Friday, December 31, 2010

Mark of Time Musings....

As we close out yet another year 2010 and enter into the New Year 2011, I have been thinking about the first time that our time began. In the beginning….God. He is the “I AM”, self-existent One Who is fully content, NOT bound by our time and space, He simply is- I AM. He was not lonely or bored. He was fully content, happy, existing and needing absolutely nothing. He still is.

That is why I’m thinking about the time that He decided to mark our time as we spend tonight marking our time. “In the beginning….God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Genesis 1:1-5.

Think about this marking of time….our time and space began but He just always was the I AM- Self-existent One outside of time and space...

“For He (Christ) was foreknown before the foundation of the world”. 1 Peter 1:20a Before I AM spoke our time and space into existence…Jesus planned to be limited by time and space Himself- the I AM who would put on flesh. That really blows me away..."Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself (Christ) partook of the same..." Hebrews 2:14a (If you have time, look at the reason why in Hebrews 2:14-18!)

We mark yet another year in a few short hours. He marked time for eternity with Himself. May 2011 draw you closer to the One who took on flesh, was bound voluntarily to our time and space, walked out a perfect life in our place, was beaten beyond recognition as a man, nailed to a cross and received the full wrath of God for sin ….the I AM was dead and buried and walked out of the grave. He is alive! Happy New Year…may your year be marked by His time!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windy day...

Boy, today sure was a windy day. If you looked around or if you were out in it, EVERYTHING was blowing. It reminded me of me and of an exhortation in;

Ephesians 4:14-16 “ As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

I had a childish moment today (ok, a series of moments) and was carried away by a “wind” of doctrine that sent my “windy” emotions flying about! It was not pretty. Then John spoke the Truth in love to me, and it calmed my “windy” emotions and brought my thinking back into a correct line about a particular faulty pattern of thinking/teaching.

I’m thankful for him and for the body of Christ. I’m thankful we are called to grow up into maturity in Christ. I’m even thankful for “windy” thinking and emotions…it is another opportunity to grow up. If we never see how childish we can be, we just stay content with being a child. Faulty thinking is deceptive…so I’m thankful to see it! Windy day….outside and inside, but good. He is good- Thank you Lord for growing us up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

6 Students on a Couch....

6 High School students casually sitting on my couch and living room….whose sin is worse? Where do ALL these sins lead? What do ALL these sins produce? Which ones are we more “comfortable” with? Which ones is Jesus more “comfortable” with?

Which ones live in you and me….and are we simply “comfortable” with? Which ones are you SO glad you don’t deal with? What do even the “comfortable” ones produce in you?? How do we see this list? How does Jesus see this list?

From first hand conversations this list of sins and struggles of these 6 begins…

Lying -Cutting-Depression-Suicidal thoughts/attempts-Regular sex outside of marriage-Oral sex-Anal sex-Rage-Pornography-Pride and arrogance-Drinking-Homosexuality- Self-hating-Others-hating

A mix and a match of sins and struggles of just these 6 students…how many more are unseen? How many reside in the 80+ students coming to Campus Life tonight? Please pray for them.

What happens in your heart as you read the list? What happens in mine?

Look through Jesus’ eyes. What did He see and what did He feel? …Matthew 9:36-38, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were dispersed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’”

Is it love and compassion....or relief that my sin is more "comfortable"? or is it? My arrogance and pride is just as deadly....deadly to the Truth of the transforming work of the Gospel. Is fear and hopelessness produced or hope in a Redeeming Lord of the harvest? Pray for us and for them...pray for more workers. Pray for more people with His eyes for the lost and hurting.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I have some issues and I'm burdened. I'm tired and I'm struggling with the coming many things are changing. I have some life issues, relationship issues, practical issues, ministry issues and so on. I'm "here"...and I'm not particularly looking forward to some of the "there" places I will have to go this next year. Don't get me wrong, in the big picture I KNOW things will be fine BUT the little picture can be overwhelming at times...know what I mean?!

I was really struck by these verses penned by the Prophet Isaiah, thousands of years ago...he is addressing some idolatry issues. I wonder if I have any of those?! (I say knowing the obvious answer!)

Isaiah 46:1b-2 "The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity. "

What struck me most is how appropriate the words are to how I feel right now. I feel burdened and weary...stooped over and pulled down by the weight of these issues. The more I try to alleviate the burden, hold it OR rescue it...the more I actually am enslaved by it! The real question is; do I believe the words..."They could not rescue the burden"? As my burdens become my idols, I feel so very responsible for them. I try to rescue them-in my flesh, every time. I justify them. I modify them. I re-model them. I calculate and "work" on them.

