Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Does dies?

While texting the word "does" today, T9 suggested I type "dies". Hmmm... only a single letter difference. I thought it interesting from the moment I saw it. I've been thinking about it all day. I wondered: Do you have to die to actually do? Or. Do you die because you don't do? Does doing require dying of some kind to get something done that is worthy? Is life not worth it, if we're not doing good of some sort, does something inside us die? Does dies? Does it really? (FYI: when sharing such thoughts with my sister, she kindly kept her silence, but shook her head from my weird way of thinking.)

After pondering upon that thought for a while a lady called me. She was preparing to speak to a church group about helping the prisoners. She needed some insight on what to say. She wanted to pick my brain.

It's after I got off the phone that I begin thinking: We pass them by! The striped and beaten and robbed and left for dead people. We pass them by! And sometimes, especially in this season. 

We pass them by on our way to buy presents. On our way to a party. On our way to grab coffee. We can't donate a few dollars to them, because we need that money to go get our hair done. We've got to get food prepared... so that we can feed the already fed. So we can give to the already gotten... those that don't really need it. So we can share the season with those that already have someone to share it with. We pass by those that need it the most.... simply because we fail to see them. In our hustle and bustle and all full of good cheer.... we don't see them in our blindness, they never cross our minds. Or if they do, we might put a few dollars in the Salvation Army's bucket as they sit ringing the bell by the door when we run into Cosco. What are we missing? Why don't we see them? What if they were someone we loved? What if one day one year one of them were us?

Like I said, I don't think we mean to. We're joyful in our season. We sing our "Merry Christmas's"... and we truly mean it. But look what James says... and while looking, see if it fits you: 

"What good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds" [In other words, but does not "do"... (As we're referring to it today: but has no "does")]? "Can such faith save him?"  Woe, listen to this part, "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accomplished by action, is dead" (James 2:14-17). 

What good is it? What good is your faith? Who benefits from you because you love Jesus? One version asks, "what does it profit (when)... ye give them not"? What good is it... when you do nothing? I want to be a giver. I don't want to be a giver-not. Dare I be (without meaning to be) a do-nothing-er!!!

Does your "does" do? Or, is your "does" dead? As we wish our "Merry Christmas's" this season... let's make sure to remember to put our hands where our mouth is. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How can I stop her???


"It's desire is to have you! You think it's your desire to have it, but sister, don't fool yourself... it's desire is to have you!"

I told her that.

I was as kind as I could be.


How can I tell her? 

Her eyes said that she wasn't listening. Her facial expressions told me that she didn't want to. Her mannerisms revealed repulsion. I might as well have been talking to a wall.... a duck... a shoe... a post... a TV screen... a commercial... a fly on the wall.... not talking at all!

I was begging her not to do one thing, while I knew in a minute that I'd be watching her do another. How can you stay a person from doing something, when one doesn't want to be stopped from it?

I HATE drugs! I HATE drinking! I HATE what it does to you! Where it takes you! What its hope is to do to you. Yet, so many fall for it. So many are trapped by it. So many jump right back into it after getting pulled out of it! Even after they know! What is its attraction that has such hold? What is it about people that thwarts their freedom and seeks again to be held captive?....

How long? How long? What will it take until they realize? What will it take to make them see? What will it take until they might hear? Why isn't prison enough? Why do they tempt and toy with this thing until they play with it enough and go right back in?

You know, God tells us that a dog will go back to his vomit ("As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly" - Pro 26:11). He does. And we often do. What, I wonder, is in the vomit.... that we'll go back to it and eat it again... and again..... and again..... and again?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My family left me.

I had Thanksgiving alone.... but not by myself.

Already... the decision was worth it! Wednesday night was a...  very good night to remember! 

The debate. I should rephrase that. The question was: "To stay?" or "Not to stay?" The query being pondered upon: "Should I go? Or should I not?" 

I didn't. Go, I mean. I stayed. My family left me. They went six hours away. I stayed at home alone all by myself. Simply for: our Wednesday night service in prison. I couldn't in good conscious leave them. Too many of the rest of our group had other places to go. I couldn't let myself just not show up and leave them feeling left out, left alone, and disappointed.

Annnnd.... after the night's sweetness there.  I ~ Am ~ So ~ Glad ~ That ~ I ~ Didn't!

What a precious service we had! From before it even started! The Spirit had arrived and was waiting! He simply invited all of us to join Him! I loved it. I think the girls loved it as well. It was a blast. It was fun. It was sweet. We laughed. We cried. We awed over God's GOoDness, His faithfulness, His "there"ness, and His Word. We had a feast! Feasting upon: The Bread! The Water! The Wine! Ah... taste and see that the Lord is good! It was, as He's said, sweeter than honey!

