God’s Mercy

If God isn’t Sovereign…….

An article hit the news stands last week producing a firestorm of responses from every possible world view and belief system. I have been thinking about the article and the various replies and felt compelled to respond with an observation missing from many of the “Religious” who criticized or rallied to support the declaration made during the interview of a professing Christian singer and songwriter.

 

rgue

 

With that being said, I want to clarify that my response is directed towards Christians. I draw this line because I believe it is futile to argue morality with a person who does not believe in the God who has Saved and redeemed my life. It is foolish to argue with anyone who does not believe in His Sovereign right to proclaim what is sin and what is holiness. I think it is silly for a Christian to expect a professing atheist to adhere to a set of moral standards and way of life when they do not acknowledge or serve the God who decreed them.

 

So, here we go….

 

First off, I can’t begin to fathom the pain, struggle, depression ect. that Vicky has gone through. My observations are not an attempt to downplay or write off her story or her years of suppressed pain. I am not declaring her struggle to be unworthy of consideration and response from the church and individual believers. My response is not a pro or anti-homosexuality statement but rather a statement regarding the error in which professing Christians are viewing God, in both her situation (homosexual struggle) and all others struggles that we find ourselves in.

 

I have never struggled with same-sex attraction. I have no idea what it is like to have affections for someone the same gender as myself after having been taught those affections if given into are sinful. Yet for the thousands of Christians like Vicky Beeching out there, there are thousands more like me who have known and experienced different darkness’s, and our pain is equally unfathomable to the Vicky’s out there. We live in a fallen world, and because sin resides in the heart of every man, woman, and child. Pain, destruction, and darkness hits everyone in many different ways and throughout all seasons of life.

 

Many years ago, my world was crushed and turned upside down. Someone I loved betrayed my love and trust, and in the aftermath, my heart wasdep ground into so many pieces, I believed it impossible to ever be made whole again. I was so broken, I despised my life. I hurt so badly, I just wanted to disappear into a dark hole and never come out again. As a result of the wounds I suffered, I became incapacitated with fear and had emotional and physical panic attacks on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. My seemingly perfect life was replaced with a living hell I could not escape. Not a day passed by that I did not feel the pain and disappointment of my wounds. I had been robbed of so many things and I would never get them back. I did not choose to be hurt nor did I deserve to be hurt, but it had happened, and all I could do was look at the pieces of my broken and bleeding heart and weep.

 

In California, a dear sweet woman I know is battling for her life. Her body is riddled with a monstrous disease that not only robs her of her health, but also the ordinary every day moments and pleasures we all take for granted. She has 3 beautiful children and a loving husband. As she struggles through pain, rounds of chemo, depression, and fear, her mind is racked with anxiety over her family’s future. Every day she is given is a gift, but each day leaves her wondering how much time she has left to enjoy, love, and live life. She was not a bad person before cancer. She does not deserve this pain or this burden, but it is hers to carry.

 

I have a  friend, who had her childhood dream of love, marriage, and family crumble before her eyes. Just weeks into her fairy tale marriage, the man, who had appeared to everyone to be the epitome of godliness, love, and strength, revealed himself to be a verbally abusive, controlling monster. My friend had been a wonderful example to me. She loved the Lord and had faithfully served Him with all her heart during her single years. She had waited and saved herself for her husband. She is a “good woman” and in the world’s eyes, she does not deserve to wake up every day in a living hell married yet lonely and unloved, but this reality is her life

 

There is a godly, humble, loving couple who had their lives turned upside down and their plans drastically altered. A few years ago their 18-year-old son was involved in a car accident that left him mentally and physically handicapped for life. This young man loved and served the Lord with passion and zeal. He was looking forward to college, establishing his ministry, becoming a husband and father. He was an accomplished artist and musician but now he is fed, clothed, and his diapers changed by family and friends. His parents were looking forward to a new season of life as “empty nesters.” After faithfully raising their children, it was almost time for them to enter the season of life when they could fill their days focusing on each other. No more school bills, cooking for boys with bottomless pits for bellies. They were done with sleepless night worrying and praying for their kids as they made the transition from children to adulthood. In a moment, that dream was snatched from them and tragically replaced with one demanding even more sacrifice, heartache, and time. Instead of retirement and trips alone across the world, their situation now demands more time and energy than the first 18 years of all their children’s lives combined. Now they are bound to their home and devoted to the 24 hour daily care of their wheelchair bound son who may never walk, talk, or ever verbally recognize them again. They did not deserve to have their lives and dreams wrecked, but that dream was ripped away and a different one placed in their laps.

