Overcoming Loneliness

Surrendering my Identity

Do you know your true identity?

When we hear of someone “losing” or “surrendering” their identity, it’s usually not in a positive light. For example, in a former relationship, my husband felt the need to suppress who he truly was (likes, dislikes, goals, dreams, activities he enjoyed) to try and win the approval of his fiance and her parents. Early on in my marriage, the insecurity and baggage I brought into our relationship made me feel like I had to hide who I was and what made me tick and instead become who I thought my husband wished I was. This made it hard for me to do simple things like voice my own perspective or suggest opinions that were different than the ones expressed by my husband. In fact, I was so insecure, not only would I struggle to tell him ‘what I wanted” (yes we’re talking about things like what restaurant to go to and where to vacation), I even stop drinking flavored coffee, which I absolutely loved, all because, in my husband’s opinion, flavored coffee was an abomination. Please understand, my husband is an incredibly sensitive and loving man. He never told me to only and always agree with him or I prohibit me from drinking flavored coffee, he just complained about how stinky he thought it was : )

The kind of surrender God is calling me to, is not an exchange of who I am in order to become what pleases another, which is in essence a lie and unhealthy. This type of surrender is in reality, a letting go of who I am not, in order to become who I truly am. True Biblical surrender is a call to understand, believe, embrace and become who God has declared me to be so I can accomplish the Divine work he has called me to engage in, for His Kingdom, His honor, and His Glory.  Ephesians provides a beautiful picture of this heavenly exchange and provides a guide that helps us through the process of surrendering the identity of someone who has died in order to embrace and assume the identity of who God declares, equips, and calls us to be.

Do you realize that if you have received the gift of salvation, YOU are literally, spiritually, & physically an actual daughter of God!!! Please repeat that phrase and ask the Spirit of God to allow the reality of this truth to be understood by your mind in a way that transforms the way you think and act! At your salvation, an actual legal adoption took place in heaven between Judge and Savior, Father and son. There is an actual document with your name on it contained in the Book of Life. On this document you are listed as the daughter of God. You are part of His Family tree.

I was never into the Royal Family, and never understood friends who obsessed over them and followed their every move. I think the physical example (and failures) of kings and kingdoms have ruined our ability to understand the truth of who and what we have become in Christ. As trite as the kingdom and rule of an earthly king and queen is today, at a human level, it can still help us to comprehend, to a minuscule degree, what our new identity and position in Christ means.  

Imagine being an orphan in the poorest country on the face of the earth. Not only do you live in a wretched country, you also live in the most wretched children’s home ever to exist. You have no rights or privileges, and you are not free to leave because you belong to the cruel owner of the orphanage. You do what you are told, wear what you are handed, and eat what little you are given in silence. There is no time for yourself. You are powerless and must do everything you are told, no matter how cruel, painful, or damaging it is to your health and life. This home is your prison and you know you will never set food beyond the miserable property upon which you live. Imagine if one day you received an official letter informing you that Queen Elizabeth had held a lottery and your name had been chosen. A press conference had been called, without you even knowing what was going on, and the Queen had declared to the world that you (insert your name here) had just been officially adopted into their Royal family. There on the spot, you are announced as the princess of England with all power, privileges, rights, and duties are bestowed upon you as the Royal Daughter. Accompanying this declaration is a request for you to prepare yourself for the journey to meet your new family and begin your new life. You are instructed to burn every scrap of clothing and discard every object in your possession that ties you to your previous life as a wretched, lowly orphan, and slave. Placed in front of you are boxes containing clothing and riches, the likes you have never seen. An attendant is also provided, This “helper” knows everything the Queen desires for you to do before your arrival. He knows what state you need to be in by the time you stand before her throne and He also has unlimited power and ability to carry out every demand that has been given regarding your physical appearance, conduct, possessions, education.  All the time, resources, and opportunities you need in order to transform you from an orphan slave into the sophisticated and elegant princess of England is his to freely lavish upon you. Immediately, you are also free from the laws, constraints, rule of everyone around you, including the owner of the orphanage. No one has the power to demand anything of you or do anything to you. The only voice you are required to listen to, and the only kingdom and ruler that defines who you are, the scope of your power, and what is expected of you, is the kingdom and voice of the Queen of England. 

A scenario like this would blow my mind YET this is our reality!! Can you wrap your head around the fact that as unreal as the story above sounds this, to an even greater degree is the true narrative of your life and calling? Does your heart quicken because you understand “This IS your Life?” You have been rescued from a literal and physical hellish existence! You are living, breathing Royalty! (I will give you my autograph if you give me yours) One day, you will live in an physical mansion of an actual brick and mortar Kingdom. You will walk streets of splendor with your siblings, who you will actually get along with. You will sit at table next to your brothers and sisters, millions upon trillions of them. You will be able to physically see, speak with, and permanently dwell with Jesus Christ, the Son and Savior of the world!!! You will enter into, remain in, and experience the presence of The The Living God who created the universe. Right now angels in heaven experience this but with head bowed, and eyes covered. All they can do is what God created them to do, proclaim “Holy! Holy! Holy! You are Lord God Almighty! God who was, is, and is to come.” BUT WE, we were created for relationship with Christ and we will dwell with him and remain in His presence. God is actually our Father!!! God is your daddy! 

How does this impact how you “dress” yourself, physically, and spiritually every day? Who or what do you dress as? Doomed orphan or daughter of the King? What do you take off and put on every time you get out of bed? What identity do you surrender yourself to? How does the reality that “I am in the midst of the greatest wardrobe change ever known to mankind,” change daily activities, goals, and desires? All of us would jump at the chance if we were offered the opportunity of a “rags to riches” moment here on earth. How can we hesitate to accept the gift of our own eternal real-life rags to riches opportunity today? What part of the broken, filthy, powerless orphan are you holding onto today. 

Ephesians 2

2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love for us, 5 has made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

A Word

My focus for 2021

New Year, new focus!

Like many, I spent some time considering what “word” to choose as my focus for 2021. As I was finishing the year with a great book, end of year sermons, and my own personal devotions, a word seemed to echo in my heart. So for the year of 2021, my focus will be upon the act of Surrender!

Surrender

Normally, the word surrender isn’t not one we think of in a positive light. The definition of the word surrender is:

“To cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.

