God’s Mercy

Praying for my Husband A to Z: C is for Calling

Calling

2 Peter 1:10

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren,

give diligence to make your calling and election sure:

for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

 

My husband never ceases to amaze me. He assumes so many roles during a 24 hour day. He wakes up early every morning and is my breakfast buddy, Bible study partner, leader, husband, and friend. We chat over coffee, cramming in as much “us” time as we possibly can before footfalls on the wooden stairs announce the arrival of our kids. With the quiet morning interrupted David assumes the role of “daddy” to three energetic kids who clamor for his undivided attention. Once David backs out of the driveway and passes through the doors at work he adds boss, accountant, teacher, counselor, advocate, and mediator to his growing list of duties.

 

Not all his tasks are enjoyable, but in order to provide for us and help his guys provide for their families, he does what has to be done. His days are spent sustaining, leading, and sacrificing for others, but his day does not end when he clocks out return home. He has been chosen and set apart for the Lord’s work and and for the Lord’s glory and testimony. A fifty hour work week, demanding wife, sick child, or broken down car does not excuse him from his God-given calling, “Be Holy as I am Holy, Love the Lord with ALL your heart, study…rightly dividing the word of truth”….Somewhere between the necessities, duties, and responsibilities of life, my husband is called by the Lord to embrace and fulfill God’s purpose for his life, to live, love, and serve his Creator with every ounce of strength and passion within him.

 

Our husbands are amazing men, with complicated, stress filled, demanding lives.  Somehow a midst all the physical demands and battles they endure, they have to simultaneously wage war on second front, the spiritual one.  Today my prayer is that the Lord’s calling upon my husband’s life would embolden, impassion, and drive him throughout  every aspect of his day.

 

Father, your hand is upon the life and work of my husband. He is flesh, with limitations and weakness, yet at the same time he is a spiritual, redeemed, and living creation called out by you. As he engages in the spiritual and physical arenas of life, help to never loose sight of eternity, and the only thing that truly matter or will stand when he meets you face to face. Help him to discover, fulfill, and accomplish the one calling that matters most, his relationship, walk, and service to you. Give him eyes to see, ears to hear your voice, wisdom, and council. Let his heart be consumed with a desire and passion for you alone. Amen

The Hat You Should Never Wear!

The “Hat” you were never meant to wear!

As a daughter of Christ, wife, and mother, there are many roles I am “called” to fulfill. Some mornings I find a yellow hard hat on top my head. You know the “pardon my mess, your tax dollars are at work” kind of days when all you do is “fix things” like broken attitudes & relationships. Days filled with busted toys, skinned knees, and clogged drains.

There are the trench warfare days when I feel like I am wearing a special ops military grade helmet as I leap from fox hole to fox hole, dodging spiritual, mental, and emotional bombardments from the “enemy”. I am a cook, nurse, teacher, peacemaker, chauffeur, and the list goes on. Not every hat I don is difficult or burdensome. I love my sun visor moments! The mornings I can relax on a park bench with a book, sipping a cup of hot coffee while being serenaded by the sounds of my 3 treasures squealing with delight in the warm spring sun.

While many of the “hats” in my extensive collection require personal sacrifice, momentary angst, and occasional hardships, I would not relinquish any of the roles my Father has entrusted to me. Every “hat” the Lord has ever asked me to wear has been accompanied with grace and strength in abundance. It is a truthful saying,

“Faithful is He who has called you who will also perform it.”

Over the past few years, the Lord has opened my eyes to the fact that the source of some of my greatest struggles, defeats, and failures have come when I claimed a hat I was never intended to wear. If you are like me, a sinner saved by grace, chances are this hat has shown up in your collection from time to time, just as it has mine. Perhaps you are wearing this very hat as we speak.