 

str w mt

 

Personal stories like these are endless. The stories of almost every “Hero of the faith” include periods, if not a lifetime, of great personal tragedy and conflict. As believers, our lives are filled with pain, disappointment, sorrow, and grief. It should not surprise us because Jesus himself told us “In the world you will have much tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

 

 

There is an Author and Finisher of each story above, including my story, your story, and Vicky’s story. No mistakes have been made in any of these people’s lives. God was not out to lunch when Vicky was created, nor was he taking a nap when the young man’s truck was t-boned at the intersection of his home town. The Creator was not distracted with other overwhelming issues when my friend said “I do” to her husband. The presence of death doesn’t signify the absence of God nor does it declare His indifference. My friend who battles cancer isn’t proof God does not exist or that if He does exist He  is a heartless and impersonal God. Suffering does not prove His impotence, lack of judgment, character, or ability, but rather it proclaims with fierceness how greatly He is needed in our lives. If God were not aware, not in charge, not in control, or not sovereign for even a fraction of a second, He would not be God!

 

If we confess and proclaim to serve the Sovereign and powerful Creator of the Universe, we must accept and glory in that Sovereignty during every season of life, including the times of deep sorrow, pain and loss. What we so often forget is, that the Sovereign and Glorious Lord of Creation has the right to choose who, and how, and when He will be exalted, honored, and glorified.  He may choose to bless a man with great talent and riches, allowing that man to glorify him with his excess and prosperous life. Throughout history, the Savior of our souls often chooses a different path for His children, confounding the “wise” as he not only allows, but rather calls His own to suffer. On Sunday, we worship and praise the Savior who sacrificed all on the cross, but so often struggle to understand His call to suffer when we are thrust in the middle of a chapter filled with pain and sorrow.

 

Vicky’s struggle with homosexuality, my broken heart, my friend’s broken body, broken and discarded dreams aren’t a mistake by God, garnering a green light to respond in any way that makes that pain and sorrow a little easier to bear, including sin. If our pain is too heavy to bear or our sorrow too grievous to carry, we do not get to say, it’s too much. We can’t call a press conference and declare God made a mistake in our situation, therefore what he has said to be right and true no longer applies to our life. If God’s Holiness, His Righteousness, His character, (that dividing gulf between himself and man) changes for just one moment in time, for one life, in one situation, He is no longer True, Just Righteous, Holy or God! (Any time the world, who has declared God to not exist, agrees with the declaration that God has made a mistake and changed His mind, we have great cause to pause and consider that view!)

 

Vicky’s life is indeed a grueling battle and her struggle painful, but such is the life of EVERY believer.

 

YET there is something greater than the pain and suffering of all the Vicky’s of the world and it is the Grace of the Savior of the Universe poured out abundantly upon the lives of all He has chosen to allow to suffer

SO THAT He might be glorified.

And so, some suffer for a season, and some most of their lives,

yet He Is LORD!

 

Sadly, right now Vicky can not know or experience that grace, nor can she glory or glorify Him because she has chosen not to trust, obey, and submission to His purpose. Her declaration to herself and the world, that her response to her particular trial is ok will not bring her peace! The great news is that it is not too late for that miracle in her life or ours. By miracle, I do not mean the removal of Vicky’s homosexual desires or the instrument of pain in my life, but rather the astounding, other worldly, God Glorifying testimony of how He has graced her/me/us with the power and ability to say no to the flesh and yes to life a that is fulfilled and victorious despite the ever-present struggle with same-sex attraction/the daily battle to say no to our flesh.

 

Vicky is one of millions who suffer with burdens they never asked to carry,

and burdens the Lord has decided not to remove while they walk this earth.

