the Promises of God. Remember? Sometimes while waiting on the promise God made to us we
    Wait in faith 
    Wait while preparing 
    Wait and fight 
    I believe my place of desolation is a place to wait while preparing. When Elijah was on his way to Mount Horeb, he stopped a day's journey into the desert and said, “I’ve had enough…I’m done, take me now.” (paraphrasing again) In this place, this barren, lonely, empty place, God ministered to him. Fed him twice - Enough to sustain him for a forty day and night journey to Mount Horeb where he then found a cave.
    Ever had God ask you, “What are you doing here?”
    What was your answer or reaction? A pity party? Me, too.

    Elijah did, as well. “I’ve done all this good stuff, and I’m the only one left, and I’m tired and they want to kill me.” Here’s the reminder Pastor Bill gave me…the still small voice of God. I don’t know why, but whenever I need to hear from God I look for “Earth, Wind and Fire”. No, not the group from the 70’s…But earthquakes, windstorms, fire from heaven…something big!

    “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper.”
    I Kings 19:11, 12
    I forget about the whisper. I heard it twice this weekend. Once it said, “No.” And once it said, “Go back”. God told Elijah to go back. He said “Go back the way you came.” He went on to tell him to anoint a new king and put to death another. Those were not my instructions. God told me “No” to one direction and “Go back” in another. When we ask God for instruction, wisdom, direction or even “why?”…let’s not forget to listen to the still small voice of God...
    The Whisper…..

    Thursday, September 10, 2009


    I got a phone call from a precious friend this afternoon. CJ and I go way back to high school days. It was an unexpected phone call. We hadn’t spoken in a while. You see, she lives in Arizona now. We grew up together in Texas, were in each others weddings, raised our first two children together. Then Mark and I moved to Washington, and she and her family moved to Mississippi then on to Arizona.
    Carole and Doug Henehan 5.28.83
    We’ve kept in contact through the years by phone, email and now facebook. I chat with her daughters on FB all the time. They are beautiful young ladies with their mother’s smile and their daddy’s eyes. And even though I haven’t seen them face to face in over eleven years, they love me like I spent every day with them. 

    Anyway, I sent CJ a text message today and she called me right back. I knew she and the girls had been shopping together and I was feeling a little jealous. So I texted her and invited her for Thanksgiving. As it turns out...they have other plans. Something about Kansas City and visiting Doug's family?? Whatever...So we laughed together for a while, catching up on kids and such. 

    I told her I usually had a few ladies over on Thursday evenings for prayer, but everyone had commitments for tonight so I was just gonna pray by myself. She said, “I’ll pray with you…what’s up?” 

    So as I was driving along, through school zones talking on my cell phone (shhh…don’t tell anyone) I shared my heart with her. I do believe she was driving and talking on her cell phone too, though. It felt good to sit with a dear friend and just be honest and open with my thoughts. By the time I got home, I believe she was home and the two of us sat in our respective driveways and she began to pray.
    What a precious moment. She reminded me...  

    that God is faithful; 
    that He knows exactly where we are and what we need; 
    that there is no need that is too trivial for Him; 
    that He’s my Father; 
    that Jesus died just for me…even if I had been the only person in the world. 
    As CJ prayed, I was so touched by the heart of a friend caring for another. That she would take the time out of her busy day, to listen to me and encourage me and uplift me. 

    She is my friend.
    I have another Friend…His name is Jesus. 
    He also takes time out of His day to listen to me and encourage me and uplift me. He gave His all for me. He’s the Friend that sticks closer than a brother…or a sister. 

