1 Samuel 26:1-30:31
This morning was a very exciting morning for my husband and I. We were blessed beyond measure to witness our close friend from Alpha class at church being baptised alongside his daughter! One by one their baptism class filed onto the stage heavily burdened with their sins freshly inked upon on paper. On their way to the water they passed the cross where they paused to pin their sins upon its strong uplifted arms. And then dipped their toes into the Water of Life that cleanses those sins and burdens and infuses the power of Jesus IN us. From the smallest (who couldn’t even been seen over the side of the pool) to the tallest, they each stepped into the stage with a burden much heavier than mere paper and yet as they walked soaking wet from the stage they felt lighter than air!
Jesus saves my friends!
As I stared at the cross pinned full of sin and shame I marveled at how just one piece of paper (and the things it represents) is enough to weigh one of us down to the point of uselessness and impotence. And yet there it is, FULL of those papers and instead of being emptied of strength and significance, like we would be, it is more powerful, it’s MORE amazing, it’s MORE glorious than it was before our sins lay upon it! While our strength wanes with every addition of sin when those sins are pinned to THE cross of Christ His strength gains! There is NO amount of sin, shame, or human imperfection that could ever possibly drain the cross of its power. Ever!
Isn’t that GOOD NEWS!
1 Samuel 23:1-25:44
Well, here I am again sitting in bed, Sean brushing his teeth and BAM! I remember I haven’t posted yet. I could feed you all kinds of excuses, but honestly why bother? Basically, I’m tired.
I’m tired of a lot of things. Things I could list and list and list, but it wouldn’t do either of us any good. So instead, I’ll both lie down and sleep for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. I will be still, like a weaned child at its mother’s breast, and KNOW that You are God. MY God. Lord I thank You that YOU will fight for me I need only to be still. And that no matter what enemy army is charging toward me, YOU have the power to part the Sea behind me and allow me to pass through on DRY ground while my enemy’s wheels get clogged with mud. I know that once I am securely on the other side of this mess turned miracle You will close up that pass behind me swallowing up the enemy that once chased me so doggedly my entire life leaving me freer than I ever could’ve imagined!
YOU LORD, only You could do such a thing.
And do it all for me! Because You love me!
Thanks be to God!
Yes. I WILL lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
1 Samuel 19:1-22:23
Sorry folks. I had a sick little girl home today and completely forgot about posting until just now as I was laying in bed and Sean was brushing his teeth. Good night friends. Sleep sweet and may your dreams be from God alone, in Jesus name.
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
There was a fight in the boys restroom last week that I can’t seem to stop thinking about. When I found out that it was over a girl, I kid you not, my very first thought was, “What’s so amazing about her that they would fight over her?” Now I wasn’t thinking this in a sarcastic or derogatory way, I was genuinely curious! What was it about her that made it worth, not only getting punched in the nose to win the right to date her, but also taking the very obvious risk of getting suspended or expelled from school for fighting over her. What characteristic does she possess that makes her worth all that?
It was the talk of the school for the rest of that day, and it has even continued on for the beginning of this week. Everyone has their take on it, especially the girls. Yet NONE of them have voiced any of the questions that are deep within my heart. Mainly, what does it feel like to have two boys fighting for the right to have you? Is she insulted that they’re treating her like a possession? Is she a little impressed by everything that they risked in order to duke it out over her? What does it feel like to have two people like you to the point of battling over you?
There’s got to be at least one of you out there that can agree with me in the romance of this right? Because I honestly can’t stop thinking about it. What is it that makes her so special that she worth spilling blood on the bathroom floor for? And they did by the way.
Sure, this girl is beautiful inside and out and has a smile that could slay dragons but is that all? Is there more? This inquiring mind wants to know!
Then yesterday on the 2 minute ride home from school a new aspect of this scenario hit me in the nose when the Holy Spirit whispered in my soul, “I fight for your love every single day of your life. I fight for it in the bathroom mirror, I fight for it at work, in the bedroom, in the living room, in the kitchen, in the classroom, in the hallways, in the streets, in the office, you name the place and the time and I’m there fighting for you. I fight for your honor, for your respect, for your love and attention and trust. I fight for you against foes that you’ve never seen yet you know them all too intimately. Here you’ve been filling your brain with thoughts of what it would be like to have your man fight for you, when all the while I have been! Satan and I meet daily in the depths of secret to battle over your head and who will get to speak over it today. (He never really wins, although sometimes I let him think that he does.)