Whenever there is war, there will be surrender. In war, to surrender means to lay down weapons and to stop fighting for your cause. In war, the losers are the ones who surrender in humiliation and defeat. The climax of some of the greatest books and movies of all time, is the point at which the protagonist is confronted with prospect of surrender. The height of the plot coming when, with all option are exhausted, all strength depleted, and casualties high and the hero is faced with the choice to surrender pride, rights, livelihood, family, and freedom in order to survive. The resolution of some of the greatest battles in history are those in when, against all odds, the underdogs didn’t just survive, they defeated their enemy.  Surrender is not something we are supposed to yield to, but rather something we fight against, at all cost.

But as I sit on the couch, the old hymn “All to Jesus, I surrendered” echoes in my head. Surrender!?!?  Why in the world would I voluntarily do this you might ask? We just celebrated the Christmas season with the familiar words “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to all men.” With what has gone on in our world in just the last year even, it’s obvious that this wasn’t a declaration to mankind and a promise that the end of all wars and violence had come to earth. We in America alone have experienced the Revolutionary war, Civil war, World war I & II, and vietnam war…… just to name a few. No, this announcement thousands of years ago held far greater meaning for all of mankind both present and future. 

Because of sin, before that wondrous night in Bethlehem, man was always and only at war with God. Mortal enemies with an immortal and all powerful God with the doom of all mankind guaranteed. “But God, who is rich in mercy and great Love” sent His only begotten Son, in order to facilitate the most historic peace accord of all time. We deserved absolute annihilation as enemies of the Living God but Jesus, God’s Holy and Righteous Son, came as a babe and then died on the cross, feeling the full weight of His Father’s wrath and justice. Mankind, once mortal enemies with God could now be “brought near” and “called sons and daughters.” Where all of mankind once had the sentence of eternal death and separation from Christ pronounced upon them, they could now receive not only pardon but also adoption into God’s family. Added to this, a promise was given that man would only be pardoned, he would also become joint heirs with His Son, and gifted with all the rights and privileges that Jesus Christ, the Son of God had. The only action required was surrender. 

For the 1st and only time in history surrender wouldn’t mean humiliation, imprisonment, expulsion, the loss of everything, execution, or suffering. This surrender, this bowing of knee to the rule and reign of God, meant adoption and absolvement of the debt we owed and could never repay. Surrender didn’t mean slavery and loss of freedom, it meant provision and power. Instead of the victor taking everything from us as plunder, we received complete access to His evenly treasures, imperishable, immeasurable,  and eternal. 

This is a gift I received as a young 6 year old girl but for God’s children, the need for and call to surrender is one I must engage in daily. This call to surrender has been a common theme and mantra of our church.  A call to Surrender my time and talents, so they can be  used for God’s purposes and glory not mine. It is a call to Surrender what is comfortable and familiar and to step out into the battlefield where I will be uncomfortably stretched beyond what I thought possible. It is a call to surrender my desire to have a safe and pain free life for my kids by stepping aside and allowing the Lord to have His way, in His time, with my kids. The day I kneeled in surrender, accepting the free gift of salvation and peace with God, my life of surrender had just begun. Its easy to forget this truth in the midst of a busy life. Its easy to forget my life is no longer mine, because it was redeemed with the most expensive and precious price ever paid.

So for 2021, surrender is my focus. The action of giving up one thing in order to obtain something else of greater eternal value. I know surrender might be uncomfortable and even painful at times, but in the end I know the words of Jim Elliot will prove true:

“He is no fool who gives up what he can not keep,

In order to gain what he can not loose.”


For another blog about surrender click here: “On The Edge of That Glad Surrender

Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine….

The not so respectable, respectable sins

Between the Vines – Artist: Carl Brenders

Catch for us the foxes,

    the little foxes

that ruin the vineyards,

    our vineyards that are in bloom.

Song of Solomon 2:15

The Fox

A few days ago I found myself quite irritated with my husband. If I were to disclose what it was that set me on edge I have no doubt you would shake your head in amazement and then hand me the number of a good marriage counselor because at that moment in time, my heart needed some help. As I stood trying to sort through what I was feeling and why, the Holy Spirit pressed upon my heart the realization that immediately identifying and dealing with this perplexing situation was not an option! As I forced my brain to concentrate on God’s call to love unconditionally, it struck me that moments like these, if left unattended, threaten the foundation of even the most solid and committed relationships. Couples do not stand at the alter on their wedding day with hearts full of contempt and disdain. What begins as true, committed love will always grow cold over time if the memories of what they loved most about their spouse are replaced and replayed with a growing list of hurts, offenses, and irritations. If I valued the gift of a healthy and thriving marriage and planned to honor my pledge “to love, honor, and obey till death”, not divorce, I had to figure out and deal with what really was going on in my heart towards my spouse. But, there was more going on in my heart than opportunity for a silly irritation to attack the foundation of our marriage. A few days later, God used a simple drive in the car and then a book to bring understanding and truth to a critical need to identify and eliminate some foxes in my vineyard.

The Drive

The drive on Thursday wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for me. I wasn’t in a hurry, there wasn’t a lot of traffic. I was simply making my way back home after running some errands. As I approached an intersection, a car hesitated and then pulled out in front of me. With their available clearance to shoot the gap already in question, the car then proceeded to slow down and go a full 5 miles under the speed limit. Frustrated, I eloquently barked out my irritation at the inept driver. I did’t cuss and I didn’t rage or loose control of my emotions, but in frustration I proceeded to spend the next few minute explaining to the car in front of me exactly what I thought of their driving skills or rather lack of them. The entire time I was vocalizing my displeasure, the Holy Spirit quietly was doing the same to me to me. Conviction eventually led to muted irritation until opportunity provided me with the chance to get around my slow moving obstacle. I snapped the turn signal my, jerked my car into the other lane, and then stomped on the gas making sure to looked over as I passed the slow moving can in order to get a glimpse of the offending driver. My irritation seemed innocent, if not justified but deep down I knew I had responded poorly. I knew this outburst and the many others like it were wrong. I felt convicted and ashamed because I knew this was an ongoing problem I hadn’t been able to master. I also knew I this was a sin I should not excuse to justify and so I arrived home discouraged. I continued on with my day, got distracted, completely forgot about the interaction. Eventually, the sorrow and guilt over my conduct faded and the little fox remained in my garden.

