Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God is GOoD. This is sad. I wanted to cry.

Man, that's an intimidating place!! It's scary! It's sad! Surely, it has to be horrifying... and lonely! I can't imagine living there. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!

I had the privilege today of talking to about 130 prisoners after walking through a multitude of other inmates to get to them. It felt like God was having to part the seas in order to get me there. The officer escorting me through them kept saying, "Part to the sides, everybody. Part to the sides." There were so many guys that I secretly wondered if I didn't need extra escorts? I was told that they're way under-staffed. Ratio: Two hundred inmates to one officer! (Yikes!) Can I say it again? It was extremely intimidating! And scary! I mean, really, I kept looking around and wondering where all the officers were? And wondering if they would quickly scurry out from some hidden somewhere if needed. Let's just say, if it weren't for God, I wouldn't have been brave enough to enter.

This particular prison houses about 1,300 inmates, about double the number it was originally built to hold. It’s primary mission is the provision of mental health services. It's surrounded by a double 18-foot tall chain link fence topped with razor ribbon wire and reinforced by an electronic security system. The two massive gates and the fantastically HEAVY metal door that you're buzzed through before actually finally getting into the building almost makes you want to turn around and run, before ever getting in (Trust me, the picture doesn't do it justice!). The search after handing over your keys and your license is a very humiliating moment, and not one you want to live often.  It gets serious real quick... as if I didn't take it seriously enough already.

Then.. walking through one barred gate after another while you hear the clank before and behind you is another matter. One that I'm getting more familiar with, but one that I don't think I'll ever get used to! The hall is LONG! I mean, really LONG! With dorms on either side. Every so many feet there were guards locked behind a brick walled, shatter-proof glassed encasement (a control center). That in itself, made it seem more serious. I don't at all envy their positions.

Now, after somewhat painting the scenery, what can I say about the visit?

I don't know. Words are too hard. Some things can't be capsuled in mere letters no matter how many you try to string together, or how many adjectives you use in an effort to color it into a picture. They lack. They're too weak. They won't suffice. No words will fit!

Everything about the place is degrading. Everything! No privacy anywhere. Shamed from both fellow inmates and officers alike. Humilation from every angle. It's hard place. A dirty place. A mean place. A depressing one.

I grew up on a farm. We had horses and lots of cows. We were always getting the cows up, herding them into the pen, then funneling them into a small shoot... in order to give them shots, or pierce their ears (tag em), and sometimes brand them.  For some reason, seeing those guys having to line up and wait their turn and shuffle slowly from this place to that... it reminded me of the cows we had. It didn't seem right. Grown adult men in lines... just didn't look right. It made me sad.

But... I digress...

I feel it went as well as it could have. A praise song was sung by four talented inmates before the thing actually started. They listened. They laughed. They nodded. They amened. They gave me what appeared to be their undivided attention. They seem to understand and hear me. I told them when through that I was pulling for them and praying for them. That I hoped they defied the 78% statistic that predicts that 78% of them will be incarcerated again once let out and released. I told them that I hope they make something of themselves. That they learn from where they've been and that they turn and help someone else. I reminded them that God can redeem anything! He can... and He does... and He wants to! In order to Glorify Himself so that others can see His wonder.............

Forgive me. I'm not doing a good job here. I only want to cry! I want to cry because of where those guys have been, because of what's been done to them, because of what they've done to someone else, and because of all the odds against them once they walk out. The odds are so against them... even under the best circumstances! God is able to do anything! Heal anything! Ransom, redeem, and restore anything. Free us from anything. Bring beauty from any ashes! But we have to be willing to let Him!

Honestly... today was too big..... I know I said a lot, without saying much. I am so at a loss of words! I didn't say what I want to. I don't know how to say it. I guess it's times like these when you groan in prayer with your utterances... so then the Spirit intercedes and says for you what you don't know to ("for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered" - Rom 8:26).

I think I'm going to bed... and I'll cry. I don't know them, but I love them. I still see their faces! Today I saw true captives that I didn't want held captive! Today, I left surely feeling a tiny glimpse of what my Savior feels and understanding more why Jesus died to set them free!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Get out of jail ~ FREE?" Really?


Last night at the prison, right before we left, the girl that co-teaches with me asked the girls what their greatest fear was, "What do you fear the most?" she asked.

Interestingly, with the question, every one of them had pained faces. Sadly, not really surprisingly... yet, sadly, surprisingly as well..... their answers were unanimous. Everyone's greatest fear was the very same.

Their greatest want is getting out and going home. And as their greatest want, it is also the very thing that they fear the most.

I hate that! How sad is that! They can't wait to be set free.... yet, its also that freedom that keeps them frightened. It's something they think about all of the time... in fear, scared... petrified... trembling at the thought of once out what might happen.

What do you tell someone who wants to go, but is scared to leave?

The saddest part is knowing that getting out of jail doesn't always set one free.

There are too many people on the outside of the fence that still walk around still imprisoned. Saved Christians. People that have received the Savior Jesus that died and was risen to give them Life and give it to them in abundance (John 10:10). But yet, it was only the salvation from the final death that they received... they'll still live the rest of their lives bound with chains, walking in bondage to the strongholds that hold them, because they don't know that the power of sin over them has been broken... They don't realize that the Truth is there, and that it's in that Truth that sets them free. They'll hear the words, yet never believe them... the words will never resonate, it'll never make it inside them so they can live it out. They'll never walk in the freedom that Jesus came to give.

Yes! We really can be free!!! It's what Jesus died for! Why He rose again! It's why He came!

I want my girls even there, but especially OUT, to walk in freedom! To, yes, "Get out of jail - FREE!".... to get out of jail and really be free! It's only Truth, not chance, that can do that for them. That's why we go in to tell them of the Good News of what our Savior's said!

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33.

John 8:31-32, "Jesus said, "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.""

Rom 6:6-7, "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin."

Gal 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

So... all that being said, I've created a new card. "Chance" will never set you Free... but Truth in Christ Jesus always does!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Living... in one awe right after another!

My daughter is falling head over heels with her King! There's no other way to describe it! She is soaring from His wonder! She's basking in His pleasure! She's wow-ed at His Presence. She's amazed at all that He speaks! She's woe-ed that He not only speaks generically, but that He speaks to the moment, in specifics, to each individual... and that He can speak in just about anything around her.

