Friday, April 30, 2010

Network problems... with a Luncatic on the loose! Quick! Somebody Call Somebody!

In Genesis 18 we find Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah. Interestingly, Abraham prayed for the righteous instead of the unrighteous. Isn't that odd? Because when it gets down to eternity, it's the unrighteous that needs it the most.

Just as Abraham was, in essence, called to intercede. We, too, are called to intercede also.

But who exactly is it that we're to pray for? Other than ourselves? Other than a brother? Other than the easy? Other than those that ask for us to? We're told to love our enemies! To pray for those that despitefully use us, that falsely accuse, that treat us abusively (Matt 5:43-48). We're told to pray for the brother that sins (1 John 5:16). We're "called" to "bless" those that have insulted and done evil against us. ("Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." - 1 Pet 3:9)

Did you notice that? We're called to! It's part of our calling! We're called to! So that we may inherit a blessing.

Sometimes (most times, maybe?), it's easier first said than done. In the heat of the moment when we've been offended, been abused, been persecuted, been 'despitefully used,' been insulted, had evil done against you... what's your first reaction? What do you find that you want to do most? Hit back? Insult in return? Run to tell another what your "Mean" has just done? It's in that moment that you can imagine the phone ringing. We're called! An insult or an evil is our 'call'ed immediate moment to bless! It's usually when I say, "Yes, Lord. Please bless the mean!"

Back to Sodom and Gomorrah. Let's parallel them to our "Mean." The Lord asked the two angels with him on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" (vs 17).

God is always up to something (John 5:17) and it's His desire and design that we would be a part. And yet. Do we find that we concentrate more on our own business... than about our Father's business who is always at work?

God seeks to send someone to stand in the gap (Eze 22:30). IF He has given you eyes to see a need, then why wouldn't He expect us to pray.... for a brother, for a fallen, for the wanderer, for the robbed and beaten and left for dead,... for the mean?

IF the one you know is stuck in their own "Sodom and Gomorrah," then why would we not pray for them??? IF it were you, wouldn't you wish that somebody would? And why is physical sickness (which won't send to hell or keep captive in sin) eaiser to pray for then someone stuck in some habitual sin that you don't like and so makes you dislike them?

Pain always has a purpose. Cannot one of pain's purposes be a reason to pray? In that moment, can we ever be more like Jesus than to follow His lead and say as He said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.".... because in all honestly, they really don't! Could it not be that God put him or her in your life on purpose.... so that someone would see the need and get on their knees to stand in the gap for them? To pray for help, conviction, repentance, change, transformation? Do we totally miss our "call," and thus, miss the reward that was meant for us once we answered?

Could the purpose for this moment be to bring to death something in me, so that Jesus can live again and be seen in my reaction? (2 Cor 4:7-12)

If I am at the bottom of a pit... or if I am blind to my own sin.... then I need someone praying for me! Could we not do what we wish another would do if the roles were reversed and we were the insulter, the evil, the mean. the persecuter?

But dare we instead fall into the scheme of the devil's trap when our enemy does something to hurt, offend, abuse, or persecute us! Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, right (Eph 6:10-18)?!.... but instead, our struggle is against rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil that wants to rule and overpower us! Shall we fall for it???

Let me share one more profound example that has so impacted me in such a way as to stick! Here's how I see the "Mean".... though, not necessarily "demon possessed"... but 'under the influence' of an evil of some kind nonetheless.

Matthew 17:14-18 tells about Jesus healing a boy with a demon. We're told that a man came to Jesus and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him...."

Here's what we do. We're often offended, pierced, abused, hurt, or persecuted by what we'd call a "lunatic." And in our hurt or mad, our first reaction is to want to either say something to him or tell on him to another. We're sayers at heart! We're gonna "say"! From out of the overflow our mouth speaks! The fullness of our heart can't help it, it spews! We're supposed to say! We're made to say! We're gonna say! How sad it is, though, when we forget who it is that we're to be saying to. My suggestion is to reconsider who it is that's hearing our saying! Tell on the person, sure. But not to another. Take the "lunatic" to Jesus!

When we don't take our "lunatics" to Jesus, then we become another "lunatic," too, that needs to be taken to Him! Verse 16 said, "I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him!" And again, that's what we often do. Take the person to all these other people, talk about him to everybody else that we know, but fail to take Him to the Healer! When nobody else can heal him but our Savior that came to!

My husband works in long-distance phone services. As I got into his vehicle to go to church on Sunday he told me, "We've got network problems in Birmingham." I turned to him and said, "Oh my goodness, that's perfect! Can't you just imagine Jesus talking to God in our failure to talk to Him as we're talking about a person to everybody else... can't you just hear them say to each other, "We've got network problems at 8467 Huckleberry Court."".... And YOU being the network problem He's talking about! For Jesus' response in that 17th chapter of Matthew is this, ""O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to Me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment."

We're often "networking" in the wrong network. We're taking our offender to everybody else, when we're only to carry him in prayers to our Savior! Can we commit right here and now to "bring" the sick, the wrong, the evil, the broken, to Jesus and plead for his healing? It's simple really. We get all caught up in a tangled mess of anger.... when we can simply let go and let God... and avoid getting all caught up in sin of our own without even seeing it, because we've focused our eyes on the sin of another.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".........

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. Father, forgive me, for I need it too!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

He's ten feet tall!

My husband came in tonight thanking me again for sticking with him through all of our yuk times over the years. I automatically thanked him back when he did for sticking by and with me, too, in the times that I wasn't much fun to be stuck to. I cannot imagine life without him. I cannot imagine who'd put up with me like he has. I cannot imagine being un-stuck and the feeling that that unstuckness has to bring.

My man's not perfect. But he's every bit of ten-feet tall in my eyes!... when really he's only 6'5". He's a goodlooking guy. A kind one. Very social. Tenderhearted. A people-person. With a heart for the lonely, the hurting, the broken,.. and a very great love for our Lord.

Life on our street in our particular home isn't always all rosy and perfect. Basically, because neither one of us are. We can be mean or ugly or snappy or tired and act in ways we wish we hadn't. But we've learned to grace when we need to, give mercy when called for, and to love no matter the mood of the moment or the actions that the mode of that moment has us acting.

I love that about him! That I don't have to walk on tippy-toes. Or egg-shells. Or live in constant fear that my man will walk out any minute when so many live that way. He's solid. Not wishy-washy. A man. A warrior. A hero in human form.... though never taking the place of my Savior. I believe in him. And that's a good feeling!

I was talking to a friend several months ago. We were talking about her daughter and the "Happily-Ever-After" fairytale wonder of marriage told in the fairy tale books. And then I told her that I think we have more of the "Happily-Ever-After" than we first think we do.

God's love is perfect. But our love is not. It's growing and learning and we're getting better at it. Some days we still do better than others. Other days we fail miserably, but make-up for it after. I think part of that "Happily-Ever-After" is the 'ever and ever' that doesn't give up! And thus far, we've made it. And that feels good.