I get weighted down by them so easliy or do I simply and repeatedly acknowledge that I can not rescue them and drop them? As Matthew 11:28-30 says;

"Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and 'you will find rest for your souls.' for My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Jesus is our burden bearer...He already bore ALL of the burden. My issues are His issues....He knows that they will weight me down and will only enslave me, thus the reason I need to learn, by faith, to come early and often to this living breathing love and grace-based relationship with my burden-Bearer. I don't want to go into captivity, do you? Praise the Lord we have One with constantly initiates and beckons "Come".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Ring…

We celebrated our twentieth Anniversary yesterday. Let’s go back; August 25th 1990 I received my wedding ring. It was a simple, etched gold band that my engagement ring rested against- simple, sweet and beautiful. John was new in youth ministry and didn’t have much money, so the rings were also thin. Very thin. Within the first year of marriage, I got the idea of having the two bands soldered together and having 2 small diamonds placed on each side of my engagement ring, making it one ring, and my sweet husband graciously accommodated me. SO, for 20 years…I have lived with a lovely and very delicate ring.

I approached marriage quite the same way. I was simple, delicate and weak yet filled with lots of expectations. Like my idea within the first year about the ring, I had A LOT more ideas of what needed to change and be modified in our marriage and specifically John within that first year as well. You could guess, that took its toll.

Here’s the problem…evidently I am rough on rings. Over the course of the last 20 years I have had to have the ring “fixed” twice….on the underside of the ring-time, wear, pressure and years of just wearing it had worn it down to a bear thread…the metal simply wore away and was ready to break, two separate times. The last time I was at the jewelers he told me, “I’m so sorry ma’am but I won’t be able to do this again. Next time you will have to have the whole ring re-set. This band is simply not strong enough.”

You have no idea how much this parallels parts of our 20 year marriage. There have been several times where we have been worn through to a thread, with the threat of our marriage breaking apart. As with my ring, life happens. Time, circumstances, pressure and sin wear us down and wear a marriage down. There was a time when, like the jeweler, I said to myself, “One more time…and I’m done. I can’t fix this. I’m simply not strong enough.” Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all bad at all, but we have seen several very ugly times in our 20 years.

Joel is a great little book…this prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel was given a message. Trouble was coming and part of that trouble was going to be locust- locust that stripped EVERYTHING bear. 15 years ago, that was my life and our marriage- stripped bare, useless, held together by a thread. Later on in the book of Joel however, there is a promise given…it won’t be realized until the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the New Covenant but it is still a promise in the midst of coming devastation; Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten…”

I have to testify that this is what the Lord IS doing in our marriage. We still fight sometimes, I can be the biggest jerk ever and John can be a real treat himself BUT the Lord has redeemed each of us personally and done major amounts of healing in a marriage I wouldn’t have given you $5 for 15 years ago. He is restoring to us the years that the locust have eaten…what was a barren land is now becoming useful, by His Grace and through His enduring love and patience towards us. Christ became the foundation of our marriage in more than word but in reality. He became the foundation to each of us individually. He is the One who is secure.

John gave me my new re-set ring yesterday. My delicate broken ring was stretched out over a thick gold band…soldered together, the two becoming one. The jeweler told him, “Nothing is going to break them apart. You could throw it against the wall all day and it won’t break. You want to try?!” Ummm….no. That wouldn’t be wise.

The simple truth is; there are times still coming when we might feel like we have been hurled against the wall, again. We don’t want to add to the complication of life but life will continue to happen for the next 20 years…each of us will still be living with a sinner in a fallen world but we have been set together, like a solder, by the One who will never change. As we grow closer to Him and then to each other…He literally restores the years the locust have eaten and makes the years to come fruitful and useful for His Kingdom purposes- solid and secure. Thank you Lord for setting us together 20 years ago, You are the Cord that cannot be broken- may we continue to trust and cling to You!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fall TV (and other stuff) schedule 2010.

I love TV. There, I said it…I’m embarrassed and ashamed but I really do love wasting my time and “vegging” in front of the TV. I feel entitled about this time. Honestly, I have to put a personal boundary on myself because I do think I could become a couch potato! I told my family today, that I think a great vacation would be to just go into a room with a TV, movies, snacks and a comfy couch and veg for a couple of days. I like TV and yes, I feel the judgment of that! I can “hear” some of you….who cannot believe people can waste time like this and then there are the others who know exactly what I mean!

