Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

AVBS Day 3 In the shadows <3

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Yesterday we talked about dwelling in the Secret Place of the Most High. 

Dwelling. 

We, Russ and I, we dwell in our home.

It’s the place where our stuff is stored. It’s where we come home to at the end of the day or running errands or traveling. We eat, sleep, talk, read, dress, think, do business…live out every day here in the walls of this home we have made. 

We keep remnants of the legacy of each of our family lines and we have scattered amongst the rooms reminders of our years with a young family.

We have added treasures and we have eliminated things that would harm those we love.

Even in the short time we have lived in our new dwelling, we have accumulated times when family and friends have gathered around tables of celebration and we have held precious friends and family in our arms as they wept salty tears of grief. 

We come home here because it is where we dwell and we strive to make it a haven for anyone who needs a place to feel loved, cared for and encouraged.

How foolish we would be to go to a strange place or rent a room at the nearby hotel at the end of the day when we have this place we call home to return to.

My Holman’s Christian Standard Bible says…The one who lives in the protection of the Most High DWELLS in the shadow of the Almighty. 

When we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and receive the gift of His salvation through His blood on the Cross, we have found our permanent home in the protective walls of the love of the Most High God. 

We move about within the days and hours of living, going to work and school. Doing chores and serving others, but our home is in Him and we live under His protection. 

We DWELL in His shadow.

Shadows are interesting, aren’t they?

They are places of darkness in the presence of a greater light. 

On cloudy days or in the black of night we do not see shadows.

Shadows can appear frightening to a child at night when familiar objects make odd shapes in the faint glow of a light down the hall. 

Shadows can be shade that provide a cool place of rest on a hot day. 

Shadows are not substance, but they are evidence of something solid that exists. 

All of these and so many more can be used by my finite mind about dwelling in the Shadow of the Almighty. 

That I dwell in His shadow means even when, to my human eyes, I am in the darkest of places, it is only His shadow that I need to focus on.

The shadow of His hand gives me rest and peace and protection. It is not His substance, but evidence of His existence. 

I will not, can not see, God with my human eyes in the form of His deity and glory. 

But the shadows cast across the landscape of my life are evidence of the substance and faithfulness of His hand at work over, in and around me. 

Verses 14-16 give this promise to us who have chosen to make God our dwelling place, our home…the haven we seek and the one we invite others into.

Because he has his heart set on me…because she returns to Me day after day as her home…

I WILL deliver him

I WILL protect her

Because he knows who I am by name and by character:

I WILL answer when she calls and I will be with him in trouble.

I WILL rescue

I WILL give honor

I WILL satisfy those who dwell in MY shadow by giving meaning and purpose to their existence and I WILL show them My salvation <3

Today’s activity: Go outside and then enter in to your place of lodging through the front door. Sit in one of your favorite spots within the place you call home. Look around and take in the view. Feel the comfort of the chair or couch that is your go to. Ponder what it is that makes this physical building into the place you call your dwelling and think about what it means to “dwell” there. 

Then think about God’s protection and and what His “shadow” represents for you. Think about dwelling in that place. Perhaps find and read the lyrics to the old hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane <3

Almighty God, Most High, El Elyon, Elohim, Adonai, Yahweh….these are names that do not fall easily from my vocabulary when I cry out to You but they are names that remind me who You are. Your glory and presence are far beyond what I can comprehend, imagine, see, understand but under the Shadow of just your Hand, I can begin to know You. Where You are is my home and it is where I choose to live. My heart is set on You and I receive the promises with a humble and joy-filled heart. Blessed be the name of our God, who calls us by His name. May Your name be forever praised. Amen <3

Our snack today is a recipe courtesy of my Grandma Lochner.

I wish you all could have known her. She was nothing short of amazing.

If anyone exemplified to me “Taste and see that the Lord is good” it would be her because she seemed to embrace all the experiences and opportunities presented to her until the very end. 

She cut asparagus, picked cherries from the tree in her yard…on a ladder…in her seventies. She was a whiz with artistic and creative endeavors in all sorts of ways. 

She wore pants in a time most housewives sported dresses. According to my dad, when The Great Depression left people hungry and out of work, she took in boarders and raised chickens in their yard to make sure they had food. He always said he would eat chicken, but not his first choice as he had witnessed their demise too many times. 