 

For years I sinned in my heart and mind and with my actions towards the person who had so grievously hurt me. I believed my pain could never go away until they changed and their life was radically altered. Because they did not change, and my hurts remained, I felt justified to do whatever it took to deaden and appease my hurting heart. I begged God to take me out of the situation, I begged God to remove the fear, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression but it remained. My life did not get better by giving into my impulses, rather if got darker and more unsettled. Was God’s refusal to miraculously heal my heart to 100% wholeness, or His failure to change the heart of the person who hurt me proof I didn’t need to change? Was God’s silence a sign I had been left on my own to deal with my pain in any way I could manage? No!!!

 

You see my problem is also Vicky’s problem. It is the problem of all who struggle to obediently submit to the call to carry a burden to heavy for their own shoulders,

 

In the midst of great pain and sorrow, our situation doesn’t change because our hearts haven’t changed, and our hearts haven’t changed because often times, we seek the wrong solution our hearts fixed on the results of sin instead of the sinner itself..

 

prsInstead of asking God to get rid of the “thing” that makes our lives hard, we need to ask Him for grace to accept the trial He has chosen to place in our lives. In death is life, in weakness He is strong. This may seem trite, but there are millions who have suffered unjustly, grievously, and with patience and boldly proclaimed during the storm and after the storm, “It is well with my soul.”

 

This submission involves a transformation of our heart- as our affections are reoriented upon the right person. My life is no longer consumed with and frustrated by the pursuit of self-love and pleasure because HE matters more!

 

This involves transformation of our eyes– as our focus is drawn away from our own lives and struggles, where instead we daily gaze with rapture upon the Savior who Redeemed and ransomed our life from hell.

 

This involves a transformation of our mind– as our spirits are renewed and reoriented to fulfilling no other purpose other than obedience to the call and will of the Father….which is to glorify Him though our lives …..no matter the cost….

No Matter HOW He decides to do this.

For we are called to be HOLY and Joyful, not happy, gratified.

And yet in yielding Joy replaces weeping, beauty springs up from the ashes.

 

 

My prayer is that Vicky, and all Christians presently suffering through their own darkness and pain, will recognize it is not our struggle and our response that is to define and shape us, but rather the Lord of the Universe who ordained both the suffering and the gift of grace to not just endure but also triumph. It is He who defines and shapes our lives, through our struggles and pain.

 

For His purpose not ours,

Through His Ways not ours

For His glory not our own.

 

If you struggle like millions of other believers, take heart, He is Sovereign and in control. He has a plan that will accomplish His will, in His way, for His glory. Liberation of your heart, soul, and mind does not come through submission to the sin, but through submission to the plan and truth of the Savior who loves you enough to let you suffer. Suffering is not a sign God is absent, but rather that He is at work in your life with an amazing purpose in mind, He is going to bring glory to himself through your life. Be less concerned with the removal of the trial and more concerned with the removal of yourself. Get true biblical counseling from Godly,  Biblicaly sound counselors! You were never meant to struggle on your own. The body is there to lift up and edify. If you don’t come, “the Body” can’t help and both you and your brothers and sisters are being robbed of the blessing of Spiritual community. No sin, struggle, hurt or pain is beyond His ability and Grace. The cross was enough!

 

Next time: How God transformed and is transforming my life with Grace.

The Back Story

In writing, there is a term called the “Back-story.” The back-story is simply “background information about a real person or thing that wrtpromotes fuller understanding of it.”

 

As believers, our back-story, in many cases, becomes the cornerstone of our testimony.  Our back story begins with who we were before Christ- lost, blinded, desperate, needy, and dying. Added to that is the defining and life changing moment in time when we experienced merciful and gracious intervention. The day the Healer of our souls opened our eyes and heart  to our desperate need of a Savior. Our back story is the moment He allowed us to see we stood wanton and condemned before the awful and awesome Holy God of Eternity. Our back story was when Glory intervened among depraved humanity, revealing. condemning, ransoming, delivering, and Saving us so we could be who we were created, called, and  destined to become.

