Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Will Not Forget You...

"I will not forget you. 
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."
Isaiah 49:16

Have you ever felt forgotten? Have you ever felt like no one remembers you are there? Or if you are out of sight for very long, no one will miss you? When you think back to your childhood, or teen years, do you wonder if the people you knew back then ever think of you now?
"I will not forget you"
I have recently found members of my high school graduating class. We are connecting again online and becoming "friends" with each other. Sometimes when I find a name of someone I remember and request to be their friend, I wonder if they think to themselves, "Who is this person?" You see, I wasn't one of the popular kids or a cheerleader or anyone really worth remembering. So, do they really remember me, or are they just befriending a fellow student? 
"I will not forget you"
There is the old adage "out of sight, out of mind". I've always disliked that saying. It leaves one feeling de-valued. But, unfortunately, it can be true. Those things, or people,  that aren't in front of us all the time, we tend to forget about.
"I will not forget you"
How good is your memory? How do you remember important things? Writing them in a calendar is a good idea...unless you leave the calendar somewhere and don't look at it. Some people tie strings around their finger to remember.
That can be a good idea...unless you forget what the string is supposed to represent. Many people write things on their hands so they don't forget them. We used to write our homework assignments on our hands, or our friends phone numbers. My kids do it today. Why our hands? Well, we do everything with our hands. They are always in front of us. So if we are folding clothes or driving a car or doing just about anything, we will notice our hands.  And when we see the notes on our hands we think, "Oh, yeah!"...and we remember.
"I will not forget you"
Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you? We go through difficulties at times and wonder where God went...why He has forgotten us. I wonder if the churches in Haiti feel like God has forgotten them. This horrible earthquake that has killed tens of thousands and turned places of worship into they wonder where God is? Isaiah 43:2 says,
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
It doesn't matter what our trial or difficult circumstances are. It doesn't matter if we feel forgotten. God said He would never leave us. He will be with us in the midst of every situation we find ourselves in.

"I will not forget you"
God tells us in Isaiah that He has engraved us on his hands...they are ever before Him.
He can't forget us because we are always right there...attached to His hands. Engraving is permanent. Remember those notes you wrote on your hands so you wouldn't forget your homework assignment? What happened if you washed your hands? All the ink would run together or completely wash off and the reminder was gone. My name is engraved on His hands. Right there next to the nail prints. In fact, I wonder if the nails themselves didn't engrave my name on His hands. At the very least, those nail scars beside my name remind Him that He went through that for me....and you.
"I will not forget you"
So while we may forget old friends, or important dates or events we can rest assured, that our God will not forget. Our names are ever before Him...permanently engraved on His hands. The same hands that He holds us in. One of my favorite songs our youth choir sings is called I Am Not Forgotten by Israel Houghton.Listen to this song and be reminded...
You are not forgotten...He knows your name.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Fire is powerful"...

Have you ever been having just an ordinary conversation and someone will make a statement that just hits your inner most being like an arrow? Suddenly a simple statement becomes a powerful declaration.

Last night we were having dinner at a friends house. After dinner, we all sat in the living room chatting and watching a movie. In this movie, an arsonist had set some barns  on fire. While some were trying to put it out, others were just standing there watching the flames. My husband, Mark, said, "People love to watch fires", to which my friend, Cheryl, replied..."Fire is powerful". Such a simple statement, but in an instant, my spirit picked up on a much deeper meaning.

Fire is powerful

In the Bible, fire is used is many different situations. God spoke to Moses out of the fire. When He came down and dwelt in the Holy of Holies, it appeared to be on fire. When He descended onto Mt. Sinai to talk with Moses, the mountain appeared to be on fire.  He led the Israelites through the wilderness with a pillar of fire by night. God Himself is described as an "all consuming fire". 