She told Him this morning that she broke up with her boyfriend for Him last night! Not that the guy that she was dating is a bad guy. He's not. He, too, loves God. But at the moment they're not quite on the same page (She literally asked him the other night, "What page are you on?" Gotta love that!). Her point is that in this season she needs only to seek her Savior. To let Him woo her. She wants to learn all that she can know about Him. He has her enamored. She's falling in love... and she often is baffled at what all is happening. She can't understand His goodness. His love. His attention. His mercy. His grace. His all-over-the-place!

After staying up late she had to wake up early to open the store she works at this morning. She called me later. She told me about her ride there. About what she said to Him. About all that He said to her!!! She told Him that she needed to see Him everywhere. That she needed Him to speak to her in everything. And then. Her blew her away in the specifics of His saying! In the songs that He chose to say it in. In the songs that she'd not liked before, but was whoa-ed over the words of those songs this morning. In the songs that had been her favorite for eons at how the depths of it grew in the words that she'd just sang, but not really heard-heard and listened to before this moment. She told me that it was all she could do to make herself get out of her car once she got there... for she wanted only to sit in the car longer and bask in her God!

And then...

She went in. She did all the what-evers that it takes to open... all the while thinking of God and all that He'd said to her already this morning. After only a little while, she got an email, a "verse for the day." She got excited and was anxious to open it. She couldn't wait to see what He'd say! Here's what she found, ""The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it" (Amos 8:11-12).

She called me horrified! She told me all that had happened. Then told me about the verse that had been mailed to her. And then asked, "Does that mean He's not going to talk to me? He's been talking to me everywhere and in everything!!! And I've asked Him to! I've needed Him to! Does this means He's going to quit talking to me???"

I loved her panic! No doubt, God did too! No doubt, He loves her enthusiam! Her want! Her seeking of Him! And her horror that He'd dare silence His lips and not speak to her heart and her ears anymore!

No! I told her. It doesn't mean that. I told her the background behind it. And I told her His promise, that any who seek Him will find Him when they seek Him with all of their heart... just as she is doing. (""For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you," declares the LORD" - Jer 29:11-13).

I went outside after talking to her. Wow, the clouds are awesome today! Huge! Fluffy! White! Tons of them everywhere! I sooo see God in the clouds. I went back inside to text her about them. To tell her to go look. For this is what I see in them every time they're placed in the sky, "There is no God like ours, the clouds are His chariot as He rides across the skies to come and help us!" Deut 33:26.

I feel evidence of His running to my rescue every time I cry out and ask Him! The thought of His clouds being His chariot as He comes to help me blows my mind!

And then right after all that,  I saw someone tweet this verse that was so much more incredible because of the clouds and the verse that I'd just sent to my daughter because of them, "I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord!" Psalm 121:1.

I love my Savior! I love that He speaks! I love that He comes to our rescue! I love that He woos! I love that He draws! I love that He pulls us closer and closer and closer to Him! I love that He loves! I love that He cares! I love that He listens! I love all He does!

But today, especially, I love that He's thrilling my daughter in ways that she's never known before! In such a huge way, that she'd rather seek and pursue (while being pursued) her God right now, than seek love and find satisfaction in a boy. That's rare for a 19 year old!! Oh, the love I have for my Jesus right now!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Scared isn't the right word. But perplexed... might be

I hate to keep bringing Wednesday's engagement up. Though it's obviously been stayed on my mind. Can you tell? I'm more excited about this time, than "afraid" about it like I usually am. Who knows what the actual day will bring... but for the moment, fear isn't my overwhelming feeling. Seriously, excitement is.

And then....

My brain seems to be more "on" and in overload thinking-mode while I lay sleeping... or at least, trying to sleep. Perhaps because praying for those guys is one of the last things I do at night before falling asleep... and so it pushes them to the very most forefront of my brain.... even while dozing.

I mentioned yesterday that the night before last I thought about the missionaries that were killed in Ecuador all those years ago and how the Gospel spread there as a result of their slayings. I was listening to Jill Briscoe yesterday, and she too mentioned another missionary woman that was killed because of her service to Jesus. Jill talked about how it, too, has been used to further spread the Gospel.

Hmmm..... my ears perked up at it..... Hmmm..... okay, then. But why mention it now?

Last night I dreamed that when I went into the prison that a riot broke out. I was turned on and captured by a whole mass of prisoners. I'll leave the details to the imagination.... it's not something I even want to think of now. But you can imagine that it wasn't pleasant nor pretty. In the midst of being manhandled I was trying to tell them that I didn't understand their reaction,.... I had come because of them... to tell of what my Savior had done for me, for them too, for all of us.

I woke to my mind whirling in wonder. Not fear, surprisingly. But with a wonder if this wasn't a warning. Not a warning to keep me from going. But a warning so I wouldn't be surprised if something happened............

Then wildly, I opened (as I always do first thing in the morning) two emails that carry within them a verse for the day. The first one was. "whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it" (Matt 16:25).

The second verse was one that I've been thinking about for days. One even that I almost added to yesterday's post. One that I've often thought about or shared with others when someone's lost a loved one. One that basically lets us know that God Himself will continue working out His will and purpose for our life even after He's called us Home. It's found in Psalm 138:8. It says, "The LORD will work out His plans for my life - for Your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon Me, for You made me." Another version reads, "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me..."  And that particular verse ALWAYS reminds me of this one, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6). In other words, the work that God is working out, fulfilling, finishing isn't completed upon our deaths. The "good" work that He's begun in our lives is still being carried out and accomplished all the way UNTIL the day our Lord Jesus comes! He still works the completion of what He's made and purposed and planned for us even after our earthly body's have died!

I don't really think that anything will happen to me at the prison on Wednesday. And yet, I know that IF it does, that God has taken the sweet time to remind me that He's there, He cares, He's still in control, He's with me, it's no surprise and not out of His will, and He can still use it! Again, I don't really believe that anything bad will happen. But this I do know! That if God choses to take me Home there that the mission work has only just begun. And what I'd want to say to my kids then is this: "Hey, you're up! It's your turn! Go!" Because I would seriously hope that they would only use what happened as their platform to tell more of Jesus! And I would hope, too, that they would go back into that very prison and witness to those there... letting each of them see the pure Light and Glory of God in ways unimaginable!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

EVERY day, Lord???