The Book

Today I finished up Lisa Terkeurst’s book “Forgiving What You Can’t Forget.” One of the last points she made about the importance and necessity of forgiveness, brought everything from the past week into light. Aside from the fact that God commanded us to forgive and Jesus tied it to the Father’s forgiveness toward us (Luke 13), was the truth that the consequences of refusing to forgive seeps into all other relationships and aspects of our lives. We can’t simply choose to not forgive a specific person and keep the effects of that bitterness confined to that one single relationship or situation. Bitterness is a sin that will spill into and poison all other relationships. Bitterness towards an “enemy” who has wounded us will multiply and be poured out upon the spouse we love, the friends we cherish, and the children we adore. Any sin rationalized and justified produces consequences that seeps into every aspect of our lives and relationships. I began to reflect upon the people and events in my life that had caused great brokenness and pain, things I would never be able to forget. There are memories so painful that the mere mention of names or events can trigger stifling anxiety attacks. Lisa’s words rang true as I began to connect the dots, recognizing a familiar pattern of keeping score, making lists, and withdraw from other relationships I cherished.

The Connection

As I digested Lisa’s words, I thought back to my shameful ride in the car and then to the silly irritation towards my husband a few days earlier. The light came on again as I realized those 2 moments were also connected. Just as bitterness towards one relationship affects another, justifying my irritation towards an aggravatingly slow drivers created a home in my heart for the seeds similar irritation towards my husband. “Little foxes” (ie. sins) are often excused reactions that fly under the radar. While they seem innocent and harmless, they quietly perpetrate some of the greatest damage to relationships far and wide because they continue unnoticed and unhindered. I would never dream of killing someone who hurt me, but I can become so bitter I rejoice when they hurt or worse yet become bitter at God when they don’t. I may believe it absurd to divorce my spouse for something petty like leaving his underwear of the floor but I can poison my heart and love towards him by daily compiling a list of irritations, faults, and failures that silently and gradually erase from memory all that is good, and noble about him that I admired and fell in love with in the beginning.

All foxes that are welcomed or tolerated into the vineyard spoil the vines and destroy the grapes. Every sin tolerated and justified in one situation take root in our hearts and bring destruction in others. May God grant us discernment and vigilance to root out and annihilate all the little foxes.

Peace For Today: When My Heart is Overwhelmed!

Psalm 61:1-4
Hear my cry O God. Attend to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I will cry unto you,
when my heart is overwhelmed within me,
lead me to the rock that is higher than I
For you have been a shelter for me,
a strong tower from the enemy
I will abide in your tower forever,
I will trust in the covert of your wings.

Where do you go when fear strikes? What do you do when anxiety rears its ugly head?


I love the beautiful image David casts of his journey through anxiety and uncertainty. His thought process, prayer, and pilgrimage through times like we are experiencing today has been a great source of comfort to me, helping me to center my focus and quiet my heart.

“While man is the creator of chaos and pain, the only true source of Hope and Peace is the One True God and Creator of all things, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Hear my cry O God. Attend to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I will cry unto you

When overwhelming circumstances come our way, who or where do we turn to 1st? It is very easy for me to search for statistics, stories, and sources that produce information which confirm “things are OK”. The only problem is that for every stat or source I find there are often as many contradictory stats or stories that surface. If you add in the disheartening scenario like we have today where no amount of facts seem to be able to break through the walls of misinformation, deception, and outright lies- what began as manageable anxiety over the unknown morphs to downright frustration and even anger.

David’s first step in Psalm 61 is a movement to quiet his heart, center his focus, and remind himself that While man is the creator of chaos and pain, the only true source of Hope and Peace is the One True God and Creator of all things, the Lord Jesus Christ!


Like a child that has just been pushed down by the neighborhood bully, David runs to his “Abba” daddy father to make things right. “Hear my cry” or listen to the troubles that burden my heart he utters to his Father. “Attend to my prayer” Daddy, give full attention and all your effort to helping me with my conflict he demands. David is pleading with God to take notice and to take action! Stats will never bring peace or hope. Sinful, fallen, imperfect people are incapable of bringing security or salvation. This world is broken and corrupt. Chaos will continue to grow and spread. BUT we serve a True and Faithful God who never changes, and in whom there is “No shadow of turning.” In him we find constancy and solid ground. David realized that anxiety of heart, caused by the brokenness of the world, finds rest only in the power and person of a Faithful God who never changes. So David’s focus turns from trying to figure out how he can change the people and circumstances causing his distress, focusing instead upon the Faithfulness and Power of the God of Salvation.

“David realized that anxiety of heart, caused by the brokenness of the world, finds rest only in the power and person of a Faithful God who never changes”

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I


The heart- (our mind & our collection of thoughts, beliefs, and understanding) is the epicenter where the battles of anxiety and fear take place. Our amazing body takes in the world around us and within milliseconds processes what is seen, heard, felt and sensed. Drawing from years of collected experiences, knowledge, and beliefs, our bodies then take action based upon what we believe to be true.


Quite often, an overwhelmed heart is one in which “Truth” has been drowned out by the fears of “what could be” and/or the experiences of “what has already been.” David’s cry of “Lead me to a rock, higher that I“ is such a profound statement. David, battling anxiety, fear, and probably even anger, recognizes that in that moment he is dwelling in a place where fear, anxiety, and anger thrives because his mind and heart isn’t where it needs to me. Man’s mind, body, thoughts, and, intellect are limited and imperfect and David realized residing physically and spiritually in a place limited by his physical body and intellect, he would find no rest. David understood that a change in the Spiritual location and the focus of his heart, spiritual eyes, and quite possibly even the physical location of his eyes and body were needed in order to vanquish the overwhelming feelings of despair and hopelessness. And so his prayer continues, confessing to the Lord that he understood he was not where he should be while also asking God to “lead him to the place “Higher” than himself, where he needed to be. A place that extended beyond his kingdom and provided a power, wisdom, and protection far beyond what even he, anointed king and ruler could provide. And don’t miss the important fact that there was a spiritual climb (and possibly a physical one too- perhaps to the sanctuary to pray some more) to get from point A– anxiety and distress, to point B– peace and hope. David didn’t get to simply ask to be transported to peace and hope. David understood that he had to take an active role to get to that place of peace and security- He had to aggressively engage in a journey from where he was presently to where he needed and wanted to be.

“Quite often, an overwhelmed heart is one in which “Truth” has been drowned out by the fears of what could be” and/or the experiences of “what has already been.”