What a blessing!

We served them three flavors. Or. We had a three course meal (of the Word): an appetizer (or a salad), the main meal, and dessert. Three of us spoke. And each (without previously coordinating it) complimented the other. As I say so often, God Himself (His Spirit) set the whole thing up. He simply used us as His vessels.

I can't describe the smiles in the room. Or measure them to show you how wide they were. It was a packed house. More than ever before. So many came forward. But, it was the happiest time! More different than ever. Even when requesting for prayers, it was thankful fulled (Yes, I said "fulled" on purpose.)! Surely, just as God would have wanted it! Thank You so much Lord, that I didn't miss that!

I did stay at home by myself but ended up not staying here for dinner. I drove an hour and a half to join my sister and mom and nephew. It's weird, our family (which is HUGE) that normally congregates all at one place went everywhere else but, and was so scattered. My mom's health, my dad's death, the devastation of a whole host of other family things, divided us onto a thousand different roads. Yet still. Even in our division, I've never felt so close. Trials (as God's Word would call it) has a precious way of drawing everyone closer! And too, more thankful-fulled.... regardless of the hard, the hurt, the horror....... Regardless, when realizing how good we've got it, because still, God is so GOoD!

My yesterday's inbox's verse of the day: "When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember that God gives us good times and hard times. And no one knows what will happen in the future." (Ecc 7:14 ERV)

And: "Be sure to fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you." (1 Sam 12:24 NIV)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I watched freedom free one.. and fear freeze another

While I was off today with Leslie...... running her around (after picking her up from prison) trying to get her equipped with what she now needs on the outside (opposed to the in) and settle her into her new place.... two of my sisters were out and about taking my mom to a call-back doctor's appointment because of some test results' concern.

The long list of things that the doctor shared......... scared her! But she didn't act like it. She pretended well. It was later on, when alone in her room, when my sister went to ask her something, that the tears on my mama's face told the true tale of her feeling. Fear! The wonder of what she's now facing! The imagining had her heart racing. Her mind had begun working overtime................ It's cruel sometimes what the scared mind can imagine! And how that cruelty can so deeply sadden. And all on top of the sorrow of losing her husband while feeling left alone in a Thanks-Giving season............

Ow. Sometimes life, even in joyful times, still continues to hurt.

And yet, God is still GOoD! He's still there. He still cares. He still continues to work good things out! He's still able. He's still in control. He's still.................

He's still.


And forever.

He's still.

This is what freedom looks like

There's nothing like the feel of freedom!

Freedom feels good! Real good! Like... really, really good! You should have seen Leslie's face!

What a priceless day!

Jesus came to set the captives free! He came to bring the prisoners out of their prisons! He came to break away the chains! He came to liberate them from their bondage!

I saw freedom's face today! I watched freedom, true freedom, run free..............!

Monday, November 21, 2011

FREE-dom... for another inmate tomorrow!

Oh my, she defines excited! She's been excited for weeks! Ecstatic! I soo hope that tomorrow's today lives up to her excited anticipation of it!

I don't really know her. I've seen her a couple of times. She asked if I minded? If I would? If I could? If she could request that I pick her up? 

Do I mind??? 

Is that a question?! 

NO! Of course, I don't! I'm so looking forward to it! Her excitement has me excited too! I'm boiling over... I'll barely be able to sleep myself tonight!

I don't know what she did. Don't know how long she's been in. But, I'll ask her tomorrow.

The crazy thing. I was lying in bed last night. Almost asleep. My daughter had come in my room and was sitting on my bed engrossed in doing something "important" on my computer. That's when it dawned on me. I woke wide awake and said to Prissy, "Leslie's getting out of prison on Tuesday.  Wow, I bet that once that date seemed so far away that she never thought that she really would! But she will! In two days! Prisons don't last forever!"

Or... rather should I say, they don't have to?!


Prisons don't last forever! Or (again), they don't have to! There is an EOS (end-of-sentence) date! Or a parole one. Most of the time. Though some are life-sentences. But even those have potential and possibility. And then again, "nothing [NO-THING] is impossible with God!".... "With God ALL THINGS are possible"!!!!!!!!!!!

I sooooooooooooo love my Savior!.... AND, His deliverance that He delivers us from... from prisons!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Okay. Okay. Alright already... I'm considering!

I find myself sitting here..... at the advice of my Father (the Heavenly One).... in consideration mode. 

That "dread" thing that I talked about earlier in a previous post.... this is one of my days that I will be forcibly facing one of said such dreads! Not on my own will, mind you.... but every now and then, it's good that your will is forced to do what it decidedly doesn't want to and can hardly make itself do on its own. If not for that (being forced to), some of us would never actually get some things accomplished that needs to be  has to be done.