    Thank you, CJ for being my friend….
    Thank you, Jesus, for being my


    "Thus far, the Lord has helped us.” 
    1 Samuel 7:12

    I have a jar of stones that sits on my table in the living room. Most people when they see them probably think they are just there for decoration. But to me, they have very special and specific meaning.
    My husband, Mark and I have been married for 26 years now. About 15 years ago, I was just thinking back over our life, and realized that every year since the year we met, there had been an event. Some of those events were celebrations…  
    The day we met 
    The day we were married 
    The birth of our children 
    The purchase of our first home
    Some of those events were trials…  
    The loss of a job 
    The loss of a home
    And some of them were extremely painful...
    Moving half-way across the country away from family and friends
    The loss of a baby 
    Lost relationships
    But, as I looked back over them, I realized God had been faithful all along. Even when we were faithless, ready to give it all up…He was always there and walked with us through each celebration and trial.
    So, I began to keep track…I have a written list of the last 26 years; all the milestones that I could think of. Some were life-changing – being miraculously and instantaneously delivered from depression; others were somewhat trivial, but heart-wrenching – having my one and only daughter cut off one side of her long curly hair at age 3. (She’ll never forgive me for mentioning that!) But, they were milestones, none the less.
    One day, I was reading 1 Samuel 7…Samuel has just led the Israelites in repentance for their idol worship, and then the Lord forgave them and gave them the Philistines at Mizpah. "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us’”. 1 Samuel 7:12
    It suddenly hit me that I had so many occasions to look back and say, "So far….God has brought us so far!”.
    I went to Michael’s and bought a bag of rocks! I don’t necessarily have 26…one for each year of marriage. Or even one for each event that I have listed. But they are there as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Thus far….God has helped us. And His word promises that He will continue to do so.
    So now, when trials come or circumstances seem to overwhelm me, I can look at that jar of rocks and be reminded of His faithfulness to me.
    "I will never leave you or forsake you.”
    Joshua 1:5  


    Tuesday, September 8, 2009


    "Holy, Holy, Holy 
    Is the Lord God Almighty 
    Who was, and is, and is to come. 
    With all creation I sing 
    Praise to the King of Kings, 
    You are my Everything 
    And I will adore You." 

    The words are from the Book of Revelation and have been written as a song, "Revelation Song", recently sung by Philips, Craig and Dean and others. Holy... Holy is not only a word used to describe God, but it’s one of His Names.
    Elohim Kedoshim -Holy God.
    “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy”. Leviticus 19:2
    “He is a holy God..” Joshua 24:19
    Not only is He a holy God…but He makes His people Holy.
    YVHV M’Kadesh - “The Lord who makes us holy”.
    “The nations will know that I, the Lord, make Israel holy.” Ezekiel 37:28
    What does it mean to be holy? Webster's Dictionary defines it with words like: 
    inspiring fear, awe. 

    None of those words are quite big enough to describe God, do you think? I don’t think of God as pious, or religious, or saintly…although He does inspire fear and awe.
    Strong's Concordance uses words like...
    All good words…none of them big enough for God, but probably the best we can do with our limited vocabulary. But….sanctuary? That one fascinates me.
    What do you think of when you hear the word “sanctuary”. A small room with stiff, wooden bench pews and hardwood floors with a few windows that are open in the summer for a warm breeze and sealed shut in the winter to keep out the icy wind? Or maybe an old stone cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows? Perhaps it’s a lovely, big room with a balcony, full of cloth covered seats with icy cold air conditioning blowing down the aisles? (I sometimes use a lap blanket on Sundays…shhh don’t tell anyone)
    But what if a sanctuary is a safe place? A haven…a hiding place. A place to run to when you are scared; a place to hide when the enemy has come at you so strong that you have lost all your strength and just need place to rest. A place to sit and regroup and make a new battle plan. Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.

    My sanctuary…
      “In the center around the throne, were four creatures…Day and night they never stop saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’”
    Revelation 4:6,8

