Ezra 9:1-10:44 & Galatians 1:1-2:21
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would no longer be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10
I was impressed this morning how part of the message at church this morning went with the Ezra reading AND the Galatians reading. Accountability. We are not here to win the approval of people but of God. We’re here to win souls! And to do that requires stepping out of our comfort zone and hold each other accountable. If your brother (or sister) is falling into a pit of sin it’s your job to risk their wrath in order to save you both from God’s. You need to love them enough to help them in Jesus’s name.

Here’s this week’s SHMILY line up:


A silly smile after breakfast.


My first FRUIT!


A sweat bee on my steering wheel at tennis practice.


Another breakfast smile. This one was Anna’s, she asked me to take a picture of it.




More produce from the garden. 🙂


A GORGEOUS sunset after a doozy of a storm while I was at work.

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Galatians, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Guard These Treasures Well

Ezra 5:1-8:36

“You and these treasures have been set apart as holy to the LORD. This silver and gold is a voluntary offering to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. Guard these treasures well until you present them to the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of Israel, who will weigh them at the storerooms of the LORD’s Temple in Jerusalem.” Ezra 8:28-29

This past Sunday at church I had a come to Jesus moment. The pastor was talking about Sins of Commission and Sins of Omission. Sins of Commission are sins that we commit by doing things God has told us not to do. Sins of Omission are sins that we commit by NOT doing the things God has told us to do. Immediately my brain went into rewind, had I not done anything God had told me to do? Instantly the cover of True Intimacy flashed in my mind.

I’ve not done anything with it in eons. Things evolved this week that I’m not ready to talk to you about yet that led me to spend some serious time researching today. I feel another book coming along to follow up on True Intimacy, but we’ll see how it goes.

Our children are the greatest treasure we could be given on this earth. And as parents it’s our job to guard these treasures from the thieves that would try and steal their innocence and their future. It was this very treasure combined with the research I was doing today that prompted this Facebook status update:

“PSA: If you knew that your child was dabbling in heroine wouldn’t you do everything in your power to help them get away from it as quickly as possible? KEEP YOUR KIDS AWAY FROM ALL NAKED PICTURES! One article I read today mentioned that brain researchers had to coin a new term to explain the chemical effects that pornography has on the brain: erototoxins (sex poisons). “Pornography causes a rewiring of the neural circuits” [of the brain]. “Like cigarettes, pornography is a delivery system that has a distinct and powerful effect upon the human brain and nervous system. Exactly like cigarettes, this effect is to cause a powerful addiction. Like any other addiction, the addiction is both to the delivery system itself – the pornography – and to the chemicals that the delivery system delivers.” “Modern science allows us to understand that the underlying nature of an addiction to pornography is chemically *nearly identical* to a heroin addiction.” And therefore equally addictive and difficult to kick. Just like cigarettes and marijuana are “gateway” drugs that lead to harder and more devastatingly damaging substances, those “harmless” naked photos that your child finds on the internet are NOT HARMLESS. That are gateway images that WILL lead to harder and more devastatingly damaging substances. Keep your kids safe out here online, it’s a much more dangerous place than we would like to believe. And a horrifyingly dangerous addiction CAN be stopped with parental vigilance. It’s not spying, it’s called parenting! It’s your job – DO IT!”

Of course, after throwing something like this out there into the piranha pit that is Facebook there were going to be some responders! I was pleased with this particular fishing expedition. It turned up many different viewpoints on the subject and another article that I found amusing in its author’s life experiences with children and her viewpoints on honesty similar to my own. If you have a Facebook account you should be able to view all the comments here.