I unwittingly placed this hat on top my of head just the other day as I stood at the kitchen sink, deep in thought. The week had been a rough one for me. I was exhausted and to make matters worse, I had not responded properly to some spiritual warfare that had arisen in my life. Suddenly an old, familiar foe I have battled for years wrapped its icy fingers around my heart and I immediately went into defence mode. I grabbed the bill of the “hat” with the words “Holy Spirit” stitched brightly across the top, tightened the strap, and set about to take control of the situation. To resolve this conflict, I determined that my husband, who was absolutely clueless as to what was bothering me, needed to do a,b, & c, and furthermore he needed to refrain from doing e, f, & g. (The poor guy!)

As my emotions swirled and the dark clouds grew, the voice of my Heavenly Father parted the commotion of my unchecked emotions and fears. With clarity, I heard Him declare with loving rebuke “Jody, you can not make your husband holy. That is my job and the work of my Spirit.” I reached up and pulled the “cap” from off my head, and I handed it to back to the Lord. In despair, I cried out, “But what can I do for him?” Just as clearly as before, the Lord answered me and He said “You can pray for Him Jody.” I prayed, peace flooded my heart, and the burden of a role I was never ment to fulfill lifted from off my shoulders.

The Challenge

The Lord works in mysterious ways! On Sunday I had to work in the nursery, so I missed the a.m. Service. As I prepared lunch after church, I asked my husband about the message and a smile came to my lips when he said it was about praying for others. As David gave me a summary of the message, all I could think about was that special moment in the kitchen when I distinctly heard God calling me to pray for my husband.

I am ashamed to confess this, but of all the “hats” in my collection, the “Prayer warrior” cap is not as worn and tattered as others are. My laundry, sun visor, chefs hat and workout caps are tattered and painted with sweat stains but my prayers cap looks fairly new. This calling to Pray is not a glorious, win the praise of man kind of “hat”. It is a private, selfless, and sacrificial act of love and humility. I feel the hand of the Lord impressing upon my heart the dire need a husband has for the prayers and intercession of his wife. Ladies, we need to pray daily, intently, and purposefully for our husbands, boyfriends, and future life mates. Single ladies do you pray for the man who will one day be your husband?

We can’t change our men, nor can we order their lives so that they never make wrong choices, or never stumble and fall. I can not work and move my husbands heart towards holiness, but the Lord of Creation can. I have to hand over the hat with the words “Holy Spirit” written across it, entrusting the heart of the one I love deeply into His capable hands.  This frees me to accomplish my calling an the one thing I am capable and called to do, PRAY!

Recently I participated in a 26 day blog challenge that was very rewarding. I would like to begin a 31 day A-Z challenge of my own and I wonder if you would consider joining me? You can participate on your own in private, or join in publicly on your blog. I would like to take the next 30 days to concentrate on my husband while developing the discipline and habit of lifting him up to the Lord. Each day I will choose specific things, (mine will correspond to the letter of the day as possible) to bring to the Lord in prayer. As you are led, would you participate in your own way? If you are single, please join us! Oh how I wish I had prayed for David before I knew him. Being a young man in this fallen world is not easy. Satan is a deceiver, a wicked lion who stalks and devours our husbands, sons, pastors, and leaders.

How amazing it would be to have hundreds and even thousands of women around the world lifting up their men to the Lord in humble, loving, God honoring, targeted, specific prayer each and every day. Please join me and if you feel led, pass this along via word of mouth, e-mail, at church, in small groups…..

A to Z: Z is for Zenith

Zenith

The point of culmination; the peak

My heart is so full right now. I have tried to sit down and write this final post and I simply can’t do it without tears and a heart ready to burst. Last night we sang a song, that beautifully describes the Zenith of the believers life, the culmination of our fight to finish well, to walk worthy, to not bend under the trials, sorrows, and hardships of life . If you were to ask me “why Jody, why do you fight to overcome? Why do you live for the “Forever“, for the intangible and unseen? This is my answer.

My Atonement, Belief, Confession, Death, Eternity, Forever, Grace…….all these culminate and will merge in one glorious moment, the day I will rise, when he calls my name!