For you have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy

I had the opportunity to counsel quite a few women through incapacitating anxieties and fear. The experiences of past abuse, present sorrows, and perceived future dangers were a constant and deafening noise to ears struggling to hear the voice of reason and truth. When tackling debilitating anxieties and fear, I often went to this Psalm as a source of encouragement and direction.

On a white board I would draw the counselee in the midst of a battle field and we would discuss the “enemies they battled. I would ask them to imagine the situations, memories, fears, and even people standing before them, that they mentally and emotionally went to war with on a daily basis. We would discuss how overwhelming and even hopeless the “enemy” looming before them often seemed. From their vantage point, the life they lived appeared to pit one (themselves) against so many others.

After reading this Psalm and discussing the need for movement from point A to point B, I would draw a shelter between the counselee and their enemies and then ask why they should run into this place of refuge? They would mention things like: With a shelter, they experienced safety because they were no longer out in the open, exposed and helpless. The place of refuge allowed them periods of rest when weary because they didn’t always have to fight…. in the shelter they were completely hidden from the gaze of their enemies and within the walls they were always protected. Once surrounded by these walls they were no longer exposed, vulnerable, and alone.

My favorite part of the verse came next. With the dry marker we transformed that shelter into something so much more formidable as we add depth and height making it into a tall “Strong Tower.” This tower was not only fortified and safe, it loomed over the battlefield. I would ask the counselee what had changed about the battle she was now facing, aside from the fact she was no longer out in the open and vulnerable because she was inside and sheltered. She was able to recognize the fact that the presence of a “strong tower” shifted the battle to her favor because her position in the tower provided her with a new vantage point. She was now above her enemies and she could see the entire battlefield and the boundaries within which she fought. She could see the enemy clearly and the tower allowed her to see their numbers, limitations, strengthen, weaknesses, and movements. She could see and understand the weapons they had brought to attack her with and she now knew exactly what weapons she needed in order to engage in battle and defeat them
In the “Strong tower” she now had the advantage not just defensively but offensively! What a liberating truth!!!


What beautiful imagery of the Spiritual battles we fight today. Yes COVID is a real physical disease, the riots and chaos on the news today present real physical threats and financial burdens. Lost jobs and future uncertainties are very real and palpable fears BUT God’s word tells us that the the battles we wage as children of the King are not merely physical but Spiritual in nature. We do not strive and wage war to preserve a physical life and worldly goods. We engage in battle to win and preserve what can never be taken away from us, a Spiritual Heritage, incorruptible, imperishable. We groan and strain under the burden of a broken world and corrupt society with hope because we know we are just strangers and sojourners here, looking for another Kingdom promised to us by our Heavenly father. Our fears, anxiety originate in this broken and fallen physical world but often they are fought predominately on a spiritual battlefield. A spiritual battle already won for us at the cross when Jesus rose from the dead in glorious victory over sin His Father placing all things under his feet including all rulers, powers, and dominions!


Today, if you find your heart “Overwhelmed” and peace and joy fleeting, follow David’s journey to the “Strong Tower” of God’s presence. If you are overwhelmed, you are not where you need to be spiritually, and quite possibly physically (For me often the wrong physical place is often facebook:) Ask God to lead you into His presence and to open your ears and eyes to the truth that liberates and brings peace and freedom. Step into His presence, into that “Strong “Tower” and let His Word, and His Truth” shed light on the battlefield before you. Let His presence and His Power change both your perspective of who or what the enemy is that you are to fight, how you are equipped to fight, and the true cause you are called to fight for.
Blessings and Peace!

Why monuments are’t our biggest problem…How Nelson Mandela Got it Wrong…and Why Racism Will Continue.

True history is a record of verifiable facts free from the prejudice of man. It must contain both his honorable, valiant, and noble deeds which ignite pride and gratefulness, as well as the deplorable and incomprehensible works of darkness that evoke shame and horror. Not one single piece of history is void of the deeds of both honorable and dishonorable men and women.

Because the heart of every man is filled with sin, every moment of recorded history is sullied and tarnished by his hatred, greed, and the effects of the natural depravity of his heart and soul. Every noble conflict is tarnished by the heinous deeds of inherently sinful and selfish men and women. Every vile conflict is filled with glimmers of light as men and women of honor and integrity stood against treachery, advocating for justice and equality for all. To demand that all history touched by the imperfections and prejudices of man be erased, as if by doing so you can punish those men and women for the sins they committed decades and centuries ago, is completely irrational!

George S quoteThe purpose of history, so wisely stated by Italian philosopher George Santayana,  is to educate humanity about the past BECAUSE “Those who don’t remember history are condemned to repeat it!” History educates us! It helps us to see how the unspeakable became possible. History reveals how ignorance and prejudice has fueled hatred and the murder of innocent men and women for thousands of years. It lets us consider and become aware that even the most pure of intentions can be skewed by the natural depravity of man’s heart bent towards selfish sinful self love. 

Erasing history is a global suicide mission with self destruction as the only possible end game! Systematically removing the monuments and records of every evil man, women, and event in this world, so that we can in essence remove any and all traces of his evil heart, will not end until every monument, statue, plaque and book is destroyed. Removing evidence of the the mistakes, sins, and ignorance of those in the past will not remove those very mistakes, sin, and ignorance still present in the heart of every man today.

Today I stumbled across an article that troubled me greatly. In the report a protester declared Christopher Columbus to be a man with a “White supremacist mindset.” How in the world this person or any person living today claims they are able to know and interpret the thoughts, intents, and heart of a man dead and buried over a thousand years baffles me. Based on that assumption this person felt they have the right to call for the removal of a monument erected in 1910, honoring the courage of “Italians who immigrated to Detroit” seeking freedom and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What’s even more disturbing was that this clamoring to remove the monument wasn’t the original object of the protest. This Monument only came under fire after the search for other politically incorrect monuments came up empty.

Perhaps the quest to remove the “monuments” of those we deem unworthy has more to do with hiding the conditions of our own hearts here in the present than it is about the exposing the evil in the hearts of those from our past. Maybe mandatory history exams should be required of all protesters before any more monuments and records of history are removed! protest memeThe last time I studied history, the driving force behind the voyage that brought Christopher Columbus to America was the desire to find a new trade rout and resources with which humanity could sustain them self. Never in the annals of history have I ever heard it be charged that “white supremacy” drove Columbus or any other explorer to set sail, set foot, or ride to discover the unknown! If this protester were in fact correct, and the true motivation behind Columbus’ exploration was his own supremacy, it isn’t white man we would have to declare to be governed by a supremacist mindset, it would be Spaniard Supremacy we would have to go after.