I’m putting you all on alert, from this point forward, if I’m acting faithfully to my mission and ministry I will be talking about these types of things more often so be prepared. 😉 As much as I wanted to shy away from the potentially embarrassing subject of sex and everything that goes with it, I can’t deny the subject that I’ve been called to talk about. (As much as I would like to.) God has taught me too much for me to ignore the very thing He saved in my life. He’s opened my eyes to the atrocities of this world and the mutilation of the beautiful gift that God has given us in sex. I need to become His advocate on this front, even though it’s a tough one. Last night I asked Him, “why me?” and He said, “Because you could handle this”. I thank you in advance for your prayers in this matter. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength! Even talk to our kids about something as private as sex and the dangers of pornography use. Our kids will certainly find SOMEONE to talk to about these things, who that will be, well, that’s up to us now isn’t it. Guard those treasures well! Their eyes and brains are precious!!!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Plan A

Ezra 9:1-10:44 & Galatians 1:1-2:21

“Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, ‘It is so; we must do as you have said. But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter.” Ezra 10:12-13

God has plans for us. He tells us so in His book, over and over again. His plans for us are perfect just like He is, but we being human aren’t perfect. We’re not good at perfectly following perfect plans.

Once upon a time I was talking to God about His plans for us and He pointed something out to me. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,” (Jeremiah 29:11) He has more than one plan for us. Meaning He has a Plan A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P… And depending on how many times we choose our plans over His plans determines what letter plan we fall on. I mean, He’s God, He KNOWS what we’re going to choose to do before we choose to do it. So doesn’t it just make sense that He has also factored that into His plans?

So after He pointed out the “s” in plans I asked God how many people have ever accomplished His Plan A for their lives. You won’t be surprised at His answer.


Only one man in all of history has ever walked through an entire life on this planet and ALWAYS chosen God’s will over his own, Jesus. And Oh how wonderful is it that he did! Jesus lived out God’s Plan A for his life so that when we are on God’s Plan ZZZ for our lives, it will still turn out in our favor, for our good with a hope and a future and prosperity instead of despair.


Thank You LORD for sending Jesus so that as long as we choose Jesus, our other choices, no matter how stupid or far away from your Plan A, somehow all supernaturally re-direct us to Your Plan A destination in the end. Your Grace and wisdom astounds me LORD. Thank You!

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Galatians, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 1 Comment

I Was There

Ezra 5:1-8:36

You know, the Word of God never ceases to amaze me. I mean, here I am reading the book of Ezra, whose events took place around 538 BC and the things that I’ve been reading about have been directly applying to my own life today! While they’re re-building a temple, I’m building a preschool. While their enemies are trying to stop them, my Enemy is trying to stop me.

Some people may ask how an ancient book can apply to my life today, and the best answer I can give them is, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wrote the book in the first place, through the hand of Ezra. And the Holy Spirit sits with me every morning guiding me through His Words and pointing out the things that I need to hear.

In the beginning “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) I believe the same to be true today, that the Spirit of God hovers over the face of the Living Water of His Word. Hovering over them just waiting for you to open the pages and read. And like a Holy Highlighter as you read with Him He magnifies certain words and phrases, sometimes entire paragraphs, pages and even entire books. I have been relating so strongly with Ezra himself and the builders of the temple. The opposition, the disappointment they must have felt with each road block, the joy they then felt when they received the decree to continue the building with not only the king’s permission, but his support! It had to have been tremendous!

For the last four years I have been typing alone at this computer, sending these words out into cyberspace, unsure if anyone ever really reads them. And if they read them, does it change them, help them, hurt them? For the last four years I have attempted church program after church program after church program with no success. I have spoken to completely empty rooms many many times. Each time I fe1t strongly like I had been called by God to work on that particular program only to have no one show up. Well, I usually ended in a pool of tears and a world of hurt. But each time, I would pick myself back up off the floor of my pity party, dust myself off, and move on to the next thing the LORD called me to do. I never gave up. Honestly, I couldn’t give up. I love Him too much to stop trying and stop working toward the direction He is pointing me in. I stood, when all I wanted to do was sit and cry. I sat and prayed when all I wanted to do was stand and work. Each step of the way harder than the last, yet in some strange supernatural way made possible only through the Grace of God I kept stepping, kept going, kept trying, kept believing that maybe THIS time would be different than the last.

There’s a modern proverb, “stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” You know, if it’s stupid to keep believing that God will do what He says He will do even when everything that I’ve ever tried has failed, well then, OK I’m stupid.

Last night I was crocheting on the couch watching a sermon by Joseph Prince on David. And he said something about David I’d never thought of. Before he was king of Israel, before he was a musician for Saul, before he was anointed king even, he was shepherd of sheep. And he would sit out there alone on those pasturelands and sing to the sheep and God heard him.