She loved good food and she loved to laugh. She had a temper and was loud and you knew what she was thinking. But she put love into every thing she ever did and I miss her terribly even though she has been gone so many more years than she was alive in my lifetime. 

While I could only hope to be as resourceful and resilient as she, I do note that I seem to have inherited her penmanship…

So today, I give you this favorite recipe. 

You have to love a dish that is called “Duff” right?

Some things you need to know –

Lochners always sifted dry ingredients. It is imperative that you make a huge mess doing this. It’s the only way we know how to cook.

She left out pertinent information like pan size, steps galore and her abbreviations are hilarious so I fixed it to be readable. 

She called apricots “cots”…I have no idea if this is a thing out in the Yakima Valley of Washington state or Lochner thing. But it cracks me up.

Enjoy…it is delicious and for the love of all things good…do not use margarine…use butter <3

Lazy Day Duff (my Peach pie)

1/2 C butter

3 tsp baking powder

1 C flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 C sugar

2/3 cup milk

2 Cups fruit (peaches but see note below)

Melt butter, sift together all dry ingredients. Add milk until blended. Put sweetened fruit in a 9×9 pan and spoon batter over this. Dot with butter. Do not stir. 

Bake 375 degrees for 35 minutes

*Fruit can be cots, peaches or cherries

AVBS Day 2: Dwelling under the Shadow <3

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Welcome back to Day 2! 

I was so lengthy yesterday, that I will be a bit fewer on words…or at least I will try.

If you are just joining us, take some time to go back to Day 1 and read about the names and meanings of the names for God in Psalm 91:1-2

Today we are going to camp out on a thought found in our key verse for the week using a couple of different translations. Please read all three as together they give us richer picture of this passage of Scripture:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” NKJV

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say concerning the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust:… HCSB

and finally from Eugene Peterson

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’me safe!” MSG

The phrasing I am most familiar with in this passage is “the secret place of the Most High” and that wording draws me with great interest. 

It speaks to me of a place of such solid security, a well-protected and private place. 

Odd for one who has chosen to allow her soul to be bared so publicly isn’t it? 

But those who know me know I am deeply protective of my inner thoughts and feelings. 

I am choosy about who gets a glimpse of them and yet, so like God, He asks me to spread them wide open in a public way because He also speaks to other’s hearts through them. 

And yet, there are hidden treasures He and I have shared that are safely kept secure deep in the wells of not only my heart, but His. 

The summation of the translations above is, in my mind, a picture of a place so intimate and private between God and each individual, that it can only be found when we are in a place of brokenness and complete dependance on Him.

Or those times where joy is so intense that we are overcome by an ocean of the purest of lights and it is more than our human hearts were made to handle.

This is the secret place and the source of our life in Him, and in that fellowship with Him we learn to “dwell” so that the world around us increasingly loses its power over us as we choose to do what it takes to pursue His presence throughout the ordinary moments of our days. 

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Last night as Russ and I ended our evening walk, I saw a bright colored pillow under a grove of pine trees that line the walkway and form a natural fence for the adjacent home.

On closer inspection we could see a quilt spread over the pine needles, more colorful pillows and some paper with drawings hung along a wire. 

I assume some little girls had set up a camp under that area and had tucked away there for a summer day of giggling and drawing and dreaming. 

A secret place. 

God has a secret place for you and for me.

He is inviting you to come and dwell under the shadow of His hand…His protecting and loving and guiding Hand. 

It is scarred with the price of our sin, that Hand. 

It is gentle and patient and kind. 

Enter in, dear one. 

Enter in <3

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Oh my good and gracious Abba. Thank you for making a place for me in the deepest places of Your heart where we can meet and I can rest and live and dwell. Thank you that there is always room for more and that all are welcome to enter in. I am a refugee from this world. I had no home here because I wasn’t meant to dwell forever on earth. You have made a way for me to be where I belong and that is with You. Thank You for showing me the way <3

Today’s activity is to ask God to show you what the Secret Place looks like for you. Be open in your heart to recognize His Shadow and then choose to set up camp right there and rest in Him.

Today’s snack is a favorite in our home. 

While I have found the recipe on the internet when I was at the grocery without the ingredient list, I credit our dear friend Peggy with giving it to us. 

The copy in my recipe box includes a grade school picture of her sweet daughter because it was an entry in her class’s cookbook one year. 