    Monday, September 7, 2009


    In the beginning God created....
    Genesis 1:1
    Creator…the first thing God introduces Himself as. There was nothing, and then there was everything…just from His spoken Word. One of my favorite things to do is go the beach…any beach…and look at the water. If you are at the ocean, you see a vast expanse of – water and nothing else. For miles and miles…what seems like an eternity. But the mighty crashing waves show a power that is beyond our imagination.
    If you go to Puget Sound and look across – my favorite view is from Edmonds – you see the majestic Olympic Mountain Range. And depending on the time of day or season of the year…some of the most incredible sunsets! And snow covered peaks in the winter. Sometimes the fog will be low on the water, but the sun rising in the east shines on the mountain peaks and they glow. Amazing! I also like to take drives through the countryside or across the mountain passes. If you cross the Cascades, the road takes you along the river…as you drive you can watch the water cascading down the mountain side. Sometimes you get a peak at a deer or some other wildlife. In the summer everything is green and new and the water is refreshing. In the autumn the colors are amazing; colors that Crayola has not and never will be able to recreate in a crayon. In the winter, you are taking a chance at getting all the way across the mountain passes because the snow can pile up ten or twelve feet and the roads are icy and hazardous. But the views are amazing. Snow drifts shaped by the winter winds. Heaps of snow pushed to the side of the highway by snow plows trying to make way for the travelers. And occasionally you will get stopped by an avalanche…tons of snow sliding down the mountainside and covering the roadway. Amazing! And what about the night sky. Ever go out to a place where the city lights don’t blind the starry night? Louis Giglio has done a video called “Indescribable” with pictures of galaxies so far away we can’t see them without aid of powerful telescopes. There’s one that looks like an eye…some call it “The Eye of God” Isn’t that amazing? It’s like way up there in the night sky…there is an image to remind us that God is always watching over us. And then there is man…”what is man that you are mindful of me?” (Psalm 8:4) When you think of the human body and all it’s parts and components and inner workings…the fact that it all works together is such perfect harmony…how can you doubt the existence of God? What an amazing master craftsman! I’m no scientist, in fact, the only reason I passed any of my science classes is because I had a wonderful teacher for three years named Mr. Wilson who curved the grade so much my F became a C. But I do remember that all of matter is made up of atoms. That same Louis Giglio video talks about how our bodies are held together. There is a little thing called “laminin” that holds the atoms together. It keeps all of the millions of cells that our bodies are made up of glued together so we don’t fall apart. (I’m sure there’s so much more psychological reflection in that…but not now). Here’s a picture of laminin…..
    It all comes back to Him, doesn’t it? Creation. The ocean. The starry sky. The animals. The trees, flowers and vegetation. Even the very thing that holds our bodies together. Creator...

    I AM

    When I ask myself, "Who is God?" the first response that comes to mind is "I AM". That's what He told Moses when he asked "Who shall I say has sent me?"
    Put yourself in Moses he finds himself talking to a bush...a burning bush that doesn't burn! And then the reality hits him that he's talking to Jehovah God Himself.
    On top of that, he's instructed to go to the ruler of this huge nation and just tell him, "I'm taking these people out of here. You have abused them long enough, and we are going to leave." (Paraphrasing Exodus 3 just a little).
    Moses is probably thinking..."Wait a minute! Who am I? This guy's not gonna listen to me! I'm just a poor sheep farmer out here in the wilderness. Hey God...who should I say sent me? By whose authority can I tell him I'm coming to do this thing? I gotta have a name behind me!"
    God says, "Tell him I AM ..."
    Moses..."I am who?"
    God..."I AM"
    Moses..."Ummm, is that it? I fill in the blank?"
    God..."Tell him I AM has sent you!"
    Now Moses didn't have Webster's dictionary, but I do. And the definition for "am" is "BE". That's it...just "be". And the definition of "be" is to have existence, reality and actuality; to occupy, remain, to take place. One of my favorite parts of the definition says "to remain undisturbed or uninterrupted". You can't disturb or interrupt the existence of God.
    God's existence transcends time and space. There is no "birthday" for God, no life expectancy. We can't measure how tall He is...or the span of his arm length. He just "is". There's no heighth or depth or length or breadth to His love for us.
    So God says, "My name is 'I AM'. I have existence, reality and actuality. I occupy, remain without interruption". I don't know about you....but that's too big for me to wrap my mind around. I can't really grasp the "big picture" all of God is as a whole. The hugeness of Him is too much for me. So, I'm gonna break this journey down into smaller bite-size pieces that I can look at one at a time.
    Wanna come?

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    Beginning the Journey...

    I've decided to Know God. I know that sounds strange, but I've spent most of my life serving Him and thinking that I know Him, but not really understanding who He is.
    One if my favorite chapters, Psalm 103 says,
    Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
    *who forgives all your sins
    *heals all your diseases,
    *redeems your life from the pit
    *crowns you with love and compassion,
    *satisfies your desires with good things
    *works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
    *is compassionate and gracious,
    *slow to anger,
    *abounding in love.
    *will not always accuse,
    *nor will he harbor his anger forever;
    *he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    *or repay us according to our iniquities.
    *For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
    *as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
    *he knows how we are formed,
    *he remembers that we are dust. *from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
    *and his righteousness with their children's children-
    This does not begin to be an exhaustive list of His benefits...and it's only the beginning of Who He is. So, Who is He? Why does He love me the way He does? What is His purpose and plan in and for my life? When does He act on my behalf? and Where is He taking me? I'm gonna work on finding out.
    This could be exciting!!! :)