Fire is powerful

All of the sacrifices God laid out for our atonement were burned up with fire. Throughout all of Leviticus and Numbers, as instructions are given for the sacrifices, it is repeated over and over, "an offering made to the LORD by fire".   The sacrifice representing their sin, the fire consuming their sin and leaving nothing between them and God.
Fire is powerful 

His Word is like fire (Jeremiah 23). It consumes and destroys the chaff around us.  And while many things are destroyed by the fire, some things are refined by the fire. When the disciples were waiting in the upper room, the Holy Spirit came and "tongues of fire" lit upon them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And they were changed in an instant...refined. Peter, the gruff and burly fisherman, uneducated and a little rough around the edges, became an eloquent "fiery" preacher. He was different...changed by the "fire".

There is the story of the man who refines silver. He sits with the silver in the fire and watches it, for if it stays in the fire too long, it will be damaged. And the way that he knows it is refined is when he can see his reflection in the silver.

Fire is powerful
God is an all consuming fire

A fire whirl is "when a fire, under certain conditions (depending on air temperature and currents), acquires a vertical vorticity and forms a whirl, or a tornado-like effect of a vertically oriented rotating column of air. Fire whirls may be whirlwinds separated from the flames, either within the burn area or outside it, or a vortex of flame, itself."

Fire is powerful
God is an all consuming fire

I want to be a fire whirl...A part of the fire, split off and yet burning within the flame. I want His all consuming fire to burn off the old me and refine me into His image. But if I remain in the fire, under His watchful eye, then the "stuff" that gets on me day to day that needs to be disposed of, will burn off.

Father, never let the fire on my altar go out. Keep the flame burning within me that I may be purified daily and You may see within me Your image. Keep the fire burning, because...
Fire is powerful
The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; 
it must not go out.
Leviticus 6:13

Friday, January 15, 2010

We are the Tabernacle...

But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, and over all its vessels and furnishings and all things that belong to it. They shall carry the tabernacle [when journeying] and all its furnishings, and they shall minister to it and encamp around it.
Numbers 1:50 (amp)

This is my 50th year. I know that's hard to believe, but yes, I will be turning 50 this year. So in preparation for this overwhelming event, I have been searching the Scriptures for the 50th verse of each chapter. Of course, this only applies to the chapters in the Bible that actually  have 50 verses. I can't take credit for this idea myself. I have a friend who turned 51 this year, and she searched for the 51st verse in each chapter. I thought it would be interesting to see how the Lord speaks to me through those verses. Some of them are more difficult than others to get revelation. For instance... 
"Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim" Joshua 15:50
May have to study that one a bit longer. Monday night I wrote about our being Broken need of Him. The next day as I was looking for my 50th verse, I came across Numbers 1:50. There were several things that I felt God reveal to me.
God told Moses to appoint the Levites over the Tabernacle. The Levites were the worshipers. Typically, we consider the choir to be the worshipers, the Levites. But really,God created all of us to be worshipers. I remember Bob Dylan singing the song "Gotta Serve Somebody". If we don't worship Him, we will worship someone or something else. But, God created us to worship Him.
We are Levites.
The next thing I realized, is that individually, we are the Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us.  Just as within the tabernacle that was taken apart, carried and rebuilt all over that desert by the Levites, the Spirit of God descends to dwell in us.
We are the Tabernacle.
Then, I thought about us and a group. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. Just as the individual pieces of the Tabernacles were brought together and assembled to form the dwelling place of God, we come together to form the Church.
We are the Tabernacle.
The instructions God gave to Moses regarding the Levites duties were to CARRY the Tabernacle, to MINISTER to the Tabernacle, and to ENCAMP AROUND the Tabernacle. Follow me with this...if we are the Levites AND we are the you see it?
As Levites, worshipers of the Most High God,
our calling is to tend to each other! 
We are to carry  each other..."Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
We are to minister to one another..."beyond their ability, they were freely willing,  imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." 2 Corinthians 8:3,4
We are to encamp, surround, one another..."Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" Hebrews 12:1. These witnesses were the ones who had gone before us. But I believe that we are witnesses today of His grace and mercy and forgiveness and faithfulness. All that He is, we have witnessed. And we are to encamp around one another. Protecting, comforting, encouraging, loving....
We are the Tabernacle
It's frustrating to me sometimes when I know God has spoken a truth into my heart and I can't relate it verbally to the degree that He has impressed it on me. But I believe that if we are the Levites and we are the Tabernacle, then when we find our brothers and sisters in brokenness, it is our calling, our responsibility, our duty, to...
Carry them
Minister to them
Encamp around them
Because while in our brokenness we desperately need Him, we also desperately need each other. I want to be a Levite. I want to help carry, minister and encamp around the Tabernacle. Can we do this together?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Broken Vessel