Did prejudice, hate, murder, and slavery spread like cancer across the new world? Yes, and every other continent inhabited by mankind! Man abusing man existed long before Columbus set sail, and long before the Civil War began. Every act of hate exists because greed and self love has always existed deep within the core of his being. No human escapes this curse. It is a global fall and a global predicament. Native Americans killed, and were suppressed and killed by their own people groups long before Columbus showed up. Africans and people of all nations who were enslaved and brought to America (and the host of other countries riff with slavery), murdered, were murdered, and were oppressed by their own people groups long before they were violently ripped from the soil of their own countries. 

importantAtrocities are perpetuated and wars begun when one person or people group asserts that their humanity, rights and desires are more valid and important than everyone else’s. At the core of this mindset it the sick cancer of self-love. A love fueled by the belief my life is more important than any others. Because my life is all that matters, I have the right to decide to do or not do anything that pleases or benefits me and me alone! This is how one man can justify the enslavement of another. This is how one  can justify stealing the property of another. This is how one justifies destruction of another man’s property. This is how justifies murder, rape, adultery, theft, and abortion.

Regardless, as humanity once again turns against itself, to its own demise and destruction, every protest and every news article makes a most excellent “Case for Christ.”

This past week former President Obama also lit up the internet, responding to racial unrest by tweeting a famous quote from Nelson Mandela. NelsonFor those seeking answers and desperate for any semblance of a return to sanity in the midst of dark chaos, this quote rang true. While I am hopeful that our world might finally be ready for a wake up call, I find myself apprehensive and doubtful that we are actually heading in the right direction. You see the very quote encouraging an end to racism and hate in truth reveals why it still remains and will continue to exist and divide nations.

Contrary to Mr. Mandela’s claim, man is born filled to the brim with the capacity to hate and the natural desire to do so. Did you teach your kids to hit each other, steal from one another, devour the spirit of another with their words? NOPE! That came natural!  Jeremiah 17 states that the heart of man is the most deceitful thing in existence and beyond that Jeremiah asserts that man’s heart is desperately wicked. Yes, society plays an active role rationalizing the hatred of a man directed towards those it deems undesirable and worthless, BUT the fact is, before hate is given socitial permission to flow, it all ready resides at the core of man’s soul. Hate never lays dormant! It is violent, angry, and always calling for action and an avenue of expression. Even if we were to abolish all forms of hatred directed towards a person simply because of his/her skin color or nationality, we would be no better off as a society.

All forms of hate are vile and detestable, but a moral shift in society has proclaimed that certain forms of hate are permissible. Every single human on the face of the earth was born with a heart filled with hate. Without ever being taught or coaxed to explore that hateemotion, every living breathing human on the face of the earth will not only demonstrate that hate but also look for ways to rationalize and justify it, FOR the root of all hate is self love. Self love raises its head when a man steals an item from a store, a boss, or a neighbor. Self love is evidenced when a woman kills with her word or wounds with her hands. Hate extinguishes lives, abuses the innocent, bullies the weak, demeans the downtrodden and declares all others different from themselves to be less than human. Self love declares I am the most important thing on earth and anything that gets in my way or keeps me from what I want is the enemy and worthy of my anger, ire, and retribution. If a baby gets in the way of my career I have the right to kill it. If a man is married to a woman I like and find desirable I will steal her……and the list of acceptable acts of hate multiply because I have given myself the power and authority to make any decision because I am all that matters. What happens when masses of humanity, each with differing opinions about what is worthy of life (based on whether it adds value to their existence or helps them attain the life they want) rise up ????? You get what you have seen the past few days, weeks, years, decades, and centuries, anarchy, Hate, chaos, hAte, riots, haTe, beatings, hatE, theft, Hate, vandalism, hAte, murder, haTe, war, HATE………………………………When my happiness and success is all that matter, all that matters is that I get what I want, not the means by which I attained what I want!!!!!

While the world engages in an battle of epic proportions over diversity, arguing to the point of violence and then excusing the bloody and violent outcome, the very nature of self love is on display. When man cares more about the right to say I am right and you are wrong than he does for the human life and relationships he violently sacrifices in order to be able to brag he has won, self love is at its best.  When society can stand and fight for the rights of one people group while at the same time justifying the total extermination of another based on brain faculty there you see the dark face of self love!

Iceland Has Almost Eliminated

Down Syndrome Births Through Abortion

Racism isn’t our problem it is merely a symptom.  Self love is the monster we must address and hedonism the dragon to be slain! So what is the cure? We are told that there has never been a more powerful demonstration of love towards mankind than when one man laid down his life for another. The kicker is that this actual physical sacrifice  and death wan’t an even exchange. It wasn’t a good man dying for an even more noble and worthy man. It wasn’t a good man repaying the favor of another. For while we were still sinners, swimming in the mire of self love and depravity and hate, Jesus Christ died for us.   This is what true Love looks like. It is a love that can abolish racism and all other acts of violence. It is a love that sees fellow man as beautiful and worthy not because I deem him so but because he was created in the very image of the God of the Universe. True love understands that when much has been given much is required in return. The only hope we have to end racism and ALL other forms of hate is love and the only way we can exchange hate for love is to accept the Love of the one who first demonstrated what love looks like.

 

John 316

A husband’s greatest need….is for you not to “need” him.

A husband’s greatest need….

One of the most difficult lessons I have learned in 14 short years of marriage is this-

One of the greatest gifts I can give my husband is to not “need” him.

You see, by nature we are very needy women.  Early in my life, I took great prided in my physical and emotional strength and abilities. When I turned twenty-eight, that facade of inner and outer strengthen was obliterated when I entered into a life long covenant with my husband David. The union of two saints who possessed hearts that groaned daily under the burden of sin and self,  exposed a frailty and neediness I had no idea I had become a slave to.