I don’t know what Joseph said after that, because that’s when I lost it. In that moment when I pictured good ole David out there perched up on a big rock, his feet tucked under him, elbows resting on his knees just singing his heart out to an audience of no one but those beloved stupid sheep. And the Holy Spirit replaced that image with an image of me in a room full of empty chairs and silence, perched on a barren stage preaching my little heart out, giving the message God had put on my heart in that moment. And He said,

I was there”.

“I was there in all those empty rooms filled with silence and ME. I was there with you all those times when you thought you were so completely alone and scared and mad because no one else cared enough to show up; I did. I was there. You couldn’t see me through your anger and hurt, but I was there all the same. I was there, even when you couldn’t feel Me holding you or hear Me soothing you, I was there. I was there because I CARE ABOUT YOU. I care about what you care about; I love what you love, although I love you a lot more than you dare to love yourself.

All those times when you did what I told you to do even when it was hard and you weren’t very happy about it, I was there. I saw your pain, I saw your anger and I saw your frustration, yet you obeyed anyway. You were faithful in a little and that’s a BIG deal. You were faithful when it was hard and you didn’t want to do what I had told you to do, yet you did it anyway. That makes Me proud of you and the YOU you’ve become My darling.

Your years of struggling have made you stronger than you know. They’ve shown you the courage I can give when the hope of help seems so very far away. They’ve shown you that you really CAN do all things through Jesus who strengthens you. They’ve shown you that I really DO love YOU and not what you can do for Me. Your years of struggling and frustrated pain have NOT been for nothing! They have been a boot camp of sorts. A training ground to prepare you for the real task at hand, the salvation of many lives. To be given something big, you must first be faithful in the little things. Trust is built, not given. You’re number one strength is your trust in Me. Your trust in My love, in My forgiveness, in My power, in My Grace and My salvation in times of trouble. If you are not strong in your Trust of Me, then you are not ready to move on and you will remain where you are until a new level of Trust is reached.

Have I EVER proven Myself unfaithful to you? No, I’m not a genie in a bottle that grants your wishes regardless of how selfish or destructive they are. Not answering 100% of your prayers exactly the way that you pray them is not being unfaithful, it’s proving My sovereignty and My goodness. You have no idea how many times you have prayed things that if answered the way you prayed them they would have caused utter havoc in the world around you, more than what you were experiencing at the time. My “no’s” are never out of wrath or hatred or anger with you. Not ever.

My “no’s” are there to protect you and keep you on the path I have chosen for you. They are an opportunity for you to TRUST ME and to let go of your plans in order to make room for My bigger and better plans for you. I ALWAYS have your best interest at heart My love. Always. TRUST THAT, it’s the Truth. You might not always be the smartest sheep in the flock, but you’re My sheep and that’s what truly matters to Me.

Following My lead is never stupid, even if it may look that way to the others on the outside looking in at you and I sitting in a pain-filled empty room. I don’t think you’re stupid. Because you’re not. You’re mine, nothing else matters! Nothing else matters.

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 4 Comments

Fight for Your New Foundations

Ezra 1:1-4:24

New day, new book! Yippee! 😀

It’s always exciting to start something new isn’t it? And today that was part of our reading. In the beginning of Ezra the exiles of Jerusalem are heading home and beginning to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple of God. It had to have been an exciting homecoming for sure! Yet when the foundation of the temple was laid, there were some who “wept with a loud voice”. It doesn’t explain why they wept, just shares with us that they did. And I have to wonder if perhaps it was because they felt as though the splendor of the second temple wasn’t quite up to par with the first. Or perhaps because they had seen the first destroyed and this new foundation caused them to remember that moment. Either way, there were loud shouts over this temple foundation, most of them joy.

This is what strikes me today, new foundations. Over this last month I have been pouring one of my own, working toward building a new school in Sheridan with a solid foundation of THE Rock of Jesus and the story of His everlasting Grace.

It has not been easy, but I have had a holy ease about it all. There is SO very much to do still, and every day the list gets longer, yet it has been good and productive and right. That’s the holy ease; when you’re working on something that just works.

