Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Deliverance by a Passover

This weekend Pastor Bill preached on the final disaster in the Egypt phase - the glorious passover.  (This is Pastor Ken's version.) His words were brilliant, connecting God's requirement for blood sacrifice then and now while standing under a literal door jamb.  He reminded me that Jesus became the lamb on the door frame. I stand under the frame, the red tree, in the house, covered. I know that my duplicity, desiring, crazy behavior requires His blood. He shed enough for me. I hate it and I couldn't live without it. Not for a minute.

That morning my youngest had told a completely unnecessary lie. She told it without thinking, with the ease used by a ballerina on toe, trained, natural, fluid. It killed me. I was so sad. Sad for her ease, her decision, or the lack of one. Angry that it happened, that it's part of our life.

And there, in church not an hour later, Bill asked, "Does anyone lie? You need this sacrifice. You need Jesus' blood. Without it..." I looked at her. Her hand was up and eyes very wide. She wondered how this happened. We marked the moment without a word.

Later in the car, I asked her when she thought the pastor had written the sermon. She considered and said, "this morning?" We talked about it and agreed it was probably Friday or so. How could he have known? How could God have known that she was going to lie and be in trouble? That she was going to lie to her mom about eggs? It just happened.

And then we knew. God knew this lie would come. This lie that doesn't honor child, mother or God. So, it was brought into the light and addressed by God's Word itself. There is forgiveness and a way out when we choose to sin, and when we sin without thinking, or choosing. And the way, is back through the door, into the house of Christ Jesus' covering.

Where we are saved from eminent death, of our own choice. Death by greed, or desire, or mistake. Inside the house, under the cover, under the tree. The red tree where our LORD provided all He had for our good and His glory.

I'm grateful for the tree, for the blood and even for the lie.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A New Thing

Several times in my life, I've been scared out of my wits. Afraid that I was going to lose something. A job, a boyfriend, a home, a child, my husband. These fears haven't been irrational. There has been good reason to believe something was to be taken, or lost. My fear comes from well-honed radar  finely-tuned out of childhood loss. Too finely tuned sometimes.

So in this process of the journaling class, I'm having a difficulty remembering all about what I love and want and wish and dream. This could very well be a normal part of being a mom, having a job, being a wife. But I do feel that a part of me is hidden. From me. I find that scary. Very scary in fact. I don't really want to be less of me.

But to be more of Him, I am to be less of me.

This morning I spent a little time on Ann's blog and these words sang out to me as she shared this story about a very hearty rose giving testament:

What is dead may be dormant and what is barren may be about to bear and wild things can somehow find a way to bloom.

And she brought me back to the words of God through Isaiah. The words that have brought comfort to me and millions over the centuries:

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

That's it. He is doing something new. He has lead me to these waters. It is mine to drink. To do the work. To see what He is doing. The loss may be the motivation to be aware. But God is the one who is doing the new thing. With me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



I'm taking an online journaling and class. Within the first couple of days, I was required to face some small fears. Tear a bunch of pictures out of a magazine. Pictures of things I like, places I'd like to be, and the like. I was then to make a collage of them, take a picture and put them up on the class website.
I felt the fear creep in when I started gluing the pictures down. The questions became, "Can I do this? Can I pull the picture back up if I don't like it? What if they don't all fit? What if it doesn't look good? This is an art class after all." And it went on. I was happy with the outcome and was equally happy to put it up on the page. And when I was finished, I wondered, "What was all that?"
Is this really my process? To listen to the somewhat-motivating self-doubt? Is that what pushes me toward a good product? Could I get there more joyfully? There was joy in this process, no doubt, but what is all this fear?
As I worked forward in the class, the assignments have required my attention and have summoned even more fear. I'm a "nose-to-the-grindstone, work-it-out, whistle-in-the-dark type." In some respects, my perspective is to take it on and move through.
But, I'm keenly aware that fear might not be a gift, after all. There should be joy.