Please worship and glory with me as you listen to this song by Chris Tomlin. Revel in these words from Revelation. Allow these lyrics  to refresh your heart with truth, glory and hope. He is the Zenith of life, and the day I see Him face to face I will proclaim “It was worth it all, for Worthy is the Lamb!”

Revelation 22:1-5 (Esv)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of he street of the city;also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise 

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
[x2]

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

A to Z: Y is for Yahweh

Y is for:

Yahweh

I would like to share an article written by Betsy Childs. As we celebrate the Sabbath and Worship the God that Is, Was, and will Be savor and glory in who He is and what he has done for you. Hallelujah, to God be the Glory!!!

Hallelujah!

By Betsy Childs

This name was precious to the people of Israel, and God proved the truth of his name over and over. He saved his people by delivering them from the Egyptians and bringing them through the Red Sea. He sustained them through forty years in the wilderness, saving them by giving them manna, quail, and water from the rock. He delivered the Promised Land into their hands, destroying their enemies. Even in times of Israel’s rebellion, God mercifully sent his prophets to call them back and remind them of his name. The prophets also called the Israelites to look ahead, for someday God would bring them salvation in the form of the promised Messiah.

The Incarnation of Jesus Christ brings even more meaning to the name Yahweh. God not only showed himself present by being on Israel’s side and remembering her cause, He actually became physically present. Jesus was present not merely to empathize with us; he came to accomplish our salvation. It is quite possible that several times Jesus intentionally identifies himself with Yahweh, such as when Jesus told his questioners, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). The significance of Jesus using the phrase “I am” would not have been lost on his Jewish listeners. Jesus was the fulfillment and ultimate confirmation of God’s name. As Elmer Martens summarizes, “The name [Yahweh] is anything but empty. The name carries overtones of presence, salvation defined as deliverance and blessing, covenantal bondedness, and integrity.”

When we sing the word “Hallelujah,” it is a reminder that we serve the God who revealed himself to Moses and led his people by a pillar of fire. We praise the God who revealed his plan through the prophets. We exalt a God who did not hide Himself from us, but revealed to us his name. This God even walked among us, and through a painful, humiliating death, He accomplished our salvation.

But the word “Hallelujah” should not only cause us to look back on what God has done; it also urges us to look forward. The apostle John reveals to us that this word will be used in heaven. He writes, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God….’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!’”(Rev. 19:1,4, ESV).

Every time we sing “Hallelujah,” we are preparing ourselves for an eternity of praising Yahweh. We can be reminded that God will finish the salvation he has started. All heaven and earth will witness the salvation of the Lord and the vindication of his name. God has demonstrated his saving presence in the past, and He will demonstrate it again when Jesus returns in glory.

A to Z: V is for Victory!

Victory

1. Defeat of an enemy or opponent.
2. Success in a struggle against difficulties or an obstacle.
3. The state of having triumphed.

I Cor 15:42-45, 50-58

42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit……

50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

“Death is swallowed up…..Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory”

Are there any other words as sweet and liberating as these? Over the last few weeks, I have blogged about the atonement of Christ that gave me freedom from the condemnation of sin. I spoke about the liberating power of faith, truth, grace and God’s love. What a great way to wind down this challenge, by speaking about the ultimate fruit and reward of our battle to Overcome and to walk worth of the amazing gift we have been given.

The truth is alive within my heart. Grace has been poured out upon my life. God’s love has transformed me from a condemned sinner to an adopted daughter and joint heir of Christ. I am His and He is mine. My death was swallowed up when Jesus rose from the dead. He bore the sting of death on the tree fulfilling the law of the Righteous and True, the Only Wise God.

Because He is, I have Overcome!

Thank you Father the the Victory that is mine through you!

A to Z: U is for Overcoming Unbelief

Unbelief

Hebrews 2:18
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

 

When Jesus walked this earth, we are told He was tempted and suffered just as we are. Our pain and suffering moves Him with compassion. Our Father understands our pain, weaknesses, and needs but what He will never tolerate nor allow is a faithless unbelieving heart. He is True and Faithful and in Him is no deceit or variableness. He has never failed to prove Himself to be who He has proclaimed Himself to be,  nor has He ever failed to fulfill the promises He has given us.

