Jesus Loves YOU

Ten More Days


1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:28

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus as His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

Ok, first things first, I need to do a little happy dance and celebrate. Just like my daughter whose first words this morning were sleepily, “four more days until my birthday”. My first words to you today are, “ten more days until I’ve read through the entire Bible!!!!!” I have been wanting to and trying to do this my entire life and I’ve never done it. I dedicated the last two and a half years of my life to reading through the Bible Alphabetically in a year and in TEN SHORT DAYS I will have done it!!!!! But I haven’t done it alone. I NEVER could have done it without you guys! Knowing that you’re reading and keeping track of my progress keeps me on track and making progress. You inspire me to do my best and be my best, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me! Thank you, from the uttermost depths of my soul, thank you for joining me on this journey! You may not have read the Bible with me, you may not have made it through all my thousand plus words of blogging, but you’re there and that makes such a huge difference for me! You have no idea! YOU are so important to me. Having someone to talk to along this path has kept me from going insane. You’ve helped me process all the massive amounts of information I’ve been blessed with along the way.

Oh, and fear not, just because I will be “done” with reading through the Bible doesn’t mean I’m DONE reading through the Bible and blogging about it. No, this is just the beginning. There was a time when I toyed with the idea of putting it all down and being DONE, but I know that there’s simply no way that I can. Helping others is the best way to help yourself. You’ve kept me from spiraling into a lonely depression on many occasions. Your presence on the other end of this line has kept me from giving it all up and calling it quits on doing my daily reading.

No, there’s no way that I can give up breathing, this – reading through the Bible every day and then writing about it – this is my oxygen mask. It’s the air that I breathe to keep me going through serving my family and the long lines of customers I serve at our local Dollar General store*. It’s funny, I feel very much like a bar tender there. As I ask how their day is going, 95% of the time they actually tell me! In fact there’s one lady, we’ll call her “June”, her situation could really use our prayers at the moment. Her husband is “shacking up” with his pregnant mistress in a TENT right now. L And every time this lady comes in she has to tell me about how it’s going. She has a desperate need to take care of him, even though he’s shattered her heart. She loves him, pregnant mistress and all. It’s honestly beautiful and sad all at the same time. Pray for them, they ALL need Jesus.

Then there’s another of my regulars who is, by far, one of my biggest supporters. He found me in the Hamilton County Reporter (which you can subscribe to online here). He came in and told me yesterday that he cut out the piece I wrote on the Holy Spirit (he doesn’t know I’ve written about the Holy Spirit more times than I can count). He said he keeps it in his Bible and prays the prayer every morning before his devotions.

My God is too good to me friends. He’s given me multiple platforms from which to speak at the exact same moment, the exact same message of His love and Grace and forgiveness. Several years ago, shortly after, or maybe it was before, accepting my call into ministry God led me through His word and taught me about death. We take nothing with us, nothing except the memories of this life and the people we’ve brought to Christ. Today’s verse was part of that Word Search. “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”

My friends, I may never have met you in person or shaken your hand. I may never have laid eyes on your face, but that doesn’t mean that you mean nothing to me. You are my hope and joy and crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming. As I believe I am yours. It has been so easy for me to feel like this is a one-sided relationship since so many of you don’t comment or talk back when you read. But I’ve got enough of you out there commenting, either here or elsewhere, letting me know that you’re out there and that you are following along. Just knowing you’re there pushes me forward, striving toward the goal, continuing on in the race of life. YOU mean the world to me! You’ve helped me do something I’ve been trying to accomplish my entire life and have failed, until I had YOU to help me. Thank you ever so much for being here and silently cheering me on to the finish line!

Ten more days my friends. Then I take a celebratory rest and start all over again. And I can hardly wait!!!!!

 

*Thinking of YOU Aunt Cynthia! I wanted to call, or even email, but I simply don’t have time at the moment. Things have been CRAZY busy! But I would really love to call you soon!!!!! How about we both pray for it and God will help us coordinate the time. J I love you!!!!