In my anticipation.... and in my wait (because it's not quite time to yet).... I am studying. Sweetly (and very timely!), my Father has divinely ordained where I would be in this very exact moment's study (I LOVE how He does that!). I'm in James. Chapter one. Verse two. 

Where He says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds".............. (NLT) "Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy . For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."................. (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,.............. (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations............. (NSV) Consider it joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials............. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) May you have every joy, my brethren, when you enter various and many temptations................ (BBE) Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort.............. (WNT) Reckon it nothing but joy, my brethren, whenever you find yourselves hedged in by various trials................ (AMP) Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

So. Like I said, because He's said to, that's where I am. I'm considering! I'm counting. I'm reckoning. I am thinking. I am deeming the trials, the troubles, the temptations, set before me as pure joy,..... as all joy,.... as every joy,...... as wholly joyful,.... as an opportunity for great joy to come.

"Weeping may endure for the night," right? "But joy COMETH in the morning!" (Ps 30:5)

In other words, there's purpose! There's reason! It has meaning! It's not in vain. God's plan in it is to work out and work in something! We're stronger than we think we are. We can handle more than we think we can. And when I don't forget that my Father's hand is in it, then there's nothing I can't do..... and nothing I should not want to........ when it's His will.... regardless if at first it's not mine.

Lord, yes! I really am considering! I am actually smiling! Anticipating! Seeking the wonder of the joy that awaits! I find myself almost excited even..... even in this thing that I've hated.... for I know your Glory can't wait to meet me there! It can't wait to reveal itself. It can't wait to show! And then, to later be shown!!!!!

And now in my consideration.... I have so much more to say..... but sadly, now I don't have the time to! Meanwhile, Lord, thank you for turning this downcasted face of mine to an uplifted one! You are, indeed, the lifter of our heads (Ps 3:3)! My heart beats more peacefully, and yes, JOYFULLY, because of You and all that You do!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I don't want this cup!

"Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

That is what I want to say! I want to say what Jesus said. But to be flat out honest,... I DON'T WANT THIS CUP! 

I want to refuse it! I want to whine about it! Throw a fit about it! Opt out! Chose not to! Turn my back! Turn it down! Reject it! "Just say, "No!" like the slogan says!............ 

But I know that I'm not supposed to!

And then.... in my throwing-a-fit mode, I realize that this thing of mine that I'm calling "a cup" isn't even worthy of being called one compared to His! Lifting my cup up next to His, mine barely looks to even be able to resemble "a cup" at all. In my rebuffing of it, I wonder if I disappoint Him? I am so sorry that I feel like I do. I really and truly feel bad for feeling it. But.... this "cup" makes me so sad. And then, my sad often quickly turns to mad before I can catch it. I can't even talk about it yet. It hurts my feelings. It sorrows my heart. It saddens my countenance. I try not to think about it, I try to be resolved to it and find some joy in it, but truthfully, I'm mourning something... that compared to most... isn't worthy to be mourning about!

But still... I don't like that cup!

I think it'd be safe to say: I hate this cup!

I'm sorry, Lord! So sorry that I am not more gracious toward the cup that's being offered. I really do love You. Really do trust You. Really do KNOW that You have my best interest at heart! If You want me to.... I'll take this cup. But I'll take it saying what Your Son once said, "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done"... because I trust in You!... believe in You!... know You enough!

And... no matter, I'll still praise my Savior... who always and all ways and in all things works EVERYTHING out for GOoD for those that love Him! I DO love Him.... so I cannot wait, I anticipate, that GOOD that He's working out in this "all thing" that He's giving me!

He's Alive! He's Alive!

My oldest daughter was horrified that I had had him practically buried alive already... long before (way before) his time to be. (I'm so sorry! I seriously apologize profusely!)

What can I say? I hadn't heard from him in a big long while, and my imagination had ran away with me.

What I guess she doesn't know, is that I've done the same with her... and with her brother, and her sister, and her dad, and with others I love.

When they go off somewhere for the day or the night and I can't get in touch with them when I think I should be able to................. my mind starts running, my heart starts panicking, my thoughts decide to think the worse; in those moments, the visions of my imaginations are NOT at all very kind to me!

I've imagined the doorbell ringing. I've pictured the policeman standing there when I've opened the door. I've envisioned my horror even before he's said the words that I already know is coming. I've seen in my mind the company that will soon be here... the funeral.... what I'll wear.... the food.... the tears.... the pain, the hurt, the continual absence.............. the awful every-day ache of their not coming back!