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7 

My journey this past week has taken me down a road filled with obstacles. These are not obstacles as you would imagine. In fact, none of them were MY obstacles. But,  we are a body...and as such, each of us have our individual purpose in the body. But we are still one. And when one of us feels pain, we all share in that pain. When one of us is in need, we all feel the need. When one of us is broken, we all need mending. My heart has been broken this week...
broken for the pain caused to the innocent
broken for the needs of families with little or no income
broken for the bodies in need of healing
I have spoken with people whose families are being torn apart through no actions of their own. I have spoken with people who are facing eviction from their home. I have spoken with families who aren't sure where the next meal is coming from. I have spoken with people whose bodies are  in need of healing.
These are obstacles in their roads... 

Today I re-connected with a dear friend.  We met when I was 10 years old and she was 9. She was the daughter of our pastor when we lived in Texas and we spent many days...and nights together. And if we weren't physically together, we were on the phone. Many were the nights we would sit on the phone and say, "you hang up you hang up first." for an hour!!  And after growing up together, we got married and went our separate ways. Over the years I have often....often thought of her. I have tried to find her several times, to no avail. 
Today...she found me. 
We had a long chat online, trying to catch up through almost 30 years. During the course of our conversation, I found out she has been battling breast cancer for a couple years. 
An obstacle on her journey 

She has an amazing website called My Own Road Home which tells the story of her journey and it's filled with joy and laughter and songs of Praise to her Deliverer. And yes, He is delivering her. On her website is a list of songs that have carried her through. I found one I had not heard before and it spoke to me. Music does speaks to me.
It's called A Broken Vessel and it reminded me...that's what we are. Each of us has been broken in some way. Sometimes we are broken by others who have cast us aside without thought or concern. Sometimes we are broken just by the cares and difficulties of life. Sometimes we are broken because we have foolishly thought to go our own way. Sometimes, the Potter breaks He can make us in His image. 
But, we are need of Him

The obstacles of life can trip us up on our journey and cause us to break. We are just jars of clay...but it's what we do when we are broken that matters. Sunday at church, as we were worshiping, I found my heart crying out to the Lord, "We are desperate for You!" You see in all of this journey each of us are on, there is only One who can guide us. One who can deliver us. One who can save us. One who can heal us. One who can put the broken pieces back together....better than before.
Lord, I’ve come to You
With everything I am
Take me in Your hands
And mold me into Your plan
I’m a broken vessel in need of You  
So, though my journey has brought me down a road filled with obstacles, I know the One who can guide me through them. And if the obstacles have caused you to fall and become broken, pick up the pieces, and take them to the Potter. For though we are jars of clay, our purpose is to be filled with treasure...His treasure. And He will put you back together, molded just right, to hold the treasure He has for you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


"All things are possible for him who believes."
Mark 9:23

Every year at Christmas, my younger children and I pick a word. It's our Christmas word and we always try to find an ornament with that word on it. A couple of years ago our word was "believe". It began with the movie "A Polar Express". In that movie, of course, they were believing in Santa. But if you watch it with "kingdom eyes" there are some spiritual truths to be found in it.
Do you believe?

Have you ever caught yourself saying "I can't believe it!" We usually make that exclamation when some amazing event we have been hoping for occurs and we are astonished. Or sometimes it is a disappointing event that we were hoping would not occur.  And yet, there it is...right before our very eyes and we say "I can't believe it!" It seems like such an innocent exclamation. But what is really behind the words?

Last summer as I was recovering from back surgery, I stumbled across the song that is playing as you read this. (If you can't hear it...turn your volume up). It's called Help Me Believe by Kirk Franklin. I was actually at a low place emotionally, mostly due to the pain medication the doctors had me on. But it seemed to really speak to the most difficult areas in my life where I was struggling to believe.