 

Unlike fictional work, our back-story is unique in that it is ongoing and will never be complete until Christ returns. At the end of every day, we have actively lived and experienced countless moments that bare witness of a faithful and glorious God actively at work among us. Our back story builds and swells ever moment of our lives, paving the way for the next.

 

Lamentation 3:19-27 says:

19I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

 

What an eloquent summary of the back-story of every believer!

 

At night, when my head hits the pillow, I can and must reflect upon the back-story of the day. It is during these quiet periods of reflection that I am able to see quite possibly what my physical eyes missed during the chaotic moments of the day. For, every second I drew a breath, He was miraculously and glorious present in my life.

 

buildEvery moment of Divine intervention, grace, strength, joy, sorrow, suffering, and Victory, yet another row of “faith” bricks are laid. Each day’s faith bricks building upon the last, and not one line of my story takes place without His presence. He is there holding my life, my back-story, and my life story together. Within the Divine mortar that affirms, confirms, and establishes my life, the King and glorious Creator of the universe takes pleasure in weaving His presence and glory into my meager story, making it His own!

 

This amazing Montage of the Divine intertwined among raw, needy humanity shines more brilliant than the most beautiful of sunsets. Daily, and faithfully He builds, what human eyes can not fathom. Day by day He builds what makes the unseen heart soar and rise above circumstance and sorrow. Brick upon brick, story upon story, faithfulness that binds, grace that transforms, lives consumed by the glory of His love.

 

And from among the ash and the chaos of life His glorious church is built. The many become one. A mysterious and unified body. A million voices crying out in perfect, haunting harmony. Each back story confirming and testifying with the next. A unanimous, faithful, consistent symphony, building upon the every note that swells from hearts overflowing with Divine Grace. No one story rising above another’s, for every story proclaims equally and  gloriously the Sovereign Reign of a Holy God.  And as our voices join with those “Graced” in the past, we beckon and testify to those who struggle tomorrow that He Is, He Was and He will forever be. Those who “know” and have experienced, call out to those yet suffering among the ashes of sorrow, pain, heartache and failure. To these we cry “Lift up your head, He lives, He breathes, and He is here among you. He sits with you among the ashes, He understands your fear, He feels your pain, and He has an answer to the questions you falter to ask”  Our back-story becomes the hiding place for those so broken, battered, and weary they can’t see him though their pain.

 

What is my back-story, you might ask?

 

broken heart He loved me enough to expose the hidden sins of my heart. He cared about the things others couldn’t see, seizing the opportunity sin meant to use for my destruction and instead  used it as an opportunity to lavish upon me His glorious grace.  When I was wounded by the sinful hearts of others, He whispered I am here, I am in control, and it is your heart I will make new. Though I did not understand it then, I see now that He smote me, not to destroy, but to restore. He broke me beyond what man could repair and then He repaired my spirit, soul, and heart in a way only the God of the Universe could. He replaced ashes with Beauty, sorrow for Joy, turmoil with Peace, Anger with Gentleness. Though I was blind, now I see, and what was dead, He brought back to life. Oh look at my life and you will see Him there. Oh to be able to adequately convey what He has put to death in my heart and life.  If only you could see the ugliness and depravity His Spirit works diligently and skillfully to cut away.  He has gloriously replaced a hopeless future, with His glorious Hope!

 

This is my back-story and this is His glory!

 

What is your back-story?

Learning to live with a heart that is broken but a life is not.

Living with a Heart that is Broken, but a life that is not!

Beth Moore at Living Proof Ministries is hosting her women’s summer Bible study. I signed up at Women’s Bible Cafe to join over 600 women who will participate in this study via online and community small groups. We are studying the book of Nehemiah and using Kelly Minter’s book Nehemiah: A heart that can break. 

There is still time to join over 600 dear, like-minded, passionate “Siestas” in Christ. You can follow along personally, join a virtual small group (what I am doing), or hook up with a group in your area. Check out any of the above links for information.

Brokenness isn’t an activity your normal human being would sign up to experience. Everything about the word screams run, but when we are straining to “see the unseen”, and to live for the “Eternal” versus the temporal, brokenness should become our hearts desire and aim.