Every day, Lord?

Each one?

This one too?



Last week?

Last year?

The years before that one?

The next one?

All the ones in my future?

Next Wednesday???

I know this scripture. I've been fascinated with it. It's had me spellbound at times in whoa-ed wonder for different reasons in different seasons. But today, I ran across it again, and all I can say is: You're kidding me, right? You're amazing, Lord! You're so incredible! Who can imagine? Who can fathom? What a wonder of the God we serve!!!!

The verse?

This one. "All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be" (Ps 139:16).


ALL - the days!

Ordained - for ME!

Were written (about me)!

In His book!

Before even one of them... came to be!


Can you even try to comprehend that reality?! How is that? He knows! He KNOWS!

Who is like our God who knows???

W-h-o  is like our God Who writes!!!?!!!  Who not only knows, but writes! Who ordains it. Plans it. Purposes it. Rearranges it. Works it all out for good! 

Who cares! Who prepares! Who thinks it out! Not just thinks anything out, but thinks out MY life! What He wants for me! What He plans for mine! His will for it! What He wants it to do. Where He wants it to go. How He plans to use it. Who, because I've received Him, lives INside it! 

Nothing can happen to me outside the will or the allowance of God. He has written what He hopes for me, what He's dreamed for me, how He can use me, how He can work everything out in my life to use for good, how I can love people through Him, and how He can show others that love and who He is through me.

Woe. Is there anything more comforting to know? (Well, besides "Jesus loves me this I know... for the Bible tells me so."...... And maybe a few more other things. But still! :) )

I KNOW that HE KNOWS the plans He has for me.... and so I go to Him daily and ask Him for it! I ask Him to lead me. I ask Him to help me. I remind Him that I don't know and won't know until He tells or shows me. I remind Him that if I've rebelled, I'm sorry. And if I've missed it, I've not meant to... so, if You will please tell me again, God. And He does!

Before running across this verse that has been thrilling me so today, I was thinking about the guys in the prison @ Bullock that I'll be speaking to on Wednesday. I was reminded that there is power in God's word, that when He sents it forth that it accomplishes what He has sent it to do. I was reminded of the Holy Helper that we have in the Holy Spirit. That lives inside us. That guides us. That reminds us all of what to say to the who that we're saying to in the very exact moment that He has us saying it. And it's then... in the midst of all that... that this scripture popped out at me. And I sat back in awe in my chair and grinned at Him because of what my God had just spoken, "All the days ordained me where written in Your book before one of them came to be." I immediately realized that Wednesday's ordinance has already been written. The Author's hand has already penned it. It's already been inscribed and engraved on the scroll in a Book that's hard for me to imagine that has existence. Wow, Lord, what will go on in that room on Wednesday? Who will be sitting there? What will I be saying? Who all will be listening? What will they hear from all that is said? Where will it take them? What will they do with it? How will I feel when I leave? How much will You burden me with them? How many prayers, after that, for them will be said because they'll be engraved inside my mind's memory?

Every day, Lord? This one too? This moment today? My running across Your words? My awe? My thrill? My wonder? My have-to to tell of it? My typing it now?

Funny, it wasn't so long ago, that this verse thrilled me before (You can find it here.). It was for a different happening... but how I do love how God has a tendency to keep bringing things He's said up again. It is alive and active. It is God-breathed. It says so many things. And fits our moments so well! I love that! I love Him! I love the day the Lord has made! and I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where will it take you?

He bumped her today with his cruelty and meanness!

It was ugly what he said.

It hurt!

As she was telling me about it I wondered if she would follow it?

And I wondered if she did... where it would take her... and how far she would let it? What's its intent? Where will she end up? How far will it go? How far will she? And... how LONG?

I was so proud I could hardly stand it. She didn't fall for it!... though she was tempted to. She didn't "insult" back (1 Pet 3:9-11), as he had. She didn't repay his evil with evil of her own! She remembered what God had said. And when the fiery trial of testing came (1 Pet 1:6-7)... she passed it! It's Jesus' face that was revealed! Her faith proved "genuine." She "blessed" Mean's evil and insult... just as she had been called to (1 Pet 3:9-11)!

Horray for her!

If only we could see the scheme behind the enemy's plans! If only we recognized it in the midst of it, in the moments while it's happening. Our battle is not against flesh and blood... but against: rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12).

I do wonder... do we forget that?

Let me just take the word "authorities" and expand on the meaning of that word a minute. Again, it says, that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities..... against the power of choice... against physical power.... against mental power.... against the power to rule over us!

And then, "the powers of this dark world".... powers here means: against "the lord of this world," against "the prince of this age," against "the devil and his demons"!

Against "spiritual forces of evil"...... evil =  iniquity, wickedness, evil purposes and desires.....  annoyances, and hardships, perils to a Christian's faith and steadfastness. Against those forces of evil causing us pain and trouble............ basically, in hopes that we will turn and bow to Satan's will of evil, instead of standing up for what's right and doing as God's told us. 

Are we too blind to what we can see (the flesh of the person that hurt us), that we can't see the plan and the purpose behind it... that Satan wants a hold on us! That his desire is to have us. That his hope is to devour us! And he'll use any means whatsoever in hopes to do so.

She was hurt... and hurt's defense usually gets mad. She did at first. And Cain did too in Genesis 4. God asked Cain in his moment, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you"  [master you, control you], "but you must master" [rule, exercise dominion over] "it" (Gen 4:6-7).

Cain didn't master it. He let his anger master him. He killed his brother. My friend mastered hers, and the evil that longed and desired her... didn't win!

I used the friend of mine above in my example here. I'm so thrilled that she didn't follow the power that would walk her into darkness! She chose, instead, the higher road... but too many times we get lost in the lower one!

I've got a "downcast face" that I'm battling. Not one of anger, but one of hurt feelings. But with that I've got so much JOY in my life right now that it doesn't seem fair that it also includes a constant nagging bother. A tug that keeps pulling... trying to capture my look.... an evil that wants to have me! I needed the reminder that it's not flesh and blood that my battle's against. My battle is against the rulers and the powers that desire to overtake me.... that wants to rule over me...  that wants more than anything for me to bow down to it and serve it.... to get lost in it.... to follow it to bitterness.... and anywhere else that I'll let it to as far as it'll take me.