This morning I read from the Psalmist:
You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine. I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. -Psalm 4:7-8

Oh yes. The Author of my faith has given me greater joy. His perfect love is promised to cast out fear.

Perhaps I need to do what I'd tell my kiddos or you to do: Invite the LORD into the process. Sit at the art table (which in my case, is the kitchen table) and ask Him to reveal what His gracious Holy Spirit wants to reveal. Allow Him to work through this process with me. Leading and guiding me into the art He has for me to explore and execute.

Oh my, what would I have to fear in that?
I'll report.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peace to this household.

Better than I could say it, check Adele's thoughts on the matter here.
Her blog is wonderful.
You'll be glad you stopped by.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The LORD delights in our well-being.

Psalm 35:27 (New International Version)

 27 May those who delight in my vindication
       shout for joy and gladness;
       may they always say, "The LORD be exalted,
       who delights in the well-being of his servant."

He delights in my well-being. And here I am, enjoying an on-line journaling and art class, delighting in the gifts of communication at my fingertips and He is delighting in my joy.

If the LORD God, High and Holy King of the Universe isn't the best at communion, then, I missed something. HE is joy and gladness.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Adonai-Jehovah ~ Praying the Names of God

Adonai-Jehovah (Sovereign Lord; Master Jehovah) 

Genesis 15:2,8
 2 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
 8 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?"


I am absolutely just beginning - today - to learn about this wonderful and powerful prayer.

I know that Sovereign means the highest ruler. And I know that there is no name about that of God Almighty, the High and Holy Ruler of the Universe. But I don't know how exactly to pray this name. I can declare the truth of who He is: Sovereign LORD, our Master. Today, throughout this day, I will pray this as I learn more about praying His wonderful names.

You may learn a bit about this here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grace in VICTORY

I don't think I've ever considered just cutting and pasting here, but this is so inspiring and you'll even find Grace Stacked On Grace, from the mouth of the pastor included. Enjoy God's rich response to our calling on Him.

This is an email from a husband and father who, along with his family and church, has been seeking God's faithfulness for his wife. And look what God has done:

Dear Family, Friends and Devoted Prayer Warriors,

VICTORY! . . . Mission Accomplished.  I am honored to report that by the grace of God, Teresa received her liver transplant today. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. Three was indeed the charm!

Earlier this month, Teresa and I decided to take an inventory of the many perfectly orchestrated blessings that the Lord had been raining down on us during her journey. One by one, we recalled praise report after praise report. My friend Jeff  & I like to call them "God-Incidences". We stopped when Teresa got tired and our list was over 20 blessings.  Then came almost 3 weeks as we waited for another opportunity. After a wonderful visit with our daughters, Nicole and Sarah, "the empty nest" at the hotel left Teresa very homesick and anxious.  After several sleepless nights we took a long walk around the campus and soaked in God's creation.  The chirping birds, the quacking ducks, the blue waters in the ponds, the budding trees, the cool ocean breezes.  All around us, Nature shouted out, "Be Still and Know that I am God".  We sat down to a nice dinner and felt a peace that is beyond all understanding.  We realized that it was time to let go of any expectations and trust that God would provide the transplant in His timing and in His way . . .  not ours. A huge weight came off our shoulders and it felt great to just be back in the moment again . . . not looking back . . .  not looking forward . . . happy and content in the now.

After dinner, Teresa called our friend Mandy to wish her a Happy Birthday. We walked back to our room and kicked back to enjoy a few television shows (American Idol and the Lakers game - our respective favorites) Sitting on the couch, we felt like teenagers in our parents basement.  Later, Teresa called her cousin Clint on our cell phone. Just before midnight the hotel phone rang with "The Call" . . . The Mayo Clinic Organ Procurement Team was on the line for the 3rd and final time.  A young lady who was brain dead on life support would be the kind soul who would give Teresa the opportunity for life. Our prayers and thoughts go out to her and her family. We believe her act of love was the greatest of gifts and will be forever grateful. 

