Posts Tagged With: waiting

Week 3 Video Guide

Samson

Week 3 Video Guide Printable


“And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ Then he bowed with all his strength and the house fell upon the lords and upon the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.” Judges 16:30

-Turn to Judges 13 and the story of Samson so that you can read along.

-What is Samson’s mother not to eat? “drink no ______ or ______ drink, and eat nothing ______” Why? “for the child shall be a ______ to ______ from the womb to the day of his death.”

-Manoah never doubted the word of the Lord, how can we draw strength from his story? What notes can we take that might lead us to walk with more faith in our own lives?

-God’s name is Wonderful and He is the God of wonders, what does that mean to you personally?

-What “inciting incidents” have occurred in your life lately? What “horrible things” have been done or have happened to you that may be leading you down an unexpected road to Egypt in order to save lives?

-The Israelites bound Samson and gave him over to the Philistines, how is that any different than killing him themselves? If you hire a hit man to kill someone, you are still found guilty of murder, though you didn’t commit the murder yourself. Think about this in a spiritual sense, as a brother or sister in Christ, have you ever bound someone and handed them over to the Enemy? Has anyone ever done that to you? How would that happen anyway?

-“then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands.” The imagery of this verse calls me back to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. They too were bound hand and foot when they were thrown into the fire, yet when they emerged their clothes nor their hair smelled like smoke. The only change to their appearance was that the ropes that had bound them had been burned off. Have you been bound and thrown into a furnace of life? Know this, the angel of the LORD – Jesus, is with you in that fire. In what ways has His presence been with you and comforted you in this time?

-How are your bindings being burned off?

-What things in your life do you see as useless that God may be trying to use for your good?

-Know this, YOU are not useless. I am learning that this is the Enemy’s ploy against us. Satan wants us to believe that we are useless in the eyes of the LORD, yet nothing could be further from the Truth. We are God’s own flesh and blood and Spirit and so much more valuable to Him than we could ever think or imagine. Believe this, God wants to use you in a mighty way my friend. Perhaps through this very circumstance that life is handing you now…

-The Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were stuck between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, they saw no hope for life. They saw no way out of the mess they were in. They said to Moses, “were there not enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to die”. Little did they know or understand that they were on the verge of the largest miracle they had ever or would ever see. They didn’t know that their God could part the sea; He had never done that before. All they knew was what was right in front of them, trouble headed their way and fast. But Moses, he looked to God. The One who makes ways where there are no ways. The One who sees and the One who Saves. This place that you’re in, where it looks hopeless and deadly, are you standing on the edge of the Red Sea on the verge of parting? Is God, perhaps, about to do something that He’s never done before? Raise your eyes above your circumstances. He is with you and not against you. And because God is with you then WHO or WHAT can be against you? Like Samson ripping the gates off the hinges at Hebron, is God about to rip some closed doors open for you, part some sea, light up a new path?

-Delilah was desperate to discover the source of Samson’s great strength, but we know it don’t we?

-The Spirit of the LORD is our great strength as well! Delilah has told these lords over and over again that she knew the source of Samson’s strength, only to have it be discovered that she did not. Yet she did not give up in seeking his source of strength. She was persistent in a way that many of us can glean from today. Because the very thing that she was seeking is something, someONE whom we are told to seek while He still can be found. We too should seek after the gift of the Holy Spirit diligently, because God is willing and generous in the gifting of the Holy Spirit!

-It is significant that the story mentions Delilah tormenting him before his strength left him. What does 1 John 4:18 tells us about torment and strength?

The love that it speaks of is God’s agape, unconditional, love. Not our love for Him, His love for us. In His love for us there is no fear. Rather, when we are focused on His infinite love for us, His love causes our fears to flee.

-Was Samson’s weakened state permanent?

Neither is our own state of emergency. It is not permanent, it is but a brief and momentary trouble, and it will not last forever. Praise be to God!

-The Philistine lords called Samson in to “entertain” them; they called him in so that they could mock him and torment him. Is this very thing that causes their demise?

On the day that Jesus died on the cross the Enemy mocked Him and spit at Him, yet it was this very thing that caused Satan’s demise as well. And the very same is true for us. The Enemy taunts and mocks us like the Philistines mocked Samson and like Goliath mocked David. However, the very rock he uses to trip us is the rock we use to slay him! Satan has no power over you!

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beauty

1 Kings 3:16 – 6:38

Word of the Day: “And the king said, ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.’ Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.’ Then the king answered and said, ‘Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is the mother.'” 1 Kings 3:25-27

The day was dreary and dismal as the rain pelted the roof reminding me that I had to go out. I had to go to the bank, and the water office and the post office, in this… blech! Little did I know what beauty awaited me, in this, the dreary and dismal. I pulled up the collar on my coat, took a deep breath and plunged into the cold wet day; freezing rain is no fun. What happened to the sun? It feels like years since we’ve seen it and played in its warm rays. Summer, are you ever coming back?