As we enter into this new Fall TV season I was looking over the new show listing…some “old” shows have been cancelled, others are coming back...and yet others, are brand new or a re-modeled new. Some sound interesting and others not so much…As I perused what was coming for this fall, I was struck by how much personal opinion matters. I know that I very obvious. Have you ever had someone say they just LOVE a show and then you give it a try and uggg, you hate it! You cannot understand how anyone can like it, but many do. Personal opinion. I do have a point here…really.

I wonder if we ever approach the Church and its “programs” with the same ideas of personal opinion. If we peruse the upcoming events of our Church and give a knee jerk reaction like we do with TV shows. Or maybe we are like the executives who “view the ratings” and cancel…programs or unfortunately even people. We try to re-make old ideas into new or try for brand spanking new ideas across the board- just to increase the ratings.

Hmmmm… makes me think and it also causes me to be aware that I need to guard my heart and my attitude about my personal opinion and preferences, making sure they don’t get in the way of what the Lord wants to accomplish the Fall.

What is your Fall lining up to look like? What do you have scheduled? Are you making sure to "slot" in time with your Church and other believers? Make time, schedule the time…don’t let your personal opinion of the options keep you from trying something new or old. Your opinion matters don’t get me wrong BUT His opinion keeps the ratings right where they need to be. Get involved in your Church this Fall…the couch will still be there when you get home!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Musings Prompted by Oswald...

August 17th My Upmost for His Highest- Oswald Chambers…”Our Lord knows perfectly that when once His word is heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. The terrible thing is that some of us prevent it bearing fruit in actual life.” Ouch.

In today’s devotional Oswald leads us to the rich young ruler who leaves sorrowful after being told a hard word- sell all you have and follow Me. The young man left sad and Jesus didn’t follow…He didn’t argue, plead or threaten…He simply let Him go. Christ trusted His Word to do its work in him.

The above quote struck me, ok, it stomped me on the toes. It reminded me of Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from the heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

God has a lot of faith in His Word. Do I? Do I believe that His Word is working in me and in the people I love? Am I cooperating with His Word or working against it…in me and in others? Am I getting in the way!? OUCH!

How do we “prevent it bearing fruit in actual life”? Well, like the rich young ruler, I wonder if MY plans don’t get in the way. I wonder if the box that I have constructed which I think the God of the Universe should fit in, in how and why He does what He does gets in the way. Faith in ME gets in the way…as if I have something to offer.

Hummm….Oswald’s simple statement makes me pause and think and then pause again and ask…”Lord, what do YOU see that hinders or prevents Your Word from working in me and in me to others?” I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to stand in the way, sit in the way, do in the way, or any other “in the way” you can think of…of what He is desiring to do in me and in others. He will do what He is going to do and His Word will accomplish what He has set forth for it to do. I need to continually get on His page and ask, submit, agree and respond in faith to Him, trusting Him that He is enough.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The days ordained....

I celebrated my 41st birthday this week, and I’ve been pondering the aging process. I know, fun thoughts! Yes, 41 is half of 82, as John so lovingly reminds me. I woke up on my birthday thinking about;

Psalm139:13-16, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

I also woke up thanking my mom for her fortitude...I was a late in life baby, my mom was 40 when she had me and my dad 48. Do the math, she's 81 and he's 88. In addition to celebrating my birthday this week, I also went to the doctor with my dad, where his rights to drive were permanently revoked. As I sat, listened and watched my dad be stripped of his “privilege”- the aging process took on a whole new look. My dad is a dying old man….and I am a dying middle-aged woman. Again, with the the fun thoughts, I know! All those days, even the day where my dad sat bewildered, yet with grace, hearing of another change of life phase…that day was written down in God’s book. I was struck by the fact that one day that will come for me too.

How will I handle that day and phase? Will God’s grace seem to be enough then and will I remember that even that day was ordained and known by Him? Will I still know and believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made…even in that stage of life? I had the joy of learning this lesson from my dad. My dad’s outer man is decaying (as is mine!) but his inner man is being renewed day by day-2 Corinthians 4:16. Even in these decaying years my father is STILL fearfully and wonderfully made…made with a purpose and with days still ordained for him. God’s word says; our soul knows that very well. My dad’s soul knows that even in this time, God’s works for him and in him are wonderful. This aging process, this dying process is ugly, hard and sometimes unwanted BUT He is still in the midst of it. He still has His purposes in and through us in it. Praise His Name!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It has been a long time.... has been a really long time since I posted- 5 going on 6 months. Where does the time go?! I don't know about you but it goes awfully fast! Summer is almost over and the school year is starting...again. I don't feel particularly ready. Although who says "ready" is a requirement? Time simply keeps marching on.