Over the next few weeks I will post thoughts and insights gleaned from this study. My heart has all ready been blessed as I have joined in prayer with women I have never met, yet feel great love and compassion for. What a powerful image six-hundred women, on their faces before the Lord, crying out for brokenness, evokes!

To ask the Lord to break my heart with the things that break His, is a daring prayer. It is not a self-seeking desire to suffer for the purpose of winning the praise and accolades of man, nor is it an attempt to obtain righteousness through works. The desire to have a heart, broken by God, is a desire to see and feel as He sees and feels. It is a prayer to have myself moved out-of-the-way so I can see and be moved by the pain, suffering, need, and hopelessness of man. A heart, broken by the Spirit of the Living God, is to posses a heart that mourns over the destruction that sin is wreaking in the hearts of fallen man.

 

Today, as we studied the prayer and heart of Nehemiah found in chapter 1:1-5, A verse kept coming to mind:

Psalm 17:15

15 As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied,

when I awake, with thy likeness.

I believe this desire should be the heart and sum of all we strive to do and be as children of God. A broken and contrite heart He will not turn away! Would you be daring enough to embrace the cry, “Lord break my heart?” Can you utter with me. in Your brokenness, let me become Your likeness, and in Your likeness there let me dwell satisfied?

The truth and reality of the fallen world we live in is  that everyone we will be broken.  The question we must ask ourselves is what will we allow to break us, sin or a Savior?

 

Matthew 21:44

And whosoever shall fall on this stone

shall be broken:

but on whomsoever it shall fall,

it will grind him to powder.

The world will crush and break us ruthlessly, our Heavenly Father breaks us with love, compassion and a divine, God glorifying purpose.

Only One can promise fulfillment with abandonment, and bring beauty from ashes. Only one Master can satisfy and fulfill the desires and yearning of the yielded and broken heart.

Lord God Almighty, posses and reign my heart and life. Make is soft so that it weeps when you weep, delights when you
delight, and breaks at what breaks yours. O Father, I shall be satisfied only when I awake with your likeness, when there is less of me for the world to see. Amen

My Prayer for you: Truth

Truth….will set you free

Truth:

We are told to acquire it, no matter the cost, and to never relinquish it once it is in our possession.

Proverbs 23:23
Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

God delights in the man who posses it.

Psalm 51:6
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

God is near the man whose conversation is guided by it.

Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

True worship requires it.

John 4:23
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

It brings freedom.

John 8:32
“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

A relationship with the Father is made possible by it.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It brings sanctification and cleansing.

John 17:17
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

It holds our faith and everything we believe and confess together.

Ephesians 6:14
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

He demands that truth resides in our inward parts because He is the Truth, and the center of our life is where He delights to dwell. For the lost, afflicted, weak and needy, no other word contains greater meaning, power, hope, or reward? Jesus Christ the Way, Truth, and Life purifies the sin afflicted heart and unshackles the weary and groaning prisoner. Once given free reign within the heart of man, the liberating power of truth ignites the irrepressible worship of the redeemed.

Truth may be intangible and unseen, but it’s fruit and the effect of its presence upon the heart and life of mankind is not. I praise the Lord, because we have seen the truth, and felt its imprint seared eternally upon our hearts, life, and marriage. My prayer for you today has been that you would be empowered by the truth that  brought you liberty, and that you would cherish the truth that transformed your life. I pray that you would cling tightly to it, be guided by it, and live your life according to it. May you weigh every thought, impulse, and decision with the light of Truth. May He guide your heart and mind today and as you seek truth may you find the sweet presence of He who is Truth!

My prayer for you: Taste and See

My Prayer for you: That you might see

Psalm 34:8

In scripture we find numerous paradox’s. We are admonished to “see the unseen” and we strive to do so because we know that one day the physical realm we live in will pass away.  The paradox of living for the unseen and eternal versus the physical and temporal is a hard concept to grasp and implement in our lives, but it is a discipline we endeavor to master because it has significant and eternal ramifications.

With this in mind, this verse has always intrigued me. John 4:24 states that God is a spirit and therefore must be worshiped in spirit and truth but in Psalm 34, David encourages us to taste and experience that God, a Spirit,  is good.  Our relationship with Christ affords the amazing opportunity to meld the spiritual with the physical.