I needed my husband to be romantic and write notes and send flowers like he did when we were dating, in order to feel secure in our relationship and love. I needed him to come home from work on time in order to ensure my troubled heart that our children and I were the most important thing in his life. I needed him to choose spending time with me/us rather than playing games on the internet and reading articles that weren’t nearly as interesting as I though I was, in order to feel loved and cherished. I desperately needed to see him look away from sultry dressed women as they passed by and to publicly wage bloody warfare against the endless stream of immorality and porn on the internet in order to feel a sense of worth and beauty. I needed him to visibly demonstrate he was a mighty man of God by getting up early and spending time in the word and in prayer in order to rest assured our home was pleasing to God and under His spiritual protection. This “I need” list was massive and dictated my days and my nights. When these things did not happen with the frequency or to the degree I thought they should, I willingly boarded an emotional and mental roller coaster laden with endless hills of self pity, fear, jealousy, doubt, anger, withdrawal….The mood and spirit of our home was unwillingly drug behind the erratic flight of my unstable and distorted coaster called “Neediness” and “frailty.” My peace was determined solely upon my perception of “how” I thought my husband was performing in life both spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  I had no idea how destructive this “neediness” was to our marriage and my life spiritually until God mercifully broke me and then faithfully bound my soul back together by exposing the sinfulness and idolatry of my heart.

Six years into our marriage, on the outside, life seemed perfect.We had a cozy home, three beautiful children, and an uncanny absence of public turmoil or strife in our lives. Secretly I reveled in this. Hearing about the marital/relational struggles of others feed the monster of pride that steadily grew in my heart. A pride that blinded me to a smothering darkness in my life and marriage. Didn’t I deserve a perfect marriage and a perfect husband? I had done it all right, hadn’t I? I had waited 28 years for the right one. I had endured years of loneliness, disappointment, discouragement, and unfulfilled desires. David meant everything to me, but the image of a perfect life meant even more. I was willing to do or not do whatever it took to maintain the image of a perfect marriage. I buried hurts, swallowed back disappointment, and turned my head away from the things my heart screamed were off.

In one fleeting second, God humbled my proud heart with His heavy but loving hand of correction.  My heart was shattered and the facade of a perfect marriage ripped apart. I was not the perfect wife I thought myself to be. My husband was not the perfect man my pride had fashioned and placed as god in my life.  I was insecure and in my insecurity I had looked to my marriage and my husband for purpose, fulfillment, and meaning. Success was measured by the degree to which David met my needs as well as the absence of conflict and strife in our lives. My husbands happiness had been my goal because this was a measurable standard I could wear with pride. I needed my husband to be the perfect husband and father. I needed him to return to our home each evening happy and content. This is what I strove for while denying the failures and spiritual needs in my own life. It was much easier to remain silent, play the part of the perfect wife, and uphold the facade the peace than to address and conquer the spiritual darkness in our lives and in our home.

I needed David to be the perfect husband and father not because this was what was best for him but because this was what was best for me.  If he was perfect I would not hurt. If he was perfect I would not have needs unmet. If he was perfect, I could look perfect too. If I was perfect I could acquire the esteem of others.  I could dress up the outside of Jody and neglect the more painful and ugly Jody inside.

How my life changed…..

After an extremely painful trial in our marriage, I resisted seeking out Biblical counsel for myself and instead spent two years bound in a prison of fear and hurt. I didn’t know how to repair the pieces of my shattered heart but I was desperate for peace and healing. Like the stubborn child who insist on having things their own way, I did what I had always done, I placed the responsibility squarely on my husband shoulders. I decided I needed him to do a, b, and c to repair the broken pieces and bring healing to my life. I needed him to be strong, perfect, and daily reassure me I would never hurt again. This did not work because I was asking my husband to do something he  would never be capable of, perfection.

There is but one person who can accomplish what I demanded of my husband. Somewhere between single life and marriage, I placed my husband and marriage on the throne of my heart. I put a human with a sinful heart in a position only Christ could fill, demanding he play a role only God was capable of.

Sin can not produce holiness, peace can not rise from the ashes of chaos. Disease can not spawn healing. Only the God of Peace can bring peace. Only God the Righteous Judge can be, demand, and make one righteous. Only the Eternal, All Powerful, All Loving God can fill the abyss of a broken and needy heart. My needy heart needed it’s neediness to be reoriented to the one who never disappoints and never fails. It was in this moment of brokenness that God opened my eyes to the truth that my greatest need was Christ. In turn I discovered that my pursuit of fulfillment in Him this was the greatest gift I could ever give my husband and family.

You see, My husband’s greatest need was for me to “not need him”, but instead be possessed, driven, and overcome by my need for God. Our poor husbands are doomed for failure when we insist on placing them in a position they can’t measure up to. My liberation day came when I realized my peace and joy was not dependent upon my husband’s godly integrity, moral victories and spiritual growth. My healing and confidence came when I realized I could experience disappointment, failure, and pain in my marriage and life and still be “okay.” With my focus off my husband and on my own heart, sin, and needs, I found freedom, healing, and peace. A perfect marriage and husband would never bring peace and happiness, but a Jody with an upright and perfect heart toward God could experience and revel in a peace and joy unspeakable. When I could say “whom have I in heaven but Thee and there is none I desire beside thee” then peace, contentment, and joy would rain down. When my heart could echo David’s cry “My soul thirsts for you and my flesh longs for you” then I would experience a strength empowered by a Divinely given neediness, I was meant to experience daily. I was created needy so that I would daily, out of that neediness, peruse the strength of another. So that I would be driven to the throne and to the feet the the Savior who would gloriously and faithfully meet those needs.

What is your greatest need?

Perhaps you are hurting, looking at the shattered pieces of your heart and wondering how or if it is even possible to repair what has been so painfully broken. Has something been taken or withheld? Has your love been betrayed or cast aside? Please believe me when I say “beauty can rise among the ashes”, and “joy can  follow the cries of great sorrow.” Do not look at what or who has brought such pain or grief. Do not place the role of healer in their hands, this is a job they can not shoulder or fulfill.  This is the curse and product of sinful man and why he stands in such contrast with our Savior. Instead look to the only one capable of healing the broken, giving rest to the weary, bringing peace to the troubled. You need a Savior, a Redeemer, a Comforter. Yes God can transform the lives of those who have disappointed, frustrated, and wounded us but healing will never be found solely in another’s transformation but through our own.  You need Christ, not a husband. Your need the Righteous Judge, not a perfect spouse, life, marriage or family.

Jesus cry was “Come unto me and I will give rest”, “Know the truth and it will set you free….I am the truth”, “drink of the water I give..and never thirst” Let your gaze fall upon Him, let your heart rest upon Him. Set your hope and expectation upon He who never sleeps, never falters, who sees all, hears every cry, who is sufficient.