I get into the car to see the windshield covered in ice and breathe a prayer, “Lord, please don’t make me go out in that rain any more than I have to. Please let this ice come off with the wipers. Please.” One, two, three, click, YES! “THANK YOU JESUS!” The engine purrs as it pulls out of the muddy driveway and into the slush-filled street, here we go… blech! The song on the radio calls my attention, wasn’t this the song that I had stuck in my head all morning? Interesting Lord. They sing to me, “I know you’re out there, and I know you care, just like an angel watching over me…” and I wonder, really? Sometimes it’s hard to feel like God cares about me when it feels like everything around me is going wrong. Hmmm… maybe the weather just has me in a bad mood, I know God cares…right?

As I pull into the bank parking lot I thank God for the closest parking spot being open, “Thank You Jesus!” Running on my tiptoes so that the back hems of my pants don’t get too wet I yank on the door and sigh, we’re here…again. I was just here yesterday, for the exact same errand, a cashier’s check for the mortgage… But I forgot all the paperwork and didn’t have any amounts, sooooo because it was ten minutes to closing time I had to leave empty handed and come back in this…blech. I walked up to the same teller as yesterday and smiled, “Let’s try this again shall we?” She grinned in recognition. While I was waiting for her to fill out all the appropriate paperwork I got started filling out my check for the water office and putting our return address on the envelope for the post office, might as well make the most of my time while I’m waiting, right? All finished I bid the teller, “Have a good day, and stay dry!” as I breathed deeply in preparation of the blast of cold air that was bound to greet me when I opened the door. It did, it was even stronger than when I had gone in. Leaning my hat into the wind I slid myself back into the driver’s seat of my car, grateful for the break in the wind allowing me to breathe again.

And then it happened, as I rounded the side of the building on my way out of the parking lot I saw it. My shoulders drooped as my photographer’s heart quickened. A frozen fence with fingers of ice dripping down… how much was this picture, this child of my heart, worth to me? My thoughts raced in disagreement, “I have two more places to go before home, I’ll get soaked, AND it’s freezing out there!” But my photographer’s heart would not be denied that perfect “babe” of a picture. So while my skin and brain were ranting, my hands shifted the car into reverse to pull into the nearest parking spot.

Five minutes and completely frozen fingers later, I re-entered the warmth of my dry car, sopping wet coat sticking to the back of the seat. I had it, that one great shot that takes several bad shots to get to; I had it! But what’s more, I had something else. To put a name on it, is difficult. Maybe the more I write the better I can explain it, but I didn’t get into that car with only a great picture, I had something else in tow too. Salvation.

Photography is a therapy for me, there’s something healing in the capturing of beauty in unexpected places. When I left my warm cozy spot on the couch (curled up in a blanket with the dog and my Bible) and ventured out into this dreary mess of a day, I wasn’t expecting to be greeted with beauty. I was going to the bank, and to pay bills! Yet Beauty found me all the same, and she called to me from a frozen fence in the rain. Was I willing to sacrifice the dry safety of my warm car to capture her? Was I willing to put my comfort on the line to take her home with me and share her with all of you? Honestly, not at first! But those desires that God plants in our hearts, they can’t be denied. They can’t be rebuffed forever. What God plants, God tends. Like the good shepherd that He is, He cares for His sheep…even when it doesn’t seem like He is. I know He’s out there, and I know that He cares. He is watching over me, and He’s watching over you.

The delight of taking that one good picture put a smile on my face that lasted all the way through the rest of my rainy day errands and on to home; where I came straight to my computer to look at it again, and it took my breath away.

There really is Beauty in the blech.

 

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Peace

1 Kings 1:28 – 3:15

Word of the Day:

“Act therefore according to your wisdom,” 1 Kings 2:6

You know, that’s really all we can do isn’t it? Act according to the wisdom we currently possess. Yes, we are to seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom, but after we do that the actions that take place are according to the wisdom we’ve acquired through the years; be it from God, or elsewhere.

I have to admit to being very spiritually raw right now. A few weeks ago I was praying the Morning Prayer, got to the end and told God to cut me open, lay me flat, scoop me out and then fill me with Him. I pictured myself looking something akin to a butchered chicken all pink and flat… it was gross. And I was an emotional train wreck for the rest of the day. And while I’m sure that’s not a bad thing, it hasn’t been easy either.

I have learned from a friend of mine that I am a “stuffer”, a term she learned from the book “Unglued“. It means that when something happens in my life I stuff it way down inside me and I don’t deal with it… apparently. I thought I WAS dealing with it by pushing it out of my mind, I guess not. Well, when I asked God to open me up and scoop me out, He really took me at my word! That afternoon I went to meet with my pastor for the first time ever and MAN does that guy have a talent for pulling things out of you! He had me talking about things and connecting dots that I never would have connected on my own!