God the Father sent His Spirit to dwell in the souls of redeemed man and because the Spirit of the Living God dwells within me, I can abide and walk in the spirit. It is truly amazing to be able to experience “The Truth” dividing asunder the cords that once imprisoned me, and to see His Spirit at work in my life.

My prayer today has been that together,we would walk in the power of the Spirit. My prayer is that as a couple, unified by the Spirit, we would experience and taste the very real and present goodness of God as He works in our lives to draw us to Himself.

May you Rejoice!

I Chronicles 16:8-12
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,

There are no other memories I cherish more than the moment I first caught sight of my husband-to-be, nervously waiting for me at the altar.  That surreal moment in time represented the culmination of so many hopes, dreams, and prayers. My job of “Watering the camels” had come to an end, and if you could have looked inside my chest, you would have seen my heart leaping in sheer joy as I made my way down to David. Every ounce of my body, soul, and spirit exalted and rejoiced as I made my way to the God-given answer to years of waiting and hundreds of tearful but resolute prayers for a husband and companion. Had there been time that day, we could have spent hours recounting the most amazing story of God’s guidance, protection, mercy, and provision in our lives. Our story was a testimony of His glorious faithfulness, as He patiently worked and moved to intersect our lives and hearts to become one. On that day, we Rejoiced!!!!

Today my husband, I am giving thanks to the Lord for you. Our lives are beautifully marked with the fingerprints of the Holy, Righteous, Living God. Every page of our story contains the unmistakable bold, rich, strokes of His abundant mercy, love, and grace. My heart rejoices as I think back over the past 10 year and my spirit exalts as I look ahead with curiosity to the future that has been set aside for us since the beginning of time.

My prayer today is that He would bring to mind the innumerable moments in time when He demonstrated His love, compassion, and faithfulness to you. May your heart be overcome with a sense of awe and wonder as you recall precise Divine interactions with Him. May these moments wipe away any doubt or fear of His love, presence, power, or favor for you! My prayer is that the 33 years of His presence and work so clearly evidenced in your life would be a source of joy. May His deeds in the past be a cause for you to rejoice today regardless of the pressures and trials you face. He has loved you with an everlasting love, revel in His love, and the endless provision of power and grace evidenced in your life.

 Photo Credits: http://www.halbergphotographers.com/blog/2011/04/

My Abba, Papa, Daddy Father

Romans 8:15 

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons,
by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
When I think about adoption, I envision an eager husband and wife nervously awaiting for the arrival of the child they will soon call their own.


The journey they have taken to get to this point involved mounds of paperwork. They have made innumerable sacrifices both physically and mentally in order to obtain the right to call another’s baby their own. They have endured a grueling waiting game filled with unexpected twists, turns, and disappointments. Soon they will take that special child in their hands and walk away not just husband and wife but mother and father.


I can’t fathom the feelings or emotions parents experience when they have literally laid everything on the line in order to adopt. I am humbled by the testimony of men and women who have sought out not just the abandoned and orphaned but also the sick, diseased, and “unwanted.”

 


Recently, I stumbled upon a site seeking parents for “unwanted” foreign children. All the children on this site had health issues ranging from mild to severe, but the profiles that broke my heart were those of older children who were months away from being removed from the adoption agency’s system. These orphaned children were painfully aware that if no one came forward, their next birthday meant an end to their hopes of ever finding parents and becoming part of a real family. Age thirteen wasn’t a day they looked forward to because t didn’t mean a driving permit, but rather that an institution or street would soon become their new permanent home.


While I can not fathom the feelings, emotions, or pain of these children, in a spiritual sense I am not unlike them. The amazing thing about my story is that when the Lord formed me, chose me, and called me to Himself, I was not a beautiful, innocent,or lovable infant, I was sick and marred by sin.  I was unlovable, “Father”-less, and destined for a life of depravity on the “streets and institutions” of this world. My prospects weren’t just a life of hopelessness but of judgment and death.


Then the Lord of the Universe stepped in. Christ didn’t just collect money to purchase the right to adopt me, He didn’t fill out paperwork in order to declare Himself worthy to redeem my life, He did something infinitely grander. He became my Abba Father through the blood of His son.