It makes me smile and thank God for friends who we have grown up and grown older with. 

Tijuana Tidbits

4 cups tortilla chips broken into pieces

3 cups Crispix cereal

1 bag microwave (I pop regular or use bagged snack kind) popcorn

1 12 oz can mixed nuts

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/8 tsp cinnamon 

1/3-1/4 tsp ground red pepper

Heat oven to 250. Combine the first four ingredients in a big roaster. Heat remaining ingredients to boiling in a saucepan. Pour over cereal mixture and stir. Bake 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool – break apart. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks….don’t worry…it won’t last 2 days!!! 

The art of remembering well <3

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This is our last Friday to visit in the month of July and here in the Midwest we are having a rare and delightful summer day.

I sat out on our back patio with coffee and books this morning, enjoying a cooler breeze, no humidity and birds lightly chirping off in the trees. It was all I could do to pull myself back into the house and begin the process of getting ready for the day. 

Our summer has been full of several get-togethers with our entire family (unheard of in recent years!), many ball games and outings shared with those four small people who are growing up waaaay too fast.

We have some more fun things planned in the next few weeks and my phone is overloaded with even more photos that I need to clear out to make room for the adventures that remain. 

Photos are the current way we remember people and events. 

As we pull them up to show someone we run into or scroll through them as we have some down time or share them with our family who were unable to attend some gathering, we tell stories about where we have been and what we have done.

This morning I read about a different kind of remembering. 

In Joshua 4, as the people of Israel passed through the Jordan River into the land of promise following 40 years of desert trekking, Joshua commissions one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the river bed. 

The priests had stepped into a flowing river moments before and the waters had stopped, thus baring a dry path for the people to cross through. 

Only two men in the mix would have been alive to see the first miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, two men who had once entered this land and proclaimed it to be good and yet had to wait such a long time for this moment. 

After everyone had passed safely through, Joshua watches one man from each of the twelve tribes hoist a large rock onto his shoulder and carry it across.

The men were to take them into their tent that night.

The next day Joshua had them put them into a stack alongside the river Jordan and then he told them they were a memorial of what had happened here. 

He told them that their children would ask about these stones piled up and they would be a reminder of what God had done. 

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We understand the value of repeating stories until the hearer owns the memory as much as we who lived through something. 

I remember family stories that were recounted so many times, i actually feel like they are my stories even though I wasn’t alive for some of them. 

I could tell you about the one and only time my mom and aunt could remember their dad losing his temper and I own that story even though my grandpa passed years before I was born.

Or the time my own dad cut through a pumpkin and scratched a coffee table of my mom’s even though I never even saw the injured coffee table because it was long gone before I joined the family. 

Stories, pictures, reminders of God’s faithfulness to us are important and they need to be shared. 

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What rocks of remembrance have you gathered from the places God has made clear for you to pass through? 

Please share your stories of deliverance. 

The world is in great need to know there is a God who saves <3

Checking in on the No Other Gods study <3

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As I have mentioned, for this summer’s No Other Gods study, I am using my original study guide from 2016.

It is interesting and poignant to read the words I penned in the margins and how I answered the questions.

There has been growth and change in some areas, some remain unchanged but I can rejoice to know that what God revealed has not been covered back over again.

He and I have moved forward, not backward. He has waited for me to my part as He faithfully has done His.

We have farther to go, He and I…but it’s a Journey…remember.

On Day 4 of Session 4 I noted that our Pastor Brian had returned from sabbatical on July 31, 2016.

Isn’t it interesting that I did this study about the same time of year in 2016 as I am doing now?

Brian came back from sabbatical, walked into the pulpit and God led him to talk to us about ….

functional idols.

Yep.

He called our “more than God god’s” just the new term I had learned in the study while he was sabaticalizing…FUNCTIONAL GODS

Idols are functional gods because they are what we have turned to that “work” for us and meet our perceived needs without having to really change or face our sin nature.

So this morning I am sharing the notes that rest in the margin of my study guide.

From Brian Talty, God Thoughts: Faith in God’s Faithfulness, July 31, 2016 First Christian Church

“Put your faith in God’s faithfulness: take this faith ‘test'”

FUTURE: Is your faith in God or in anxiety and worry? When we choose to remain in anxiety we have made a “functional god or idol” to place our ‘trust’s.