And all the while, they're still out there somewhere. Still happily breathing. Living. Laughing. Enjoying. Oblivious to my horror film that my made-up-mind has been playing.

Thank you, Lord, that things are NOT always as we imagine them to be! Thank You for life, when we think that there's death (Oh boy! Could I ever go off on this right now! I'll try to save that for another day.) 

So. Today, I am celebrating the life of a friend that's still fully living and breathing and planning his soon to be "happily-ever-after" wedding and life with the bride that he's picked out for himself without me even knowing it!! As exciting as I had him pictured walking the streets of gold already in Heaven with my daddy, it's a thrill to know, too, that he's still rolling around here (somewhere out there) on this earthly soil! :)

P.S. Tommy, next time DO NOT WAIT so long to speak to me..... Say hey every now and then, if only to keep this blonde-brain of mine from going places that it so quickly in silence takes it! (And again, I'm so sorry that I buried you so quickly!!!) Love to you! And CONGRATS to you and your sweet bride to be!!!!!!! I'm SO EXCITED! SO EXCITED! SO EXCITED!!! I hope one day to meet her (if even via Internetted connections)!

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor 2:9)! Who knows all the "plans" that He has that awaits you two! Whatever it is, it's better than we can imagine it! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crying out.... so the stones won't have to!

(Here's an old post... reposted... for I feel I must post it again! Why? Because it is my everyday all the time feeling...................... I have NEED to cry out (no matter how much I cry)!)

I love to teach!

I love to teach!

I mean like, I. LOVE. to. teach!

It scares the boogiggers out of me. Yet, there's a fire that burns inside my bones that feels it must! that feels it has to!, that is dying to get out! Dying to tell it! Dying to scream it from the roof tops. Dying to tell it to my neighbors. Dying for an outlet somewhere. Hear me loud: I looooonnnngggng to teach!

I miss it when I'm not doing it. Crazily, I even miss it when I do! :/

Technically, you could say that I'm doing it now. But technically, I don't feel that I am. Right now I am teaching in two women's prisons, and soon to start a new group next week. But, to me, it's not the same. We have material to go by. Books to follow. Lessons already prepared, that we minutely go by.

That doesn't do it for me. That isn't what I was wired for. I long to use the Word alone for the material and manna we gather. It's harder for me to do it when the lesson plan is all mapped out. I can do it. But it leaves me lacking. It doesn't fulfill me. And right now I feel like I'm about to explode! I feel like I am about to b-u-r-s-t! I need only the Seed alone!

I love the dig! I love the hunt. I love shoveling and delving deeper and sifting each word. I love getting the magnifying glass out!  I love the discovery of it. The treasure that's found. I love what my Jesus will show me in the silence... home alone all by myself with Him in my room.

Oh, I still do that. But there's no one to tell it to. Not like I'd like. No one to marvel with it over. No roof top to proclaim it from.

Lately the verse that echoes continually in my mind is the one found in Luke 19 where the whole crowd of disciples were joyfully praising God in loud voices for all that they had seen Him do. They praised Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!..." Some of the Pharisees in the crowd tried to get Jesus to stop them. That's when Jesus answered and said, ""I tell you," He replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out""  (19:40).

That's how I feel. If I keep quiet, if I stay silent, if my voice stays in stillness... the rocks will cry out. I feel I have-to cry out.... or the rocks will have to!... and they'll turn and look at me and wonder why I didn't???

""But if I say, 'I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,' His word is in my heart [my inner man, my mind, my will, my thinking, my appetites, my emotions, my passions] like a fire [a consuming fire], a fire shut up [restrained, closed up, withheld, stayed, detained, halted, stopped] in my bones. I am weary [weary, impatient, grieved, faint, exhausted] of holding it in [seizing it, containing it, holding it, restraining it, enduring it]; indeed, I cannot [am not able, don't have the power to, lack the strength to]" (Jer 20:9).

Woo.... hear me crying............... bellowing from the heart............ for inside the fire still burns... and I beg for a fire that blazes even hotter.... all the while thanking the Lord for the fire that I've got.... because He's given it to me, not to keep alone, but to continually share it with another so that we can burn for Him all t(w)ogether!!!

Lord, I thank You for The Rock! My Rock of Refuge! My Hiding Place! My Rock of Salvation! The Rock of Ages cleft for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


What are you afraid of? Really. What are you really afraid of? The unknown maybe? Because, the unknown?.... we don't like it! The comfortableness of our uncomfortableness is (we think) more comfortable than what we don't know and haven't had time to get introduced to and comfortable with yet.

I don't like what I don't know! I like... my "known"... Even if I don't really like it... You know?