Here's the play by play for those keeping score at home:

11:30 PM on Tuesday "The Call
12:45 AM we checked into the Hospital.
12:45 Prepped for Surgery
7 AM, The donor organ arrived
8:30 AM Teresa WALKED to Surgery (Our prayer had been that she could walk into the hospital on the day of her surgery.
10 AM Surgery began. Within the first hour the liver was in her body and responding favorably. Minimal blood products needed to be given
1 PM Taken to Recovery
1:30 PM Her brilliant surgeon, Dr. Dana Perry came and gave me the wonderful news
4:30 PM Teresa is resting beside me in her Hospital Room, the proud owner of a brand new liver!

Receiving a transplant is just like God's grace. It is freely given even though we've done nothing to deserve it. Or as Pastor Harold likes to call it "Grace stacked on Grace."  And now we begin Teresa's Road to Recovery.  After 10 days in the hospital, we look to be here in Florida for anywhere from 3 - 6 more weeks (depending on many factors) as Teresa heals, gets stronger and adjusts to the anti-rejection drugs, etc. We'll call this leg of the race our VICTORY LAP! Then it's California Here We Come!  Thank you ALL for sharing in our joy and Teresa's Journey! It is only by your prayers that this has been made possible and we look forward to the opportunity to thank you all personally very soon and very often. :)   We've come so far together and to say we are thrilled would be a gross understatement. Suffice to say, we are floating on air.  As Pastor Larry has encouraged us for many months, "THE BEST IS YET TO COME!"

All our love,

Karl, Teresa, Phil, Nicole, Sarah & Savannah

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Obedience. Brilliance.

I read this post today at the abstracted pea, about obedience and thoroughly love all it holds. Oh do go read.
The brilliance is in this small and huge truth, quoting the writer, "We don't have to have all of the answers and we don't have to immediately be whatever it is that God has called us to be. We just have to follow what he tells us and we'll get there."

Really, scoot, go read this lovely post.

Obedience is blessing. And it changes our nature. All a part of that transformed life we're seeking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Really, who is in control?

One of the great tools used against THIS believer, is concern. Ok, worry. I was faced with a rather frustrating situation this morning and as I was driving, my thoughts were on how I would conquer this rather arrogant and invisible dragon. The thoughts of all that could happen became the overwhelming chorus to which my response is to consider my every step, carefully, plotting my way.
I know this is a defeating method and that I, the daughter of the Ruler of the Universe, can rest, because my DAD has my back. Still, I try to consider beguiling phrases as I pick up my weapons, and try to handle my situation.
Then, I turned on the radio, and a beloved pastor reminded me that "worry, is not a tool for the Christian." It flies in the face of who God is. You see it is an unreasonable response to potential danger when one lives under the cover of the God who promises to light our path and even prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies.
Oh yeah, now I remember.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Simplicity out of duplicity

I'm reading a wonderful book. Small and mighty by Mindy Caliguire, simply called, Simplicity. It jumps right into the clearing out of closets, looking for what stays and what goes. And in the process, speaks to the duplicity found therein. Yikes. Duplicity.
The author talks about the lack of truth found in the things we keep thinking (keeping thinking) that we'll use them. That they really are about us.
I'm starting to see the store-housed treasures as duplicitous purchases. The things I buy, bought, want, which have nothing to do with who I am, but who I'd like you to believe I am. There. I said it. Duplicity.
My darling friend was wearing a fun orange bag the other night as we strolled a promenade. We shared great, loving conversations about life and kids and all the ands we could come up with. I noted the bag, which is/was/could be the perfect size and shape, texture and color for me. Another friend referred to this orange delight as an "investment bag." With my focus away from new bags for the last few years, (this does suggest my focus elsewhere, graciously) I wasn't even aware of the maker of the statement. When I checked into where I could find this perfect bag, I found that even if I found it, (or it's rich red counterpart, ahhh) I wouldn't find it fitting into my experience anytime soon. (I pitched the idea of buying a $xxx.xx bag to my youngest and her first and funniest comment was, "or we could buy groceries and gas for a long time, Mom.") God has shifted my values. Narrowed my path. And for all the straining I do to go left or right, for now, He has me going fairly straight.
But, today, while I'm on that path, I notice a little tendency to pick up the (less expensive) rocks along the way. Not the ones the Father has put in front of me. Rather, those off to the side, under the bush, in the thicket along the path. I'm not always happy with the weight of carrying these trifles. They might be left there, close enough for me to pick up, test and try and learn about what I don't need.
Hmmm. Duplicity. Found in the distractions I choose when I could just stay focused on what the Creator has created for me. Duplicity. I like this.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The struggle to accept all Jesus has for me.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:12. 