 

Unbelief  is an extremely dangerous thing to harbor in our hearts, and scripture spells out clearly what happens when we allow unbelief to take root and grow in our lives.


Dangers of Unbelief:

1. God can not work in a heart of unbelief

Matthew 13:58
And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

2. A heart of unbelief leads to a heart of stone & Rebuke from God

Mark 16:14

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

3. Unbelief steals our peace and keeps us from finding “rest”

Hebrews 3:19

So we see that they were unable to enter (into rest) because of unbelief.

Unbelief = Heart of stone = God’s Rebuke = No Rest….

Hebrews 3:5-30 (ESV)

A Rest for the People of God

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 (I)As I swore in my wrath,
They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned,whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

 

When my faith falters and the trials and burdens of life press down upon me, I find victory to overcome unbelief by remembering, recording, and recounting the goodness of God. My history with Him is the lifeline of my faith. He has never forsaken me or withheld His love or goodness. Who He was yesterday is who He will be today and tomorrow. There is no room for unbelief. 

 

What has become bigger in your life, your problems or the “Solution” to your problems?I Overcome unbelief by switching your focus from the problems to the “Truth.”  Remember yesterday’s A to Z! “The truth will set you Free.” Hear His voice, believe His words, overcome your fears, pain, anxiety….

A to Z: Overcoming Through Love


Love

Love is not an emotion.

Love is consciously choosing what emotions

I    allow    to   rule   my   heart,   soul,   spirit,   &   body.

Love  is not  given because  the  other  is  worthy,

Love is poured out because it was given to me

When I wasn’t worthy.

This is love

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,

I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love,

I am nothing.

3 If I give away all I have,

and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love,

I gain nothing.

4Love is

patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant 5 or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never ends…

I Cor 13:1-8a (ESV)

It is easy to display love, when others love you in return, but what happens when your heart is wrenched from your chest, ripped in two, and dropped at your feet? When you have been betrayed, crushed, rejected, insert your hurt here, how can you be expected to endure, believe, hope, and bear your pain while dishing out love in return?

I found myself struggling with this thought a few years ago when someone I loved hurt me in a way I never thought possible. In my stunned pain, sorrow, and grief, I never stopped caring, but my hurt made believing that the pain could ever stop long enough for the damaged pieces of my heart heal, seem impossible? I would never have dreamed of walking away from this relationship, but how was I supposed to bear the burden of my pain without insisting they feel, carry, or pay for what they had done? How was I to hope for healing and restitution when it seemed I was doing everything to make things right, while they went on with life, as if nothing had ever happened? How was I supposed to endure through my sorrow while they remained oblivious to how broken and hurt I was? Was my love really expected to never falter or fail?

I still loved this person, but it wasn’t a healthy, vibrant, enduring love. I went through motions, said the right things, declared I had forgiven, but for all my actions, I gained nothing. Our relationship was not repaired, my heart was still broken, and I was dying within. On the outside everything looked normal, but inwardly I was nothing loveable. I was angry, fearful, suspicious, and proud! I went through the motions and actions so no one thought less of me, but my actions were meaningless. I was not demonstrating true love. I was a loud, clanky, noisy, FAKE cymbal!

As I sat on the couch one morning, in desperation, I cried out to the Lord for mercy. I needed Divine intervention and power to break free from the bondage that was slowly sucking away my life. The Lord heard my cry and He broke my heart. It was not a merciless destruction, but rather a tender, and loving fracturing of a sick heart by a Master who understood exactly what had to be broken before it could be healed.