And so, we spend so much of our time, our lives, dreading a thing.... an unavoidable...... a thing that we know is coming, but we put it off.. and put it off.. and put it off.. for as long as we can possibly put it off......... all the while, still great-fully dreading it. When perhaps, it'd be easier on us (and everyone else in our sphere) if we just went ahead and did the thing that's eventually gonna happen anyway!

Let me put it mildly.... ain't no way to live!

We (my husband and I)... have been DREADING!!!!! With me being the greater dreader of the two. I've been kicking and screaming... if even that kicking and screaming has been shrouded in a sombered and saddened silence. What is it the song sings? "I'm crying inside... and nobody knows it but me...."

I googled to find a picture of "dread". Perhaps I should have been more specific, for the pictures that flooded my screen were a sea of heads with dreadlocks. I laughed. How fitting, I thought! Perfect really! For that is exactly the picture, is it not? 

I've been "locked" in "dread"... and I didn't even realize that I've been dread locked! I've always LOVED dreadlocks, really; but I didn't have a clue that all along that the inside of my head (rather than the out) has been wearing them!



Wrong word. 

I think it's better spelled d.r.e.a.d.

Dread? Why? Because if you don't deal with it quickly, dread locks... and under its influence, it can hold you locked inside it for a very prolonged anguishing and agonizing time.

Shall I remind myself here... of a mighty powerfully pictured example (and a scary one too!) of some consequences to some of God's people in their "dread"?

Moses spoke to the Israelites while they were still in the desert. After 40 years they still had not yet moved into the land they were promised. He told them...

"It is only an eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea [on Canaan's border; yet Israel took forty years to get beyond it]. And in the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the Israelites..... The Lord our God said to us in Horeb," [Listen to His words!] "You have dwelt long enough on this mountain. Turn and take up your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah... the land of the Canaanites,.... Behold, I have set the land before you [I have given you this land]; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them.....  And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness [that vast and dreadful desert] which you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us, and we came to Kadesh-barnea. And I said to you, You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God gives us. Behold, the Lord you God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has said to you. Fear not, neither be dismayed. Then you all came near to me and said, Let us send men before us, that they may search out the land for us and bring us word again by what way we should go up and the cities into which we shall come. The thing pleased me well, and I took twelve men of you, one for each tribe. And they turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and spied it out. And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the Lord our God gives us. Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God. You were peevish and discontented in your tents, and said, Because the Lord hated us, He brought us forth out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the land of the Amorites to destroy us. To what are we going up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, The people are bigger and taller than we are; the cities are great and fortified to the heavens. And moreover we have seen the [giantlike] sons of the Anakim there. Then I said to you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The Lord your God Who goes before you, He will fight for you just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, And in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God bore you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place. Yet in spite of this word you did not believe (trust, rely on, and remain steadfast to) the Lord your God, Who went in the way before you to search out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in the cloud by day. And the Lord heard your words, and was angered and He swore, Not one of these men shall see that good land which I swore to give to your fathers, except [Joshua, of course, and] Caleb son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land upon which he has walked, because he has wholly followed the Lord...." - Deuteronomy 1.

An eleven day trip, ended up being a forty year one!!! 

God had told them after eleven days that they had dwelt there, been there, "long enough"... ... In other words, too long!

He told them to "take up their journey" and "go".............. 

But because of fear felt from a report of the land ahead of them (and after all the good that they'd been told about it!), dread set in! And because of this, and their unbelief and failure to trust God, they became forever frozen in their desert and failed to get to go into the promised land at all! The land that they truly longed for. The land that God had for them.

Oh my, may we learn to dread dread more than the whatever thing that we've been consumed with and thus dreading! Oh my, at what dread can cost us!!! Our dread just may keep us from God's plan and all that He's purposed for us! It's been "long enough"!.... It's been too long! Let's take up our journeys and GO wherever it is that we're supposed to!

I'll end with this [as I hear God remind ME!]: "The LORD is my Light and my Salvation -- whom" [and sometimes maybe "what"?] "shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life -- of whom" [of what?] "shall I be afraid?" ~ Psalm 27:1

And then, I've just had a friend that I've never met remind me of this: "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands." ~ Isaiah 43:18-19.

(Big smile!!) What a timely reminder! Dread, get thee behind me!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's been a color-full month...


Colors... like in a wardrobe.... there are so many to choose from.

What's your favorite? 

What color do you wear the most? And I'm not referring to those you robe your physical body in... but the colors you slip into and wrap around your spiritual one. Some people sum it up in a four letter word and call it: 


Today? I'm wearing blue. Earlier, I had on grey. For a flicker of a moment, I wore yellow. I've even sported the color of pink for a while, for earlier I was feeling sick, nauseated. What color is happy? Did some of that one too! A couple of times! And love, I've worn (I wear) that color a lot.