Every day my darling.
Everyday there are battles fought over you and your love.”
You know He’s not just talking to me right? That’s you too! You have a Savior who fights for YOU daily! He loves you enough to risk everything to have your love and attention directed towards Him.
Well, I’m posting this a little early this month, mostly because I have homework to work on this week. But I’m also posting this early because I am on chapter 8 of 14 and I can tell you that thus far, I’m not a fan of Not a Fan. While I completely agree with almost all his scripture and his entire premise for his book, I don’t agree with the way he’s going about doing it. For a follower like me who is so head over heels in love with her Savior that I am constantly plauged with worry that I’m not “doing” enough; that I’m not enough for Him, this has not been a good book for me to read. Well, OK, it has been, but only to test my ability to take everything with a grain of salt and to allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and actions and to remind me that is NOT about me.
I’m not sure if you’ve been able to tell over the last week by my posts, but I have really been struggling with old demons through this book! Everything religious in me has come back and tormented me in it. In fact, it might even be the kind of book I would have written before I experienced the GREAT power of the freeing love of Jesus. And yet, I have experienced it. I now KNOW what it’s like to be loved with such a ferocity that it washes away all sin. I know what it’s like to be loved with such tenderness that it soothes ancient wounds that run soul deep. I KNOW what it’s like to be loved to the point that it compells me to do what is right and good and just. I KNOW what it’s like to be loved by Jesus and not condemned by Him.
In the beginning of his book Kyle Inman criticizes those who offer Christ without fully detailing the cost of following Him. And to a certain extent I agree with him. But really, if we’re honest with ourselves we all know that there are consequences to every decision in life, good and bad. Inman is right, over and over in the New Testament Jesus tells people the cost of following Him and they turn away from Him. But, I think anyone who has experienced what I have would agree that at no point were the costs of following Jesus weightier than the benefits!
Sure it’s not easy being a Christian, it never has been and it never will be! But, NEWS FLASH, life isn’t easy either! I mean seriously, at what point has anyone ever said, “Gee! I sure am glad that this natural disaster happened and killed thousands of people including my family.” There are days when life is hard and it hurts and it’s not fun and people are mean and you just want to give up. EVERYBODY has those days, Christian and non-Christians. The real difference in life comes for those who believe in Christ. For those who believe, yes there will be trouble in this world, BUT we can take heart because Jesus has overcome this world and so can we!
My friends, rain falls on the just and the un-just alike. The real difference lies in the Truth that the just have the hope of becoming dry again while the un-just don’t. Life is hard and it hurts, but those of us who believe in Christ and profess that belief have a helmet of salvation & the sheild of His faithfulness to protect us against those blows. What’s more, we not only have things to protect us, we have a sword of the Spirit to defend ourselves as well! Yes, in this world we will have trouble, but we too can overcome that trouble with the TRUTH! Jesus loves us!
Jesus loves YOU! You are a beloved Child of God if you choose to believe in His Son. Yes, there are consequences of following Him, there will people who won’t like you simply because you’re a Christian. That’s OK, not everyone is going to love you anyway. And there are plenty more people out there who will LOVE you simply because you’re their new brother or sister in Christ. And really, what’s more important than having someone who will ALWAYS be there for you when the going gets really tough? Jesus promises to do that, and He has always held up His end of that bargain with me. ALWAYS. There isn’t enough tea in China for me to give that one thing up. If I had to give up all the other benefits of Christ, I could, but my relationship with Him? No way! That guy has pulled me out of more sticky situations than I can count! And I’m not referring to the physical ones, those He usually leaves me in to learn my lessons. I mean the sticky spiritual situations where the powers and principalities of this world are dragging me down the drain and often causing me to throw the baby out with the bathwater!
Love is more powerful than fear. Love casts out fear. And it is not possible for fear to pull in love. Yet that is the very tactic that Not a Fan uses to try to inform people of a relationship with Jesus. So while the scriptures and the premise in his book are Biblically sound, this is not a book that I can recommend to you to read. This girl is not a fan of Not a Fan.