And I’m telling you, ever since that day stuff just keeps oozing out of me. It bubbles up with such suddenness that it startles me at times even. It’s really made me realize how human I am; fragile and tender hearted, and in desperate need of a Savior!

In my own wisdom I acted according to what I thought was best. According to new wisdom I have gained, not so “best”. You know the saying, hindsight is always 20 – 20.

I feel like I’m sinking in this tidal wave of once suppressed emotion. I need something to cling to, some truth to stand on like a rock in sinking sand. I need Jesus and His wisdom. I need Him to come and fill me with His amazing Grace. I need His perfect love to cast out all my fears because they are causing me much torment!

I’m so weary of fighting the Enemy for ground that is already mine in Christ Jesus. I want peace in this land of my heart. David fought battles for so many years, but at some point he stopped. At some point David rested from war because there were no more wars to be had. How long Lord? How long do I have to fight before I can have peace in my soul and keep it there? The kind of peace that comes from You and You alone. At what point do I trust You more than what my eyes see and my ears hear? Papa, I want that kind of faith! A faith that trusts You and is unshakable in that trust. Can I have that? Is that attainable this side of heaven in the land of the living? I’m not so sure that it is… at least not without plenty of hardship leading up to it. And honestly, I don’t really want any more of that!

Why does this have to be so hard? Sure you say it’s worth it but how can we know for certain? Lord, I feel like I’m slipping, and I don’t want to! Please hold fast to my hand. I’m scared. Part of me desperately wants to get off of this crazy ride (not life, mind You, just the chaos) but the rest of me knows that I can’t. I have way too many things to do! I am a mom after all, our days never end; they just keep going and going and going and going. I want a break yet can’t see one anywhere near. Mostly I want a break from this torment of “stuff” that’s been stuffed and the constant questioning. I’m tired of all the questions and I’m ready for some answers!

I’ve heard that You’ve told people that 2013 is the year of answered prayers. And I know we’re barely two months in, but where are the answers? The couple we’ve prayed for for years to conceive; conceives to find out their twins are dead! What kind of an answer is that? And what about baby Chloe? Born perfect on the outside but a mess on the inside, requiring surgery and she’s not even an entire month old! What kind of answer is that!?! I’ve written enough about Your goodness to know what I think You’re doing, and how all things work together for our good… but right now it sure doesn’t feel so good and in my finite wisdom I’m going to tell you that I don’t like it one bit! How’s that for not “stuffing it” anymore? Are you feeling the rage of this tiny little ant of a girl yet? I want MIRACLES!!! I’ve been praying and believing You for them for years now.

Lord, I need for You to give me something, something to hold on to. Some proof that You will do this for them. That You’ll hold up Your end of the bargain. That we will see Your goodness in the land of the living.

 

 

[Keep in mind; these posts are at least a month and a half old…. ;)]

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Castle

Judges 20:19-21:25 & 1 Kings 1:1-1:27

Word of the Day: “The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah.” Judges 20:36

Lord,

I feel like such a lost little puppy right now, just wandering around searching for its mother. I feel strange today, like something inside has changed, though I don’t quite understand what yet.

… There’s no resistance….

I feel no battle raging within me, no conflict surrounding me fighting for supremacy, there is only peace.

Is inner peace so foreign to me that when it occurs I’m afraid that something is wrong???

YIKES!

Funny, just this morning I command Insecurity to leave me forever and then walk out of the room, into another and begin to wonder what on earth is going on around me and in me that is so different. LOL! Sometimes I wonder about myself Lord, the attention span of a goldfish: “Hey look there’s a castle!” swim around in a circle, “Hey look, there’s a castle!” Sigh…

Thank You Jesus that You specialize in the lost and broken because I am such a perfect candidate for You!!! “Hey look, there’s a castle!” While I stress over not getting all my writing done for the last few days and how I’m going to do double duty, You’re just waiting here for me to remember, “there’s a castle”, a stronghold inside me and His name is Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, a marvelous Light that transcends all understanding and all time. Jesus YOU are my castle, my stronghold when I am weak. You are my fortress of strength when I can no longer stand. You are my provision when there isn’t enough. You are my Grace when I am frustrated and weary. You are mine.

You are mine.

You are mine.

And in the most glorious of ways; You are my husband, my partner, my Beloved Savior, my Heavenly Father, my FRIEND.

You are mine.

You are mine when times are tough and “tumbly”, You are mine when times are fun and giddy, You are mine when I can’t go on and You are mine when I can’t stop.

You are mine.

You are my GOD.

You are MY God.

YOU are my God.

Oh, Jesus, thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me in my weaknesses or in my strengths.