Amazing, isn't it, how quickly our color can change. Amazing, too, how sometimes often for a very long time in some seasons, it don't.

Hmmm... but back to my "coat of many colors"..... If my skin turned the color of my feeling like one of those long ago mood-rings that some of us used to wear........ I'd wear the gamut several times in a day. In an hour even. Maybe even sometimes, wear every one of the colors all at the very same time. I think I'd be surprised if it stayed the same color for very long.

Oh my though, when you put it that way, I think I may be related to and share the same blood as a roller-coaster! I go up and down and round-and-round and from side-to-side, I slowly crawl toward peaks... knowing that afterward there will be a dip coming, or a deep steep plunge! I sometimes find myself in the darkest of tunnels, and sometimes I'm hanging up-ended and upside-down. Sometimes slammed to a stop in a split of a second! Shew, life's full of rapid temperature changers.... seldom, when you least expect them. Woo, no wonder we're tired way before the end of the day's nightfall and bedtime!

I wish I had time to talk about my yesterday. Perhaps that plays some into my somberness? Another somebody died. No one that I knew personally this time, but a lot of people did, so a lot of people cried. I wanted to cry too, but I was there to help, crying wasn't the role that I was supposed to be wearing. So, in public, I simply postponed it.

Speaking of colors. I happened upon something interesting that I didn't know. And from a post at boston.com from March of 2009 I quote: "People in India and other countries with large Hindu populations celebrate a holiday called Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is celebrated as a welcoming of Spring, and a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. What that translates to in action is an enthusiastic dropping of inhibitions, as people chase each other and playfully splash colorful paint, powder and water on each other."

Hmmm... though I'm not promoting it, I do find it interesting. A celebration of the Festival of Colors.... so they go about chasing each other and splashing each other with colorful paints and powers. It's a celebration, it says, "of the triumph of good over evil."

And that's the bottom line, isn't it? The battle between good and evil! We might be all exuberant in the color of a happy mood.... when someone walks by, chasing us, and splashing us with a word or some news, an insult maybe or some evil, and they've splashed us with an instant rage of red.... with black's darkness (if we're not careful) soon creeping in. And dressed now in such a color, a friend of ours sees.... and that friend dousing us with kindness, pouring a color of encouragement and calmness over our heads. Point made? Colors.... all in a matter of minutes.... yet sometimes it rarely takes that long. And so there's a battle of color with good and evil......... Which color will we let win?

Funny. I must tell you this. I started this post earlier. I mentioned that I was wearing blue as I typed it. Depression was fighting to take over, sadness over too many losses.. and with doom, because there are more losses showing in the horizon. But even before I got very far, my mood (my color) had changed! I asked it earlier, but I need to know, what color is happy? Because that is the color I'm again wearing. Joy. Peace. Calm, a sweet Anticipation... regardless of the storm. Trust replacing the fear.... Trust in a Savior, knowing that always and all ways and in all things, my Redeemer still lives!

LORD Jesus, thank You for wearing Your red for me..... and changing my color of black to wear a color of white.... a color of right......... a color of the purest Light.......... a color of one day totally forever and eternal DeLight!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to build a god.

This did not originate with me. I suppose, its too profound for my feeble and elementary way of thinking. But wow, when I saw this again (I quoted the words from the video below), I felt I couldn't watch it again this time without sharing it. Watch / Read below to see: How to build a god. Sadlly, it's easier than we think it is... and it happens quicker than we realize it does. We build "gods" all the time... but rarely see them as that.

"The prophet Isaiah tells the story of a man who goes into the forest and cuts down a cedar tree. He chops up the tree and brings home the wood. He uses half of the chopped wood to build a fire to cook his food on. But then after, he takes the rest of the wood and builds an idol out of it. When he's done, he falls down and starts to worship it. He prays to his leftover firewood, "Deliver me. For you are my god."

Now that's a sad story. But it's a lot like my own. 

My buddy, Mike, built my guitar. Ten years ago he built it out of a solid piece of Mahogany. He gave it to me, and I played it for years and used it for a tool for leading at worship gatherings.

But one day I noticed myself looking down at this block of wood. This Mahogany board and saying, "You will deliver me."

Music will deliver me from obscurity by helping me gain exposure and prestige. It will deliver me from a sense of worthlessness by giving me an identity. Music will deliver me from poverty by helping me make a living. Music will be my god.

Isaiah responds to such foolishness with this, "All who fashion idols are nothing. And the things they delight in do not prophet. Their witnesses neither see nor know that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them assemble, let them stand forth, they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together."