If led by the Lord, it would not be hard to exhaust our life savings or make the required physical sacrifices necessary to adopt a baby, but never in a thousand years would I consider sacrificing my own beautiful children in order to adopt and redeem a diseased, mentally broken vagrant living in jail.


As we celebrate Father’s day, and as I reflected upon the blessing my father and my husband David has been to me, I want to take a moment to reflect upon the one who has given and sacrificed infinitely more for me. He is my Papa, my daddy, and He delighted in me when there was nothing to delight in. He loved me when I was unlovable, sacrificing the priceless for the worthless.


Thank you Father for your grace and mercy, and for your unspeakable love for me. You have withheld nothing from my life except the judgment I deserve.  All I have ever needed you have bountifully provided. May I walk worthy of the new name I bear, and may my life be a living example of the liberating power of a loving Father!

My Prayer for you: Quietness

Quietness

Isaiah 32:17
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,

and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

One of the most mind-boggling fruits of a life yielded to Christ is the ability to be at peace and to have a quite spirit in the midst of great turmoil and pain.

Peace and quietness stands in glaring contrast to a world ruled by chaos. Quietness shines like a brightly lit neon sign stuck smack dab in the middle of black nothingness. It draws others to itself like moths to a lit bulb. Quietness and peace boldly proclaim a message of hope to those who are being crushed under great burdens of grief, anxiety, fear, and guilt. Quietness meekly whispers, there is something bigger than your pain, and there is someone stronger than what afflicts your soul.

Today my husband I am praying that the power and strength of the Lord would anoint you as you relax and recover from a long week of stress, turmoil, and physical exhaustion. My prayer is that as He transforms and strengthens you with might in the inner depths of your heart, soul, mind, and spirit, that a quietness and confidence would shine loudly from your life. May you humbly seek His face, openly be weak in His presence, and allow His Joy to shine from your life. May your ability to be quiet in the face of turmoil, pain, weakness, and need be a bold and powerful testimony of His power and ability to redeem sinful man. May peace reign in your heart today my husband, may His righteousness be your confidence.

 Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. “

Photo Credits:quietness http://tonchee.deviantart.com/art/quietness-113749145

My Prayer today…..Let His Joy be translated into our strength!

Joy


“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:11b (ESV)”

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and

let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy that was set before him

endured the cross, despising the shame,

and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1-3 (ESV)

A Shadows of “Things” to come…

An adulterous and rebellious nation was instructed by Nehemiah, to “Let the Joy of the Lord be their Strength.”  They had returned from captivity and in the presence of all who could still understand their own dialect, Ezra read the law. Most heard the law for the very first time. The horror of their sins against the Lord Jehovah caused them to cry and quake in fear.  Nehemiah told them not to weep or mourn, but to celebrate.

This repentant nation, formerly exiled and in captivity, had newly partaken of the Lord’s forgiveness, grace, and glory. For His glory and pleasure alone, He had restored this adulterous nation. Israel was fickle, prone to sin and rebellion, and they would sin again. They were living proof that  on his own, man can never attain his own righteousness, never become holy, and never live in obedience with God the Righteous Judge. God would remain faithful, but the cycle of sin would continue and Israel would betray His love and faithfulness, justly earning His righteous judgment and punishment…… unless something changed, and changed it would.

The “Thing” that changed “Everything”…

The miraculous redemption story of man from Genesis to Revelation is amazing! Hundreds of years after Ezra and Nehemiah, the Son of God stepped into the lives of the hopelessly lost and the hopeless gazed upon the very face of Hope and Glory.  The Joy Israel had been commanded to draw strength from had come in the flesh. Mercy, Grace, Love, and Hope was poured out upon sinful undeserving mankind, as Jesus Christ, the “Joy of mans desire” hung on the tree. In anguish, yet with great delight, he endured unimaginable torment and the rejection of His Father. This was His Joy, and it is our strength today!