Categories: 1 Thessalonians, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

He was There


Song of Solomon 5:10-8:14

“This is my beloved, and this is my friend.” Song of Solomon 5:16

It’s funny, when I picked out this verse I had forgotten how familiar it was. It wasn’t until I wrote it down that I realized that it’s the verse that many Christian couples choose to put on the front of their wedding program. It’s funny, all those times I read those programs and I didn’t even realize that it was scripture I was reading, I just liked the idea of someone not just being your lover but your friend as well. Now I understand why. J

To think back on that day, the day when we joined as husband and wife, it seems like a distant dream. Like it happened, but yet, if we didn’t have the pictures and the video I would think that perhaps it had all been a dream. It’s only been fourteen years this June, but still, it’s been awhile! It was a really awesome day, it was the day I married my best friend.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was. He was just my friend at that point. Then he became my husband, my partner and my provider. I didn’t realize then what I know now. He would become my BEST friend. I’ve spent over half my life with this man by my side. He is the one person in the whole world who has been with me through more than anyone else, even my parents. He knows more about me than anyone.

Anyone.

Two weeks after our honeymoon when I slashed my thumb with a brand spankin’ new table knife while trying to pry open a frozen bagel, he was right there with a bandage and support… and advice about stitches. When I lay on a hospital bed, nine months pregnant having a seizure, he was there with the nurses. While I spent the rest of the day in a dark room with pitocin IVs hanging from my arms he sat in a chair by the window trying to read baby name books by the light through the crack in the curtain. I don’t remember him really moving from that post until he had to get ready for the surgery. When money got tight after the baby was born he went back to school to learn a new trade so that he could take better care of us. When I went on bed rest at 34 weeks with baby number two, he was there with McDonald’s M&M McFlurries, a spoon and a blood pressure cuff. When we moved two weeks before the baby was born he was the one who carried all the boxes and put things away. When that baby had to have surgery at age two because she was basically deaf, he was right there in the waiting room with me making me laugh the fear away. Even now as I’m watching her struggle in school, lagging behind her peers by almost exactly the same amount of time that she couldn’t hear, he’s right by my side coming up with just the right answers to each situation. He’s there in the morning when I need help deciding which shirt to wear to work and what groceries to pick up at the store. He’s there because on that day when we got married that’s what he promised to do. He promised to be there for me for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. And he has been every step of the way. That’s a friend. That’s a husband. That’s a partner. He’s so much more than a Beloved, he’s a friend.

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

 

Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Song of Songs | Leave a comment

Beautiful Mess


Song of Solomon 1:1-5:9

“Behold, you are beautiful, my Beloved, truly delightful.” Song of Solomon 1:16

OK, so I was supposed to be writing my review of Chapter 4 of Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us on Saturday… but I forgot. I was inspired after watching Mom’s Night Out to write a Mother’s Day post, so sue me. 😉 (Seriously, Go watch that movie!!!!!) So I’m writing my review of Chapter 4 “Good Company” today instead.

I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed when I first picked up my Bible and read the first half of Song of Solomon. Not that I haven’t read it before, I actually spent a decent amount of time in that book while writing True Intimacy with my husband. But it’s been a LOOOONG time since I’ve cracked open those pages and I’d forgotten how… steamy they were. Wooo! Those pages are not for the faint of heart are they friends? And then I picked up Beth Moore’s book and SHE was talking about sex too! Freaky!

Chapter 4: Good Company is all about the people in the Bible that show insecurity through their words and actions: Eve and her choice of fig leaves, Sarah and her choice of allowing Abraham to take her handmaiden as a wife, Leah and Rachel in their baby battle over Jacob’s heart, Moses and his insecurity over the role God chose for him to play in the salvation of His people, Saul and his insecurity over the role God chose for him to play in the ruling of His people, Paul and his insecurity in his status as an apostle (no doubt because of his previous role in the persecution of the other apostles). The list went on and on.

If at the end of Chapter 3 I was chattering my teeth in fear of the insecurities I was sure I had; by the end of Chapter 4 I was raising my sword and shouting a battle cry over them. I am not alone in the camp of insecurity! And what’s even more amazing to me is the role that insecurity has played throughout the lives of many of the founders of our faith.