But then demons report back to Satan about the work that you’re doing, the new foundations that you’re building, and the road blocks begin to spring up. Distraction has been my number one road block this month. With school starting back up for my kids, and friends wanting to spend time with me or at least call and talk (which ends up lasting for hours), I feel like things are starting to slip. I’m down to the wire at the moment. My school starts on September 3rd, I have thirteen days left for the concrete of my foundation to dry and cure. I hope pray that’s enough!

This is not any ordinary school. This will be a school that opened WILL cause Satan some serious trouble!

In today’s reading, the adversaries of Jerusalem went to the king of Persia and alerted him to this pending danger of the great city of Jerusalem being rebuilt. And the rebuilding process was ceased in Jerusalem almost immediately after. This, my friends, is precisely what Satan does. He does everything he can to make sure that any time you are laying a foundation that God has chosen to form; he is going to do everything in his power to stop it. And sometimes he succeeds.

My friends, we can’t let him. We can not let the Enemy of God stop us from doing what we know is right and good; which is what he is trying to do for all of us today.

Don’t let him stop you today. Whatever you do, fight Satan with everything you have in you.

Categories: 365 Life, Ezra, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment


Today’s Reading: Ezra 10:1-44 & Galatians 1:1-2:21

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Have you ever thought about that word friend, and what it means to be Jesus’ friend? Many of us have sang the hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus“, or heard the new song by Casting Crowns “Jesus friend of Sinners“, but what does this word friend mean? It’s easy to think of ourselves as God’s servants, and even to think of ourselves as His children isn’t too difficult because there is still a superiority involved in those relationships, but friend… a friendship with someone is more equality than anything else isn’t it? When I think of all my best friends I don’t think of myself as any greater or less than them, we’re just friends. There aren’t really any lines drawn between us that separate us in that manner. When my friends need my help, they ask for it. When I need a great listening ear, I know exactly who to call. When I’m sad and need an encouraging word, depending on the situation I will call a specific person full well knowing that they will know exactly what I need to hear in that moment. Friendship is about mutual gratification, encouragement, love and assistance. In John 15:13 the word friend in Greek is philos (fee-los):

* a friend; someone dearly loved (prized) in a personal, intimate way; a trusted confidant, held dear in a close bond of personal affection.

* Note: The root (phil-) conveys experiential, personal affection indicating philos expresses experience-based love.

Friends with God? With Jesus? The Holy Spirit? He considers ME a trusted confidant? He holds me dear in a close bond of personal affection? Me? Dirty little stubborn girl that I am? I am someone that Jesus dearly loves? I am prized in a personal and intimate way by the Creator of the Universe and the Savior of my life? Well, in John 15:15 Jesus says to us “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.” Jesus, the Word of God, tells us His secrets, making us His trusted confidant!* The secrets of the universe, held by its creator Himself are shared with us through the Bible and the Holy Spirit who whispers kingdom truths into our hearts straight from the throne room of God. He trusts us with His secrets.


But above and beyond that, Jesus points out that He no longer calls us servants, He calls us FRIEND.

We are no longer slaves to the law, to money, or to dreams of fame or fortune. We are no longer slaves to our own expectations or those of others. Because of Jesus we no longer need to be slaves to the idea that our worth, here or in His kingdom, comes from what we do or where we come from. Nor are we slaves to the idea that success is even measurable in human terms, let alone something God looks for in us.

What if God doesn’t care if we’re “successful”? What if His number one concern is that we spend our lives experiencing His abundant love through grace? What if worldly success is the farthest thing from His heart? And if that is true then wouldn’t chasing that kind of success take you farther from His heart than what He’s willing to let you go?

Maybe, by running from the world’s view of success we end up running smack straight into the heart of what Jesus came for… dependence on God.

Jesus was quite the rebel in His day. He picked grain on the Sabbath, ate with unwashed hands, touched lepers and ate with the most sinful people among them. He bucked the status quo like none other! He went straight against everything the system was there to do… which achieved His true purpose beautifully. The Law was created to be a guardian, a substitute shepherd until the true owner of the herd came home to claim them and save them from that abusive hired shepherd. (John 10:1-20)

The Mosaic Law was not created to save, it was created to kill. It was created to show humanity our weaknesses. On the day the Law was given 3,000 people died. Yet, on the day of Pentecost ( the celebration of the Law being given), fifty days after Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection, the Holy Spirit came down and 3,000 people were raised from that death in one day. All because our FRIEND Jesus laid down His life for us; in one day 3,000 people were freed from their chains of slavery to the Law of Death and walking into the Light of the Law of Grace they were saved.

