Keep Getting Up!

A righteous man (woman) falls seven times and rises again. But the wicked shall fall by calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16, emphasis mine)

Strong words. I fall, yet I will arise! It is not only a promise but a declaration: The Godly KEEP GETTING UP!

This verse displays the difference between the godly person who falls and that of the ungodly. At a quick glance it states they both fall, which is true but it is how they fall that makes all the difference. The author of Proverbs paints an outstanding picture; he actually uses two different words to describe the fall. The righteous man, the man who knows who he is, full of God and God stuff, when realizing his mistake, his failure, falls as to prostrate oneself, literally meaning to present, (in the Hebrew) When we fall, we fall at God’s feet, there at His feet is mercy, forgiveness and grace.  God lifting grace. Arise.

The wicked man however is described completely different; the person was in the wrong, is in the wrong and has no intention of leaving the wrong. His fall means he falters, stumbles, is weak, conveying there they sit and wallow in it. His is a lifestyle of down and choosing to stay down. But even more so, his place is defined as various shades of evil, in the moral and ethical sense. Notice too, the difference of destination? The righteous fall and rise right back up. The wicked, um… no.

We, listed among humanity, fail and make mistakes and frankly pull the stupid card at times, but “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) And REMEMBER …  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (Jesus, John 10:10) When you are getting up, do not, do NOT listen to him, do not look at him when he attempts steal your victory, kill your joy or destroy your testimony.    With our “eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus, off and running, and not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.” (Phil. 3:13-15 MSG)  We the righteous,  dust ourselves off – full of God … wallow not, we arise!

A righteous man falls seven times and rises again.”

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Watching. Listening. Learning.

Every week Sam (fictitious name of a real person) takes off running at full speed as he passes all the rest. Smiling, his head held high, he is out front and FIRST! But not for long. All watch as Sam slowly begins to lag slower and slower, soon all those he passed are now passing him. Eventually Sam is seen back in the far distance, holding his side with a limping walk. The coach of the Cross Country team tries to tell him to pace himself, reserving the energy to finish the race and finish strong. But he doesn’t seem to be listening. You’d think he’d watch the team leaders who are successful, but he doesn’t seem to see them. His current training will indeed condition him for failure. “Anyone seen Sam?” Asks the coach as the team assembles at the end of practice.

We are designed for each other, to hear and see each other. The writer of Hebrews exhorts “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” (13:7) Solomon said, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20) Paul too charges the older men and women in the book of Titus to teach and live in such a way that the younger generation learns good from them.

The last few years it has been my goal to have a couple, three or four strong godly women in my life at all times. I ask their guidance, seek their wisdom and whole heartedly listen and watch. Not that I always accurately imitate, I tend to have a rebellious streak, but they are out in front of me and I make myself see them, and listen to their words. “Iron sharpens iron, So one man (woman) sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, emphasis mine) They are used of God to help sharpen me, my character, my choices and my gifting. I desire too, to be someone out front for others, like the Psalmist so poetically wrote: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:18) I do NOT want to hear echoed across my life, “Anyone seen DeDe?” Or be like Sam and focus only on getting out ahead, ignoring good training practices and forget the call to finish.

How about you, what are you watching, to whom are you listening?  Does God have a few godly folks running ahead of you to help set your pace?  Point to ponder.

Watching, listening and learning. Finishing the race and finishing strong.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


His Joy, Your Strength

“The joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10   This verse is often quoted as encouragement, and rightly so. A few years ago I read an article written by a Messianic Rabbi, all I remember was his pitch with a slightly different interpretation, I decided to dig in and study it for myself. My results? I too agree with the Rabbi. Let me share my observation and help paint the picture that I believe to be God’s heart.

In the day of Ezra and Nehemiah, a group of Jewish exiles numbering around 50,000 had returned to their homeland of Jerusalem, this after a lengthy captivity in Babylon. Nehemiah’s role was to lead the people in rebuilding the walls of the city. There was great (not so kind) opposition from the neighboring folks, half the men stood guard while the other half worked on the wall, it was an all hands on the wall event, each family working on their assigned section.

Upon the completion of the wall, Ezra brought out the written law of Moses. As he opened it, A-L-L the people stood up. They hadn’t heard this in ages, LITERALLY! They were so overwhelmed, the bowed their faces to the ground and worshipped. In this worship … they wept. What an amazing sight that would be, to see so many tender to the Word of the Lord. They were realizing just how far they can gone AWAY from their God. Their covenant God. THIS is when Ezra and Nehemiah declare to them, “This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep…” Nehemiah continues on, (read this slowly) “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:9-10

A people who were once far off, had now come home. Not only geographically, but home to their God. They labored side by side for one cause, their hearts rendered open when hearing God’s word. HERE, God-was-pleased. He found joy in their unity, in their renewed awareness of Him. God in His everlasting love and mercy was no longer to be feared of their disobedience and apathy, He was joyful of and for them. They were telling the people, “Oh find strength in knowing God is pleased with you, He finds JOY in YOU!” It is His joy, your strength.