This is what Love is.....

It is patient and kind...and how could it be unless opportunity called for it to be?

It is not rude or self seeking....

It isn't easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs....

It doesn't delight in evil but rejoices in truth....

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres....

Nope. We've not perfected any of that. But we've persisted. We haven't given up. Not even when we wanted to. We don't hold the past against each other after all the things either one of us has done. We're not as quick to get angry and stay there as we once were. We are kinder, more patient, less rude, less self-seeking. We've not arrived yet........... but me and my man are headed every day in that direction! I'd call that a "Happily-Ever-After." After 24 1/2 years, we've already defied the odds. And by the grace of God, we'll continue this stuckness together and bask in the wonder of how Love grows and what Love does! And I'll say this, I have great hope because of it! Like I said, not because our love's perfect... but because our love goes on and on after it's not been.

Thank you, Tim Lee, for not giving up on me! And loving me so in all my unlovely! I love you so much! I'm so glad we married and that we're walking in the happily-ever of our after... two-gether united as one! I wouldn't have wanted to do this life with anybody else but you! You've proven to be a man of great character. One that I am tremendously proud to call mine! I love to introduce you as my husband. I know I am far from perfect and have so many areas to work and improve on, but I do thank you for never giving up on me and trading me in for another like so many others do. Your weirdnesses are growing on me (((*smile*))), and I thank you for loving me still despite all of my own. I thank you for giving me three children, the three delights of my life! We are truly blessed beyond measure and haven't a reason for complaint. I love our life! I love my Lord! And I love that He knew to give me you to let me do this earthly life with! Because I know and believe in God, I still believe in you too!

This one was my very favorite!

This one is my very, very, very most favorite!!!!!!

I teach a Ladies' Bible Class on Wednesday nights. It scares me half to death each night that I do. My "downfall" (if you will) is a tremendous love for God's Word, for His Scriptures. It thrills me so much that I have to do something with it! So each time the call comes, when I've been invited to, I must (I have to) say "Yes" to the inviter. Thus, my not-so-long-ago invitation (back in October) has me teaching again on our Wednesday nights.

I must admit that I have a weird way of seeing things. I don't know how to stress that, but I don't think that I see most things in the normal. Thus, I have a weird way of teaching in order to show what I've learned to another. It used to bother me. Tremendously! It doesn't anymore. Now, I find that I love its weirdness and how He shows me. It may be elementary or silly at times or wildy crazy, but it works for me... and then, works for the girls, and so often the lessons once taught are said in such a way that it's hard not to stick. The verse that God gave me to grant me such liberty is found in John 12:49. Since I ran across what is written there I've never been (nor felt) the same. Since then (and it's been a long time) I've often thanked Him for my weirdness.

The verse is Jesus Himself talking. He says to the Jews there, "I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it."

The Message words it this way, "I'm not making any of this up on My own. The Father who sent Me gave me orders, told Me what to say and how to say it."

It's the "how" in the verse that's given me the freedom to teach to others how I've been taught... and know that I'm suppose to! I see it weirdly for a reason! And I absolutely now totally LOVE the weirdness in my seeing!

I was sleeping earlier, but found my excitement of the night wouldn't let me sleep long. I laid in bed a long time before finally getting up. I kept thinking about our last night's lesson and how much fun we had in our class while learning it. I kept thinking: This one, this lesson, last night's, has to be my very, very, very most favorite! It was really, really, really good! And I couldn't thank God enough for the lesson He gave. I kept grinning at His awesomeness and creative way! I'm grinning still as I'm typing just remembering the lesson. I can't get over the wonder of Him! How God made last night's lesson fit like it did,... Oh my goodness, only God could have done!!! WHO would have thought it but Him!

And then I remembered.

I said that last week, too, about last week's lesson. Because I really, really, really liked what we learned then too and all the He showed us!

And then....

I thought of the lesson before that.... and the one before the one before that one... and so on and so on and so on. And I decided, they're all my favorite! I love His profoundness! I love what He says! And I love how He shows us to impact it in!

I will admit that some times I don't always get it across as well as my Rabboni has taught me. But it's always GOoD! And I love it especially when it does! And tonight I couldn't resist, I had-to get up to thank Him! Laying in bed basking in it (and Him) alone just didn't seem sufficient enough. I needed to do more. I needed to praise Him out loud! I needed to renown the wonder of my Lord and the Word that He sends!

My only wish tonight is: is that I had enough time to write it. To write what He's taught me. To draw with words what He's shown me. Now, before I forget! Because too often with time it loses its hmmpf and it's hard to regenerate that and tell it in the excitement with which it was given if not caught and captured in that very moment. My life has been so busy of late that I've not had time to pen any of it. Oh, but I want to! Oh Lord, how I want to!

But even if I can't. Lord God, know tonight that my heart soars! Know that I'm awed by Your Presence! Know that I'm whoa-ed by Your in-our-face business. I'm woe-ed by the way in which You step on toes to convince and convict, but still leave us with dignity. And tonight, especially tonight, I'm overflowing in the wowness of all that You've taught me! This Genesis journey that we've been traveling on is one of my very most favorites!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just like all the other "very most favorites" that have gone before it! You truly are the Rock of my world that continually rocks it with wonder! You're the Thriller of my soul, sweet Jesus! And tonight You have my heart pounding in sleeplessness.... in a prolonged basking of the greatness of our God and the words that You send us! Thank You from the depths of my heart....... and then some! I love You to pieces! May I live for Your Glory and live honoring You, my God Who deserves it and who is so graciously over gracious to me! I LOVE YOU beyond measure!!! Thank You for all that You do, all that You are,... and all that You've yet to! :)  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too tired tonight to be anxious!

Class starts in 40 minutes. It takes all of 5 to get there. I should be in my normal panic-mode, doing the finishing touches on a lesson... or at least reviewing again the subject that I plan to be teaching on. Thankfully, God has been teaching me the lesson all week. One lesson right after another. Surprisingly, though, in Stick-Figures!!!'

Go figure! Every time He would remind me of another point, I'd see the stick-figured example in my mind that went with it. I wasn't planning on this. I wasn't thinking of it. I wasn't trying to. It just came with the example. Funny! I got tickled every next time when it did!

I'm really, really tired! I'm exhausted! Really, really! I've been running on fumes from one this thing to the next that my run is catching up on me and I'm losing my breath. The thing of it is, I don't see things slowing down real soon in my future. Thus, I am praying for a renewed refreshing despite the normal way to be revived. Rest... would help. but, like I said, I'm not afforded the extra time for the moment. It will come in its right seaon. Right? Surely sometime around the corner soon????

Back to my subject line. What am I thinking?? Why am I sitting here typing?? Blogging at this very critical hour??? Makes no sense to me and my norm... but nonetheless, it sure feels good doing it. Knowing that I'm teaching in a minute and not worried is a new feeling!