What love is this that we should no longer be called slaves or even servants, but friends? Slaves are not embraced and greeted with a smile. And friends are not expected to toil day and night in order to earn each other’s affections or favors either. No. We simply love our friends because they enjoy being a part of our lives, and we enjoy their presence.

My husband Sean is my best friend in this world; his friendship and opinion mean everything to me. He knows me better than anyone else on this planet, including my Mom, which is saying something. While others may know a lot about me, he knows me. While others see bits and pieces of who I am, he gets all of me, I hide nothing from him… at least not anymore anyway. Jesus wants to be that kind of husband to you. He wants to be the One who gets all of you. Not just the left over bits and pieces that you let the world see, He wants you to know HIM. He wants you to know His love for you in such an intimate, husband-like way that you open to him like a morning glory opening to the morning sun. This is precisely what happens when we begin to focus on koinonia.

God introduced me to koinonia this morning in 1 John 1:3 “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” Which then through the marginal commentary in my Bible pointed me to 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God, who called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” And it made me ask, what is this word fellowship? Christians throw it around all the time but what does it really mean? So I went to Dictionary.com.


    * The condition of relation of being a fellow (OK, that was no help! Ugh!)

    * Friendly relationship; companionship (ah, OK, that’s better)

    * community of interest, feeling, etc. (OK!)

So, according to our English definition of fellowship God (who is faithful) has called us into a friendly relationship, companionship or friendship with Jesus, His Son. Mmmmmm… but you know me, curious as a cat when it comes to words. I love to dig deeper in hopes of finding the treasure buried in His word. When a guy like God speaks, the words He chooses to use are very important. So I went from our surface level English version of this word “fellowship” and dug a little deeper to find the original Greek definition of this word “fellowship”.

The Greek word is koinonia and literally means:

* partnership, (A-HA!!! I’ve struck Biblical gold!).

* Contributory help,

* participation,

* sharing in,

* communion,

* spiritual fellowship,

* a fellowship in the Spirit.

In the Bible God’s relationship to His people is very often referred to in terms of a marital relationship. Jesus even referred to Himself as the bridegroom in Mattew 9:15, and in Revelation 19:7 we are referred to as His bride. God, who is faithful, has called us into a friendship-based partnership, or marriage with Jesus, His son. And in order for us to foster this friendship based marriage He left us with His Spirit; like a supernatural cell phone in order to communicate with Him as often as we would like to call or text, day or night, rain or shine in order for us to experience His love in supernatural ways which fosters philios – experience based love.

Koinonia is a partnership with the One who loves us the most. Philios is the friendship that is made possible through the Holy Spirit who brings us into all truth through our life experiences, which helps us then understand and see God’s love for us through those experiences.

Categories: Ezra | 3 Comments

His Heart?

Today’s Reading: Ezra 3:1-6:22

Last night I had quite the night. I sat down on the couch shortly before bed and flipped through a Christian book publishing catalog that had come in the mail. The more pages I turned the stronger I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to contact that publisher about printing one of my books. I finished browsing through the catalog and picked up my smart phone to look up their website. When I clicked on the “About” page to find out more on what kind of publisher they were I found myself transported into the founders visionary experience. In his road-side experience, Don was visited by none other than God Himself. He took Don to a Christian publishing trade show where everyone was bustling around trying to do something for God’s kingdom, when in reality they were only working on building their own kingdoms. None of them were caring about the heart of God, what HE wanted. This in itself struck me and made me ask “Do I care about the heart of God? Am I seeking His desires for me and His kingdom? Am I being like one of these Christian tradeshow people, too busy to even ask God what HE wants?” In the least it was shocking to me. And the saddest part was, I couldn’t really answer any of those questions myself because I didn’t know the answers. They were questions that I had to take to God Himself because only He could and would answer them truthfully. So I ended up laying my head down on my pillow with that very prayer in my heart “Jesus, am I seeking Your heart? What is Your heart, Your desire for me and my place in Your kingdom? (Most importantly) What is Your desire for our relationship?” And I resolved that whatever time He woke me up, no matter how early, I would get up and spend some quiet time with Him to discuss this very question because I knew that it was that important to Him.

