Category Archives: Healing & Forgiveness

Best Battle Strategy Ever <3

I have on my heart to share a series with you this week. However, before we begin I do want to acknowledge this day in the history of our country.

While there are high schoolers who were not even born on that infamous day 16 years ago, I well remember the phone call from a friend asking me if I had the news on.

This was pre-smart phone days when we used wall phones to communicate and one by one, America found out that airplanes full of people had become a new form of weapon.

I remember sinking to my knees on the floor of our family room as the newscasters tried to explain how a plane had just flown into the side of a building, even as they realized another was headed to do the same to the sister tower.

In horror and with desperate prayers to God, many followed the events of that morning.

I do believe the increasingly less effective methods of destruction were in direct answer to the prayers of those around the world as this well-planned attack became exposed.

We have been told that across Maasai-land, our Kenyan brothers and sisters were in prayer for us as well.

Many around the world were interceding for us that day.

There is an enemy that seeks to destroy all that God has created.

And while we often want to put some tangible face to this foe, scripture tells us that our enemy is not flesh and blood.

Yes, the enemy works through people…through ideologies and governments and systems; through terrorists and agendas and despots; through exploitation and greed; through the exaltation of “self”…

I am reminded of the “I will’s” of pride outlined in Isaiah 14:13 – 14…

I will ascend into heaven

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God

I will also sit on the mount of the congregation

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds

I will be like the Most High

Playing God.

A dangerous game for anyone, with tragic repercussions for all.

The hallmarks of such thinking are destruction and devastation and death.

So for our nation today, I pray that we would learn well to remain humbly before the God who blessed this land with resources and with His Spirit.

I pray that we would enter into all warfare under His direction and counsel, availing ourselves of His guidance so freely given to those who seek His face.

I pray for those who still mourn the loss of lives in personal ways, for those first responders who showed true heroism and courage.

I pray for those who still suffer today from the physical and emotional sacrifice they gave to enter into a different kind of battle as they inhaled ash to find survivors.

I pray for those who are today fighting another unthinkable kind of warfare as rains and winds and fires sweep various areas of our nation.

I pray that we would be a nation that recognizes the power of prayer, not only for our own country but for the many many people who suffer around the world.

Devastations of man and nature abound around this globe and many do not have any kind of resources with which to bring aid to their people.

May God’s mercy and grace be poured out over us as we lift our hands to Him and invite Him to come and work in ways that only He can.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and each day this week as we look at what God says about winning battles His way.

Be blessed today in all that you do, as you bless others <3

 

 

Who’s seeking who?

This will be short (I think) because I am already behind this morning.

I know.

Unusual, but it does happen.

I have had such a feast of teachings and input of God thoughts this week that I am having trouble honing it down to something to share this morning but here is where prayer has landed us.

One of the passages of Scripture we have for our discussion in Sunday School is from Genesis 3.

After two sweeping chapters outlining the whole glorious creation of the world, we take a sudden nosedive into the fall of the whole beautiful thing.

In short sentences everything wonderful is wiped away as sin and shame smear ugly all over what was moments before a masterpiece…a true Master-peace.

A work of art like none other ever before or since.

The ultimate of all creativity. Ever.

Paradise not only shattered but seemingly, irreparably, eternally lost.

And where is God, the Creator, in all of this?

Is He shaming them?

No.

They are ashamed, but He is calling out…

Where are you?

He is asking…

Who told you?

And yes there are consequences for their choices.

But where is God?

He is taking His own beautiful creation and He is slaying it to clothe them.

He is shedding the blood of His own love; offering a way to cover their shame.

There are times I have had this turned around.

I have thought it was me, hiding out because of some choice I regret…

finally crawling out and looking for a God who will surely be standing there with arms crossed and finger pointing.

Like a child playing Hide and Seek, I will wait until He is looking the other way and run to some home base to be safe.

No..this is not a child’s game.

This is a very real act of love.

The greatest love ever.

Love that seeks me out from where I am hiding.

Love that calls out for fellowship and provides the Way to be restored.

Love that covers all my sin and shame and calls me Child of God <3

 

Reflecting on Commemoration Week 2017 <3

Week before last was my annual Commemoration Week.

I started it a number of years ago…actually I got the idea in August of 2005.

I was reading in Exodus one day and I read about the institution of the Passover in chapter 12.

When God shared the details of all He wanted the people to do to prepare for their exit from slavery and life lived in a land that was foreign and hostile to them, He told Moses that from that time on…this would mark the beginning of the year for them. (Exodus 12:1&2)

I don’t know what New Year had looked like previously, but this would be the start of their year from that time on.

Every year after that first Passover, they would commemorate the events that led to their miraculous deliverance as they started the New Year.

It is interesting to note that sometime after Torah and before the second century Mishnah (say what??? I know…I had to look it up. It’s the written portion of the oral traditions of Torah), the consensus was that the New Year for the Jewish calendar would be at the start of Rosh Hashanah or beginning of Yom Kippur.

This falls, interestingly enough in September this year.

We have all kinds of New Years, don’t we?

The one everybody celebrates where we ring it in and add a number to the previous year in our calendar.

Every birthday and every wedding anniversary marks a new year of that life or relationship.

Some of us view the start of the school year as a time of regrouping and refocusing as we head into harvest followed by the string of holidays that will carry us through winter and spring and into another hot summer of fun in the sun before we start it up all over again.