One image He brought to my mind was the picture His Son hanging broken, bloody, forsaken, and unrecognizable on the cross. When did I love you Jody, He asked? You loved me before I was knit together inside my mother’s womb Father. How much goodness, righteousness, and holiness existed inside you when my Son hung on the cross for you Jody? None Father, I was entirely sinful and lost with nothing inside me worthy of your love or regard. Did I require perfect love from you before I demonstrated and gave my perfect love to you my proud child? I choked back sobs as I thought through I Corinthians 13 and the vivid picture of His love in action on the cross. He bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things as he hung on that wretched tree. His Love NEVER failed. He never wavered, never hesitated, He never considered getting down, weighting his actions against my worthiness.

He was not asking me to do something new, He was asking me to give the exact same gift that had been given to me, Love Without Fail. I could heal, forgive, bear up, endure, believe, and hope by loving as He had loved me.

Unconditionally, Selflessly, Completely, Sacrifically!

I had been given a choice and an ability to deny feelings of anger, fear, suspicion, hurt, and bitterness. I was empowered with the ability to choose to overcom with real, true, genuine love! Not the hollywood, 50/50, until you hurt me, until it stops working, unless the fuzzies go away, unless someone better comes along, kind of love! He was asking for the selfless, bloody, bruised, broken, glorious kind of love that breathes life into every being it comes into contact with.

With His stripes I was healed.

For His love covered a multitude of my sins.

Through His love I have earned to overcome and love.

A to Z: Overcoming Insecurity

Insecurity

1. Not sure or certain; doubtful

2. Inadequately guarded or protected;unsafe

3. Not firm or fixed; unsteadyLacking stability; troubled

4. Lacking self-confidence; plagued by anxiety

When I was a teen, I came across a story in the Readers Digest I will never forget. The setting was a small village in the Middle East. In this village lived a handsome young man who’s family was both wealthy and prestigious. His presence caused quite a stir among the single women when it was announced that he had begun the search for a bride.

This town was filled with many beautiful women. Some of these beauties possessed great wealth of their own, while others could claim only beauty. This town was the home of another figure. She walked with hunched shoulder. Her eyes remained fixed sullenly upon the ground as she shuffled silently by. She was the brunt of the scorn and criticism of all the other single women in the village. When speculation and wagers rose regarding the lucky bride this man might chose for a wife, the name of this dejected girl was never suggested, unless it was to make  her the brunt of a cruel and heartless joke.

The record for the largest price any father in the village had ever received for a daughter, included four camels. Would this man’s offer equal this? Weeks passed and soon word got out that the man had made his choice. For days the single woman eagerly spied from behind their windows, in the hopes they might see this dashing young man approaching their tent. They diligently searched their father’s eyes for any clue that he had been the honored recipient of a generous  marriage proposal.

For days whispers of “Did you hear?” or  “Do you know who?” flew from household to household yet the name never surfaced. Then a mysterious woman arrived. She appeared to be a stranger yet she looked vaguely familiar. She was gracious and beautiful, commanding the attention of everyone she met. She was stunning in every manner, and her eyes brimmed with the confidence and poise of royalty. Word soon got out, this mystery woman was the lucky one chosen by the young man. Who was she? Where did she come from? Wait, isn’t that ……… the villagers began to mutter? Their surprise was replaced with wonder but nothing equaled the astonished reactions when they received the next piece of news regarding the couple. The wealthy, dashing, handsome young man had paid not four but seven camels to make this outcast his bride!

A wise man from the village approached the young couple weeks after their marriage, no longer able to resist the mystery of the seven camels and the woman’s transformation. Why did you offer seven camels for the outcast of the village he asked? The groom smiled and looked lovingly at his bride. I watched my wife go about her life when no one was looking, scorning, or mocking her. I saw a beauty and worth inside that no one else knew existed. She was like a flower not yet bloomed. I paid seven camels for her because I wanted her to know how beautiful, worthy, and priceless her life was. My gift was but water to a thirsty flower, enabling her to thrive and be who she truly was inside, the woman you now see before you.