I have no idea what time it was when I did wake up again because I refused to look at the clock and tempt myself to moan and groan about the amount of sleep I was losing, but I do know that it was most certainly the middle of the night when the storm came booming in. So as the thunder began rolling I rolled myself quietly out of bed doing my best not to disturb my husband’s rest and softly padded my way back out to our couch. I had intended to read my Bible when I got up, but I could feel in my Spirit that that wasn’t what Jesus wanted me to do at this particular juncture. I pulled back the curtains from our picture window and snuggled down into the soft cushions to watch the light show, while one line from a show the kids had watched earlier in the day played over and over in my head; “whatcha’ doin’? Whatcha’ doin’, I really wanna know” Now I’ve learned that when one line of a song plays through my head repeatedly like this that it’s the Holy Spirit singing to me, communicating to me through the lyrics. This time asking me, “what ARE you doing?” Now, He’s the one who was leading me to DO what I was doing so asking me what I was doing seems kind of redundant until I realized that He was asking me because He wanted me to ask myself “What is God having me do right now? Why?” Here I was getting up in the middle of the night to watch a thunderstorm? Why???

As I sat there I kept asking “Why” and wondering when God would start to speak to me and tell me His heart. But He never spoke to me the way I expected Him to, this one was a special question that deserved a special and more memorable answer. He needed to show me. Now if you’ve been reading for long you’ve learned how much I love nature and how I photograph it in order to capture little pieces of God-art to take home with me and to share with you. You also may remember that I’ve been reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp where she encourages us all to write down the little gifts God gives us throughout our days. In this book she, being a very gifted writer, doesn’t just write down her list in plain simple terms, she describes the gift, rolling waves of white (snow drift), colorful orbs filled with sun (bubbles in sunlight)… And reading all these descriptions has certainly pushed me as a writer myself to go beyond simple descriptions of events and really name the gifts, like Adam in Eden naming the animals, there’s something very intimate and special when you do it that way. And this is precisely what I found myself doing last night sitting before the picture window gazing out into the midst of a mid-night storm, I started naming gifts:

The sparkle of water reflecting the lightning as it trickled down from my rooftop,

Shadows dancing on the once bone dry lawn,

Rooftop music played by thousands of raindrops,

The way I can feel the thunder resonate within my soul like a clap of heavenly hands,

The flash of lightning and the way it ALWAYS makes the shadows flee, even if only for that instant, but then He does it again, and again, and again, keeping them running for their lives.

It was the lightning that I was particularly interested in too because it was part of my puzzle yesterday! I had started with the verse in Genesis about the flaming sword which brought me to another key flame in the scriptures, the cloven tongues as if of fire in Acts 2:3 when the Holy Spirit came down to dwell within humanity for the first time in all of history. That word fire, in the Greek means just that, fire. But it can also be translated as lighting which really had my brain hopping yesterday. Because all I could think about was Jesus talking about seeing Satan fall “like lightning”. How is it that the Holy Spirit could fall in the same way that Satan fell? It just didn’t seem to fit. Then here I was, sitting and watching the lighting chase the shadows away and turning the dead of night into mid-day. Suddenly the puzzle was clear, yes, the Holy Spirit did fall in the same way that Satan fell! And it’s magnificent! This father of lies started a mutiny in heaven and was cast out, thrown down, and he “fell like lightning” to the earth; quickly and without delay because he had been sent away. The Holy Spirit of Truth on the other hand had been sitting around in heaven waiting for thousands of years for that moment; the moment when He could FINALLY come down and be a part of the picture for all of us. The day when He could come and abide in us and we in Him, through Him. Yes, the Holy Spirit was sent out of heaven, but not because He had done something against God’s wishes, but because we had. The Holy Spirit was standing at the door of heaven in a runners starting position waiting for that starter pistol to fire so that He could sprint down here as fast as His supernatural legs could carry Him and start to set this upside down world right side up again. And when Papa nodded His head that it was time, off He went, as fast a lightning bolt to the earth to chase away the darkness and make the shadows in our hearts flee. And every time a storm comes along we get to watch what that moment was like. We get to trace that speedy trail of light with our eyes and smile at the eagerness of the Spirit of Life. Like the end of a sappy chick flick where the man and the woman are running across the screen to embrace one another because they’ve been apart for so long… only not in slow motion. He really does love us. A lot.