May the God of Peace fill you with peace!!!

Visit The Practice of Love for many uplifting and godly perspectives of marriage and life.

 Joining the community at Getting Down With Jesus

“Pay it Forward”: The forgotten story

I stumbled across an emotional feel-good video today while scrolling through morning Facebook updates : ) In this particular clip, friends and gftfcomplete strangers join forces to create the “Perfect day of work” for a “deserving” woman. Their targeted beneficiary was a young, hard working waitress, who had overcome much adversity and hardship. Chelsea’s day began with a thousand dollar tip, which she initially tried to refuse. Next up were tickets to Hawaii, and then an offer for employment in a field of work she loved. The “perfect day of work” ended with a brand new car and a visit from her best friend.

 

I am not ashamed to confess that as the gifts rolled in a smile grew across my face and I might have shed a few tears. It was a cool story! Every co-worker and friend that was interviewed repeated the same message “If any body deserves this, it’s Chelsea.” This young woman had faced adversity, and not only did she overcome it, she spent her free time channeling all her energy and resources towards helping others like herself. Even more amazing was the fact that she did so on the salary of an overworked and underpaid waitress.

 

Weary and straining under the emotional and physical stresses of life, unexpected and unsolicited intervention flooded in and swept her up and into a real life, happily ever after fairytale. I don’t think there is a single person who has watched or read about a story like this who hasn’t had the thought,” I wish something like that would happen to me.” To receive needed resources and even a few luxuries would be such an encouragement, not to mention the mental boost of having my life, work, and talents affirmed by those I know, love, and work with.

 

Then it struck me, I have my own story, but it is so much better than all the “pay it forward” stories flying around on Facebook and Youtube.

 

While Chelsea’s friends professed her deservedness of the perfectly planned gifts that poured in, I couldn’t help but think of how differently my life story has played out.

 

Romans 5:1-8

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,

wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace

in which we now stand.

And weboast in the hope of the glory of God.

 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,

 because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And hope does not put us to shame,

because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts

through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,

though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

While we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.

What a list! Did you catch all of them? Justified, peace, access, grace, standing, hope, glory, perseverance, character, more hope, no shame, God’s love . All of this abundant goodness with one slight difference, I deserved nothing!

rejoiceDo you see me in those verse above? Do you see yourself? Jody was powerless, ungodly, a sinner, yet grace  came down and has been poured out upon her life.

I closed facebook and turned off my phone and sat back to replay the video of another life that has been blessed. This record wasn’t documented on the internet, it was etched deeply and lovingly upon the innermost parts of my heart and mind.

My story is both appalling and beautiful. I was the source of all that was ghastly, tainted, and spoiled. One day my eyes were opened and I was reminded, I was not the author of my life story, nor the lead role. So often I have the cameras on the wrong person! Life is not in fact about me and what I deserved and have earned but rather about Him and all He has given. Still a sinner, still powerless, still undeserving, grace came down!

Within that tiny five letter word, infinite and unfathomable gifts reside and flow. They are not temporal and will never be taken away. They will never spoil, rust or corrupt. With every tick of the clock grace flows. My perfect day will not end when camera crews go home and the internet is switched off. My life story will not fade and be replaced when a new and more sensational story comes along. My perfect day will not temporarily remove me from the harsh reality of life the and sorrows and struggles each day can bring. My perfect day involves a person who gives what I need so I can be sustained as He carries me through them. My perfect day is not orchestrated by well meaning friends with limited resources and a company that will use me as an advertisement gimmick in order to make money. The vast and mysterious heavens are the footstool of the author of my story. His power and resources have no end. His motivation is Pure, Holy, and Righteous. All He gives is only for my good and what He chooses to bestow never comes with sorrow or regret. His gifts don’t merely enable me to cope and survive until my circumstances change.  His gifts transform, renew, and empower my heart, mind, will, and emotions to overcome regardless of my surroundings and circumstances.

Today, my heart cries out “I deserved none of this” and He replies “THIS is my joy.” I am overwhelmed by the grace that has flooded, floods, and has yet to flood into my life. A grace, that if measured, could not be contained. My “perfect day” began long before the first beat of my heart and the labored heaving of my tiny premature lungs.  Chosen before the foundations of the world, I have been wooed, hedged, and shepherded through endless “perfect days.”

This is my life story:

grc

I deserved nothing yet He has given everything!

Will you take a moment to replay and praise Him for your “Perfect day?”

A letter of counsel and concern to Recovering Grace

A Concern and Challenge For “Recovering Grace”

prs

As the firestorm around Bill Gothard and the IBLP erupts, I find I feel many mixed emotions. I wasn’t one of the “victims.” I was not preyed upon or abused by any member of leadership, and while many decisions my family made were misguided and in error, my parents were godly, loving and sensible people. My life was greatly impacted by sincere, godly, loving leaders at ALERT and Excel. I learned and grew much during involvement with ATI. I forged lifelong friendships and memories I will always look back upon with fondness.

As I stepped away from the IBLP ministry, I did so in phases. Ignorance and blindness was eventually replaced by anger and shock. I was not the “perfect Christian” they led me to believe I could become by following prescribed “Biblical” rules and laws. I dressed the part, listened to the right music, courted, avoided things on the “naughty” list, yet I never had true freedom or peace. Not only was I odious to myself, I was odious to the rest of the world.

In just the past 3 years the Lord has begun the process of ripping away the spiritual blindness, calluses, and more importantly the hypocrisy that kept me in a prison of frustration, guilt, fear, and anxiety. After leaving IBLP, the Lord took me through some gut wrenching trials. The problem was, when they came I had no true Biblical truth or foundation to stand upon. Years of rules, and “Prosperity gospel” laden false teaching smothered any attempt to make sense out of what I was going through and why.

Then came GRACE! The realization that I could not add a measure more of God’s love, mercy or power to my life by “works,” rocked my world. Even greater than this was the truth I could not compel Him to withdraw ANY measure of His love and mercy in my life by sin, failures, or weakness. I had it “ALL” already! It wasn’t about me anymore, it was all about HIM.overcome

No more list to check off! No more putrid hypocrisy to paint me white and clean on the outside, when in fact I was struggling and broken inside. I was covered and bathed in the “Amazing Grace” of God. He loved me in spite of who I was or what I had done and this love would never change or waiver.