Now, if you recall, when I first announced this Book Challenge I told you that there would be a reward for everyone who participated. Today is when you get to participate! 😀 Simply leave a comment below letting me know that you read the book, feel free to comment on how you felt about it, or if it taught you anything. For everyone who participates this month you will receive the free e-book of the month Dandelion Season! 😀 So comment below and I’ll email you a copy of your very own! 😀
If you read all ten books with me and comment on each 10 in ’15 Book Challenge post, you will receive one SIGNED book of your choice from the “Books” tab on TamarKnochel.com for FREE! So keep reading my friends! Let’s grow together! 😀
1 Samuel 8:1-11:15
We were riding in the car the other day and I was looking at my double chin in the side mirror and hating it. It hasn’t always been doubled, but I haven’t always been a mother either. I sat there in the passenger’s seat thinking about the figure that isn’t as small as it used to be. Once I went to visit my boyfriend at college and we ran across one of his friends. He said, “Hey so-and-so! This is my girlfriend.” Then he put his hands around my waist with his thumbs touching his middle fingers and said to so-and-so, “See! I told you!” How have I remembered that all these years later? It terrified me. I knew this waist that he was so proud of would never last. When it was gone…would he be gone too?
If I were completely honest with myself, it’s still a fear I have.
So there I sat in the car lamenting figures gone bye, when God said,
“When will it be enough? If I make your waist smaller then you’ll be unhappy with your hair. If I fix your hair you’ll just be displeased with your skin, or your eyes, or your feet. At what point will it be enough for you? Isn’t it obvious? It’s not your body you’re unhappy with. It’s you. At what point will you allow yourself to be enough? I’ve told you over and over and over again that I love you the way you are, why do you doubt Me? You fear that because you are less than perfect My Love will leave you. It won’t. It can’t. Remember, My Love never fails. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:7). Relax My Beloved, you are enough for Me. Make this the point where you are enough for you!”
I just spend half an hour laying on the floor pouring my heart out to the LORD on paper. And when I looked down and saw what I had written I realized that it was my to do list!!! Do you ever feel like that? Where your to do list is so large and so long that it’s going to come to life and swallow you up and leave nothing left but ink stains?
The burdens of my heart today, were all the things that I need to do and simply don’t have the time to do them all. I’ve been so frustrated lately with the work load I’ve given myself that I’ve gotten downright depressed about it all. So, finally, I took it to the Lord and you know what He told me? One of the things He tells me more than anything else, “It’s not about YOU!” One of my most difficult struggles in this life is when I get wrapped up in me. I get so inwardly focused and critical of myself that I end up tearing myself apart. And it’s rarely in a woe-is-me way and usually more like a shame-on-me way. I get hypercritical of my lack of ability to be super woman. I am not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or even small ones for that matter! I’m not always able to get the kids in my class to behave the way I want them to. I’m not always able to get all my homework done in the time frame I want to get it done in. I’m not always able to get a freshly homemade meal on my kitchen table every night, some nights it’s processed store-bought junk. I could go on, but I don’t think I should because I can feel myself spiraling down into that dark place again.
But I think there is at least one of you out there that can relate to what I mean when I tell you all this. I don’t really know if men do this, but we women expect so much from ourselves that we don’t expect from others. We allow others to be human, but when we’re less than superhuman we get angry and frustrated with ourselves. Well guess what sweetheart, it’s not about YOU! Did you know that there are millions of stars and planets rotating around a fixed point in the universe and you are not that point. So it’s OK to stop beating yourself up when you drop the ball. The stars and planets will continue spinning, the sun will continue rising, the birds will keep chirping and all will continue on as it did before you dropped that ball. It’s OK to be human.
1 Samuel 1:1-3:21
I have a confession to make, this past Sunday we actually played hookey from church. Well, OK, that’s not *entirely* accurate, we did attend church – OUR church even… in our pajamas on our couch via the internet and simulcast. There are some definite perks to attending a very large church. Northview Church just launched a new “iCampus” and so far it seems to be going quite successfully. And really, that morning service in our livingroom set the tone for that whole cold rainy day. There we sat and there we stayed all day watching movies, and it was glorious!
