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....