Our spiritual ancestors have struggled with this very same enemy. Some didn’t fare so well, but others, like Paul, conquered this enemy with ruthless abandon. On page 54 Beth says that, “Insecurity lives in constant terror of loss. Insecure people are always afraid that something or somebody is going to be taken from them.” Paul was a BIG name in the synagogues of his time. He persecuted the early Christ followers with such ferocity that his name was almost synonymous with death. If you knew Paul was after you, you cringed in fear. Period. He was ruthless.

But then one day Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and literally knocked him off his high horse. Jesus asked him why he was persecuting Jesus. And it was in that moment that Paul saw the error of his ways. He immediately turned from the persecution of the Church and became a member of the Church. He became an apostle and began going through the countryside preaching the name of Jesus. People were stunned by the change in his attitude toward Christ. Here’s this guy who had been out to kill anyone who taught in Jesus’ name, now he’s out teaching in Jesus’ name! Paul brought many many many people to salvation through Christ. But his past followed him.

While he had seen the error of his ways and had changed, people were very wary of him. Understandably so! But his past mistakes certainly played a part in his future security among the apostles. If you look at 2 Corinthians 11:5 he calls them “super-apostles” and affirms that he is in no way inferior to them. His mere defense of his position points us in the direction of assuming that he himself is fearful of his inferiority to them!

In the same way, our past can certainly play a HUGE role in our present insecurities. But it doesn’t have to! Our past can cry out to us from behind and beg for our attention. It can claim to us that we have shortcomings because of it, but WE have the choice to decide whether we’re going to listen to our past or not. It’s like Beth says on page 57, “The beauty of Paul wasn’t his superhumanity but his unwillingness to let his weaknesses, feelings and fears over ride his faith. Like us, the fiercest enemy he had to fight in the fulfillment of his destiny was himself.”

We each have a destiny to fulfill. God has created you for a PURPOSE, you have a calling. Moses was called to be God’s tongue, in SPITE of his “slowness of speech”. God CHOSE Moses. Moses was God’s first choice for the job. God believed in Moses’ ability to do what God called him to do because that’s what God had CREATED him to do. It was Moses who didn’t believe in himself. (See Exodus 3:1-4:17)

God CHOSE Saul. Saul was God’s first choice to be the first king of Israel. But when Saul’s coronation day came he was nowhere to be found! When they consulted the LORD as to his whereabouts they discovered that he was hiding in the baggage! Saul didn’t believe in himself and his own ability to be king. His own insecurity of his ability to be king was amplified even more when David came around and started winning battles and inspiring women to sing songs. Saul’s insecurity became such a problem for him that he literally lost his mind over it. Saul allowed his insecurity to incapacitate his ability to do what God had called him to do.

One of my favorite quotes from Paul is 1 Corinthians 15:10 “by the grace of God I am what I am. And His grace towards me is not in vain.” Paul never forgot what he had done to his fellow man. But he never let it stop him from achieving everything that God had called him to do either. God’s grace, His LOVE, covers over a multitude of sins. We make mistakes. It’s part of being human! But just because we’ve made mistakes doesn’t mean that we should give up the farm! God has called you to something that He made you for. He CHOSE you for a special task that you would be the only person fully suited to accomplish it. Sure, someone else can do it, but should they? We can’t let our shortcomings stop us from believing in ourselves enough to push forward and accomplish the goal that God has set for us to accomplish. I think Beth says it beautifully on page 57 when she says, “Human flesh and blood have no weakness so strong that God’s strength is made weak.”

Hallelujah sister, YES!

I’m sorry folks, but there is nothing in me that is strong enough to undo what Jesus has done for me! There is no weakness in me, no insecurity so strong that can overpower the power of Christ through me! Jesus paid it ALL. And while flesh and bone may fail, Jesus doesn’t.