And after years of foolish, sinful, shameful idolatry, by the grace of God, He crushed that idol. He crushes it every day. But here's what is amazing to me, He didn't just crush it and take music away, He crushes it and redeems it. For the past few weeks when I'm with the band backstage before we leave the gathering, we've been praying and thanking God that He allows us to use music to worship Him when we've been guilty of using it to worship ourselves. He lets us worship Him with the very thing we once worshiped.

The story of the man worshiping the block of wood comes from Isaiah chapter 44. And here's how it ends. God says to His foolish, wicked, idolatrous people, "Remember these things, O Jacob and Israel, for you are My servants. I formed you. You are My servant. O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. I have blotted out your transgression like a cloud and your sin like midst. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."

Mars Hill  Church

Friday, November 4, 2011

I fell in love that night...

In the prison last night as I sat and awaited my students to come, I grabbed a book off the shelf sitting next to me and read. The book? It was entitled, "Alcoholics Anonymous." 

I flipped to a page somewhere randomly in the middle and read a sentence that said, "I fell in love that night - with a beverage."

WOE!!!!... at the audacity!!!! And.... at the unplanned suddenness in it!

It was a man telling his story. Talking about the first night that he drank. He was fifteen years old and simply did it because he could. And upon his first drink he loved it. He was hooked. His love-affair with alcohol had begun. It was all he could think of. All that he lived for. He couldn't stop. He couldn't get enough.

Wow.... how everything starts with a first. And no one knows that that particular "first" just might be the death of you. Or at most, a noose around your neck that makes you wish it were! A "love affair" that has total intentions of robbing you, of taking everything you have... your money, your time, your attention, your focus, your job, your family, your home, your life if it can.... It hopes you'll move in with it.... and it hopes to hurt those that love you the most. It hopes to rob them too. 

Oh, at the things that we "fall in love" with! Oh, what is our problem? How do we fall so quickly? Why do we fall in such anguishing love??? Why can't we see its deception past the package it's wrapped in? Oh, at the traps set inside!!! And oh, at how one day we'll begin to hate what first started out as so-called "love"!

"People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord." ~ Prov 19:3.

"but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." ~ James 1:14-15.

I HATE the things that we so easily "fall" for that entices and drags us away with the enemy's full purpose of hurting us. Oh, Lord, please open our eyes to seeeee the deceit that we're at first too blind to see!

We didn't know it, but it was a set-up!

I may have had the look of "green" upon my face in the last post that I typed. But my yesterday's face reflected one of pure excitement, total awe, and ecstatic joy! Blown away actually! What a Wonder of the God we serve! What an Author! Planner. A Put-Togetherer! A Purposer! What a One that Cares! And yesterday (as in many days that we fail to see it), a Setter-Upper!

I'm telling you now.... as God as our witness, HE so sets us up!!!

I'm amazed at the things He so creatively sets into action! None of our eyes had envisioned our yesterday's set up. We had no idea going in. But woe, at what we all felt when we left!

I wasn't the only one skittish with excitement! I wasn't the only one grinning! I wasn't the only one filled with chills. Everyone of us in the room were! Who, but God, could set-up such?!  

We meet at the Criminal Justice building in Dr. L's office. We were meeting with Deon... a recently released inmate. He's only been out seven months after being incarcerated eighteen years. And already busy about trying to help others that have been where he's been... and trying, too, to help others from going there that haven't gone there yet...... hopefully, to keep them from going.

I loved him the minute we met! He's 40 years old, but looked no more than 20. When I first saw him, my thought was "he's 3 years old!" He was slim. Tall. A very nice looking black man. All smiles. Very mannerly. Friendly. I liked him a lot. 

We were meeting him to see what he had been doing. To see how he could get plugged in with the Dept of Corrections and help us. But before we got too far into our meeting, we had an interruption by another man. 

This other guy (Mr. Miller) was supposed to be meeting with the Commissioner. The Commissioner had to leave his office and asked if we could take care of it. Yes, sir, we'll try. And so, we invited Mr. Miller into the meeting where we were.

And then... that's when it all happened. A new radio program starts a week from Sunday. Deon will be the first guest on the show. Somehow I was roped into the offer. I'll be there too; but only after a "round-table" meeting planned for Tuesday to discuss it........................

Oh my, it was moving so fast.............. I had no clue when I went............... How did I get involved???............. Where do I fit in the mix????

I don't know! But somehow I had found myself right in the middle of it. Adopted by this Mr. Miller for.... I don't know, who knows how long, but God???

It was exciting! The radio program is all geared for the younger audience. Trying to keep more of the young people from the streets... from drugs, from drinking, from gangs, from violence....... from losing their lives! Instead of them falling into peer pressure, its hope it to show them a better way in Jesus!