You are everything to me, but even more importantly than that, I am everything to You. Because I’m Yours and You are mine.

Father I want to learn more about Your amazing love for me, because love conquers all.

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Judges, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My God

Judges 17:1 – 20:18

Word of the Day: “Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the LORD.” Judges 18:6

You know how in the Old Testament they very often would refer to God as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”? Well during that time the people around them had walls filled with gods. Household gods that belonged to the entire house, one certain god of fertility that belonged to mom, another god of fertility that belonged to dad… you get the idea. Well, this God that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshiped, He couldn’t be found on any shelf on any walls anywhere… but He seemed to be a pretty effective God. So in order to speak to the God that can’t be seen, to be specific they would say “the God of Jacob”. While He is not a god that sits on a shelf and can be seen with the eye, He is a God that can be seen with the heart. He is a personal God that belongs to you. He is your God and you are His person, His treasured possession.

“You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Don’t be dismayed. Don’t be afraid. Although you may not be able to hold Jesus in your hand, you can hold Him in your heart and know for certain that He is always with you!

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One Flesh, One Spirit

Judges 13:1 – 16:31

Word of the Day:

“Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him,” Judges 14:6

In Genesis 4:1 it says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain”. Now, for the sake of propriety, so that I don’t have to keep tossing uncomfortable things into your lap, let’s come to an understanding. Jesus is the second Adam, we, His bride are the second Eve. Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with us; He wants to “know” us like Adam knew Eve. (Whispered aside: You get what I’m meaning there right? He wants to have spiritual sex and spiritual babies with you.) But, being the gentleman that Jesus is, He will never force Himself on you. However, know this, He longs for you with a longing that is absolutely unparalleled with anything we can understand here on this planet at this time.

In Genesis we see God creating Eve from Adam, the symbol of what was happening and what was to come; Jesus and His Bride – you.

“So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:21-25)

Oh there is so much here I want to point out to you!!! The first three chapters of Genesis are so rich they simply drip honey! Let’s take this a little nibble at a time and really savor it shall we?

The LORD caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man“, did Jesus fall into a “deep sleep”? You betcha He did! One that lasted three days in a tomb!!! Go ahead, take a breath and scream “Hallelujah!” for a few minutes before you move onto the next nibble, it’s Ok, I can wait. He is worthy of the praise, give it to Him.

And while he slept took one of His ribs” – for this nibble I take you to John 19:31-37,

“Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead [or in a “deep sleep”], they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth- that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled; ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on Him whom they have pierced’.”

My friend, where are the rib bones located? On the side of our bodies right? And here we have two prophecies of the Christ that detail his death referring to bones and His side that was pierced. Did God pierce Adam’s side to remove a rib bone while he was sleeping? You bethca! Oh mama this is getting good!

and closed up its place with flesh.” – Beloved, what are we made of? What was it that Adam exclaimed when he saw Eve for the first time? That she was “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh“. That hole that was created in Adam, in Jesus, with the removal of the rib – it was closed up with flesh, you. You complete Him. A relationship with Him closes up the wound in His side.

There is another mention of a man whom God placed into a deep sleep; I’d like to take a side glace at him and his story for a moment if you will indulge me that pleasure. We’ll flip over a few pages to Genesis 15 where we find the story of God cutting a covenant with Abram. God promises Abram that he will be the father of many nations, that his very own son shall be his heir, and that the land they are standing in will someday belong to his children. Abram asks for something, some way to know that God will fulfill this huge promise to him. So God tells him to go get a bunch of sacrificial animals and cut them in half placing the halves on the ground with space between them enough to walk through. This is what is known as cutting a covenant, where the two parties walk through the trail of blood as a symbol or a guarantee that they will fulfill their promise and do what they said they would do. In verse 12 we find that, “As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram.” Then God says “Know for certain…” and then proclaims the prophecy of Abram’s children and their future. “When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,” (15:17-18) Oh sweet Jesus help me convey this message and may it be received with clarity!

My friends know for certain that the God of Abram keeps His promises! He is a fire, a flaming torch in our souls to which sinners are drawn to like moths to a flame. In the parable of the ten virgins, some manuscripts translate their lamps, to be flaming torches!

This little light of mine, I’m going to hold it high!