Okay. I can see myself rambling now. I'm off to load the car and pray on my way for God to do what I never can! To teach dynamically so that each of us can hear a word from Him regardless of this vessel that He choses tonight to send His message in.

Hmmm??? I wonder if when I get home I'll read this blog horrified and delete it? :)

Like I said, I'm too tired tonight to be anxious! Thank You, LORD!

I know this girl.... with a fire in her heart.

I know this girl. I've been this girl. I am this girl. Yet sometimes she leaves.. Though soon if she does (if she somewhere disappears) give me a minute (sometimes two) and I'll be back and be her again after those flickering flames for those pair a minutes or two.

Sometimes I feel so full that I think I'll burst if I don't find release in writing it down. I'll grab a napkin, tear a corner off a cup, write on my leg, or the leg sitting next to me if I need to and can't find proper paper to write it somewhere.

And then,

Sometimes I feel all dried up. Like my saying is dry. I'm empty inside. There's nothing left in my cup.

I hate that feeling. I like to "say." I love the emotion and the full feeling that must be said. The fill that's so full it automatically spills. Even if not another soul stops and bothers to read what I've written after somehow penned.... I so often can't help it... I have-to say!

To be honest, years ago I use to pray for that fire. That continual flame that burns hotter and hotter. For God to always make sure this bush keeps on burning. A fire that nothing or no one can dare quench or put out or change its mind or opinion! A desire that must seek Him. An unquenchable hunger that must read His book. An overwhelming thirst that must drink the Living Water from the stream of His Son.

I often feel like Jeremiah said he did,  like there's a fire shut up in my bones and that if I try to hold it in, indeed, I cannot (Jer 20:9)!

Today as I drove the Interstate to an out of town place..... I thought that I'd simply burst with the feeling (or should I say filling?) of my Savior as I drove! God is so GOoD! I cannot but help to stop a moment here and thank Him for the Filler-Upper He is... and for a Filler-Upper that is good at continually filling! He's the flammer of my heart, the fire of my soul! How can I ever thank Him enough?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ahh... while we lay sleeping!

I must have gone to bed again thinking of those men in the prison that I just recently visited. I do know I prayed for them before my body fell asleep. Then I woke in the middle of the night. Excited! Feeling (without asking) that God had given me a picture!

You remember when King Saul was seeking David's life in 1 Samuel 22 because of his jealousy of him? Do you remember the Adullam Cave he fled to in hopes to get away from him in hopes to stay alive?

I've always loved the 2nd verse of that chapter because we're told of the men that gathered with him there.... which just happen to be the men that David builded his army from. The verse says, "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men."

The Message simplies it for us this way, "So David got away and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all."


The mighty men of valor that made up David's new army were family that gathered with him. Men that were in distress. Those indebted (I suppose both in what they owed monetarily... and maybe too those indebted because of sin?). Those discontented. Those down on their luck, losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts.


Could that be a picture of the guys that was starring back at me on Friday as I was starring and talking to them trying to encourage them to live as mighty warriors for our Lord?

I loved it! I loved the reminder! I felt God renewed and flourished my hope for them! It's made me want to pray harder! For we need an army of men fighting for Him in His Kingdom and against the evil that's so prevails here upon this earthly soil.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Last night I slept with a hundred men.

I went to bed Friday night and slept with a 100 men. Not literally. And not unrighteously. But I couldn't get them off of my heart and out of my mind. I cried for them. I prayed for them. I hoped for them. I dreamed for them. I wondered about them. And I prayed for them even more.

I woke early Saturday morning to ready myself for another scheduled wonder. And as I sat and made my face I thought more of those men. All of the sudden I found myself in a panic. I felt great need to go back. To tell them how much I care. To tell them how much I was and will be praying and how much I am pulling for them. To remind them of how much we need them to be mighty men of valor. "We" as in women and children and other men. We're seeking for heroes. We need them. I don't mean the football kind, or basketball players or golfers or movie stars of any sort. We need real ones. Real heroes. Real knights in shining armor. Real warriors. That stand up for right when tempted with wrong. That resist evil and stand strong for good. That fight "for" us instead of against. Men of integrity. And honest. Men living for others, rather than men living for self. Men sold out to Jesus not sold to the sin of this world. Men that help clean-up and not corrupt. Men that daily die to themselves to let the resurrected Jesus live again in their skins.

These men that were my focus aren't perfect men. They haven't lived lives that we would be impressed with. They did things that landed them in prison. But they've served their sentences, paid their time, they are soon about to be released and walk as 'free' men. Free.. as in on the outside of electrified razor-wired fences. But I am praying that they will also walk free as ransomed sinners saved by Jesus Christ our Savior. Men that know they've been redeemed and restored to live gloriously in the power of God's Spirit. Men saved to be sent to others in hopes to help deliver those they meet from the sin that they currently find themselves enslaved in.

Statistics tell me that that won't happen. Statistics would tell me that I am hoping for much. But I shall hope anyway and pray as I do knowing the power of my Savior's saving grace that saves, redeems, and restores!

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." - 1 Cor 1:26-30


I am totally speechless!



But (obviously) not quite. ;-)

My last week and weekend (and the week and weekend before) was one wonder placed right behind another. I was so full and I felt that the Glory of the Lord so overwhelmingly surrounded me that I don't know how I stood at all... or managed even to breathe. He woe-ed me from every side. A continual and consistent woe-ing. A whisper, a word, a wow was everywhere I looked. In the teeniest of things and the big ones too. Wow, how can I explain all that went on in my weeks?

I suppose I cried more than I've cried in years (and I'm a cryer, so that says a lot). Because everything TOUCHED! Everything tendered. Everything caused my heart and feelings to tremble. It was too much. I wanted to capture it. Especially with words. I wanted to hold on to it and be able to share. Yet I learned a long time ago that some things are so intimidate with God that it is only for you and Him alone. Simply said, some things are simply not sharable.

Tonight reflecting back on it all my heart still soars with its smile. I love You, Lord Jesus. You Alone can thrill me with this kind of thrilling. I cannot thank You ever enough for the whoa-ing wonder of Your goodness and love!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Woed by His love!

God is so patient! So kind! So really sweet! So tender! Soooo a lot of things that words won't say and can't tell about Him. Today, He seemed extra gentle with me. Like I said, so patient with this fear-FULL girl of His!

Last night I went to bed out of exhaustion... and a whole lot of overwhelmation too (if that's a word). That's not me. Normally I wouldn't dare hit the pillow having no idea at all what I would be talking on. I woke in the middle of the night in the midst of a dream. I was sitting watching myself speak to the guys in prison and the message spilled out as I listened. I jolted right up (it was sometime after 1 a.m.) and wrote down all that I could remember I'd said.