My friend, you may be a mess, but you are a BEAUTIFUL mess with a beautiful message! You may be going through a massive test, but you will have a massive testimony! YOU are the Beloved of God Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth and nothing in all of creation can separate you from the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. And it is by the Grace of God that you are what you are! You are CALLED, checkered past and all. You are CHOSEN, messy weaknesses and all. You are LOVED with a ferocity that is beyond any and all human comprehension. You are BEAUTIFUL to Him who called you. You need only to BELIEVE IT FOR YOURSELF! Be unwilling to let your weaknesses, feelings and fears over ride your faith. Be unwilling to let the worst of you get the best of you! God created you to be more than a conqueror! So go out there and conquer!

Categories: 365 Life, Insecurity, Jesus Loves YOU, Song of Songs | Leave a comment

Nothing’s Hidden From the King


2 Samuel 18:1-20:26

“There is nothing hidden from the king.” 2 Samuel 18:13

In Genesis 16 we find the story of Hagar. Having been abused by Sarai, her master, Hagar fled from her. At a well in the wilderness, an angel came to Hagar and spoke over her unborn child. He told her that she would have a boy and to name him Ishmael which means, “God hears”. The angel blessed her and her son and commanded her to return to her master. So Hagar said to the angel of the LORD, “You are a God who sees me.”

Beloved, God sees you. There is nothing hidden from the King of kings. There is nowhere where you can hide from Him. There is no mountain high enough where He can’t find you. You can not flee to the depths of the sea and not be seen by His love. Even there His hand shall lead you and His right hand shall hold you. If you say, “surely the darkness will cover me, and even the light around me is like night,” even the darkness isn’t dark to Him; the night is bright as the day, for the darkness is as light to Him. There is nothing that can separate you from His love for you through Christ Jesus. Not one single thing.

As mothers we all too often hold ourselves to a standard we simply can not achieve. We look around us and see everyone else’s best qualities and then sew them together into a quilt of guilt for ourselves where we can’t ever quite measure up. We see the mom who always looks perfect and beat ourselves up for not being pretty enough. We can’t see that she cries herself to sleep at night because she’s found out her husband looks at porn instead of her. Even she’s not pretty enough.

We look at the mom who’s always so peaceful and serene with her kids and beat ourselves for losing our temper and screaming at our kids. We miss the moment when she locked herself in the bathroom because she was too overwhelmed and needs five minutes of PEACE. Even she’s not peaceful enough.

We read the highlight reel of Facebook and judge our blooper reel against it. We are not fair to ourselves. We judge ourselves by standards that no one can live up to. We see perfection in everyone BUT ourselves. The truth is that NO ONE is perfect except Jesus. No one can do everything. No one can be everything to everyone. No one can be someone to the whole world. But you CAN be someone’s whole world. It’s called being a mom.

There is no one in this whole planet that is going to love you and look up to you the way your children do. You gave them LIFE, that’s not a small fact that escapes their attention, though it often escapes ours. We fail to remember the gigantic role we play in keeping these people alive and setting them up for the best possible future we can. Our children are the greatest gift we can possibly give mankind. They are the future and when we train them up in The Way they should go, when they are old they will not stray. And the best way to do that is to be a great role model.

What if, right now, I start teaching my daughter to judge herself fairly by modeling it for her? What if, instead of just telling her she’s capable of anything she puts her mind to, I show her. What if I start teaching my children the power of forgiveness by first forgiving myself?

I’M NOT PERFECT AND THAT’S OK!

I need to allow myself to fall short from time to time. And I can’t expect the glory of God from myself because that’s not going to happen. That’s just not how it works! The glory of God comes from GOD. It’s not something we can obtain, just ask Eve. Nor is it something that we should strive to attain. It’s His glory, and it will remain that way. The glory that IS ours is the glory that God created for us. It’s the glory of doing what God created us to do. In the way He created us to do it.

What’s so fun about going to the zoo? We go to watch the seals swim, the lions prowl and the monkeys monkeying around. We delight in watching the animals be animals and do what God created them to do. What if, for this year, we delight in doing what God created us to do – be moms.