"I wanna believe but I'm having a hard time seeing past 
what I see right now...
I wanna be free but when I try to fly I realize I don't know how... 
no one showed me how...
Could you give me a sign cause I don't feel you like I should...
My faith is almost gone, I can't hold on much longer
Please take this cup from me". 

Ever been there? There are those times in life when you just can't see past your current circumstances. The times when you don't know where the next meal is coming from, or the next paycheck. Or if you will ever live free of pain again. We want to be free of it all, but we just don't know how. And we beg for Him to take it all away. But, what if He doesn't?

Do you believe?

Mark 9 tells the story of the man whose son was possessed by several demons. He came to Jesus and said, "If you can do anything, come and help us". I can almost hear the question in Jesus' voice when he repeats "'If you can'? Everything is possible for him who believes".

Can you hear the backpedaling the father does as he quickly says..."I do believe." But then, somehow sensing that Jesus knows his heart, he adds..."help me overcome my unbelief".

We all want to believe. But sometimes our faith is so small. Do you remember Thomas? He said he wouldn't believe Jesus had been raised from the dead unless he could see it for himself and put his hands in the wounds. Did he really not believe? Or was it one of those "I can't believe it" moments? Whichever the case, in John 20:29 Jesus said, "because you have seen me, you believe; blessed are those who don't see and yet believe." That's you and me.

Do you believe?

We all have hard times and sticky situations we have to endure. It's called life. But when we experience those times when we feel all alone and can't see past our circumstances, we have to remind ourselves...He's been there before us. He has experienced all the hurts and disappointments we have. And, He sees our hearts and He knows... 

we wanna believe.

So, if you are struggling with unbelief..look back. Look back at those times in the past when you have needed Him and He has rescued you. Look back at those times when you didn't know where the next meal was coming from and someone brought you dinner. Look back at those times when you were in pain and He healed you. Look back to those times when you felt alone, and He was your friend. We have a history with Him....and if perhaps you don't yet know Jesus and don't think you have a history with Him, I would venture to say that if you look back, you will see His hand in your life. I know that His eye has never left you. And today, you can begin to have that relationship with Him and start a new life and a new history. All you have to do is say...

I Believe...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that's what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:9 (MSG)

This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be 
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose 

I was in my car today and heard this song on the radio. It’s an older song by Switchfoot and has always been one of my favorites. But for some reason tonight, it got me to thinking…

Am I who I want to be?
What do I want to be?
And how do I become what I want to be? 
(I know…again with the three questions.)

I’m reading a book by John Bevere called Extraordinary. In this book he points out that the opposite of extraordinary is…normal. Don’t most of us hope that we would just have a normal life? I know I have said that myself… "If things would just get back to normal!” But God has planned for us to live lives that are above and beyond normal. God intends for our lives to be extraordinary. He promises us a life with a future and full of hope. The Bible tells us that Jesus came that we would have “life, and that life abundantly”.

So, this is your life...
Are you who you want to be?

In his book, John Bevere goes on to say, "We can't do anything to make God love us any more than He already loves us...or to make Him love us any less. However...we are responsible for how pleased God is with us. His pleasure in us is based on our choices in life." 2 Corinthians 5:9

So, if I can’t do anything to make God love me more and I can’t do anything to make God love me less, what can I do? I want to live my life in a way that brings Him joy. I want to make choices that please Him. I’m not entirely sure what all that means. I know the basics…

Love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.
Love others as I love myself.
Obey God in everything I say and do.
Serve God, and by serving Him…serve others.

So, on this journey that I am on, I have turned down another road. It's actually the same road I have been traveling. The same road that is teaching me more about God's  character and attributes.   The same road that is  teaching me more about myself. But we've made a turn in the road. (I say we, because I do not travel this road alone.) And down this road are more opportunities, more adventures, more obstacles, and more chances to please Him. And I hope...I pray...that along the way I will learn how to live  a life that is....