PRESENT: Is your faith in God or in anger and bitterness? When we choose anger and bitterness, we map THAT onto our present and make it a functional idol because our identity has become challenged. Don’t be imprisoned behind bars of anger and bitterness over a current situation but place faith in God’s faithfulness.

PAST: Do you place your trust in who you know God to be? Or do you place your “trust” in the guilt and shame of your past mistakes? Guilt and shame are idolatry projected on the past. Jesus died to FREE us from guilt and shame and we know this because of Romans 8:1-2

Brian Talty (paraphrased from his sermon to my notes)

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 The Message

So there you have it…straight from a three year old sermon and the promises of the New Testament all based on the truth from the One True God.

Idolatry stinks.

That’s why God wants us free from it.

Be blessed as you progress <3

You can find the sermon I am referencing here: https://www.firstdecatur.org/messages/god-thoughts/

The selfish part of low self-esteem…ouch….<3

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I am enjoying catching up on my morning favorite reads and devotions and today I was blown away by the pages I covered in that book from my aunt’s library that I discovered this summer.

Walking Wisely by Charles Stanley and published in 2002, it is still relevant to today because 1. biblical truth and 2. human nature….don’t change.

In the chapter I am reading, he has written about eight benefits of wisdom. 

#6 addresses the effects of godly wisdom on our self-image and I am thinking if this was an issue in a book published in 2002, than whatever we have been doing in the ensuing 17 years has not enhanced and helped us out of that black hole.

In the opening paragraph of this section he marvels at the number of books that are being published and the seminars being held on the topic of self-esteem.

Oh Charles…you had no idea that we would be adding blogs, Instagram stories, tweets, printed t-shirts and coffee mugs and billboards by 2019.

But have we moved any closer to the truth that unless we find our identity in Christ alone we will always face a big void in this?

No.

Have we grown any closer to just embracing the truth of the Proverbs 8 passage he uses to anchor this section of his book…

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear (listen and obey*) instructions and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man (and woman*) who listens to me (obeys*), watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 8: 32-35

*indicates my additional paraphrase added to verse

And who is this “me” that we are to seek and listen to and keep the ways of?

Godly wisdom….found in the pages of Scripture and prayerfully asking the Spirit to lead us into understanding as we read and ponder what is written and then obediently look for ways to apply truth to our daily lives. 

And how would this help with the self-esteem issues that plaque us?

Charles Stanley writes:

“If you genuinely believe that God desires to bless you and that He approves of you and loves you unconditionally,  you must ask yourself, ‘On what is my poor self-image based?’ You’re going to have to draw your own conclusions – your poor self-image comes from lies of the enemy or lies from other people. And you must take responsibility for the fact that you have bought into those lies and continue to accept them as truth.”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 59

How do we apply this in a practical way in 2019 – a way that we all at various points can relate to?

If I base my self-worth and value as a human being on how everyone else around me is doing that is better or worse than how I am doing it….(whether it is based on what I know to be true or am perceiving to be true), then I am buying into a lie.

I am using other people as a measuring stick for my value. 

And reading an empowering post of a quote that tells me something good about myself is only going to carry me about as far as the next post that shows someone doing life better than me and then I am back to ground zero.

Instead, Charles Stanley offers us a dose of truth to get into our bones and gut and heart so that we know who we are before we ever head out into the day. 

“The person who seeks godly wisdom comes to believe, ‘I am blessed by God. God loves me and approves of me. I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, filled with God’s Spirit, and on the basis of what Jesus has done for me and the Holy Spirit continues to do in me, I have favor from God. All of God’s promises pertain to me. All of the talents that God has built into my life are worthy to be developed and used. God has a plan for my life and it is unfolding. God is refining me, preparing me, and molding me into the likeness of Christ Jesus. I belong to Him forever, and He is my loving Father who is continually seeking my good.’”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 60

I have read that over and over this morning and every time I feel His love and care for me pouring over me. 

Believing this to my core will change how I see my own self-worth and then will affect how I treat others. 


If I believe this about myself, then I can love and care for others more effectively because I am not threatened by how I am received. Whether I am cherished or cast off matters not if I know where my value is found.

Such a good word!

Bless you as you go about your day choosing to believe the truth about you instead of the lies that would derail you!