You know those moments when we think we’re alone and we’re putting some special touch on something no one will ever see or notice? It’s in those moments that we must understand there is NOTHING hidden from the King. He sees your bathroom fears and your silent victories over them. He’s keeping track of each diaper changed, every rough tear-filled night, every sigh of frustration, He sees them all. He’s there through them all because He loves YOU!

No. You’re not the perfect mom.

No one is.

BUT.

You ARE the perfect mom for your kids. You know how I know that? Because God chose YOU to be their mom! And God doesn’t make mistakes.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Categories: 2 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

Because HE is Good!


2 Samuel 15:1-17:29

“So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” 2 Samuel 15:6

(The continuation of yesterday’s post):

The sixty-first chapter of Isaiah details the favor of the LORD**, the tenth verse says, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed ME with the garment of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

My friend, YOU are that favorite son of the Father. YOU are that beloved daughter of the King. YOU are the Bride of Christ who has been given a robe of righteousness to wear. Did you know, there are two robes that are mentioned in the crucifixion of Jesus. The first is the scarlet robe that the soldiers put on Him to mock Him as king of the Jews. The second is the robe that the soldiers cast lots for at the foot of the cross. The first robe He wore as they mocked who He IS. They made fun of Him for claiming the Truth that He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And as we’ve read in Revelation that is the very name that is written on His thigh when He wears a white robe dipped in blood. The second robe He most likely wore throughout His entire ministry. It was a robe that according to John 19:23-24 was seamless. It hadn’t been sewn from several different pieces, but it had been woven seamlessly as a single piece of fabric. While the first robe represents Christ’s deity, the second robe represents His seamless perfection and holiness. A holiness that He has transferred onto YOUR shoulders my friend.

Romans 5:19 KJV says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made
sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made
righteous.” According to this verse your sins didn’t make you a sinner, Adam’s sin did. Likewise, your goodness doesn’t make you righteous, Jesus’ does!!! Beloved, your salvation doesn’t rest on your shoulders it rests in your heart and in your mouth. “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:10) You need only to believe in your heart that Jesus is who He has said that He is and done what He said that He did and you are justified. Once that has happened and you truly believe it wrapping your whole heart around the Truth that Jesus died for YOU and saved YOU from eternal condemnation starting in this VERY MOMENT, well, I dare you to keep your mouth shut about it because you won’t be able to. I’m living proof of that! Once I finally wrapped my brain around the Truth that Jesus MADE me righteous, well, I’ve done everything I can to spread the word that YOU have been MADE righteous too.

It’s GOOD NEWS! That’s what the word “Gospel” means, good news. News that’s so good you can’t help but spread it around. News that’s so good you can’t help but to be changed by it. In fact, it’s news that’s so good it inspires you to BE good, to DO good, to SPEAK good. My friends, God isn’t good to you because you’re good. He’s good to you because HE IS GOOD. That’s who He is! And the second we start believing that our actions have the ability to diminish His ability or willingness to be good to us, is the moment we diminish who God is. We put Him in a box and tell Him that He’s only allowed to be “this good” to us because we’ve only been “this good”. But according to Romans 5:7-9 that’s not how God works. “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” God can’t fit in a box; He’s too big and too great for that. We’ve got to stop putting limits on how much goodness we can expect from God. He’s a GOOD God, there is no end to His goodness and faithfulness and mercy.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake [God The Father] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus died the death meant for us, so that we wouldn’t have to. Jesus paid the price on our heads because He knew that we couldn’t afford it. And in Him paying the price, WE reap the reward! Jesus was made sin so that we might be made righteous. We were sinners and He was righteous, but through the miracle of the cross He became a sinner and we became righteous through faith in His sacrifice on our behalf.

God isn’t good because you’re good. God’s good because HE IS GOOD.

Do you believe it? Then SPEAK it to someone today!

 

*(from yesterday’s post) What about all the colors? Light is composed of every color the eye is able to see and many that it isn’t. When we see the color white we’re seeing ALL the colors at the same time. White is the color of purity and righteousness. Hence if you’re wearing a white robe of righteousness you are wearing every color you could ever imagine and then some! A coat of many colors!