This was all terribly exciting for me, I will admit, but it still didn’t answer my heart question did it? That puzzle piece was still dangling from my finger tips waiting for me to finally see where it fits. Hmmmm…

Puddles that shine on ground dry and desperately thirsty,

The gurgle of a fish tank pump in need of more water in one ear and overflowing water splashing on the ground in the other ear,

ribbons of light and color through the dark night sky,

The heavens declare, they pour forth speech, they reveal knowledge!!! God’s creation speaks! What was I doing? I was sitting and listening, I was watching, I was witnessing God’s creative poetry in motion! When you look at a painting you can see the artist’s heart in that piece of art. When you read a writer’s work you can see their heart in the piece. When we stop the business of our lives and pay attention to The Creator’s art it speaks to us and reveals His heart of amazing love for us!!! It’s no wonder I feel such a connection to my camera and my photography, God speaks to me through them! Each photo is a well filled with living water, it’s no wonder I find myself just staring at them sometimes, it’s because my eyes are thirsty for a word from the artist!

Thank You Jesus! I love You too!

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Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 48:1-35 & Ezra 1:1-2:70

I have had a whirlwind of a summer thus far! We have traveled farther and done more than I think we’ve ever done in one month before. And honestly, there are no signs of it stopping any time soon. Through all the chaos of our regular schedule getting disrupted I have (obviously) had a difficult time keeping up with my commitment to write daily. This has affected me greatly! I have quickly discovered that writing is a deep well of living water. My writing is where I date Jesus; it’s my own little garden of relationship with Him. It’s the place where I take the seeds that He has given me through His word and I plant and water and watch them grow by talking through what I have learned, what I believe and why. It’s the best and most effective way that I have found to communicate with my Beloved Jesus. In other words, while it may seem like I’m writing to you and for you, I’m not. I’m writing to God and for me. I’m discovering just how much writing fulfils my longing to spend time with my Savior. And I’ll be honest, the unexciting Word seeds don’t always “do it” for me. But that’s just it, seeds need time to grow and become something exciting. And the pages of my journal is the soil in which those seeds get planted.

In today’s reading, the very last paragraph of Ezekiel talks about gates and how there is a gate for each tribe of Israel “And the name of the city from that time on shall be: The LORD Is There.” (v. 35) The LORD is there, within the walls of the city, the confines of those precious gates dwells a King above all kings, a Lord above all lords. And then again in Ezra 2: 42 the sons of the gatekeepers are mentioned, do you realize the significance of a gatekeeper; especially Biblical gatekeepers? Their jobs were critical to the safety and wellbeing of everyone within the walls of the city! If someone with evil intent slipped past a distracted gatekeeper the entire city could be destroyed!

In Genesis 3:24 we meet the very first gatekeeper in the Garden of Eden as God is being forced to drive Adam and Eve out of the garden for their own good (believe it or not). “at the east of the garden of Eden He placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” Now, I’m no gate-keeping expert, but I’m thinking that anything that requires multiple angelic guards AND an enchanted sword of fire to guard the gate to it must be something pretty special. Something worth more than perhaps even life itself. And right here in this verse we’re told precisely what that precious thing is, the way to the Tree of Life.