I was blown away by how perfectly the things seemed to fit. It was wild, but I knew it was what I'd be saying. I had planned to, but surprisingly did NOT get up any earlier this morning than it took for me to get ready (thus no time to do what I thought I'd do and work on my speech). God was obviously listening to the prayers of my friends, for even on the drive up there (about an hour and a half) I wasn't nervous. I wasn't in a panic. I wasn't pleading for God to do some great thing. I had a unsurpassing peace encompassing round about me. I will admit, though, that for a moment when I got close I put my hand to my chest and asked outloud and breathlessly, "What am I doing?? I'm fixing to walk into a men's prison!!! What in the world am I doing there???"

But it didn't last long. I walked in all by myself (with God) like I'd been doing this very thing for years. I was escorted to the front of the chapel and sat down on it's front pew. Then, the most gifted bunch of boys rocked the house with their praise music and song! They had my heart soaring in the heavenlies while they were singing. I wasn't supposed to speak until 9:30, but surprisingly they didn't go by the schedule and I was being introduced before I'd even opened my notebook to see what I'd written. And then, miraculously I spoke to about 100 men sitting there attentively listening.

I never looked at my notes and was amazed that God reminded me of so much to say that I hadn't thought to. I spoke from my heart and seemed to hold their attention. I encouraged them in every which way I knew how... and surprisingly felt very comfortable doing it. Neither one of my knees were knocking as I knew they would! My hands weren't shaking. I didn't forget mid-sentence what I was saying ((*smile*)). What can I say? I feel like I stood there and God truly took over. I was His vessel. He was only using me as a vehicle in which to speak.

After I finished a black man came up to me and said that "everything you said just confirmed everything that I feel God has been saying to me." He talked to me for a few minutes before I  was whisked away again back to the side of the fence that I'd come from.

I drove home in complete silence. No radio. No music. No listening to a lecture of some kind. No cell phone conversation. No texting. I drove in complete wonder of my Savior... in complete awe that He is able to do all that we can't.

And now tonight, the faces I watched and that stared back into mine are engraved behind my eyelids. I didn't personally know any of them and yet I felt as if they were all my brothers, my cousins, my schoolmates, my friends. I liked the guys. How could I not? I don't know how to explain it, but I loved them. I didn't feel afraid or intimidated. I feel I had a very special audience. I talked to them as easily as I talk to my son.

I wish they knew for real how much I am pulling and praying for them. I want them to do well so badly once they get back out into the free world again. I'm praying hard for God to draw them to Him, for Him to keep them safe and strong, and for Him to be able to use them hugely for His glory... that they will in time turn and help someone else to keep from doing what they've done so that they won't land in the same place that they did.

They should hopefully all be out soon. Some possibly as early as 30 days. May God woo them tonight even as they sleep. May He give them an unexplainable hunger and thirst for His Word. May they not get enough, but continually keep their noses in His scripture. May He make them mighty men of valor! Warriors for the Lord!

God was faithful in a mighty way today. I thank Him profusely for all that He did and He does! I love His love! I love how He loves me... and loves them just as much.

How GOoD He is to us!

The faucet has already started. My pillow will be wet when I wake in the morning....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

God's sweetness makes me cry... and NOW would be a good time!

God has been stretching me this week. Kindly He warned me in advance. He prepped me before time. He reminded me of things that He'd said. He answered my questions to things He had already answered before. Confirming to me what I really already knew. Without me even realizing it, at the very exact moment I'd need it, He was preparing me for what He was getting ready to ask. Because of something that had happened and caused my mind to wonder and worry if this was the actual thing that He wanted, He answered all those questions in the wildest of ways so that I would have no doubt.

I was woed by His goodness. Whoa-ed by the vividness in what He had said. Wowed in my wonder of the Great I Am.

And then.

After clarity was made and I no longer had cause to doubt, without my expecting it in my immediate moment, He popped the question to send me on a mission.


So quick?




You are kidding me, right?

My answer when asked was (with my jaw-dropped to the floor) "yes." How could I answer any differently? He was too precise in preparing me for me to answer negatively when asked.

So wow. As Dr L put it, "It's time. You're turn. You're on."

I was scheduled to go with him into yet another men's prison tomorrow. Dr. L was to be speaking at a Re-Entry Program about Faith and Love and it's importance to make it in life, and the importance of having faith in God and loving each other in helping to keep the men from staying out of prison once they had finally been released. He had to cancel due to an unexpected call to somewhere else. So, he told the person in charge there that he couldn't make it, but that I still could. Thus, that leaves me alone as the speaker!!!

I am still overwhelmed by that thought. I still don't know what I am to say. I do believe (because of my week!) that this whole set up was prepared by God. And I do realize that with the sending that God is always faithful to equip. As in my earlier blog, He won't send you to say something without telling you what to say. But the lecture is to be in the morning.... "Lord, how long will you wait until You tell me?"

I am trusting Him. (What else can I do?) But, trust me, I am trusting with a whole lot of fear and trembling!

I know the verses, "But when they hand you over, do not worry how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the spirit of your Father who speaks in you" - Matthew 10: 19-20

"In that hour" ?????????????

"In that hour" ?????????????

"In that hour" ??????????????????????????????????

Seriously, I hate to rush You, dear Lord. BUT, do You mind? If You will. I know You're able! Can You tell me a few hours before then???

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've a confession to make...

A precious long distant friend of mine called me "Jeremiah" today. I'm not sure exactly what it was that prompted her to compare me to that particular guy in Scripture, but it made my heart race... for I have a special fondness for him.

Oh my, I love that book in God's Word. I love Jeremiah's heart. I was drenching myself in Ezekiel and Isaiah and Jeremiah when I was first called to teach. I ran to those familiar Scriptures that I had been saturating myself in when one of our ministers called me from church for the very first time and asked me if I would teach a class. I ran to their place because I had the same words come from my throat that they did:  "Ah Sovereign Lord, I DON'T KNOW HOW..."

Yet, I had already made the cry, "Here am I, send me," - to do whatever He called for and whatever He wanted me to do.

Day after day after day God had "woken me morning by morning to listen like one being taught." In my initial panic He said to me: "I have put My Words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of My hand.... listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you... go now, and speak My words to them... Say to them, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says,..........'"

Yet I was like Jeremiah, but "I am only a child" (because I felt very much like one... even at my age!) ....

And I was like Moses, but "I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to me... I am slow of speech and tongue."

That's when I got my, "Do not say, "I am only a child!"  And then, you must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.... Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go: I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.... I am the Lord, Tell ... everything I tell you."

My fear whispered to the One that knows our tremble, "Since I speak with faltering lips, why would [they] listen to me?"

And with tenderness (more than aggravation) He reminded me of what He had said again....that He would be with me... that He would help me to speak... that He would teach me... that He would put the words in my mouth. He reminded me that "the word of the Lord came to" all those of long ago.. and that "the word of the Lord" still comes(!)... and that it had been coming daily to me for years now as I had come to Him and sat at His feet to listen to Him in His Scripture so that I might to hear Him in His Word and know what He had/has to say.