Is that what they meant when they translated Joseph’s coat had many colors, I doubt it. Does that mean that Joseph’s literal coat was white, I have no idea, but again I doubt it. It doesn’t sound very practical to this mom of two, for a shepherd boy to wear a white coat. But symbolically…. I LOVE IT! 😀

**While I don’t have the time or space to put it all in here I do recommend HIGHLY that you go through and read that chapter and declare those words spoken over YOU by the Lord God Almighty!

Categories: 2 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

Tamar’s Robe


2 Samuel 12:16-14:33

“Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed.” 2 Samuel 13:18

As some of you might imagine I have a particular fondness to the stories of Tamar in the Bible. There are three of them, Tamar the daughter of Judah and mother of Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38), Tamar the daughter of David and Tamar the daughter of Absalom the son of David. Two of these Tamars are mentioned in today’s Word of the Day. The eldest Tamar’s story… well, it isn’t that great to be honest. She has a horrid thing done to her; her own half-brother violates her and then casts her aside like yesterday’s garbage. And yet in the midst of telling us this story the narrator mentions her robe with long sleeves. And at first glance I’ve always just assumed he was mentioning it because she tore it in mourning. But today, reading it in a new translation, I noticed a footnote that blew my mind. The robe that she was wearing is described with the same words as Genesis 37:3.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. *Footnote: a robe with long sleeves.”

I find this extremely intriguing. That the favorite son of the Father of the nation of Israel and the beloved daughter of king David, the man after God’s own heart BOTH wore robes of many colors that were characterized by their long sleeves. And what’s with the big deal that the sleeves were long?

Today’s Wednesday and I’m off work so I’ve got some time to actually dig into my research and WRITE, so I’m going to. I wanted to see if the same phrase was really used to describe both of these robes and what that phrase actually is. When I found it, I was not disappointed.

The phrase in Hebrew is transliterated as: “kethoneth pas”. Kethoneth is a tunic or under-garment; a long shirt-like garment usually of linen. It is from an unused root meaning to cover. OK, that makes sense, but when I looked up the meaning of pas I was in for a dramatic surprise. Expecting to see that pas mean color I was befuddled to see that it means, the flat (of the hand or foot), palm, sole; of the tunic reaching to palms and soles (figuratively). “Uhhhhh….. what???” I thought, “Where on earth do they get the translation that this special robe had many colors???” So I continued reading, by implication (plural) a long sleeved tunic (perhaps simply a wide one; from the original sense of the root, that is, of many breadths). OK, now I have this picture in my head of this beautiful virgin girl walking around in a robe that’s so long it covers her hands and feet when she walks and is so wide that it hides the curves of her body. Now THAT makes sense. Plus she’s a daughter of the King so you can imagine that this wasn’t any ordinary sheath dress with a simple fabric and no ornamentation, *pbbbft* NO WAY! I’m sure it was decked out with all kinds of fancy needlework and sequins and made of the finest linen or silk that money could buy, she was the daughter of the King after all. But, there was something that still just wasn’t lining up for me, what about the colors? There was a link to the root word and its definition, so I clicked on that to gain a little more insight. “Pasas: to disappear, vanish, cease, fail”. And BOOM like lightning it hit me what the significance of this robe is!

But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what that is. 😉

Categories: 2 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | 1 Comment

God WANTS to Bless YOU!


2 Samuel 8:1-12:15

“And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.” 2 Samuel 8:14

There’s a verse that I live by that I think you should be aware of. It goes right along with this verse of the day about David’s victories. No matter where David went or who he was fighting, he had victory. It was the same for Joshua, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised Moses.” (Joshua 1:3)

Victory is part of being a friend of God. He is not a loser, God ALWAYS wins, period. And guess what, while David and Joshua and Moses had God with them, you have God IN you. My friends, it’s not just wherever you set your foot that you will have victory, it’s wherever you sit, wherever you stand, wherever your voice carries, it’s YOU. God’s presence lives in you just like it lived in the wilderness Tabernacle. His voice is your voice and His hands are your hands.