I must say this might be the other* key to life. Fix my eyes on Jesus. I find my eyes fixed on every other thing around me. And in it I'm disturbed. Herein lies the discrepancy: I get to choose. In my immaturity, my arrogance, my pride, I can choose poorly.

When I truly allow God's leadership, the movement of His Spirit within me, I focus on Jesus. I can hear the words of John the Baptist, "Prepare the way of the LORD," he very well may have been speaking directly to me.

Prepare, consider the way of the LORD. Consider His way. See Him. Focus on Him.

And when I do I get to consider peace, a path that doesn't require trappings. The more. How do you experience The more in Him?

*Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Third, I think we need to remember that as awe-struck as Christ's first followers felt after his resurrection, they still didn't know what it fully meant… for humanity or for their personal lives. While the resurrection brought their beloved Rabbi back to them, he was different now. The resurrection simultaneously healed some wounds while opening a new can of questions, insecurities, fears, and even pain - at least temporarily."

It never really occurred to me that the disciples didn't really know what the resurrection meant. How many times have I wished that my faith was founded on being there with Jesus as He walked? (Actually, I'm grateful as can be to know and love Him from right where I am. But I used to wish, wish, wish.)

I read these words at Crosswalk and it got me to thinking. Those disciples must have been fractured. Broken. Shocked and, I'm sure, without the benefit of the full counsel of God's word, (the whole truth of the books that comfort my soul, Romans, Hebrews, James) they were beyond confusion. Jesus was dead, gone, then there among them and then gone. What was to be next but to wait. Where do they go? What do they do? When will He be back?

Even though I wrestle with when, I have the formation of the church to lean into. History and Christians who have walked this road before me. I am grateful, to have a moment to think of the days of the disciples. 

And even more grateful to have the historic view of the resurrection.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen and Love Wins, again!

 5-6The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
 7"Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."  - Matthew 17:5-7, The Message

This is the reason for my hope. Jesus Christ who walked on earth, died for a specific purpose at the Passover. It was foretold that he would become the sacrificial lamb for purpose of atonement for all who follow the Way. A way away from the law and directly into the path of unrealistic, gracious love. An inexplicable love for more than a few. 
This is the reason for my hope. There were witnesses to His death and to His resurrection, the walking amongst them for proof of this transformation. 
I'm in. All the way in. Whether I witness the great or small miracle(s). I believe. And my joy is in my hope. I profess Jesus Christ and I know that the only choice that is certain is what He has spoke:  Love. Love Won. Love Wins. Always.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Refining God

Malachi  3:3 says: 'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'        

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God ...
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the  group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.       
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.   
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:  "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."  
She asked the silversmith if it was true that  he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time.  
The man answered that yes,  he not only had to sit there holding  the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know  when the silver is fully refined?'

He smiled at her and answered,  ' Oh, that's easy-- when I see my image in it!'  
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire , remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.  

From an email sent by my friend Kris. She welcomes the heat too. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Really! God answers.