Then He said with a shake of His head,"You are to say everything I command you." No more. No less. Sharon, how hard could that be?

Well, really?

REAL hard!

But God wasn't letting me go there!

I know! I knew! He really had put the words in my mouth as He did to both Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

He had held Ezekiel's tongue shut until it came time to tell it. He had done that for me, as well. But then, it got to the point that I had about held it for as long as I could. I was about to burst from within! He knew the bubbling inside me and the fire that I found as hard to contain as Jeremiah himself was having when he said: "But if I say, "I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name," His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."

Though scared, God knew I felt the fire and that I felt the same way! Indeed, I needed an outlet or I would burst. But I didn't know how to tell it. And I didn't know what to say. And in my tremble, as I made-up my face for somewhere I was about to go, I popped a tape inside my player, grabbing the first cassette that touched my fingers. I had no idea what it had on it to play. While I painted my face for the day and began to listen to the voice on the tape that had been recorded, I still was wondering with Him, "But what, Lord? What would I teach?"

And that's when He so sweetly said to me through the voice recorded on that tape I had just "happened" to grab, "What is that in your hand?" What did I have in my hand? Make-up? I was getting ready to go somewhere. And that's where the birth of my first series 'Dressed To Die For' began. The first ladies' class that I'd ever taught.

What a trip that was!... that first class (and every class since). I was scared to death! And I didn't know how. And God did what I couldn't do! I didn't just feel as if I had walked on water with Him.... we danced! He lead me in a dance like I've never danced before! I held His hand with all of my might, I held on for dear life ... and IN HIM I found it! He lead me the whole way. I don't think my feet ever touched the ground. Oh my... how I love Him so for letting me be a part of what He did! I wouldn't trade that stretch that He called me to go beyond from my comfort zone for anything other journey. That was, indeed, a heavenly calling! A path lit up and prepared by the Lord. It was a Heavenly High that I am still soaring on!

Thus far in my pilgrimage as I walk this earth, I have so enjoyed our journey. You know the song: "My God and I go in the field together. We walk and talk as good friends should and do. We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter. My God and I walk through the meadow's hue."

That's us!

That's me and HIM!

There's no kind of walking, like His kind of walking! There's no kind of talking, like His kind of talking. He's my BIGGEST THRILL every day and in every way... and I love our walk through this life that He's given to me. I can honestly say as those said that walked on the road to Emmaus "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

I've a confession to make: I'm in LOVE with my LORD and I live every day to tell of it! I'm often scared (Often? Did I say "often"? It's more like always!), it's not always easy, it's almost always a stretch, a great stretch from the zone of my comfort. But there is no other thing like it. There's a thrill in knowing you can't do it alone. You don't have the boldness, nor the power, not the equipment, nor the ability without the supernatural help of your God!

Incredibly it is today that God reminded me of all this. For tomorrow (again!) I am being taken out of my comfort. This new road that I walk with my Savior on scares me. I literally shake and shiver both inside and out on this path that we're walking. But as long as I know that it is my Lord that is not only holding my hand but also leading.... I'll go wherever He sends, I'll walk wherever He wants me, and I'll say whatever it is that He is so faithful at giving me to say.

Here am I, Lord, all over again. Send me to the places that You want to, just always let me know that it is You that is leading! For He goes before and He'll be my rear guide!


What does freedom look like after 3 weeks (that's when her parole was actually granted, it took that many weeks to actually get out of the gates)? Hmmm... that's one thing. But.......

I've wondered all day today............... what does freedom look like after 15 YEARS of being incarcerated!!???

Fifteen years! Locked behind the bars of a prison. Paying a crime once long ago committed. And then today, after being held chained for so long, the clothes were changed from all white to color... and the gates were opened and she got to walk through them. Wow! What does that feel like after all this time?

Seriously, how does that feel today to be her?

This is a first for me. She's the first of my girls to get paroled and I am ecstatic! I grinned all day. I couldn't be happier. It's better than one of your kids taking her first step. Cause this step is bigger. And maybe that's because it was in such anguish and was a long time in coming?

Some things are just too hard to write about. No matter the want-to the words won't come. I suppose some things are too big to capsule into something verbal. I hate that. Because, though I am thrilled over it's bigness.... I like capturing in words my feelings!

Freedom. I looked up it's meaning. My favorite was simply defined as, "Freedom is the state of not being imprisoned."

Another said, "Liberty from slavery or liberty from oppression."

However you word it, it still isn't big enough. I'm totally thrilled, yet totally frustrated. Basically, YAY for her! And I wanna say... but don't know how to.

Yay! For Christ who died to set us free! And yay, today, for a girl that was able to walk out of a physical prison that she's been imprisoned in and finally released from!

For some reason the story reminds me of the girl in Luke 8 that was bleeding for 12 years until she touched the cloak of Jesus. Jesus actually healed this girl's 'bleeding' years ago... but today she has entered a whole new audience to tell about it!

May God do mighty things through her! May He work everything she's done and that she's been through out for His good. May she glorify Him in her new walk. May she be a huge witness of the goodness, the faithful, the mercy and grace of our Lord. And may she be a display of His splendor!

(Click here to see a glimpse of the day I found out her parole was actually granted. I cried like an idiot from the joy when I heard.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pain! Pain!

Nakoda (my great-niece, a.k.a. Nikki Noo / NeeNee / Coder...) just turned two in November. Talk about Drama Queen.... this child defines it. She was born to dramatize. She lives her life in all exclamations! She's dramatic about everything. She feels everything BIG, so she can't help but express it with theatrical performances. Every feeling she feels has to be expressed out LOUD... and expressed loudly enough and dramatically enough for you to be able to feel it like she does.

Nakoda spent several nights with me last summer while her mom was in the hospital giving birth to her new baby sister. I wish I had counted how many times that she slapped her hand to her chest and left it there as her mouth dropped open wide while she majorly furrowed her brows piercing her eyes toward the person in aggravated awe that she had obviously just been offended with.

"What is that," I wondered?

It took me a while, but I finally figured it out. It was her way of saying in great exaggeration, "Who? Me???? What would make you think so???"..... Or, "How dare you! How could you do that to me?" ..... Or, "How could you NOT???" ..... "How could you take that from me?" ..... "How could you not give that to me?"......and so on and so on and so on.........She'd state her bewildered wonder toward you without ever uttering a word simply by using that hand slapped to her chest and her eyes that spoke more volumes than mere words ever could.

I loved her expression! It was priceless! And so now, from time to time, I find my own self doing it toward my own children, slapping my hand to my chest and furrowing my brows toward my shameful offender while not having to say a word to get my point of horror across. My children laugh at me... because they know that I'm making fun.... and they remember who it was that taught us such an expression.

It was this past Wednesday that my sister (Nakoda's grandmother) had taken Nakoda to her great-grandmother's house. My mom and my sister were in the kitchen, Nikki and her mom had been upstairs for a little while, when all of the sudden they heard a blood-hurling scream that sent everyone running from the rooms they were in toward the scene from which they'd heard it.