You may have heard of the Midas touch, well you’ve been given something much better. You’ve got a Divine Touch. Your hands have the power to heal the sick. Your voice has the power to mend soul-deep wounds. Your arms have the power to help the lost find their way, all because the Spirit of the Living God falls afresh on you each and every morning. His mercies are new and ready to save you from anything you may face during the day.

In Genesis when God calls Abram to leave his family and everything he’s ever known it’s not without a promise of benefit. God tells him that He will bless Abram so that he in turn can be a blessing to others. (Genesis 12:2) According to Galatians 3:29, “If you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” So if you have confessed that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, then you are considered Abraham’s child and are eligible to benefit from the promise that God gave him.

The honest to goodness truth is that God WANTS to bless you. But He doesn’t want to just bless you. He wants to bless you so extravagantly that by blessing you He will be blessing those around you as well because they’re standing close enough to be splashed by the tidal wave of His Grace pouring over your head. How awesome is that???

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Unraveling


2 Samuel 3:26-7:29

“Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?”

It is ALWAYS wise to consult God before diving headlong into a battle with the enemy. But I especially like how David phrases his question. “Should I go?” and “Will I win?” It’s kind of a big deal isn’t it? Knowing if you’re going to win the battle before you even go in, it has the potential to change the entire outcome of the battle. If you’ve been told by God beforehand that you WILL win the battle, but your team is losing at the moment, then you know the battle must not be over yet right?

If God has said that He would work all things out for your good, and He has (Romans 8:28), and they’re not looking good at the moment then God must not be done working things out then eh?

I really need this message today! It’s been a rough day. Sean woke up early to work out only to come back to bed frustrated and unable to work-out because Anna and Skippy were asleep on the couch in front of the TV. (They sleep together when there’s a storm.) When I went to get dressed for work I tried on my new pants but ended up taking them off because I had a little voice in my head telling me they’d look dumb with my shoes. When I came out to the kitchen for breakfast I looked into the living room and saw a gaping hole in the new blanket I had just finished crocheting! Just like my morning, my sweet little granny squares were unraveling from the centers. I have put DAYS, not hours, days into this blanket. Making each tiny delicate square from yarn that was given to me as a Christmas gift. I spent days designing and deciding just how I wanted to fit them all together. Weeks went by before it was all finished. But then things started unraveling. The first one I figured was just a fluke and I waved it off. But then it happened again, and again, and I knew I needed to do something. So I spent another DAY going through and pulling each center apart, tightening them back up and knotting them closed.

The last thing I wanted was for all those days of hard work and love to come apart. This blanket has been a work of heart from the very beginning, to see it destroyed would be… upsetting. So to see that even after going through each individual square and redoing them, they’re STILL pulling apart, well, I nearly cried right then and there! But Sean looked at me and said, “just fix them. It’s OK.” And so I did.

And while I sat there staring at those gaping holes and loose ends and feeling defeated and downtrodden a little voice inside just kept saying, “you’re not finished yet.” And I’m not. Not finished with that blanket, not finished with this Bible in a year challenge, not finished writing, not finished being an awesome wife and mom, not finished making new friends, not finished climbing the corporate ladder… I’m not finished yet. As much as this “Get ‘er done” girl wants to put a big red “DONE” stamp on everything and defiantly cross things off my ever-growing to-do list, I can’t; because I’m not done.

I have more to do, always more to do. More battles to win and more wars to fight. I haven’t reached the end of the loose ends, because just as I tie one off another unravels and I reach a new beginning, a new chapter, a new challenge, a higher rung. And it keeps me fluid, moving like water.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for seven years. Getting back out into the world has been harder than I expected. It’s not impossible and I’m stubbornly determined to make it work. But it’s not without its drastic changes and heartaches. My life is different now and I have to accept that. There once was a time when my highest goal was to feed, change and nurture a baby that is now feeding itself, uses the restroom quite proficiently and isn’t even with me for most of the day. My children have grown and I with them, but not without a few growing pains along the way. Yes, I’m having moments in this season of transition where my centers are unraveling. But then God blesses me with the time to sit and tie them back together. And for that moment, if only for that moment, the blanket of my life filled with unfulfilled hopes and dreams is whole and useable.