You know what I’ve never picked up on before, “the way”. The angels and the sword weren’t just there to guard the Tree itself, but rather the way to the tree. It is these supernatural gatekeepers’ job to allow none to pass save those with the secret password; the word that brings them through that gate into the Garden of Intimate Relationship with the Creator of Life Himself. There, they are allowed to feast on the fruit from the Tree of Life. But how do we get through that gate? How do we know the way to get there? I’m not the first person to ask this question and I’m sure that I won’t be the last either. Thomas asked Jesus this very same question at the last supper in John 14:5-7 “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

So what’s the secret password that gets you past the flaming sword and guardian angels? “Jesus.” Jesus is the Word, He is the Way and He is the Tree all wrapped up in One beautiful triune God package. When I walk through those secret garden gates and feast my eyes on all the beauty that surrounds me there, plucking that sweet fruit from the vine with my pen and allow its syrupy juice to flow down my throat through writing; that always does it for me. And really, from what I can glean from those around me who also write to/for God whether publicly or not, they feel the same way about it. For whatever reason that I don’t currently understand, God manages to speak to us through what we write. I often call my writing, praying with a pen. Writing gives you a way to SEE your prayers, to actually visualize how you’re feeling and thinking about something. It turns completely abstract ideas and thoughts into concrete physical objects that you can see and feel, touch and manipulate in order to understand them better. The written word is a very powerful tool indeed! I strongly encourage you to begin a prayer journal immediately if you do not already have one. When you open your journal you are opening the gate to the enclosed garden of intimate relationship where only you and God have a key. It’s an incredible thing to possess, the key (a mere pen) to your own personal Garden of Eden. By the simple turn of it within your hand it unlocks an entire supernatural world of untold treasures and hidden puzzles that challenge you to climb higher in this world of endless mountains and valleys.

In Revelation 12:10-11 it describes the fall of Satan and says “for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” Did you catch who conquered Satan? “They” did, the same they that he accuses day and night; they are the ones who conquered him… They are us. We are “they”! And how is it again that we are to conquer Satan? By the blood of the Lamb! Precious blood spilled out on our behalf, for our benefit and our USE! The blood of the Lamb of God, giver of life Himself, who shed His blood in order to dismiss His life-giving Spirit to come and abide within us, like a child in a womb. Blood we are to use, to spread over our doorframes in order to show death whose we are so that he will pass by in his mission to destroy. He roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour, but when he sees the blood spread over us like a banner of love he must keep on walkin’!

On this day I have spent a great deal of time working through a puzzle that God has presented me. Many times I have felt like I was simply going in circles, but perhaps that may be because I was circling the puzzle in order to get the best view of it so that I could paint the best word picture for you that I could. It’s been one of those days when I’ve felt like I’ve been right on the cusp of something truly amazing and yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the pinnacle of the amazing thing was. And honestly I still feel that way, as if I’m simply staring at the tip of the iceberg knowing full well that there is so much more under the surface but as hard as I strain my eyes to try and see it under the surface I just can’t… at least not yet anyway. So for the time being know that God is telling you and I both to start writing and keep writing down the words of our testimony!!! Get a journal and start using it daily! If you feel the Spirit leading you the way I did, get a free blog from WordPress (there is a link at the very bottom of my website for you to do this) and start slaying the Enemy with the words of your own personal testimony. Use the flaming double-edged sword of God’s Word in your life to conquer doubt and fear in your life by commemorating through the written word every single tiny little blessed miracle that God has performed for you; every gift from heaven above sent to help you trust Him more with each passing moment of life. Long long long ago someone picked up a pen and wrote down the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Ezekiel, Ezra, Jesus, Matthew, Mary and Martha and their stories have changed millions and millions of lives over the years since they were written down. Perhaps God has a similar plan for your life, for your story, who knows that He didn’t put you here in this place in this current circumstance of life for such an epic time as this? Even if you never share what you write with everyone on the internet, it is still critical that you write down your own story, if nothing else than to open up the gate to the secret Garden of Relationship with The Tree of Life. “And the name of the city from that time on shall be: The LORD Is There.” The LORD is there, within the covers of that notebook, the confines of those precious pages, dwells a King above all kings, a Lord above all lords. Won’t you open them up and discover more of Him today?


I have started a online journaling class at www.walkofages.com I would LOVE for you to join! Simply click on the link, and then submit your email to receive a weekly writing prompt to help you start writing to God. It’s that simple! Today’s post is this week’s assignment – GET A JOURNAL AND START USING IT!

Categories: Ezekiel, Ezra | 2 Comments

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