“..Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,

and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,

despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was the Joy of the Lord that led Him to sacrifice His Beloved Son, in order to redeem man. It was the Joy of the Son to submit, with humility and obedience, to will of His Father. With Joy the Father sent His Son, and with Joy, the Son sacrificed. The Joy of our Heavenly Father and the Son in whom He delighted, has given us the strength and ability to overcome. The Joy of our Lord was the amazing redemption story. Israel was told not to weep, but they could never have fathomed the day when freedom, life, liberty, and true Joy would replace the sin induced sorrow of man. Like Israel, our weeping has turned to dancing. The terror of our Righteous God does not make us quake in fear. With boldness and joy  we lift our eyes to the heavens where our Help stands and intercedes. We do not weep, we shout glory and honor and praise be to Him who sits on the throne, for we have been redeemed from His righteous judgment and wrath through the sacrifice of His Son!

Because of the Love and Joy of the Father and Son, we have overcome the evil one. We have overcome death, and sin no longer reigns in our bodies. Is the Joy of the Lord your strength?

Today O Lord, Let the source of David’s Joy be found only in you. May your love and delight in my precious husband, your passion to Glorify yourself through your redemption & transformation of him, become David’s sheer joy and utter delight. Let your joy empower the man you chose before the foundations of the world were formed. May you alone be the source of his strength! Let Joy shroud and cover his spirit, soul, and mind. Let him walk in the power, grace, and strength that is rightfully His because he is yours! Give him Joy Father, Give him strength to endure, persevere, to walk worth of your call! Amen

Hallelujah, For the Joy of the Lord is my strength!!

Praying for my Husband A to Z: G is for Greatness

Greatness

Psalm 18:35
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:

and thy right hand hath holden me up,

and thy gentleness hath made me great.

It is hard to stand on the sideline and watch while someone else gets the promotion, praise, and glory. We were made to worship and honor our Creator, but sin crashed the party turning our focus inward. We are driven by selfishness and pride to seek the spotlight and at times we are so blinded by  sin we are willing to do anything in order to get our “praise of men fix.”  It is not natural for sinful and fallen man to place the importance of another above them himself, but we are no longer simply flesh, bound by the law of sin and death.  We are new creations, risen in newness of life, empowered and led by the Spirit of God. God has something far better in-store for our lives than self-seeking, temporal gratification.

Recently I have sensed the Lord asking me if I am willing to be small in order that others, including my husband, can be great. It can get lonely and tiring being the person behind the scene. Standing on stage is much nicer than cleaning it. Being the person who takes orders isn’t as fun as being the one who gets to give them, but as Solomon discovered, vanity and emptiness follow closely on the heels of one who spends their life striving for glory, honor, power, position, and possessions.

My salvation cost me nothing, and in exchange for eternity all Christ has asked of me is full surrender to His will for my life.  How can I turn my ear from His call to serve, when the request comes from one who sacrificed His very flesh and blood on my behalf?  How can I merit striving for my own glory and earthly praise when He gave up his Glory and Kingly Robes to wear the swaddling rags of man.

As I yield my life to serve wherever and in whatever arenas the Lord asks of me, the challenge to be David’s Help-meet looms large. I am asking the Lord to make David a great man both physically but more important spiritually. I desperately need a heart transformed and yielded, humbly focusing the success and greatness of others. This means the dreaded “P” & “B” words, priorities & balance  : ) It also means living and believing in what I am praying for, David’s greatness. David needs to sense that I believe in him, trust him, and think him capable to greatness. I can’t live a life that physically and spiritually derails what I claim believe and strive for.

Father, you have given me an amazing husband. I am blessed beyond measure by the presence of my soul mate, playmate, partner and friend. Father we are sinners desperate for your grace, power, and transformation. You have loved and forgiven us and you rightfully called me to love David with the same selfless, sacrificial abandonment that you demonstrated towards me at the cross.  May my heart and spirit be open, submissive, and humble before you. May I be willing to serve both you and David, playing the role you have entrusted to me, a sacred help-meet to David. Lord, a Spirit Filled, God Honoring, godly, successful David is your desire. Truly greatness is when a man is covered by your gentle hand, filled with your grace and wisdom. Greatness is David leading his family and growing his business to honor and glorify you. May this be the reality and fruit of David’s life and work. Amen