They found Nakoda screaming hysterically at the top of the stairs... head caught and stuck between the balusters. Her whole body was physically shaking from the force of her pulling so hard in her attempts to get her head out. Both ears were bleeding from where she'd torn them from such intense trying. Sherry (my sister) has a bit of a weird sense of humor (okay, so maybe I do too) and started laughing hysterically (probably from relief after such a huge scare) at Nakoda's predicament the moment she saw her. It was then that Nakoda slapped her hand to her chest and yelled, "PAIN! PAIN!" as loud as she could! And then in hopes to reemphasis (just in case they'd missed it the first time) she pulled back her hand and slapped her chest and yelled it again, "PAIN! PAIN!"

Bless her heart! They rescued her. They got her unstuck. And she was mad as a hornet once they did. She doesn't take too kindly to loosing face. And I'm sure that she was none too happy about being laughed at!

"PAIN! PAIN!" Haven't we all had reason at one time or another to yell it? And sometimes because we did something that got our own heads stuck ourselves from looking over our banisters. (Does that remind anybody of one Mr. King David?) I, for one, am glad that God runs to us when we yell out to Him for His help in our pain. I'm even more glad that He's able to get us unstuck from the places that we've stuck ourselves in!

Speaking of "PAIN PAIN!", shall I remind you of another 'Drama Queen' that we find a glimpse of in Scripture that had her own way of slapping her hand to her chest in her great yell of "PAIN! PAIN!"?

We find a picture of her and her son in what seems to be the middle of a walk through a cemetery. It's actually in the middle of a genealogy list of descendants of this person and then that that takes up the whole first ten chapters of 1 Chronicles. But from time to time in the midst of the listing of names, it stops at one of them and elaborates a little something about them before moving on. Here's what we learn about one of them in the middle of the 4th chapter:

"Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain."

Mind if I say something here? What mom didn't give birth to her baby in pain? Could we all have a show of hands, please? What makes Jabez's mom feel that she's so special and as if she's an exception? If we all named our child by our feelings at their births MOST children would be named "Pain" (or something much worse). I somehow would like to be able to go back to her moment and tap her on her shoulder to remind her of it. "Hey, Ms. Queeen Drama," hear me say this in a most polite whisper, "you might want to rethink what you're thinking before sticking your child with such a name. Do you really want to call him "Pain" to remind him of the pain that you feel that he's caused you every day for the rest of his life? Do you mind if I remind you here that God warned us of this very thing all the way back at the very beginning in Genesis ("To the woman He said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.....")? Key word here is: WITH PAIN
YOU WILL give birth..... And just in case you missed it, He said that He would "GREATLY INCREASE" our pains! We've all got pain, sweet Drama. I'm not trying to be ugly here, but just in case you think it is, your pain's not an exception....."

Time won't let me go back to tell her; but basically we have a Mellow-Dramatic mom here that hurts so much during the birth of her child that she names her child after her hurt and thus handicaps her child with her pain. Can't you just see her slap her hand to her chest with eyes rolled back in her head in her anguish, "PAIN! PAIN!" And she continues to yell it and be reminded of it every time that she calls to her child or mentions his name to another. For inquiring minds would want to know WHY she named her child the name that she did, and then I'm sure she'd share her story to tell them. So, her PAIN lives on as she continues to remember it and live it through him.

.... Until finally....

Finally he's had enough of it, so he cries out to God in his anguish: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request." ~ 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. And BECAUSE Jabez cried out to God in his anguish, begging his freedom from "pain", God granted him the very thing that he'd ask of Him. Praise His name!

Are you one who walks around slapping your hand to your chest as a continual crier of "PAIN! PAIN!" to show continually your wounds to all those who are around you? Do you continue to bellow your story of woe that happened to you years and years and years ago? Worse yet, are you one that continually points to your "bearer" (the one who caused you to bear such sorrow) and shouting toward him: "PAIN! PAIN!" every time that opportunity knocks or you see him? And even worse than that, have you crippled your own child in your pain, labeling him the cause of it...... nursing him, rocking him, dressing him, singing to him, "Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain!!!!!!!.........." every time you speak his name? Or are you one (like Jabez) that cries out to God in your pain in order for Him to heal you and free you from your pain? We're all "criers" of some sort, I was just wondering what you're crying... and who you're crying to?

I'll end with one of my favorite of favorites of verses found in Exodus 3:7-8. It's what God told Moses as He was calling him to send him to go to rescue His people, "The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them...."

God sees our misery! He listens to our cries. He sees our suffering, He's concerned. And He waits for us to cry out to Him! Oh, that His people would cry out to Him so that He could heal them.

What do you do with your Pain? And who do you cry your "Pain!" to?

I can't stop there. I wish I could. But I can't resist from adding this verse: "This poor man cried and....."

David penned the psalm you'll find copied below.... but he wrote about me when he penned it. David wasn't perfect. I'm not either. David sinned greatly. I have too. But David could write this because of his God that forgave him. David could write this because of the God that He knew. David sought Him in the pit of his sin (in Psalm 40 he calls it a horrible pit of miry clay) and God brought him out of that pit that he'd become stuck in. Not only did David seek God and God pull him from his pit when he called to Him; but GOD sought David when David wasn't doing a lot of seeking for Him (2 Samuel 12)... because David was in the midst of seeking his sin... Yet God sent a reminder to him in his rebellion, so that David would turn back his diverted eyes toward Him again. We have a Faithful Father! A Shepherd that watches over His sheep and One Who leaves the ninty-nine in order to seek for His lost ones, or wandering ones, or wayward ones. He's done the same for me.... sought after me when I wasn't seeking for Him..... pulled me from the pits that I'd become stuck in. He's done it for you too (sought after you)..... though not everyone chooses to see it..... and those that won't see won't choose to call out to Him either.... though they'll be quick to blame Him.

David wasn't a man of perfection. He sinned much, and thus had need for much forgiveness. God forgave it all and redeemed him and then called him a man after His own heart. The very last verse in this psalm says, "The LORD REDEEMS His servants; NO ONE will be condemned WHO takes REFUGE in Him."

I suppose that "no one" really does mean "no one," huh? "No one will be condemed who take refuge in Him."

After looking up the meaning of these words in the Hebrew it just basically means it just like it says it: NO ONE will be found "guilty" that takes refuge in Him, that "seeks" refuge from Him, that "flees to Him for protection." No one that puts their "trust" in Him, that "confides" and "hopes" in Him will be condemned on the day of judgment. Because He "redeems" them "by paying a price." He "ransoms" them, He "rescues" them, He "delivers" them, He "preserves", He "sets free", He "lets go", He "delivers life from danger"!

David... "a man after God's own heart." Wow, God Himself called him that after all that he'd done... adultery, lying, murder, just to name a few. And you know, after all the yuck that I've done, I honestly feel that He says that same thing about me too. Not because me or anything that I've done; but because of who He is and all that He has! I'm just wondering, what kind of man are you?