I refuse to!

I'm taking the higher road like my friend did!

"The joy of the LORD is my strength!" He is my Refuge! My "very present help in times of trouble"!!! And as GOoD as He is, and as much as He's done, and the Thrill that He's given............. I refuse to let go of theJOY that my God has so gracious given me, especially in this season I'm in! I'd be an idiot to trade the feeling I've got for another that'll keep me in misery.

"If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction" (Ps 119:92). "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy" (Ps 126:5-6). "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.... "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us, and we are FILLED with joy" (Ps 126:2-3)!

Woe! A bit scary!... after last night's thinking

"I was in prison and ye visited me not..."

My mind has constantly been thinking of the men at the men's prison that I'll be speaking at next Wednesday. This particular prison has a reputation of being a rough one. Matter of fact, one guy in the DOC calls it the roughest one in Alabama. I've been there before. It is a bit intimidating. Expecially when having to go into the deepest part of it that you can go into, which is where I will be going.

I was lying in bed talking to God about those guys last night. Asking Him how I can already love and care about them so much without ever having met them? And then, I was thinking about what a man had told me about them earlier........................ Can I just say, you don't need to know or hear or listen to everything.


He'd told me about the rioting there, the drug usage (on the inside), the meanness, the fights, the gangs, the............... He told me, too, that many of them were Atheist, Wiccan, Muslim - which aren't just toally opposed to Christians, but hate them. I instantly remembered that so many in Jesus' day hated Him as well... and so, wanted to kill Him.

Oh my!

Had I allowed myself to stay on that thought for long fear would have consumed and paralyzed me. I quickly changed my thinking.

I remembered that Christ died for them anyway in hopes to save and deliver them. I remembered what I'd told my children before ever walking into the first prison, that if something happened to me while I was there that God is the One who sent me and that He is still in control. That if anything happened He plans to use it for His glory. I thought that maybe I needed to (just in case) again remind my children.

I remembered Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Jim McCully and the two other missionaries that once went to teach the Auca Indians about Jesus and were murdered by them... And how Elizabeth Elliot went back to live there among them after her husband was killed and that's what God used to touch them and make a difference.


I fell asleep praying for those guys behind bars to hear God somehow in something I said, to see Him someway in my skin while I was there, and asked Him to use me in the only way He can to draw them to Him. (No, **smile**, I'm not going there to preach, but I will get to share what my Savior has done for me.)

And then....

I get two "verses for the day" emailed to me each morning in my inbox. Not even thinking about last night's wonder I opened the first one. It read...

"The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thes 3:3).

I smiled and immediately remembered where my thoughts took me last night. I thought that if my next verse says something else about protecting me from evil... that maybe I ought to be worried. (Not really worried.... but it'd sure make my "what's-that-about" antenna flag to alert!)

It said.... "[Jesus says,] "I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deeds will be talked about in her memory"" (Matt 26:13).

Oh dear!


Seriously, really, I'm not worried. With every minute that passes... I get more excited at having the opportunity to talk with those guys! Who would have thought? I never would have dreamed it! And if God hadn't set the whole thing up, I never would be there. I didn't go looking for it. It came looking for me. I trust HIM! And, too, He's poured His love for them inside my soul. I can't wait to see them. I'm a poor vessel to send, but I soo hope they see Jesus!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Their hearts made mine cry!

I just left my PWHD (Princess Warriors in Human Disguise) group of inmate girls. Their hearts made mine cry. We're all girls. We think the same things. Feel the same things. Want the same things. We have the same hurts. Their hearts have been broken just as ours on the "outside" have. They've made mistakes just like we did. They're living their consequences day in and day out year after year after year. And it's hard. But they're doing it. Studying the bible as they go. Seeking God's forgiveness, His mercy, His grace. Reaping His love and the healing He brings!... even if sometimes it's in baby steps. Even if sometimes it's one step forward, seven steps back.....

We had a celebration today. We just finished one bible study before heading soon to a next one. The warden gave us permission to take snacks in. They oohed and ahhed over the pink plates I brought. And then did the same for the pink napkins. You can only imagine how excited they were about the food that went on it. I love their excitement over even the least of things! It's such an honor and privilege to serve them! It's me that leaves with the priceless reward... every time I meet with them!

I got so excited myself today. Just by being there. Just by reminding them that I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES... because He's redeemed ME!

I shared with them one of the scriptures that simply sums up my life. It's found in Psalm 119:92 and says, "If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction" !!!

I told them that it's real, and it's true! He and His Word is the greatest Thrill of my life! If not for it, I'd be wretched. I told them that the reason I stay myself in His word is because it's the only thing that saves me. "The joy of the Lord is my strength" (Neh 8:10). And I say that daily, because the joy of the Lord is!

If His word had not been my delight after my misery and my failures, I truly would have perished in my misery! I would have been lost, I would have given up, I would have been destroyed! His Word surprised me with it's "delight"ness! If I hadn't found delight from Him in my turmoil, I would have sought delight from somewhere else. I like to be delighted! I'm going to seek delight from something! And my Lord didn't disappoint me! Any other "delight" would have been a fake facade, and led me only to misery. My God has brought me out of the pit. Ransomed me, redeemed me, refueled me, and restored me. And now I bask in His joy... and it's there (in that joy) that when "trouble" comes that I find my strength! Again, "If His law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction."

Like I said, "I know that my Redeemer lives," because I am living proof of His redemption!

I cried all the way home after leaving the girls. They're so sweet. I know they're wrong (or that they've done wrong), but I hate that they're locked up. And have NO air-conditioning!!! It's horrid around here! The heat is sweltering! They messed up... horribly... and yes, they're now paying the consequences for their actions. It's never off their minds. Even while seeking healing from our Healer, they can't forget what they've done. One girl in particular today started getting emotional, tearing up, but trying not to cry. She's the "tough" girl in the room, the one who rarely shows emotion, so she got ragged pretty hard for "feeling" out loud by the other girls. All in fun, not ridiculing. Wow! I love those girls! They haven't a clue how much I love them... and how much I want life to work out for them. What a blessing God has given me through them! My reward is overwhelming! I can't thank God enough for His goodness!