Insecurity, we all struggle with it in some form or manner. I have struggled with insecurity my entire life. Everyone I met became my personal measuring stick. No matter how spiritual, athletic, friendly, or successful I was, there was always someone better. I was a prisoner to my insecurity, and it transformed me within and without, but not for my good.

Years later, I look back upon those insecure years and realize how distorted my focus on life had become. I was looking to broken and fallen mankind for worth, value, meaning, and acceptance and they could not provide that. The broken can not heal, the sinner can’t save, the unrighteous can’t make righteous, the blind can’t lead.

I was like that hunched and dejected woman in the story who’s life was transformed by the unspeakable gift of a lover. I was bent and marred by sin, yet He looked upon me with love and paid the ultimate price to give me a new life, purpose, and love. He who was Beauty and Holiness, Majesty and Glory, sacrificed His most treasured Son, that I might  be transformed. The day my heart grasped the extent of the sacrifice the King of Glory made on my behalf, my life was transformed. I belong to Him now, not for the price of seven camels, but for the price of His Son. He is my beauty and confidence. His pleasure is now my desire and aim. Because of His love for me, I am learning to overcome my insecurities. Because of His sacrifice, a desire courses withing my heart to please Him, not man. Praise the Lord for His unspeakable and priceless gift that liberates me from the bondage of insecurity. May my life reflect the reality of His Gift and Love for me!

“9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you,

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will

in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,

 fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work

and increasing in the knowledge of God.

11May you be strengthened with all power,

according to his glorious might,

for all endurance and patience with joy,” Col 1:9-11(ESV)

A to Z: Overcoming Through Death

Death

a : a permanent cessation of all vital functions : the end of life b : the cause or occasion of loss of life

c : a cause of ruin
d: the state of being dead
: the passing or destruction of something inanimate

To say one can overcome through death appears to be the ultimate of oxymorons.  Death implies an end of power,  intellect, ability, and opportunity. When life leaves our soul, the opportunity to overcome exits with it, or does it?

Because I have been cleansed through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, I believe death is but the beginning of truly living and the ultimate act of overcoming. The day I confessed that Jesus Christ was Lord, yielding my life to Him, I died and yet the same instant I was reborn.

When I was buried with Christ, the chains of sin were broken, and the grip of death and damnation defeated. I am a new creation no longer bound by the law that both mandated my ruin but also guaranteed it. “Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies” wasn’t just an unrealistic command, it was a gift and ability won for me at great expense.

Because of His death and my death, I can go to bed every evening, and reflect upon my day, my actions, my failures, and my successes and be filled with hope instead of depression. Each day is an opportunity to overcome. I may stumble along the way, and fail in an area I am striving to master, but with my eyes to heaven I know I am being transformed every day into his likeness.

I look forward to the day heaven and earth pass away, bringing with it the final death-blow to imperfect and corrupted flesh. On that day the need to overcome will come to an end, for I shall see Him face to face and be righteous even as He is Righteous.

   What shall we say then?

Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?

By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus

were baptized into his death?

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death,

in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead

by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:1-4 (ESV)

Without Reproach

A Father Who Gives Without Reproach

 I have a significant weakness that stems from verbal “abuse” I experienced as a child. Two to three times a month we took a trip to the “farm” to visit with family. I loved these day yet at the same time I dreaded them. We would romp through acres of wooded farmland with our cousins, playing in tree forts, stick forts, and old rusted out pieces of farm equipment. For a city kid, my grandparents woods was heaven on earth. I loved the farm, but eventually we had to leave the fields and return to the house and it was here fear, confusion, and dread flooded my heart. It may seem silly, but as a child I was terrified to ask for anything or use anything because to do so evoked the wrath of a very broken and sick grandparent. To “need” was intolerable no matter how simple or basic the request and consequently many times I chose to go without to avoid the tongue lashings that followed innocent requests. My siblings and I look back on these moments now and laugh, but as a child simply going to the restroom was traumatic. We didn’t know whether to flush or leave “it” floating. Then there was the ever-present TP dilemma. Did you risk wrath and use any and if so, did you dare use more than three squares? In my grandparents broken way, we were loved, but we learned early on that the love they offered was conditional and subsequently, words of reproach were heard moreoften than words of affection.