Back to our nibbles of Truth, “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Let’s recap quickly here, we the Church are the Bride, Eve, Woman; Jesus, our husband, is the second Adam, Man. You were knit together in your mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully made in HIS image. God formed flesh around Christ’s bone and presented you to Jesus as His bride.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In 1 Corinthians 6:16&17 we read, “For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the LORD becomes one spirit with him.” Flip to Romans 5 verse 5&6 and you’ll find, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Then take a look at 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, “As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their yes in him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee [or down payment].” Ephesians 1:13-14 reads, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”

My Beloved friend, through Adam you were destined to a virgin death, but through Christ and the cross you have been redeemed and are offered Jesus as your husband from this moment on through all eternity! And His Holy Spirit seals the deal just like an engagement ring seals a betrothal. And while we must wait for the wedding day to know Him face to face and live in His house forever, we don’t have to wait a second longer to know His Spirit! His Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost in divided, or individual, tongues of fire that rested over each individual’s head, a visual sign for future generations of what was happening spiritually; a filling of the Holy Spirit. And when onlookers, attracted by the great sound that this made, came and asked what was going on Peter said to them, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2:36-39)

Mmmm… now while some may argue that the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophecy was for that generation alone I hold up Peter’s statement. Who was the promise for? Yes, the people he was talking to, and their children (still in their bodies) but who else was it for? ALL who are far off, EVERYONE whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.

Are you a lost coin? Are you far off from the Lord? Are you questioning if you might be part of “everyone” whom the Lord calls to Himself? Are you reading this? Then you ARE part of everyone, you are part of the “all” who were far off. For over thirty years I walked this earth wishing that God still did miracles like the day of Pentecost. And in one day, a few short hours I learned the truth, He still does. For all those years I thought the Gift of Tongues through the Holy Spirit was just for the sacred few that were privileged to walk the streets with Jesus side by side. I didn’t know, I’d never been told. I’d never been taught that He really does make the impossible possible; not just then, but NOW! Here! In me! In the last few years my eyes have only barely been opened to the true power of the Holy Spirit and His workings. I’ve only barely dipped my toes into how He works and lives through us and in us, but I can tell you that even just barely dipping my toes in has changed my life forever! I will never be the same in Jesus’ name! His love through the gift of His Spirit has transformed me into a new creation. By inviting Jesus into my life I became saved from eternal condemnation and judgment for my sins for all time. But by digging deeper and inviting His Holy Spirit into, not only my life but my flesh I have become one flesh with Him! The two became one! And in that union of Spirit and flesh I have just begun to experience the truly abundant life that Jesus speaks of. And it’s so much less about an abundance of prosperity and material possessions, as it is about an abundance of His PRESENCE! Because of His Spirit indwelling within my flesh I can know for certain that I have everything that He has promised me. I can know for certain that His love is for me, individually, personally.

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Virgin Daughters

Judges 11:1 – 12:15

Word of the Day: “Alas, my daughter!” Judges 11:35

In today’s section of reading we meet Jephthah, a prostitute’s son whom the LORD has chosen to be a Judge of Israel for six years. In the middle of today’s reading we find Jephthah with the Holy Spirit upon him, uttering a vow that makes me question what in the world he was thinking when he utters it. “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” Judges 11:30-31

Honestly, what did he expect to come out of his door to greet him? A chicken??? But there it is, all the same. And as we read down the paragraph we see the victory over the Ammonites and we cringe when Jephthah’s daughter walks out of the door with her little tambourines. His only child, I can’t even begin to imagine how he felt at that moment. As I read about this virgin daughter mourning with her friends for two months I began to think of all the budding young women in my own life. The thought of their sweet lives being cut short brought me to tears. And in that moment I questioned God “Why”. Why is this story in here? What message could it possible have? God doesn’t always answer all my questions, but in this case He did answer some.

Jephthah’s daughter spent two months mourning, but she wasn’t mourning the loss of her life, she was mourning her virginity. This really stuck out to me. I put myself in her shoes at that time in history; a woman’s purpose in life was to get married and bear children, as many as possible. When a man or a woman was murdered the murderer was responsible for more than just the life of the man or woman, they were held responsible for the lives of all the children still within the body of the deceased. So this young girl was mourning so much more than the life she was no longer going to get to live, she was mourning for the man she would no longer be joined with and the children she would never get to hold. Her virginity represented so much more than we today could understand. (I could write on THAT all day! But I won’t today because I already have in my book, True Intimacy!)

As tearful as I already was over the thought of my own virgin daughters’ death, I plunged forward into the deeper waters of the Word. There was more here I could feel it, and I wanted to find it. Why is this story here, what possible deeper meaning could it hold other than simply a tragic story of a father’s quick tongue? I prayed in tongues, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance in knowing the deeper truths, hidden and waiting for those willing to look for them. Connections like these don’t come from human wisdom; they come straight from God Himself. And as I prayed the connection played out before my eyes and I sobbed at the Truth. We all were that virgin daughter, once upon a time, destined to a death without having known a man and children.

Humanity was created to be the Bride of Christ, but through original sin we became destined for a virgin death. Because of sin, our path led to a death where we had never known the caress of a Man who loves us tenderly, a death where we would never know what it was like to be united as one flesh with the One. Because of sin we would never know what it would be like to birth spiritual children and watch them grow and mature in the faith. And because of sin there are some out there today that will still die not knowing or having experienced any of those things. This truth breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces.