The battle’s not over yet. God’s not done working good for us today my friend. If God is with us then who could be against us? I mean REALLY? Who? Who can stand against a child of the One True King and live? We’ve read the end of the book (Revelation) we know how the story, our story, ends. We win! We’re just not finished yet.

Now off to figure out how to get to work today, my tire’s flat.

Categories: 2 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY!


1 Samuel 31:1-13 & 2 Samuel 1:1-3:25

“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.

Categories: 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Book Report on Chapter 3 of So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us


1 Samuel 26:1-30:31

“For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 1 Samuel 30:24

Last week I sent out a book reading plan for Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us. In order to keep us all together, even if you’re not reading along, I wanted to post something on each week’s reading. And maybe we can even get some conversation going in the comments.

Chapter 3: She Doesn’t Look a Certain Way

“According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the first definition of the word insecure is this: ‘Not secure.'” – p. 29

-What is one area in your life where you feel “not secure” and you’d like to say, “So Long”?

+That insecure feeling that I’ll never be enough, have enough, do enough, say enough, etc.

“Making assumptions about who struggles with insecurity and who doesn’t based on what they appear to have going for them suggests how little we understand the nature of insecurity and what feeds it.” – p. 31

-If you could change one thing in your life that you feel would “fix everything” what would it be? Why?

+My fear of failure!!!!! It keeps me from even trying, and that’s just not right. That and I would have more money, cause you know, money fixes everything right? 😉

“We all fear that we aren’t who we are pretending to be. The more careful we are about what we’re projecting, the more driven we tend to be by fear.” – p. 33

-That’s a powerful statement! Do we pretend to be someone we’re not? My mind immediately jumps to the possibility that I’m pretending to be more than I am. But upon further inspection I’m realizing that, for me at least, it is more often that I pretend to be much less than what God tells me I am. Simply because what He tells me I am scares the tar out of me.

Child, Beloved Heir to the One True God; Creator of the UNIVERSE, that’s a LOT more responsibility and clout than I feel like I have in this world! Yet His word tells me that I have power and authority over angels and demons! ME!?!

Beth says on page 35 that “believing that everything God says about us is true” is the answer to dealing with our insecurities.

-What do you think?

    +YES!!!!!!! Now to just DO IT!

Beth talks a lot about physical appearance in this chapter, big surprise. This culture puts TONS of pressure on its females to be attractive and remain that way. Yet it’s standard of what is attractive is completely unattainable. Even the models of physical perfection aren’t physically perfect enough for the standard! And then, if we throw on top of that, the level of moral perfection religion demands; we’re sunk! And that’s not even mentioning financial standards, athletic standards, and relational standards.

This culture’s standards are so messed up that it’s simply impossible to completely fulfill them. But perhaps that’s a good thing because it points us to the One person telling us that it’s OK to be imperfect. It’s OK to miss the mark, not that we should stop trying to hit it, but rather we should stop hitting ourselves and each other when we miss it. Jesus took those hits for us so that we could be spared them and I’m fairly certain it would upset Him greatly to know that we’re punishing ourselves for a crime He already took the punishment for.

In today’s reading David’s army was split into two groups. There was one group that went out to battle and another group that was worn and weary and couldn’t press on any further so they stayed with the baggage and kept it safe. When the battling group returned, some among them didn’t feel that the others should reap the benefits of the battle. David, the man after God’s own heart, didn’t agree with them. It was his belief that their job of guarding the luggage was JUST as important as conquering the enemy at hand.

In the same way, Jesus knew that we simply weren’t able to battle the enemy, so He did it for us and shares the spoils of that victory with us! Isn’t He just SO GOOD!?! 😀

So what about you? Are you reading So Long, Insecurity too? What did you think about this week’s reading? How do you feel about my take on it?

 

* Moore, Beth. So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us. 2010. Tyndale House Publishers.

Categories: 1 Samuel, 365 Life, Insecurity, Jesus Loves YOU | Leave a comment

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