As I think about the last few months they have been filled with a lot of good things, busy things, and some hard things. John and I have grown a lot these last months, as we have been faced with some difficult circumstances and relationships. Its amazing how connected our growth and trials are!? Take a few minutes and read 1 Peter chapter 1. That seems to be the plan and I've been learning a whole new level of this and honestly, been asking if this REALLY has to be the plan?

What I've seen in me is; I like comfort. I like peaceful times. I like status quo...evidently the Lord likes conformity to His Image. I? I want to say "yes, of course" but looking over some very strategic things in our lives these last few month and what has surfaced in ME, things that are not too pleasing to the Lord...this shows me how much I really like to cling to ME, instead of embracing and leaning into His conformity and His plan to conform.

I don’t know about you but are you learning to lean into His conformity through people and circumstances…through trials? I slowly learning by His grace and I'm also learning to know HIM. Let us learn to lean into Him in all things and let time march on until we see Him face to face and our faith is made sight and our conformity in practicality is perfected-when we see Him!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Living life in the "ing"

For as long as I can remember I have tended to look at my Christian walk as a series of events. A formula here. A check list there. Know what I mean? I see a need or a problem so I surrender. I yield. I trust with this or that. Obey. I want to follow and so on. Not a bad plan...except everything about the Christian life is really more of a verb.

The Christ-followers walk is a progressive process based upon an event-my salvation and Sanctification based upon His finished work, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is a verb! When looking at the original Greek and you will find many continual repeated verbs...we find a call to live a life of; surrender-ing, yield-ing, trust-ing, abide-ing, obey-ing, love-ing, walk-ing. Living life in the "ing". Grow-ing in a process that will be finished when we see Him face to face. Praise His Name He is confident of complete-ing what He has started! I'm learn-ing to live my life in the "ing".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I have gotten myself into trouble…again.

SO, Maggie is 7 and I noticed over the last week or so she has been saying the phrase, “Dang it” and I decided it was time to address it- to use this phrase as a “teaching moment”. In casual conversation, I explained that “Dang it” is short for “Damn it” (which she knows is a bad word) and it is probably best if we don’t use this phrase.

She asked what does that “Damn it” mean. Well, in my infinite wisdom I gave a rather lengthy explanation and then explained in essence, “It means to send someone to hell…and you wouldn’t want to say that to someone, would you?” After the horrified look left her face, we both agreed that is not what she wants! And to my relief she agreed, that was not what she wanted to communicate and she would choose another phrase.

Great “teaching” moment right? Talking “real”. Talking truth. Not putting my head in the sand and just letting the issue pass! I was so proud of myself EXCEPT, now, she has gotten confused…she has said “Damn it” at least two times in my hearing and this morning while putting on her shoes for school…said, “Now, I’m allowed to say Damn it ,right? Or wait, what is it that I’m suppose to say!? I’m just so confused”

Can you believe it?! It is just too NOT funny! UGGG! Talk about taking a mole hill and making it into a mountain- I over explained (shocker)! Now, my 7 year old knows TOO much and she just doesn’t know what to do with it! I told her to skip any word that starts with a “D”. How’s that for a plan?

Funny in a childhood kind of way and interesting…but it reminds me of how patiently the Lord deals with us and how our learning curves are very personalized by Him. He knows when to correct and instruct and His “teaching moments” are always on time and in the right perspective- with just the right amount of information. Oh how He loves us and leads us…oh how He grows us up! Maggie will be fine, I know, and this will pass but may I not pass on the lessons that the Lord wants to show me that parallel in my life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lunacy "down on the farm"....

I went to dinner at an undisclosed restaurant (we’ll just call it the restaurant, “down on the farm”) in an undisclosed location this last weekend, and let me say…it was quite the adventure or should I say, disaster. Literally, there must have been 10 under the age of 18 (all looking like they were 12) young women running (or should I say not running) this restaurant. It was awful.