This was sweet. My youngest daughter and her friend helped prepare me with the snacks to bring. They planned the menu for me and grocery shopped for all the ingredients. They left to go out of town on Sunday, so left me with detailed instructions of what to do to make the dishes they'd chosen. I told the inmates about what they'd done. They loved it! They loved their hearts that showed they cared for theirs. And so, they all wrote them thank you notes on one of the pink napkins. I read it on my drive home. How sweet they are! That's what started my tears and made me cry. At the end of one girl's note she wrote, "P.S. Thanks for sharing your Mom with us! We love her!"

Woe at the rewards God has blessed and given to me through those girls! Who would have thought to... but Him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No doubt there are many people who hate these ladies that I now call mine for the things that they've done. But being priviledged to go on the inside, here's the angle I see. Talking about my heart... I can only imagine what God's heart feels for those girls. As He sees their hurt, sees their sorrow, hears their cries, hears their prayers, catches their tears, cares for each one, and sees them turn His pages to seek Him in His word..................................................... I can only say, it's a beautiful picture and beautiful hearts that I see!

Jesus... it's Your turn for a test!

This post will be short and sweet and to the point. I don’t have time to talk as much as I’d like ((*smile*)). I’ve got to be out of here in a minute. Ugh!

I was reading 1 Corinthians 10 for a totally different reason. The 9th scripture (not the one I was heading toward) popped out at me. Not because of the first version I’d read it in. Nor the second. Not even the third. But it was the fourth’s version that caught my attention. I loved how The Message dumbed it down (so to speak) and made it so plain and so simple.

The NIV (speaking of the Israelites in the desert) says, “We should not test the Lord, as some of them did…”

The AMP, “We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did…”

The KJV, “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted…”

But… The Msg verbalized it this way, “We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving Him…”

Wow! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving Him. Hmmm… it’s something to think about. Something to ponder….

When I pray to Him and ask Him things in my prayers… and then when I get disappointed and mad at Him because He’s not done what I’ve told Him…. Woe, it’s then that I’ve got it backward. It’s then that I’m praying “my will” and NOT His. And it’s then that I’m thinking that I know best, but that even if I don’t I want it anyway; so I’m mad at Him for not doing it or giving it in the way that I want it and in the time frame of my planning.

I am to serve Him. He’s not to serve me. I am to seek His face and His will in my prayers (as Jesus did), not pray to Him as a way of my calling Him up to place my order, telling Him exactly what I want and when I’d like it delivered.

We whine. And we wail. And we throw fits. We complain to each other. We cry like a baby before Him…… perhaps saying “Your will, not mine,” yet not meaning it. Or thinking we “trust Him,” but deep down not believing it. We try to manipulate, bargain, when only He knows best and not me.

We, like the Israelites, don't trust Him for food or for water when He's fed us all these years through the deserts before now. We often don't believe Him to do the next miracle, when He's parted the seas and drowned the enemies chasing us. Where is our faith? Why do we lack? We bow down to false gods and idols, serving them, feeding them, sacrificing to them, when they only enslave us to bondage instead of set free.

We writhe in our trials as if He hasn't warned us that we'd have them. We can't understand our "troubles" when He's said it's part of this world that we live in. We forget that He's overcome... and come to set us free. He tells us that when we cry He sends forth His word to heal us... and yet, when we receive His word (telling us what to do) we fail to do what it says, because we want an instand miraculous healing without any effort on my part.

I want to work for God! I want to live serving Him... not live trying to make Him serve me! He lives to lead us, to guide us, to instruct us, to protect us, to provide for us, to heal us, to turn our filty rags into righteousness. So, knowing all of that, can't I trust Him? He knows what fulfills us, satisfies us. He knows our needs. He knows what we were created and put here for. He knows the plans and purpose He has for us... which is the only thing that will fulfill us in the end. So, knowing that, can't I trust Him?

God.. after all You've done for me... may I live to serve You until You call me Home. I love You. I am so in awe of You. You are my constant thoughts and thinking. I thank You! May I honor You with Your name! May I live to make You renown! May I spent my life as a witness to others of what my Savior has saved me from and the Life You came to give me! May I live it to the fullest. And when my life is done, may my life not be remembered, but the only the Jesus that lived inside me! What an honor to carry You. May I do it to Your Glory! Oh... may I do it to Your Glory alone! You, LORD! You... and not me!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Love compels... even when fear tries to stop it.

I got two emails already this morning confirming speaking arrangements at two different men's prisons. Last week was a tremendously busy week. I was invited to speak at three. But one I didn't feel comfortable accepting. Because of a previous experience there, I honestly felt God had kindly and gently shut the door there before I was even asked to go. And so I declined both times the coordinator of their Re-Entry Program asked me to. And wildly, my knowing of where I wasn't supposed to go, it seemed to reaffirm the rightness in saying "Yes" to the two that I did.

Still. As it always does, fear gripped me with even the thought of it. But again, as God has reminded me of so often, "Love casts out fear." Love goes whether fear grips you or not. Love isn't frozen in fear. Because love cannot help itself. Love doesn't just say it loves. Love has to do something. Love has to act! Love doesn't think of self. Love is compelled. Love goes to help another.

We often hear that "love is blind," and perhaps it both is and it isn't. For sometimes love is blind. But sometimes love sees, but goes despite it... because love is focused on the thing it loves and so runs past its danger.

Ex: One's house can be on fire, but love runs into it anyway in hopes to save the one that's loved inside it.

My fear isn't of them. My fear is in self. In my inadequacy. In my insecurity. My fear is self-centered, not other-centered. And self-centeredness is never what we're called to.

God tells us that He is our strength in our weakness. He equips with the sending. He empowers with the obedience. In Him I have no need for fear. So it's me (the "in" me) that always presents the problem. It's the "in" Him that moves me to go anyway... trusting in my God who is able.. and feeling confident not in myself, but in my Savior!

Twice just recently I heard two completely different stories from two completely different places of God reminding me that "I am not Jesus."  I laughed so hard when I heard them. I laughed even more realizing that they were for me.