How liberating it is to be driven in my heart by a passion for Him, because “He loved me first.”

How meaningful time in the word becomes, when a true desire to seek and know Him is the motivation rather than fear that if I don’t the hammer will drop and judgment will come.

The law opens our eyes for a need of a Savior. It revels and bears testimony that man’s heart is truly deceitful and desperately wicked. The law exposes our need for redemption, but there is no power or freedom found in that law. The law condemns! If you stop with the law, your life becomes a knotted and gnarled ball of guilt, pride, shame, arrogance, hopelessness, and frustration.

Then comes Grace! Freedom from chains we forged in an attempt to measure up, add to, and earn His favor.

Love and His grace cover a multitude of sins and brings freedom, but there is more. With eyes opened to the truth of His grace and Mercy, my life is lived out as an act of love to Him. I live each day striving to “be Holy as He is Holy” not in order to earn something, but because I am so overcome by His love for me I want to do everything to please Him and nothing to grieve Him. I desire each day to show Him that within my limited knowledge, I understand what He has done for me, Given me, rescued me from!

rejoice

So as articles fly across the internet and facebook feeds, here is my concern and challenge to Recovering Grace.

Your website “Recovering Grace” advertises a powerful and much needed ministry to thousands of people around the world, including those who have never darkened the doorway of IBLP or ATI. You have shed light on abuses and scandals that have resulted in damage untold and left countless victims reeling, angry, hurting, and questioning the Gospel, salvation, and even God himself.

There was a time I stopped visiting your site because I did not find “Grace” that could help me as I worked through my struggles and questions. Many times, all I found were painful stories and narratives/responses filled with unbelievable pain, anger, hate, and animosity. These accounts left me disgusted, angry, and so frustrated, but very few offered a glimmer of hope, peace and an active and living example of grace that heals.

I am not saying the anger, animosity, frustration is wrong, I am just saying, now that the firestorm has hit and exposure has been accomplished, so much more is needed than stories exposing the ministry, its leaders, and grotesque false teaching.

This site will receive so much traffic by the hurting, abused, seekers, God haters, and those simply curious about the newest religious scandal to hit the news waves.

While all the abused and wounded need to be able to tell their story and begin the process of healing, I encourage those at Recovering Grace to be wise and discerning as they wade through the thousands of e-mails, stories, claims, comments and offerings from those of us negatively and even positively impacted by the IBLP ministry.

Fill your web site with GRACE. Fill it with the amazing stories of healing, recovery, and the truth of God’s word. Let it ooze with hope for those who need it more than anything else in. Let your site be a miraculous testimony of of “Beauty from Ashes.” May what satan intended for evil, be a used for good and a demonstration of God’s grace and strength.

Offer links, books, and other sound resources that can provide Biblical counsel and truth that can enlighten, expose, heal and strengthen.

My prayers go out to all who are hurting and seeking peace, hope, and grace. It is there for you! Don’t give up!

Sincerely,

Jody Biddle-Watkins

A Little Taste of Heaven

Sunday evening I was treated to a small taste of heaven on earth. I sat quietly in handsmy chair surrounded by the family I cherish. We were related by blood, but not the physical liquid that courses through artery and vein. We were bound by something so much more precious, priceless, and powerful than gene and chromosome.

We were a family united and gathered together because we had been adopted into the family of God. We were covered with the precious blood of the Lamb that was Slain. We had been saved by the blood of the Son of God, the Creator of the universe. Our eyes had been opened to the awful reality of sin and the just condemnation we deserved because of it. We had been wooed, pursued, and graciously delivered from an eternal separation from the presence of God and a physical anguish that would never end.

One by one voices called out. Most were simple three or four word phrases, but hidden deep within each syllable was a personal testimony, a unique story. Each tongue that proclaimed the Glory of the Lord, bore witness that there was a God, and that He delighted in intervening in the affairs of man. Perhaps for a brief moment in time the heavens paused, and the galaxies took a breath as man took a turn singing the very song they had been singing since the day their creator flung flung them far  into the expanses of the skies. One by one, voices were raised, declaring the glory of God, giving testimony to His Majestic Holiness.

A brother would call out, sharing a moment of Divine intervention and all sk ldaround the auditorium heads would nod in knowing affirmation. Smiles crept to our mouths because while our experiences might be different, the God he spoke about was excitedly familiar.

“He is slow to anger!” someone announced and immediately my heart leaped within my chest. I wanted stand up and cry out Yes and Amen, I know and have experienced this God!!! “He abounds with mercy!” Oh glory I mouthed silently. I have met the God who has filled my days with mercy!

He pursues us with relentless love quips another. I choke back a sob as I think back to my teen years when I questioned and chided him in a foolish attempt to provoke His wrath” He did not strike me dead like I deserved, instead he patiently hounded me with His grace. He loved me when I walked astray, hedged my path from destruction and wooed me to Himself.

Sunday evening was a treat, a small glimpse of that moment in time when we will meet and see with our eyes, the God we have experienced here on earth. On that day we are told that every knee will bow and every tongue confess the truth, “That Jesus is Lord.”

Revelation 5:13 

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

dlr

On that day my voice might possibly join with the birds of the air, the trees of the field, and the fish of the sea in proclaiming His glory and might. On that day my heart will leap as never before, when I finally gaze upon the one who drew me out of the pit and set my feet on dry ground. I will see the God who chose me, the Savior who died for me, and the Spirit who sealed me. I will meet the Father who adopted the unlovely and destitute. I will fall before the Son of God who bore my sins on the cross. I will stand, not in abject fear, but delight as the Spirit bears witness that I am indeed a daughter of Christ!

I will not only proclaim he is Holy, Just, Righteous, Loving, faithful, True and Merciful, I will fully know and understand this. I will taste and see in a way I can not fathom that “He is good” and I will cry out “Most blessed am I because he chose to seek and save me!”

Have you joined the heavens in declaring the goodness of God? Is your life a living testimony of a faith rooted and grounded in the reality that the very God of the Universe delights in you? Do the rocks around you groan to declare what you have failed to proclaim. Do you exude the hope and exuberance of a prisoner set free? Will you join me today, raise your voice, and delight in a little taste of heaven on earth?

Photo Credits: Hands at  http://juganue.deviantart.com/art/together-holding-hands-153965261