These poor girls simply walked around in circles, looking like deer in the headlights. I can honestly say, I don’t think I have EVER had such poor and lengthy service…we were literally there 1 ½ hours and they got the meal wrong. We waited and waited and waited for missing food-untoasted bread-no potatoes and well…you get the point. It was terrible service.

The kitchen manager finally came out…after another table left because they were all served the wrong food, asking us how our meal was going. My host kindly told him of the lunacy “down on the farm”- we received our incomplete meal (one of our guests never did get her food!) Free of charge. Trust me, it was the least they could do! It really did turn comical after a while. Ugg.

I really did feel sorry for our young waitress, bless her heart, that looked like she was 12. I do have a point here….even though the meal itself was awful the company was great! I had the privilege of listening and learning about my host family and I must tell you it was beautiful! This family is a masterpiece. They all came to know the Lord later in life and watching and listening…the Lord has done marvelous things in all of them.

I learned a wonderful lesson of grace that evening…as we were leaving. My host motioned for our terrified 12 year old waitress to come to him…and he handed her a $10 bill. She hadn’t earned it. She didn’t deserve it. Frankly, she stunk at her job and I think she should definitely stay in school so that she can try another career BUT here this man who now has Jesus living in him…graced her. Freely gave her what she did not deserve. It was truly a beautiful picture. One I’m sure he has and is learning from his Master. My host extended grace in the midst of the lunacy “down on the farm”. Thank you for a great example and reminder of grace!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What am I Drinking?!

Ok, so it’s the New Year and as so many of us have decided….I’m trying to be careful, balanced, and wise with my eating. I’ve found several “new” protein drinks that are filled with vitamins, minerals and protein to satisfy my hunger and they really do BUT the one I had this morning tasted horrible!

This morning on my way to a Mom’s in Touch (we pray for our kids in the public schools) I drank one down and I remember thinking…”don’t taste just swallow”. I breathed through my nose and just chugged it. Hunger satisfied…but the cost? Uggg. No wonder this new habit is a hard one for me.

Now, my point is not to have you suggest what protein drink to start swigging BUT to remind us…we swallow all kinds of things in the name of health and I don’t mean literally. What do you swallow or chug, just to get it down? Quiet time? Church? Certain people?

How has the Word of God been hitting you lately? Does it ever seem to be a horrible tasting, just swallow it experience? Or how about someone’s interpretation of it? My sisters, we are not called to just “don’t taste and just swallow” the Truth of the Word. We’re called to examine it…to savor it. We’re called to more than just chugging whatever someone of offering.

This morning it hit me, that if I approach the Word with the same “healthy decision” I am with food, I’ll miss all the enjoyment of the meal. God’s Word is a feast…it is rich, filling, something to be enjoyed and savored. Let’s not approach it as something to just get down or just take what the “experts” are offering for the sake of convenience. Let’s be women who sit at the table of the King and see the bounty and take the time to dig in and be satisfied. Just me thinking…what are you drinking and eating?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What is on my heart….new year 2010

I was recently asked…What is on my heart? That is a really good question to ask ourselves every so often. What is the Lord placing on our hearts? Many times He uses things in my life to speak His Heart to me. I see an extreme amount of brokenness, both brokenness that I can actually see and then the unseen brokenness. First the visible brokenness in families, friends, churches, emotions, conflict, and drama filled lives, self-infliction of wounds (both physical and emotional) and so on. I see a whole lot of just plain broken people and situations.

But then there is the brokenness we don’t see…especially in the Church. I’m afraid I have to call it; the lack of care by the Body towards this seen brokenness. I see among the "less broken" the desire to survive this world unscathed and without dirtying our hands with all the brokenness (especially when it comes to our families and our kids) I see an almost contempt towards the broken- as if they and their situations are disgusting. I even see a “poor thing” mentality towards the broken, along with “awww, poor thing…I’m just so glad it’s not me or mine”. Here is my point; all of this (lack of care and pride) is brokenness as well, it’s just prettier from our perspective.

So 2010 is ringing these types of questions in my heart- Does my heart break for what breaks the Lord’s heart? When was the last time I asked myself what breaks His heart? Doesn’t the sin of pride and self, (even in regards to family preservation) break His heart as much as flagrant sin? Does my life love what He loves? Not just my theology or words but the outpouring of my life…the conviction is strong and begs one last question; why do I cling so tightly to my life, my rights, my desires, my needs, my time, my energy, my “pretty” idols…when there is a lost and broken world, both inside and outside the church walls?