Every time I've spoken in prisons before, even scared as I was, afterward I felt a HUGE want-to to go back in. A panic inside that felt it had to. I needed to say more. I needed to see them again. I needed them to know how much I care and how much I've been praying and I'm pulling for them. To remind them of how much God does and is... and will do if they'll stay determined and let Him. It's after the last event of this that God reminded me that I am not Jesus! That I'm not their Savior. That He's the only One Alone that has sent me.... I've said what I needed to... He's perfectly capable and able to handle the rest. It's not entirely up to me. And He continues to work even after I've gone. His word that was sent forth is fully capable of doing what it was sent forth to do... without my pounding it into them.

"I am not Jesus." Isn't that nice to know. Comforting. Refreshing. Safe. A good feeling.

Oh Jesus, prepare my heart and my mind and my words for the next group of guys that You're sending me to. Help me to love them regardless of the fact that I don't know them and haven't seen them before. Fill me so full of Your love that it's felt the minute I walk into the room. Help them not to see me, but to be enamored with You. Awed. Overwhelmed. Drawn. Convicted. Whoa-ed by Your wonder. Help them to feel soo loved.. that they cannot help but love in return. Help them to feel so drawn, that they cannot help but for the rest of their lives continually, whole-heartedly, seek their Savior. Help them as they get out to walk society's streets again to feel Your love, to feel Your protection, to feel Your heart beating for and IN them. And help them then, when they get released, to go in search to help another! Help them to always remember where they've come from, and help them to be fantastically compelled to keep others from going! You came to set the captives free, Lord, free them forever with a freedom that they've never even imagined before! May they now be yoked to You alone... seeking to serve You and living the rest of their lives on this earth with a fire in their bones that must tell of the love of their Jesus! May they go out blazing Your Glory!



All of my life I've heard the horror stories. "Wow, if you think two and threes are bad, just wait until the teenage years."

I've heard about the rebellion. The deaf ears. The erratic thinking. The slamming of doors.  The screams from within.....

I now have three.

Three teenagers, that is.

A sixteen year old (in 20 days). A seventeen year old. And a nineteen year old.

And can I say, they are simply the three sweetest kids I know! We have never had so much fun. Never been closer. Never understood each other more. Never had conversations as deep. Never had such love for each other.

Today I just felt the need to express it. Teenagers get such a bad rap. But not all teenagers are bad. I've got the greatest bunch! I love them so much it makes my heart hurt! I am blessed beyond measure... and FEEL it! Lord, thank You for the blessings You've given me! I cannot thank You enough! I have never been more thankful nor so proud of my babes!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

That's easy for you to say

I have a friend whose father left him and his mom when he was only a tottler. He "traded them in for lesser things... drinking and drugs and all that comes with it." His response to me after reading my earlier blog was, "How do I honor that?"

Good question.

I have another friend whose father not only abused her physically and mentally, but abused her sexually, as well. Horribly so! Day after day after day. Year after year after year. Until she was beaten beyond recognizable. Striped, and left for death. Her reaction to what I had written?

Same question.

How do I respond to that? I don't know either. There's nothing at all honorable in their actions, so how do you honor the man that's behind it? I don't know how you can honor someone you not only don't respect.... but one who you resent for legitimate reasons because of all he did.. or for all he didn't do.

Any suggestions from someone who's been there, done that.... or from someone much smarter than I am?

I don't know how you honor a father like that, all I know is that we're told to. We're not only told to, we're commanded to honor our fathers. And like I said in my earlier blog, I do understand the repercussions (being cursed) when you don't. For if we carry hatred and resentment and bitterness inside us, then the curse of that alone will eat us up! Make us mean! Make us vengeful! Possibly lead us to grow up to be just like them... even while different.

Maybe the first step toward 'honoring' those that have wronged us is having the same attitude toward them that Jesus had toward those that had beaten Him, spit upon Him, striped Him, and nailed Him to a cross when He'd done nothing at all to deserve it? A "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" kind of an attitude... while surrendering your fate to your Father in Heaven as He did.

The verses in Matthew 6:12, 14, and 15 (where we find what we call The Lord's Prayer) says this, "12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.... 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Have you ever noticed, though, the verse sandwiched between those verses in verse 13? Jesus first prays that we will forgive and then says, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" and then proceeds again with His previous thought on forgiving.

Wonder why the interruption? Or is it not an interruption at all? Is Jesus simply telling us why we must forgive? That if we don't, then it's prime time and prime opportunity for the evil one to lead us into temptation? To lead us to do things, think things, and act ways that we wouldn't be tempted to do if we simply first forgave our offender.

Remember Cain and Abel. "Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must master it" (Gen 4:5-7).

What are you angry about?

Why is your face downcast?

Who is your offender?

Can you not forgive him?

If you do right (even when another has done you wrong) will you not be accepted? Will you not be released from being tortured? Will you not be released from the curse?

But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door..... (the evil one lies ready to tempt us to hatred, to rage, to anger, to slander, to avenge, to bitterness, to murder).... it desires to HAVE you.... but YOU (with the help of your Savior) must master it.

You can't do it alone, yet we're enabled by the Spirit of Him that died to save us and now lives inside us if we belong to Him.

Again, to address the question above, "How do I honor that?" First, you don't honor the sin... but still, how do you honor the man behind it? No doubt some of what I've written plays into the answer. But, I myself, am curious and looking for answers. That's a hard one! Any takers? Any suggestions from someone more knowledgeable than me that I might share with those that are finding such honoring to be difficult?

My greatest suggestion: Do what Jesus said, what God commanded. Ask Him to help you do it. Say only possitive things about him. Keep your mouth shut about him if you can't find any. Realize that he's a sinner too. One who needs love. One who needs mercy. One who needs grace. One who without God is terribly messed up. Pray to the Father asking His help in the matter. Forgive. And then ask for forgiveness for not forgiving earlier. Ask God to change you, to tender your heart, to renew your mind, to transform your attitude and your thinking. And then keep on praying until God heals you and makes you different and more like Him because of it.

To all you Dads... HaPpY FaThErS Day to you!

To all you dads: HaPpY Father's Day to you!

Fathers..... what would we do without them? We wouldn't be here, for one (*smile*); we'd have no life without them. So there's the first thing we can thank them for, regardless at what kind of father they've been.