I cannot wait! Woo... let this party begin!

Okay............... so this was a pitiful post.......... but OH, my day was GoOD!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm already jealous... and I haven't even started it yet!


Okay.... it's just the anticipation that has my body quivering! (See previous post.) And, as embarrassing as it is to say so and admit, already I'm jealous!

What in the world am I talking about, do you wonder?

The book of James! The study I'm about to open! The treasures I'm soon to find! 

In my excitement... why do I wear the green of envy? (Oh goodness, I'm so ashamed!)

What's my problem, you ask?

I love the Word! I mean, seriously, I absolutely LOVE the Word! I love all that is hidden there! I love the joy in the find! I love the punch with the Truth even when it hits hard! I love the encouragement! I love its power! I love its equipping! I love its challenge! I love how it changes! I love its transforming! And I love to see what God has shown others to share!


...... I, too, have felt compelled to write! My sweet God has given me studies of my own. And I've felt the compelling to write them down. I can't tell you how often I felt I had to pen them on a page. We're taught to teach, right? We're shown to show! We're given to give! We're blessed to bless! We're told to tell! 

And sadly, I feel I've failed my Savior! If I continue to wait until I feel worthy. Or I continue to wait until I feel that I'm able. Or I continue to wait until I feel it won't be hard and it'll all flow out naturally. If I continue to wait until it won't be so laborious.................................. Then, I'll never pen my first word! And boy do I ever have some words that have been stored!

Well... I can tell you that I won't start today. But, Lord, aggravate the stew out of me until I finally do as You continue to prompt me to... and until I grab my paper and my pen to begin...

They're everywhere!... when you stop to look!

IF ONLY you could see my jar!!!!!!! (Click HERE to see previous post!) Already... I've almost a jar full! :)

Lightning Bug #? (for who can count them? Whatever number this one is.. I find I must share it!): Video Session #1... 6 minutes and 13 seconds into it, Beth says, "Jesus appeared to those who NEEDED to SEE Him most."! 

Why exactly do I love this that she's said? This is why. I cannot tell you how often I say to Him in my prayer, in my hard, in my distress, in my desire, in my heaviness, in my need, "I need to see You see me, Lord!"... Just like Hagar saw Him see her in her need! 

Beth reads from 1 Cor 15:1-8 where it's written, "... He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of some of the brothers at the same time... Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."

Wow! Aren't we glad He came back and 'appeared'?! Aren't we glad our Savior let so many see Him?! After all that He'd been through! After His death! After He'd risen! Aren't you glad that He came back to be seen!!! He could have just risen (risen from death and gone straight to Heaven) and just written about it. BUT! He came back so that so many could see! And He still comes... if in only a great visual in invisible form!

Beth goes on to remind us of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene (John 20:1-18). The Mary that was delivered from seven demons. She wonders why Mary was so overwrought in agony and hanging out at the tomb where Jesus was buried? She wonders if it might could be that since she could no longer see Him... that she might now feel like the Mary Magdalene she used to be before she'd met Him? The Mary Magdalene, again, with the seven demons? For isn't that what we often do? When we can't see Him in our hard... do we wonder if we're no longer who we thought we were? Are we no longer truly who we thought He told us we were? Are we again who we once used to be? Isn't that how we sometimes often think? 

And so! 

Jesus decides to show Himself! Jesus shows Himself, appears to, those who must NEED to see Him most!

She says, "Don't you think there are times in our lives when it's so easy for us to look at the Scriptures and know, 'This is who I am. This is who Scripture says that I've become.' But suddenly we go through a time when He's not all that obvious, and then doubts start arising. And I think that maybe by the time Mary could no longer see Him. It was back to Mary, that had been delivered from all the demons. See, without Him obvious in our lives, we feel like we're back to who we were just delivered from."

Then she suggests that she thinks that Mary Magdalene was having an identity crisis.

Don't we do that??? If you'll remember, right after God had parted the Heavens and told Jesus out loud that, "You are My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased".... Satan finds Him in the desert, and his first deceitful thing that he tries to corrupt Jesus' mind with was, "If You really are God's Son...." surely God wouldn't allow You to go through such IF You were His! Ugh.. at the deceit of the enemy! Ugh... at how often we fall for it!

But woe.... at how Jesus still most "appears" to those most in NEED! What did I say earlier? "A VERY PRESENT help to those in times of trouble"!!!

OH, how He's showing up in my need right this minute right now! Oh, how His Light is glowing in total glorious form!

I am so loving this.... and yes, I've got more to study. I'm off in more of my seek... and in my search I'm sure to find!!!

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by You..." (Jer 29:13-14a.)