Verse six says, "This poor man CALLED, and the LORD HEARD him; He SAVED him OUT of ALL his troubles." This "poor" man, this "afflicted" man, this "wretched" man, this "needy" man, this "weak" man... "oppresssed", "humbled", "depressed", "downcast", "stooped", "bowed down" man CALLED out ("Pain! Pain!") and the Lord heard him and saved him out of ALL of his troubles. That was me. What about you?

Here is the psalm I referenced:

Psalm 34

I will extol the LORD at ALL times;
His praise will ALWAYS be on my lips.

My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt His name together.

He DELIVERED me from all my fears.

Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

This (ME!) poor man CALLED, and the LORD HEARD him;
He SAVED him OUT of ALL his troubles.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Fear the LORD, you His saints,
for those who fear Him lack NO-THING.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack NO GOOD THING.

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and His ears ARE ATTENTIVE to their CRY;

the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The righteous CRY OUT, and the LORD HEARS them;
He DELIVERS them from A-L-L their troubles.

The LORD is CLOSE to the brokenhearted
and SAVES those who are crushed in spirit.

A righteous man may have many troubles,
BUT THE LORD DELIVERS him from them A-L-L;

He protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

The LORD REDEEMS His servants;
NO ONE will be condemned WHO takes REFUGE in Him.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Torn between Justice.... and Mercy!

Turn on the TV on any day and you will be horrified by the news and who did what to whom. Crime is astounding. The criminal mind beyond understanding. So much of what is done appalls all of us. Often rendering our opinions to "lock 'em up and throw away the key."

Goodness, and seeing some of these stories, I have to agree.

And yet.

I find myself inside the fences. Not because of something I've done, but to visit with those that did.

It's there that I find myself torn between the great divide of justice.... and mercy. Grace for the guilty. Forgiveness for those at fault. My heart cries for both the victims and the offenders. So many are hurt. And no one's the winner.

All I do know is that God forgives the repentant. He saves the sinful. He seeks to! He gives mercy to those who do not deserve it. He graces the guilty. He delivers / frees the imprisoned. No matter what one was done Jesus died to redeem them. He hung on a cross to ransom each wrong.

Crazily, as much as I have a heart for those imprisoned, I often watch shows like 48 Hours on ID, Forensic Files, Snapped, and shows of the like. I see glimpses of the horror of things that people have done to others. Some premediated. Others not. And I know offenders need to be caught, a price needs to be paid, people need to suffer the consequences from the things that they've done, they don't need to get away with the horror of the crime they committed. And too, once locked up.... my heart cries for those bound inside.... my heart seeks a release of the prisoners.

Perhaps some need to get out... but others who will never be able to control themselves never do. The question is (because we know that "everyone in prison finds Jesus"), who does?... and who doesn't?

Regardless, because of Jesus, they all need to be forgiven. For as Jesus put it, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."


And hurting for both!

Isaiah 61:1-3 describes a picture of Jesus and why He came, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."

""God is mighty, but does not despise men; He is mighty, and firm in His purpose.... if men are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, He tells them what they have done— that they have sinned arrogantly. He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their day in prosperity and their years in contentment. But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge. The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when He fetters them, they do not cry for help. They die in their youth, among male prostitutes of the shrines. But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction..."" - Job 36

May sin and what it does never harden my heart to hate those who have done it. May my heart always be tendered toward the hurting no matter which side of hurt it is on. ("Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ......." - Eph 6:10-13). May I never get so pious than to remember, all have sinned, all have fallen short, I need ransoming and redemption too! "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." I never have right to point a finger! If not but for the grace of God, who knows to the extent of all I could and would do?! Forgive me, Father, and help me to forgive!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now what was I saying?

To tell a story of any kind at our house we never take the straightest path. We detour, we wander, we take the scenic route. We snack on other tidbits of information and sometimes inhale a whole meal with a variety of desserts before rerouting ourselves back on track to the original thing we were sharing.

We start here... meaning to go here when done:.......
But then.....

But then, we chase the shiny, the next thought, the next wonder......  it takes us eons to finish what we've started. And, thankfully, sometimes we do actually get to our original destiny. Sadly though, a lot of times, we never remember that long. Our minds are so scattered and we're so far from where we began that we've forgotten where we were once headed. Usually though before the day is done something will prompt that memory back into place and we'll start beginning to tell it again.... hoping we'll actually finish this time!

Though sometimes before we're done it rather looks like this:

Ah... the entertainment in a house full of blondes and brunettes! And don't you dare fool yourself, the scenic route takes talent to follow... but there's color in it, loads of feeling, laughter, crying, all sorts of exclaiming!

Can I say that I am blessed by the world that I live in!

Stayed in the One that is with me

Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 8:27 PM

I awoke this morning feeling myself awed with the wonder at the 'with-ness' of God and at all of the comfort that we can have in knowing that "He is, He was, and He is to come".

He's in our today. He was in our yesterday. He'll be in our tomorrow.

He watches, He sees, He's always there. He always cares.

Matthew 1:23 foretells of Jesus birth and says of Him, "The virgin with be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel - which means "God with us." Whoa - at the wonder! Can you truly imagine Him here? Both then. And now. And later. And because He is with us we can bask in His presence and have great hope in Him for whatever we need to have a hope for.

Psalm 130:7 says:

"...put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is
unfailing love
and with Him is
full redemption."

The King James words it this way:
"Let Israel hope in the Lord:
for with the LORD
[there is] mercy
and with Him
[is] plenteous redemption."

We're told to "put" our hope IN the Lord. We can know where and with Whom to put such hope. The word "hope" here (that we're to put in Him) means (Please note: I've typed the definitions that I've looked up along the way in blue):
  • Hope in Him.
  • Tarry in Him.
  • Wait in Him.
  • Remain in Him.
  • Be stayed in Him.
  • Trust in Him.
  • Expect in Him.
It's being stayed in God because you trust Him; and remaining in your hope because you really do have expectations of Him, so you continue to tarry and wait on Him for it ~ however long the time that it takes you ~ you don't leave, you don't stop, you don't quit, you don't give up, you still remain expecting.

For whatever reason that particular defining "stayed in Him" definition so works for me. Just staying there IN Him, staying in your Hope, staying in His word, stayed in your trust, being stayed in His promise.... just continuing in that place or in that condition, remaining, standing firm, standing fixed, standing steadfast and holding on UNTIL your anxious expectation in Him takes place. Unmoved and unmoveable no matter the force of the rains and the winds from the storms that blow against it and you. Trusting still even through the attacks that are targeted toward you. Standing firm and steadfastedly fixed even while the taunts that tempt to disengage you from your hope's hold try to tear you from it. Even when the darkness around you clouds you from seeing the Light. Stayed! Stayed there still... IN Him - where you've put your hope!

But why (when you can't see Him)... do you keep your hope there?