The next day when I went to work and told one of my co-workers about it she asked, “What’s that like? I never get a day off!” And for any of you that know me very well, or have followed this blog for very long, you know how I feel about that! So you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I then replied to her,
“You should just take the time to relax every once in a while.”
“Well, I have goals and things to do.” she replied.
I said, “So do I. But sometimes those things should wait.” (If only she knew what my goals were! HA! God has certainly taught me to dream BIG!)
She said more, letting me know that I was wasting my breath in trying to convince her that rest is important (not to mention quality time with your family) and so I stopped bothering. Someday the Holy Spirit will teach her the wisdom of rest, until then I will continue to celebrate my Sabbath in my way and she can celebrate it hers. (Did I mention that she suffers from migraines almost monthly, where she is forced to stop her business and goal chasing in order to rest?)
You see my friends, God has His ways. HE knows what’s best for us and what we need, so much better than we do. He knew from the very beginning that we would get so caught up in our goals and our plans that we would forget to take care of ourselves.
Sometimes the best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself! If I’m so worn out that I get sick to the point that I literally can’t move from the bed then how is that helping anyone? Instead of pushing myself to the absolute limit, I plan a time to intentionally stop and smell the roses.
Take the time to rest and allow your body the time to recover and recuperate, and perhaps enjoy some family fun time at the same time. We all have goals, we all have things that we want and are working toward them. However, if your body is forcing you to rest I guarantee you it will cost you more time and be less enjoyable than if you were to PLAN resting time in advance. Trust me, this is the voice of experience talking here. I even wrote a book about it!
We all need some quiet time. We all need some “me” time. And as long as you’re not staying in that “me” zone all the time, your goals will still be there waiting for you on the other side of that PJ day. I promise. Only this time, you’ll have more mental and physical and spiritual energy to achieve those goals. Who knows, by taking some time away from them you may even end up achieving them faster than you would have without the respite.
Pray about it today, is God calling you to come away with Him and have some quiet time? Is He calling you to both lie down and sleep because He alone makes you dwell in safety? Did you know that the Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still? My friend, be still and KNOW that He is God. Give Him your goals, your fears, your troubles and let Him work on them for a while so that you can take a much-needed break.
“and the sword of Saul returned not empty.” 2 Samuel 1:22
It’s SUNDAY! Time for some great SHMILY pictures from this week.
I got many many many more than what I was able to photograph, but that’s fairly usual. Most of them only last a moment and then they’re gone, which is kinda fun because then I know that they’re JUST for me. 😉 I’m praying that God will be showing you His love for YOU in wondrous ways this week and always! I love and cherish you my friends! You have no idea.
I was so mad that I smeared my fresh paint… until I noticed later that it was a smile! Then I was Ok with it. 😀 How appropriate that He would turn my imperfection into something beautiful, it’s just like Him to do that isn’t it?
OK, I know that this isn’t a smile or a heart, but DUDE these are so strangely good!!! I NEVER would have put the name OREO and the flavor watermelon together, but wow! They’re reminiscent of those lemon cookies that my dad loves so much. You know, except they’re watermelon. So good!
Friday was my son’s fifth grade celebration before they left for fifth grade camp. It was a very emotional afternoon for this mommy as her baby celebrated a lifetime of fun and friendship. I became acutely aware that in seven years I wouldn’t be celebrating his graduation from elementary school, but his graduation from high school and he would be leaving for college! We’re almost halfway there and that’s freaking me out! It’s gone so very quickly!
When you set out on the road of parenthood you set out on it alone. It’s just the two of you, never thinking about all the countless others who are setting out on that same journey at the same time as you. And even though you may connect with them from time to time you may not fully realize the significant role they play in your life. Then you come up on milestones in the road like Friday. Every other parent in that room was there for the same reason we were. Their baby is growing up too. And like a tidal wave crashing down it hits you that these are the faces that you will see at each of the parenthood milestones. These are the voices you will hear through the rest of the years. Cheering for their baby and yours, right beside you. These are the shoulders that will share fears, tears and burdens with you for years to come. These are the people who are on the journey WITH you. You’re not as alone as you think you are. It’s a very encouraging thought, knowing that all these people are experiencing that same strange cocktail of emotions that you are. And it’s comforting.