In Luke 15 we find a trio of parables. The story starts with the Pharisees and scribes grumbling about Jesus saying “This man receives sinners and eats with them”. (Gasp! The horror!) Jesus responds to their grumbling with these three parables, the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (or better known as the prodigal son). All three things lost from the sight of the one who tends and cares for them. I’d like to take a closer look at the parable of the lost coin in order to better flesh out the parable of the death of Jephthah’s virgin daughter.

The Lost Coin:

“What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10

In the original Greek version of this parable the silver coins were Drachmas which were worth about a day’s wages. So let’s say she had a decent job and made roughly $10/hour, and worked 8 hours a day so she lost a coin worth about $80! Is that a pretty big deal? If you lost a birthday check for $80 would you scour the house looking for it? Absolutely! But what if it meant more to her than that? What if, as some scholars say, that Drachma was part of her dowry? At that time it wasn’t uncommon for a woman to wear her dowry around her neck as a necklace. Without a dowry it was extremely difficult to get a husband. There’s a decent chance that this lost coin was from the chain around her neck and was part of her dowry, hence the frantic search to find it! That one coin was worth so much more than just a day’s wages to this woman, it was worth a husband and children. It was hope and a future to her! She was willing to do whatever it took to find that lost coin.

In Matthew chapter 25 we find another parable about ten virgins: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying. ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

In this parable there are ten virgins, five with oil for their lamps and five with out. Throughout the Bible oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. So these women represent servants of Christ, five with the Holy Spirit and five without. While praying and meditating over this verse God reminded me of Isaiah 10:17 “the Light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; it will burn and devour His thorns and His briars in one day.”

What was the purpose of the oil in this parable? To burn in their lamps to create fire that brings light to the darkness surrounding them. Without the oil for their lamps there could be no flame, no light. My friends, the Holy Spirit is the fuel for our fires, the fires that burn within us causing us to glow with the Light of the Truth in a world filled with darkness and lies. The Holy Spirit is our seal, our promise, not of just what is to come, but has come and is already here! Jesus tells us that He came, not just for Light, but for abundant LIFE! Light nor abundant Life are possible without the Holy Spirit living and breathing His life into our flesh. Just like in the parable, the virgins without oil and light weren’t admitted to the party, people who call themselves Christian but have not invited the Holy Spirit to live in their hearts won’t be allowed through those pearly gates of heaven. (Boy this is hard for me to tell you!!!)

In the gospel of Matthew we find Jesus saying “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.'” (7:21-23) That word “knew” in Greek is the word “gino-sko” and according to the Thayer Greek dictionary is also a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. (Woo, is it getting warm?)

Categories: 365 Life, Judges, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thorns

Judges 8:22 – 10:18

Word of the Day: “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites?” Judges 10:18

Who will fight for us against our enemies?

2 Corinthians 5:4-5 says, “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” I want my mortality to be swallowed up like Jonah in the whale that brings us onto the shores of LIFE! In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve hid from the presence of God because of their nakedness. Jonah heard God calling to him in the night and ran from Him in fear that God would do what He always does, forgive. We run and hide from God, why? Because of His forgiveness, His love for us is so intense that we struggle to fathom it; we wrestle with His goodness and His impossible plans for us because we can’t do them! We can’t’ understand them. We can’t help but be scared of them. But there is nowhere where we can run that He can not follow. There is nowhere where we can hide that He can not find us. There is nothing that we can do that He can’t forgive and fix! He is so immaculate that we cover our eyes at the very sound of His coming! And yet He comes for us and finds us all the same.

On the day of the cross, when Jesus took all our sins upon Himself and took our punishment for us, He wore a crown of thorns upon His precious head. Those thorns were no ordinary thorns, well physically they were, but spiritually they were so much more than the mockery they were intended to be. Look at Genesis chapter 3 for a moment and you will find the curse that God pronounced upon all mankind.

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (or seed, depending on which translation you read) and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (verses 14-19)

Did you see them? There were several things in that curse that called back to what we’ve been reading this week. Let’s start at the beginning. The offspring of the woman will bruise her enemy’s head. Judges chapter 4, the woman drove a tent spike through her enemy’s skull!!! Judges chapter 9 verse 53 another woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. These girls have got moxy!