Some didn't have the greatest fathers in the world. Many don't. Some fathers died short... or opted to leave early. Some disappeared before birth and their kids never knew them at all. I'm sorry for all those that have had to suffer without them... and for all those fathers who'll never know what all that they missed because of what they chose.


My daddy was (and still is) the best! Perfect? No. But there's not a thing in this world that I would trade about him. He's supported me, provided for me, protected me, taught me, disciplined me, defended me, and loved me through a whole lot of stuff and a whole bunch of years. He's not a real talkative man, but when he's in the mood... Oh, at the stories that he has to tell! The times are fewer now and far between, but when my siblings and I and all of our kids go home and he starts telling his tales he has us rolling for hours! We laugh until our stomachs are sore! So hard that our faces are distorted to undignified ugly. Even at the things that a long time ago wasn't too pleasant or funny and not laughable at all the time it was first happening. Some of his stories that he tells came before we were... and some after we've been.

I love my dad. I'm thankful for who he was... and who he still is... and for who he's still yet to become.

We're told to honor them, you know. And it doesn't say if they are honorable. God simply tells us to honor our fathers. Wrong or right, mean or not, lovable or unlovable.... somehow we're told to honor them. Deuteronomy 27:16 warns us that we'll be cursed if we don't. If we dishonor them, disgrace them, despise them, treat them with contempt, or treat them shamefully.... then, evil or doom or misfortune or trouble or plague or affliction will fall upon us.

But what if they've treated us that way? What if they've dishonored us? treated us with contempt? treated us shamefully? despised and disgraced us?

Even then!

We're still called to honor.

Even then!

We'll still be cursed if we don't.


That seems rather harsh. That seems mean. Unfair. Undeserved.

Maybe it means it this way,.... maybe it's like when Jesus told His disciples that we're supposed to forgive seventy times seven,.... maybe it's like the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt 18:21-35) who was turned "over to the jailors to be tortured" because he wouldn't forgive after he'd been so lavishly forgiven? Maybe the curse is all the things that imprison and torture us because we still hold onto the hurt... we still resent the one that's hurt us... we hate them.... we've become embittered?

Don't think your father will get away with it. I'm sure he has his own prisons and torturers that he has to battle with each day, because of what he's done... or what he didn't do. But don't think your wrong is any righter (or acceptable to God) than his is. If you won't honor... then you and your father are both wrong... just differently.

Woe, I opened a blogged intending to write something positive about fathers. I'm not sure why I took such a detour or where that came from. Perhaps someone was struggling and this was very much needed? I will say this though, to those of you whose fathers were never ever much of a father at all, I haven't ever been there. There's no way I can relate. I know it's easier for me to have said what I just did because I don't feel your pain and can't imagine the feeling and don't know where you're coming from. But I am sorry though! I'm sorry for your pain. I'm sorry for your hurt. I'm sorry that you can... and that you've had to suffer and try to live through it. I hope you let God to take a bad thing (an evil thing) in your life and use it for good.

Psalm 68:5 and 6 talks about God being a father to the fatherless and how He "sets the lonely in families." Wow! If you've not got an earthly father.... you sure have a Heavenly One! If you're lonely.... is there a family that God Himself has set and placed you in? If not now?.... perhaps He's planning to and preparing you one? Regardless of what kind of earthly father you've got.... we sure have the Ultimate Father in our God! And a Savior that saves in His Son!

To all you fathers out there that fight the battle everyday... fighting FOR your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes (Neh 4:14), more power to ya! May God bless you greatly!

To all of you that are painfully laboring through the sweat of your brow over the thorns and thistles that your jobs produce daily (Gen 3:17-19), though it's tremendously hard and challenging, don't forget to be thankful for the "daily bread" that you are given each day... just enough manna for the day to sustain you. I know it gets hard. But your God is Faithful! And He's faithful to give us exactly what we need in the very time that we need it.... whether we get exactly what we think we need or not.... He is our Shepherd, we shall not want.

To the fathers that have failed your children, it's not too late to work to redeem it. God can help you ransom and redeem what the locust has eaten. He's mighty to save... even after we've mightly blown it.

HaPpY Father's Day to all you fathers out there... no matter where you are or you've been on your journey. May God reach you and teach you and mold you and make you into an earthly father that imitates and looks just like Him when done!

And to my Dad.... I'll never be able to thank you enough. Daddy. You've been the ultimate! You've loved unendingly and unfailingly. You've fought for us and sacrificed. You strove to raise us "right" and showed us our Heavenly Father... not only in words, but also by example. I've felt safe under your wings. You have been a stronghold that I've always felt comfortable running to. You are a pillar that is stable and strong in God's Word. Your wisdom astounds me. You've faced sickness for so long... and surely have longed to move on Home, and yet your love for us has given you determination to fight to still stay here on earthly soil so that you can help us in all of our needs. Wow, at all that you've done! You encourage me and inspire me. I want to be like you when I grow up!

I'll say one more thing and then hush. I got the greatest compliment the other day. A girl wrote to me and said, "You are your father's daughter." It made me cry! What a compliment! Your love for God and your want to spread God's word and love to others bled out through you to me. I caught it, dad! I caught your love for Him and your wonder! I am awed by you! I thank YOU for your love and tenacity for Jesus! You gave me the greatest gift! I treasure the gift that you've given!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

He continues to do what He does!

No sooner did I hit "publish post" to my earlier blog when Prissy called me. She's out of town. She's "despairing." She's drowning in frustration. People are messing up her mood! Her good one. The one she left California with. She feels like crying.

She had called me, then texted me, earlier. She's been trying to fight the feeling. But things haven't only not been working out. Things seem to be meaning not to and purposefully working totally against her.

She just got back from a mountaintop experience with God on Saturday where she basked in His wonder! Where He woo-ed her. Drew her. Whoa-ed her. Blew her mind continually! Where He wow-ed her with His Presence. She had never been so thrilled by her Savior like then. It was at a Christian camp for 7 full days. And she came home from there still soaring in the Heavenlies.

But, if you've been there you know this, coming down from a mountaintop experience is hard! That high you had is quickly snatched, hit, beat out of you. It's hard to stay in that high, because the enemy is relentless in his determination to take that from you. It's a fight. And it's fierce. And ow.... it's mean... and hard to explain.