This might be one of the most exciting things to post -- ever. (Awkward sentence or not.) I have been struggling a bit with the how and what details of responding to the offense. I've been struck by it. Aware of the intellectual direction. Humor. Dismissing. All of it.

And a click through a friends blog takes me to John Piper.

I giggle at God's ears for my heart's language.

I am equipped by His leading. And may I say:   I believe, I believe, I believe.
God is awesome.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How faithful?

I have found myself, recently, in the almost expected struggle that comes when we choose to glorify God. When we choose to obey and speak rather than rescind to the wall. I truly believe the enemy hates the follower. And sometimes I forget that the One, the Glorious One, on whom my eyes should be at every minute, is faithful and He loves me well.
I also seem to forget that His eyes are on me. All the time. Because He is Good and I am His. So, following my prayers and return to the "off-focus" walk, He comes after me with the good gifts - reminding me of His Word and the Walk He has chosen for me. The Victorious walk.
This morning John Piper posted the following scripture on his Facebook page. I know very little about this man. But every word I've read so far has moved me. Strengthened my resolve. Softened my heart. Opened my hands. 
Here in the presence of a bleak spot I am reminded:
Matthew 10:22
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Philippians 1:6
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.
1 Corinthians 1:8  
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Thessalonians 5:34
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Oh He is THAT faithful. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It recently occured to me that I express my enthusiasm for God, in term of what He's done that I can see. I want to dwell in the Truths that I can't see. His Love, my salvation, the Kingdom.
And I can breathe deeply here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh Your Glorious Love & Majesty

There are days, early, beautiful mornings when I am so secure in God's love for me. And then I see a gift just for me. 
Morning is my treasure. Me, God, His Word. Add a walk outside, or a peek at the sky and it is always lovely. 
There is, then, the occasional morning when The One Who Knows My Heart gives me the gift of delight in a slice of the morning moon or, like today the painterly red-to-pink sky. Scientists will explain about light refraction and condensation patterns. But I know Who hung the stars and in Whom I delight. 
Then Sings My Soul -- How Great Thou Art!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

God sends the messenger and the friend.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This evening, a new friend brought my youngest home from a shopping expedition and spoke God's truth into my life. This new friend came into my life because my daughter chose her daughter for friendship, and in her perky friendly way, brought her daughter home to play and the mom visits began. This sweet mom had the advantage of having heard me speak on the importance of educating our children in the way they should go - according to God's command that we take this so seriously that we speak about His amazing faithfulness along the road, when we get up and when we go to bed. She knows a bit of my heart.
Each time we've seen each other, even for a minute, she's brought something into my life. The second time I saw her, she walked into my house with a fire alarm going off and immediately took to swinging a wash cloth at the alarm hoping to clear the smoke while I called off the fire department. (Truth: a candle met some moss tucked into an amaryllis bulb on the force and set the thing ablaze. Not a shining moment of brilliance, especially with someone else's child in my home. But she met it with calm and love and prayer.)  She is unafraid to bring the bonds of love in a word or some wisdom. And yes, she is quite special.
As she left my house tonight I asked her to pray for a challenge I'm facing. A dear friend has decided to dissuade me from basing my faith on the Word by attacking the validity of the Bible. I shared a few details of our discussion - mostly my friend's heat and resounding passion against the atrocities coming from organized religion (basing Glenn Beck's tears on Jesus Words?). I mentioned how sad I am at the gap this placed in our friendship - and immediately Beth looked at me and spoke the words of Ephesians - this is not about my friend. This is about the enemy. About how much he hates me and my faith. And how very much he wants to pull my friend away from the Light and Beauty and Love of God's Grace. She encouraged me to take my friend out of the equation. To simply continue to bring Grace and Truth, Love and Peace. To be myself out of the strength and courage of my faith and commitment to follow.
Oh, God is good. I live every minute in His presence. I pray to hear His Voice, see Jesus in my life and to remain humble and obedient. And what happens? I hear His Voice and see Jesus in my new friend.