And so I instituted my own kind of spiritual “new year” those many years ago.

Since I found the passage in August and it was the 12th chapter of Exodus, I select the full week each year that August 12 falls into.

I set aside time to revisit those old passages about the Passover and I look back over the ways God has led me farther along this path I tend to call the Journey.

I meditate on what I have been delivered from…the first time when I was saved and then the many layers of old self God continues to peel off year after year.

There have been some sweet surprises and some unexpected twists since I started Commemoration Week.

Some years have been grand celebrations indeed and others have been quiet and somber times.

Sometimes I have added joys and blessings and sometimes I have mourned deep loss and change.

This year marked a week where I decided it was time for some intense healing.

Time to let some things go that I have begun to wallow in.

Time to let God do that thing that only He can do.

Healing is a process.

Slow and painful and extremely private and yet God is so gracious..so patient…so loving.

He will sit quietly with us in our sorrows.

He takes a nail scarred hand and gently wipes every tear.

He raises up sweet sojourners…fellow travelers on the journey…who love us and tend us and go through the awkward moments with us as we limp along the path.

And so as I enter another new season, I humbly thank God for His faithfulness…for His kindness…and for His unending mercy and grace.

I thank Him for the dear ones He has blessed me with as we….

love and support and encourage and arm-in-arm…

journey onward <3

 

 

Sometimes a closer look is needed

The Lord blessed me with pretty good skin genes.

For most of my teens and a good portion of my adult life I used Noxema morning and night to cleanse and pretty much nothing else to moisturize.

In my 40’s I started noticing some…uh….wear and tear so I upped my game and moved on to a cleansing and moisturizing product with a little more oomph.

And I felt pretty good about the whole thing considering I take after my mom in that department and she was doing pretty good 39 years farther down the road than me and was still on the Noxema plan.

Until we stayed in a hotel one time that had a super duper magnifying mirror and I got up close and personal with the topography and landscape of my face.

Some of the nooks and crannies had definite signs of blemishes, patches where makeup had built up and scaly dry places.

What I thought was a nice clean face needed some serious deep cleaning help.

And what I thought was well-tended was parched.

My soul can get like that.

On the surface, it looks ok… pretty good for my age and maturity level.

But God’s Word is a magnifying glass.

I open it or listen to a solid teaching on it…and suddenly I am aware of the little things that are hidden from most but not from the Most High.

It’s why I go to church and why I do morning devotions.

It’s why I continue to read and reread Scripture in different translations and ponder the footnotes and pray the passages.

It’s why I do Bible Studies and journal my thoughts before His Presence.

As we read God’s Word, hear God’s Word, apply God’s Word…we are making Him magnified in our life…and that is when we begin to see ourselves for who we are.

A couple of quotes come to mind on this…

God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.   There are several who are credited with versions of this same thought, but this one is from Max Lucado

and

For the Word of God is living and active.

Sharper than any double-edged sword,

it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,

joints and marrow;

it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Hebrews 4:12-13

It is when I magnify God’s Word and look deeply into it that I begin to see my own thoughts, motives, attitudes more clearly in His Light of Truth.

And I am thankful that when those blemishes and scales, wrinkles and flaws are exposed…

when I point them out to Him who has already seen them and loves me still..

He is faithful and merciful to forgive me and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

I hope as we see so much ungodliness in the world around us we are not forgetting to examine our own selves first and foremost in the mirror of God’s Word and allowing His cleansing to renew us more and more into His image.

The washing and renewing are in His hands…are we not highly blessed?

 

To my friends who are hurting today <3

Sitting in my quiet time this morning, I kept lifting people I know who are hurting.

I could write a long list of precious people who have recently had  an unexpected turn of events that has left them scrambling for solid ground.

A tsunami of change that has wiped out years of dedicated love and service.

Callings that seemingly have been revoked by some force greater than the mind can comprehend.

Relationships severed.

Health interrupted.

Shipwrecked hopes and dreams.

Instead of the natural progression of change that should accompany moving from one season to another, normal life was amputated and these dear ones are suddenly dealing with a grief process that was just not part of the picture.

It is at these times that the “good fight” becomes one where we choose to surrender even more of what has capacity to rule us.

Bitterness..

Unforgiveness…

Cynicism…

Hopelessness…

Defeat…

Fear…

all of these will rear up and surround a saint when we are blind-sided by a blow that levels what we thought life would look like.

But this is where we work it out.

That salvation thing that took place in us that now is being sanctified.

This is the place where we come before the One who made us and who has known all along the turns and twists of the road we would be taking.

This is where we get real with Him and we pour out our hearts…

our tears…

our griefs…

and we let Him pour in.

And He will.

Believe me, He will.

If we will go to Him and tell Him everything He already knows…

He will guide us and lead us into the tomorrow we cannot see.

These are not just “happy thoughts” to get you moving again.

This is T.R.U.T.H.

Our Lord promised He would never ever leave us.

He promised He would be with us through the Presence of His Holy Spirit.

And so in these times when we are staggering to find solid ground again, cry out to Him to be real to you in tangible ways.

Reach out your hand and your heart and allow Him to hold you, to comfort you and then to lead you forward…

one step at a time…

as we…

journey onward <3