So... that's where she is. Like I said, she called me earlier to tell me what was going on. Then, later she texted me. She said, "I'm so frustrateddddd... And I don't even know why? Ugh."

I texted her back, "Pray that God will change your mood. And then, let Him do it."

Her reply? "Okay. You talked me into it."

A few minutes later, "Oh mannnnnn it's not working and progressively getting way worse."

It was only a few minutes later when she called again. This time, even more frustrated. She could hear a sigh of some sort in my voice. I know this, because she asked me about it. I told her it's because of what we just texted each other. She said, "I know. But for just a minute I need to vent."

So. I listened.

And then... she did! :)

I told her what I knew about mountaintop experiences with God and what happens when you come back to normal. I told her how hard it is. I told her how mad it makes the enemy. And then, I told her about my day. Some of which I'd just posted. I was surprised at how intense she listened. How I could tell that to her it was making great sense.

I told her about us still being called to be a "Display of God's Splendor" no matter what happens. I told her about the fight I'd had. The one to keep my joy and not let mean rob me of it. I told her how He gives us a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. And that our 'strength' will be found in our 'joy' of the Lord.

She was driving as I was talking and suddenly thought she was lost. She had to get off the phone to call someone near to get directions.

It wasn't long before I heard my phone tell me a had a new text. I wondered what she'd say next? I was a bit fearful of the news. Here's what I found her to say, "The exact words when I turned on the radio was, "You've turned my mourning into dancing, put off my rags and clothed me with gladness!""


I responded, "Wow! That's Him talking and showing you His favor. Letting you know He knows what's going on. He's sending you JOY! He wants you to be strong."

She said, " :)  (I really smiled out loud!)"

How's that for a Savior that wants to so be in our business and help us IF we'll ask Him to! One Who takes off our rags and clothes us with gladness..... simply because that's Who He is... that's what He does!

I'm loving Him a zillion gabillion trillion times today! And feel I love Him more!

There's MORE

Wow! There's even more to my day since I've posted! God is totally outdoing Himself! I shall have to share this also. Give me a minute... I'll be back! :)

Speaking of.. the mean mood that I earlier mentioned

What is it about a "mean mood" that so much likes to share? That wants to invite you into its ugly? That desires to? That tempts to? That tries so hard to force into? And, worse of all, is so contagious?

This morning my "Happy" was met by Mr. Mad! And after such a meeting it was hard not to fall into its same pit.

I walked away with a downcasted face. In my despair I wanted to act ugly back. I didn't. I didn't say anything. But my brows were still furrowed. My happy was gone. It had been crushed and beaten and left for dead.

Back in my world (away from mad's mood) I kept thinking about it. I had been studying the second half of Isaiah 61:3 all week ("They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.") and immediately I thought, "Well, she's not displaying His Splendor, for sure!" Yet with that thinking, too, I remembered right behind it, that I am still to be a display of God's splendor whether she is or not!




That's right. I am.

I NEVER HAVE ROOM TO POINT!!! And Jesus always makes a point of letting me know that! (Secretly, I'm so glad He does! That tactic in that reminder alone is almost always successful in defusing my burning fuse and keeping my bomb from exploding.)


My mood was not yet feeling it. My feelings were still hurt.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh 8:10) kept echoing in my mind.

I said to God, "I need to be strong... thus I need some joy! I will stay weak without it... until joy comes along. I need some strength, Lord. So send me some."

Surprisingly (I asked... so I don't know why it was so surprising) after that (and without putting much effort into it) it didn't take long! I was soon strong. I'd found my joy! And the joy of Him overcame anything that had previously been casted-down.

We're to be called "oaks of righteousness, a planting...."

Oaks of what's right. (I love that!) A planting (of His!)! You'll know them by their fruit, Jesus had said (Matt 7:18-20). What fruit when hit today was I bearing?

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.... Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature... Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" (Gal 5:22-25). The Spirit's fruit is LOVE!..... KINDNESS!.... GOODNESS..... and SELF-CONTROL! Perhaps that means the self-control to crucified the sinful nature's default into madness when Mad knocks! If I remember correctly (and I do!), it's our moment's call to bless (1 Pet 3:9)!

I so wanted to be bearing the fruit of the Spirit! I wanted to have the same Spirit as my Father's! I wanted to imitate and walk in the steps of my Savior's! I need His love... I need to love too!

Joy was now in place! And, too, it showed on my face!


On the road again and heading toward an appointment later I got behind a man driving 25 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed limit zone. I was in a hurry. Can you guess what I was thinking?

I remembered (as I've remembered so often lately) that love is patient!... and love is kind! So, woe! I backed off of his tail and readjusted the feeling that was about to creep in. Again, I remembered what I'd remembered earlier... that I'm supposed to be displaying my Lord's Splendor! How could I do that with frustration and impatience taking over my display of rhe moment instead?

I smiled! And started singing a song!

Hmmm.... shall I share another part of that verse that helped bump me from my mood, the one that calls us a Display of His Splendor? It tells us that Jesus came to give us "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."  A garment... of praise! Instead of... a spirit despairing! WOE! Because look what I was now wearing!!!

That's what Jesus did for me today! He changed the garment I put on from a despairing one to one that couldn't praise Him profusely enough.

Wow... what a Savior we have that still saves! He does what He says! He means what He's promised! He's faithful to fulfill if we simply bow to His commandments.

I once said to Him today, "Save me! I'm Yours. I belong to You" (Ps 119:94). And guess what? My Savior did! I am in awe of the One I belong to that continually reaches to save! And awed even more that He is ever willing and ALWAYS WANTS TO!

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Ps 46:1). An Ever-Present Help! Our Refuge! Our Strength!... in the very minute we need it! Indeed, He is! You cannot beat the God we serve!

P.S, "Renew the mind".... "take every thought captive"....... Oh wow, so many of God's verses works here!

P.S.S. It works! It works! God's word works!!!!!!!

He send forth His word and HEALS!!! ("Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them..." - Ps 107:19-20)  I mean, I already know it works. It just worked expotentially for me all day in every place I turned and everything that was thrown out and hit me!

Oh, Lord, thank You for not allowing the enemy to rob me of my mood in You today! You thrill me beyond my greatest imagination! I am enthralled with YOUR beauty!