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….