Now, more than twenty-five later, I still struggle to ask for things I want, or to let others know when I need help. For years, you could put me in the midst of a company buffet or seminar dinner and by nights end I would leave with an empty belly. I have been to lavish banquets with my husband and had server after server approach me offering the most amazing foods, yet been unable to accept their offerings, though my stomach silently grumbled it’s protest with each plate I turned away. It wouldn’t matter if others around me, including family, are helping themselves to exquisite food, because I would still find my hands hand frozen by my side. The reproach I endured during my childhood days on the farm can paralyse and render me unable to accept “gifts” being offered no matter who is offering them.

A while back, the Lord brought this verse in James 1:15 to mind.

If any of you lack wisdom,

let him ask God,

who gives generously to all,

without reproach,

and it will be given him.

What an amazing and glorious description of a loving Father’s heart toward His “needy” child. I am covered by the love of one who is moved with compassion by my needs. He revels in the opportunities my weaknesses provide Him. He delights in showing himself strong, loving, and capable when I am not. This is the true and perfect love of a Father and parent.

God is working in my heart to transform my view of how a parent responds to the needs of their children. My needs and my requests are met without reproach. I am the daughter of a generous Father who is anxious and ready to give when needed and to gently correct when misguided. He never chides or reproaches me when I come humbly and obediently seeking goodness, righteousness, faith, meekness, power, and wisdom from His hand.

How about you? Do you struggle to be transparent? Are you afraid to be vulnerable and needy before Christ Jesus your Father? Has pride joined forces with insecurity like it did in my life, rendering me not only afraid to ask, but also to proud to admit when help is needed?

Bringing It Home….

Sin breeds and replicates itself in the lives of sinners who resist, flee, or refuse the transforming prower of Christ. Can you imagine the horror and disgust that overwhelmed me the day I heard my grandmother’s voice slip from my lips in response to a simple request from one of my children! I froze in horror and marveled at my selfish response. Oh how I wished I could reign in those unkind words, ment to ensure that my child knew just how inconvenient their request for a cup of water was at that moment in time. “Oh Father forgive me!” was all I could mutter. All my son wanted was a glass of water. He was thirsty, there was no sin, no disobedience, no rebellion in that request. He was simply asking me to be who I was, his mama, the one who is responsible to protect, comfort and provide for him when he can not. Jody, you know what it feels to be punished with cruel and unkind words simply because you had a need! O Lord be merciful on my wicked heart! All Jess wanted was for me to watch her jump on the pogo stick. My beautiful little girl, simply seeking the delight and praise of her mother but I quenched that desire to please with harsh and uncaring words. My Father never sleeps, he never slumbers, and He is never too busy to delight and take pleasure in me

Praise be to God for His mercy and His power, that transforms lives crushed, scarred, and burdened by sin and guilt. Praise be to God that He loved me enough to chastise my heart, not because of need, but because of sin. Praise the Lord for do-overs and second chances, and especially for the unconditional love and forgiveness found in the heart of my children. May I never provide a reason to extinguish that love and forgiveness!

Mom’s, our children are gifts, and we are instruments in the hands of our redeemer. Much of what they learn of Christ their Father will come from our lips and from our actions. As we learn to boldly seek the face of our Father, without fear of chastisement and rebuke, may we also strive to project the same love and care we have received from him.

My prayer is that the Lord would continue to heal and transform my heart, giving me the freedom to seek Him when in need able to ask without fear of reproach. My prayer is that the Lord would humble my proud heart so that I would not hide from my weaknesses nor the love of those he has sent to help me. My prayer is that I would learn to be like Him, reveling in the opportunity to die to myself so that I might serve and love others. My earnest prayer is that my life would be a true reflection of the Father, who has redeemed, saved, and loved me, and that His love would draw others to Himself!