The next one, well, I don’t know how much it applies to you, but I certainly know how it applies to me! In the parable of the Sower we learned that seed is a symbol of words. In this curse it mentions the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The ESV uses the word offspring, but the original Hebrew word literally means the sowing of seed, as in offspring. I find it interesting that the sowing of seed is mentioned in the serpent’s curse, and then the bearing of children is mentioned in the woman’s curse. Perhaps, just perhaps, they are connected somehow. As a writer, I am constantly sowing seeds and praying that they fall on the fertile soil in your heart. But I can tell you from personal experience that the birthing of those seeds is painful in ways that you would never expect. I certainly never expected it when I agreed that I would do this! But God has promised that when we sow in tears we will reap in laughter, and I’m counting on that!!! The truths that I pour out to you through these pages have caused me great pain in the finding of them. Now, like any mother, I’m not complaining of the pain of this child birthing… but I will certainly not discount it either! Simply because my pain is for your benefit, and mine! My toiling to learn these truths is for His glory and pleasure as it builds a bridge that spans the gap between Him and us! And any pain is worth that. (I may regret having just said that…)

And now we come to the man’s part of the curse, it begins with an outward nod to the words that were cloaked in symbolic meaning through the first two curses, it is revealed fully here. “Because you have listened to the voice (or the words that voice spoke) of your wife.” While some may not agree with me, I believe this phrase to be much less about who spoke the words and more about the fact that it was not the voice of God that the man listened to, but someone else’s. The entire Bible is a testimony, a plea from God Almighty for us to believe His word to us. To trust in what He says instead of trusting the things our eyes see around us, the other voices hissing in our ears trying to get us to do anything BUT what God has said to do, or not do as the case may be. So while many would love to put the emphasis of this verse on the woman’s part of the whole ordeal, in my womanly opinion, it’s about where Adam’s belief ended up. He chose to follow someone other than God. And because of that the ground itself was cursed. The very dust that Adam came from was no longer going to bear much fruit, but rather it would bear thorns and thistles. By the sweat of his face he would eat bread until he returned from where he came… dust.

Oh my friends, we can’t look at this as a curse for us today! Why? Because today for us, it is a BLESSING! If we were still in the book of Adam we would look at this and mourn, but we are no longer a page in the book of Adam. In the moment we chose to follow Christ we were ripped from that book and placed within the covers of the Book of Life. Jesus did many prophetic things on the day He died; one of those things was to wear a crown of thorns. Those thorns represented that first curse pronounced onto mankind… and its reversal! Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us. So that we who knew much sin, could become like Him. He was cursed for our transgressions, crushed for our sin; the punishment that was for us was upon HIM and by His wounds we are HEALED! He took THAT punishment for us! That first curse and every one of them after that He poured them out upon Himself for us! Hallelujah! And because of Jesus we can look at words like “He will crown our efforts with success” and realize that they are the truth!

That day on the cross Jesus took upon Himself the curse of thorns and it died with Him. Look at some verses that speak of this:

Isaiah 55:13 “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Isaiah 10:17 “the Light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; it will burn and devour His thorns and His briars in one day.”

OK, I have to admit, I am especially fond of that last verse, the image of the curse of thorns burning up in the bright flame of Jesus’ love for us on the cross is so breathtakingly beautiful isn’t it?!?

Categories: 365 Life, Judges, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Me Lord?

Judges 6:11 – 8:21

Word of the Day: “But I will be with you” Judges 6:16

In Judges 6 we find the story of Gideon. God sends an angel to call Gideon and let him know that God has chosen him to deliver his people out of the hands of their enemy. And I just love the angel’s greeting “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” It proclaims to Gideon how GOD sees him. God sees him as a mighty man of valor! Gideon hasn’t conquered anyone yet, but God sees him, not as he is, but how he will be! And why do we think he will be a mighty man of valor? Because the LORD is with him!

Gideon then responds, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Oh my goodness how it can feel like that sometimes can’t it!!! We’ve got the enemy army literally breathing down our necks, we’re scared witless and God seems to be nowhere to be seen! And we immediately question where God is in all this? The Bible tells of all these awesome things, these awesome deliverances that He has performed, yet where is He for me when I really need Him? Get what happens next!

“And the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” What is God’s answer to Gideon’s question of where is God? I’m sending you! Gideon mentions the Israelites deliverance out of the hands of the Egyptians and God basically says “You’re it buddy! I’ve chosen you like I chose Moses, now lead My people to fight the enemy and you will win.” God doesn’t just answer his question; He tells Gideon that HE is the answer!

Well, of course what other response would Gideon have other than, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Gideon answers God the way every other leader that God chooses answers Him, with an incredulous, “Me Lord?” Gideon points out his weakness to God, and I can just see God nodding in agreement as if to say, “Yup, that’s exactly why I picked you.”

Now here is the key, and I mean THE key to absolutely everything in life. “And the LORD said to him, ‘But I will be with you…'” We focus on the things that we can’t do that God asks us to do, and He points out to us, “That’s why I asked you to do that, because YOU can’t do it. If you were to try and do it under your own strength you wouldn’t be able to, but because I am with you and doing it through you, for you, then it is not your strength that shines, but Mine.” He tells us, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” There are times in life when God calls us to something that makes us feel like we’re going to die, of embarrassment, or fatigue, or of fear, but we won’t! Because He is with us. He is always with us, because He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Never. Not ever. Period. He will never forsake us in our weaknesses.