Why remain... when the forces against you are so strong that they tire your hold?

Why keep on waiting and tarrying then in the hope that at the moment can't be seen and seems no where to be found?

Why still be stayed... when the hope don't come?

Why... when it takes so long?


I'll tell you why. Because of the promise that follows the command to put your hope there. We're told:

"...put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is
unfailing love
and with Him is
full redemption."
"Let Israel hope in the Lord:
for with the LORD
[there is] mercy
and with Him
[is] plenteous redemption."

  • Because WITH the Lord IS a love that can't fail!
  • Because WITH the Lord is mercy... goodness... kindness... faithfulness... and favor!
  • And because WITH Him is plenteous and full redemption! Full liberation! Ransomed fully!

We can hope (when hope looks hopeless) in the One that is "
with" us, even when our eyes can't see in the moment, because God's love canNOT fail. Because Love is Patient. It's Kind. It's not rude. Nor self-seeking. It keeps no record of wrongs (as "far as the east is to the west"!). Love doesn't delight in evil. But Love rejoices in truth. It ALWAYS Protects (I like that one!). Always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres (I find that encouraging!). It never never never ever fails! It never falls, never loses, is never found powerless, it is never without effect. At our cries Mercy always comes running, because it is its nature, it can't refuse to act upon the cry that calls it.

And so.

We continue to hope, because the Lord is
with us. Because we can know that He has a zealous love toward us, that He's kind, He's benevolent (He's inclined toward performing kind and charitable acts for us), He's full of mercy toward us, and He pities to those in misfortune, He's graceful and favorable towards men. We can be stayed in our hope, because with Him is FULL redemption! Total liberation! For the ransom's been paid! Dare we think that His blood was shed in vain and hasn't the power to fully redeem? It redeems at our repenting, and not because we were innocent or because of our works. It redeems, because Jesus CAME to save! Immanuel - God with us!

But what really is this word called redemption?

Redemption is recovering something (us!). It's a deliverance upon payment of some sort of ransom (Him!). It's a rescue of some kind. A saving from something. Redeeming is recovering ownership of something by paying a price. It's setting something free. Saving someone from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. Restoring the worth and honor and reputation of someone. Reclaiming, recovering, repurchasing, reforming, repairing, restoring, taking or getting or winning back, salvaging, buying back.
He can buy back our life, our sin, our health, our heart, our hurt, our most horrid circumstances, the most awful things that we've done or what has been done to us. He can free us from what distresses and oppresses and holds or harms us. He can help us to overcome whatever is detrimental to us and brings us sorrow or sickness or death. He's able to free us from the consequences of our sin, and to change us for the better.... to breathe to us life from our death, healing from our hurt, joy from our sorrow, light from our dark.

Can we not just see a glimmer of God every once in a while and maybe just get a glimpse of Him saying, "Rest my sweet child. Trust me, dear child. I am here. I am with you always."

Remember Joseph and how we're told time after time throughout the Scripture in all of the different places that we find him in that "God was with him" there? In the pit, in the palace, in the prison and then...........can we not hear God say to us too, "
I am with you. I am here. I'm with you in this. I'm working for you here. I'm for you and never against. Hang on, hold on, let go and let Me... I'm here to get you out of this mess!"

Then, if we should take to that scripture (Psalm 130) that we started out reading and if our curiosity was piqued to read more from that chapter we would see it to say this:

"Out of the depths
I cry to You, O LORD;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If You, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with You
there is forgiveness;
therefore You are feared.
I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits,
and in His Word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put Your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD
is unfailing love
and with Him
is full redemption.
will redeem Israel
from all their sins."

Did you think to note as you read this text from whence the cry for help was bellowed from? It was yelled from out of the "depths". Have you ever been in such deep? Have you ever felt yourself drowning from all of the circumstances around you? Stuck in the mires of some sin? Tranced by the trap of deceit? Found yourself fastened to a false fascination? Wound in a web that you can't wiggle yourself out of? Held captive and entangled by some stronghold's collar? Cuffed and shackled under the weight of some burden? Sinking under some sickness? Toppling from some terror? Submerging in some sorrow? Horrifying in your (or someone else's) hurt? Pitted in some pity? Bent and bowing to some bitterness? Might you find yourself bellowing now from beneath the depths of some deep that tempt to engulf you? Are you calling out? crying out? calling for?... the One Who knit you in your mother's womb, and not only knows your name, but knows the plans He has for you? Do you ask Him: Where is that "hope" and your "future" (Jer 29:11)... those plans that are to "prosper" you and not to "harm" you? That is all right if you're crying... for if you're crying then you're on your way, it's as it should be! He longs for you to. For we have a God, a Father, a Shepherd and Savior that hears and heeds to the cries of His child and in answer to the bleating of His sheep... for He is with them (with His "unfailing love," His "mercy," and His "full redemption").

In this psalm the psalmist cries: "Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy"! Be attentive meaning to:

attention to my cry for mercy!
Listen to it!
Hear it!
Incline Your ears!
Understand my need!
Yield to my request!
Grant to my plea!
Attend to my voice, my sound,
my noise, my crying, the thundering
weep of my prayer, my supplication
crying for grace, imploring for favor,
and pleading for God's plentious pity!

The psalmists tells us that the reason for his confidence in the Lord at his cry is because (he says) God keeps no "record of sins," because "NO MAN could stand if He did" (after all: "Love keeps no record of wrong").

The King James says that "[there is] forgiveness

Can you not just imagine God carrying around a bag of forgiveness just waiting to give it out at will at our asking in the moment of our need or our want of it? :) Whoa (again), at the benefits of being "with" the Lord,... of being with the "God [that is] with us!" And so the psalmist continues to tell what he does while he stays fixed in his hope:
with Thee!"
"I wait
for the Lord,
my soul
and IN His Word I put my hope.
My soul waits
for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen waitfor the morning.
O Israel, put Your hope IN the LORD,
for with the LORD
is unfailing love
and with Him
is full redemption.
He Himself WILL redeem Israel from all their sins."

And ours too! "
He Himself WILL redeem" - will ransom, will rescue, will deliver, will let go, and set free and save! Need our hearts have reason to fear in our with-ness with our Lord and our Savior?

How Great is our God!... in Whom we trust!... and in Whom our hope is stayed..... while we WAIT for Him! Ah, what joy, what grace... for my Redeemer that died to save now ever lives to fully redeem!

"God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

I feel so favored and graced in His redemption. May you too feel as favored and graced as I do in Whom I am standing
with and fixing my faith! Got need for a hope? Or already confidently holding onto such hope to the One in your need? My hope rests in Him.... because He is ever with me and He cares for me with His UNfailing love and lives to fully redeem and restore. A perfect picture of His truth that He's shared, "we know that in ALL things God WORKS FOR the good of those who love Him..."

Hmmm.... I'm purely and totally awed and whoa-ed with the wonders and the with-ness of Him!