God has called me to a life lived publicly. It wasn’t something I asked for, at least not that I remember anyway. It is, however, something that He has called me to and trained me for. And so here I am, bearing my heart and soul daily to anyone who comes along and decides to read it. And while I have a very outgoing personality, I fear the rejection and humiliation that can come from living in a glass house like this. Before I sat down at my desk to write this morning I felt the need to sing. So, I pulled up YouTube on my phone and looked up the song that was on my heart, and then another, and then another, until He brought me to the cluster of songs He had been waiting for. The first was “Hold me Jesus” where one of the verses called out my struggles with Him right now. Ever since reading Jonah I’ve been realizing more and more things that I’ve been running away from and questioning why I’ve been running from them. A verse from this song reads “Surrender don’t come natural to me, I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than to take what you give that I need, and I’ve beat my head against so many walls, now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees.” And it rang true, I’ve been running, I’ve been fighting, I’ve been beating my head on walls and I’m done! I don’t want to run any more. I don’t want to fight anymore. And I certainly don’t want to beat my head against any more walls! So I’m falling. I’m falling on my knees and allowing You to catch me Lord.

The next song was “Here I am Lord”. “Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.” For someone who was born for the stage and has loved being the center of attention her entire life to be suddenly terrified of the stage and the attention that it will bring, well, that’s where I am right now. Yet, here I am Lord. I have heard you calling, and I will go, Lord, because You are with me. God why is this so hard for me, it shouldn’t be! Yet here we are in the wrestling ring dukeing it out over and over again. You are my wall and my fortress, so why do I beat my head against You???

Lastly, I sang with Kari Jobe “You are for Me” and in the third time through the chorus when she sang “I know that you will never forsake me in my weaknesses” He showed me a picture of me standing on a stage. Lord who am I? Who am I to stand on a stage and speak of Your goodness and Your faithfulness? Who am I that people would listen to what I have to say about You? My family is nothing and I am the least in my family, and yet it is me that you have chosen to fight this Enemy that our family has fought for generations, lifetimes, centuries. And yet You are with me so who can be against me? You have called me, so who am I to question Your judgment of my abilities.

I have to believe Him when He tells me that He will be with me and that that will be enough. I have to believe Him, because I have no other choice. I can’t not do what He calls me to do because I’d never be able to live with myself for eternity knowing I didn’t do it. I can’t not do it, because there are people out there that I don’t even know that are counting on me to obey His call. And just like Joseph, his pit led to the salvation of all of Egypt. What if my pit can lead someone, just one, to salvation; then isn’t worth it?

Categories: 365 Life, Judges, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 2 Video Guide

Handprints of God

Pictures of God’s faithfulness:

-The Good Shepherd

-He called them to b______.

-“I have shown you many g______ w______ from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone Me?” John 10:32

-“If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, b______ the w______.” John 10:37-38

-Noah

-“I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a s______ of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13

-God has given us something p______ that we can look to and we can touch and see them and k______ and r______ that God has made a promise.

-He is faithful and good and just and He w___ do what He says He will do.

-God gave Noah a picture of His promise, the r______.

-Abram

-God gave Abram a picture of His promise, the s____.

-John 10:17-18 “I lay down My life that I may take it up again. N__ o__ takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have a______ to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”

-The two identical ingredients in the four gospel “casseroles” are:

1) Cried out loudly

Matthew:     Krazo – Raven’s piercing cry. Cry out loudly with i______ sounds that express deep emotion.

2) Gave up His Spirit

Mark:     Ekpneo – To G______ up the G______.

Ek – Out from and to. Out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object. A separation from something with which there has been close connection.

John:     Paradidomi – from para & didomi, properly means to give (turn over); hand over from, as in to deliver over with a sense of close personal involvement.

Para – an emphatic “from”, means “from close beside“. It stresses nearness. Para implies an intimate participation.

-God is with us, no matter where we are, no matter what we’re doing, no matter what is going on in life, God is w______ u__. He gave us His Holy Spirit to remind us of the promise of H___ l______ for us.

-He is so f______!

-Isaiah 41:8-13

-We need to imagine b___!

After the Video:

-Jesus called His Disciples to believe and He calls us to the same thing. What is He calling you to believe Him in/for right now? (There’s always something.)

-“Tell us plainly” – how many times do you wish that God would just speak plainly to you??? Does God ever answer your questions… but not the way that you want Him to?

-Compare the definition of the Greek word Krazo with Romans 8:26, what do you think? Cool right?

-If we need to be imagining big, what is the biggest thing that you could imagine?

Categories: 365 Life, Joshua, Jude, Judges, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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