How many of us glance over our shoulder and see the mess behind us, we see our straying, our lack of … God. When we do come home, get our act together, gaining a fresh awareness of HIM, we want only to bow our head in disgrace. Oh beloved, “Do not grieve!” God is our God of our now! By all means worship, bow low, but at some point R-A-I-S-E  YOUR  HEAD! Be strengthen, He is pleased, He is over joyed. He is YOUR God.  Be strengthened that He finds joy in YOU!

The joy of the LORD is your strength. His joy, your strength.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another one towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


Show Me!

Ever think, “Hm, now isn’t THIS fine and dandy!” Finding yourself in a situation that requires more faith than the mustard seed you planted out back. Your prayers turn from a somber quietness to “I NEED SOMETHING HERE LORD!” Soon, faith in the wait, turns to a shade of doubt. You are tempted to disown your honesty, and grab a cup of ‘Fake it till it hurts.’ DON’T DO IT! Take pause and a deep breath, let’s look at Thomas and Jesus, and the others (yes, the others)

John 20. Personally I think Thomas gets mis-tagged as ‘Doubting Thomas’, I would tag him as ‘Honest Thomas.’ Jesus knew him, He knew that there was a strong element lacking in him, that same element flows through all our spiritual DNA to some degree, why not address it. We all at times need that moment, Thomas moments, “SHOW ME!” moments.

There is one thing I find fascinating – funny how in Sunday school or from the pulpit when teaching about DOUBT, we always tag just …Thomas. Why, because he verbalized his desire for proof? (v25) And yes, Jesus did tell him “Stop doubting and believe.” (v27) But have we considered when Jesus first appeared to the others, the disciples, fearful and behind locked doors, (Thomas was absent) standing among them, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” THEN, (wait for it…) He showed them His hands and side.” It continues, “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” (v19-20) They may have not said it verbally BUT before Jesus proceeds, He reaches out His hands to them.

Later again Jesus appears, this time He reaches out to Thomas. He needs Thomas to see Him as the true resurrected Lord, the one Who soon will sit at the right hand of the Father, in power, Majesty, and AUTHORITY! Not only did Thomas need to believe in Jesus, he needed to believe Him. Walk with confidence, that He is Who He says He is, does what He says He will do.   Faith.

Aren’t we glad Jesus takes the time to reach out His hands. Can you image, Jesus the risen King, standing in front of YOU – not out of condemnation, but out of love. Tenderly, Put your finger here – see My hands… My side.My life long desire is to have the same response as believing Thomas “My Lord and my God.” It doesn’t say it, but I am confident he fell to his knees. Who couldn’t help but do so. Jesus takes every opportunity to use our moments to teach others. Think of those in the room with Thomas, some may have had the same needed moment, AGAIN! “Wow! I didn’t get a good look last time.” I imagine Peter saying. (You try being in my imaginative head when you read these stories!)

When was the last time our faith was small, limited, even crying out for proof, verbalized or not. Let’s be honest, He knows anyway. He wants us full of belief and see Him in all majesty as He stands in front of us.  (We, to our knees we go!)

It may take some time, progressive faith building time. Be assured if you ask Jesus to ‘show you,’ you better be expectant, heart ready, spiritual eyes open.  Doubting Thomas. HONEST Thomas. Believing Thomas!

I leave us with the powerful words of Jesus Believe Me when I say…” (John 14:11) What is He saying to YOU?

In Him, DeDe (Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Side note:  Many scholars are in agreement that Thomas’ doubt was not necessarily, and not only of Jesus, but of the words of the others.  He knew nothing, but of what the fearful behind locked doors friends were telling him. The others had Holy Spirit breath blown on them by Jesus (in the upper locked room) “Peace” was spoken over them.  They had divine insight Thomas had not yet experienced.


When Life Gets Stupid (Devotional Mini)

I heard a quote recently that I thought was SOOO good, I wrote it down, (though short enough to remember.) I wanted to jot it in the back of my bible, (but I haven’t yet.) I think it good enough to place on the frig among the simple drawings in crayon, (so I will.)

The quote? “When life gets stupid!” Isn’t that so stinkin true! Life just gets crazy wild at times with family, friends, church, ministry, chores, phone calls, emails, grocery shopping, and track – on and on the list goes! Oh I have to add dusting. Since I don’t do it often, I feel better that it even made the list!

When life does get wild and our responses fill with stupid potential, often our stupidity takes it’s liberty and brings along a dear friend who’s name is chaos. What do we do with it (them) stupidity and chaos? Wisdom! Inviting the practical application of our God into our moment. I think James must have had a few of these days, he says “Those of you who lack wisdom ask…” (1:5) He goes on to say “Ask the lady at the check out stand.” No. Ask your very best buddy. Nope. FIRST, ask GOD! God, who gives generously. And there are indeed days, moments that we need to tap into God’s generous offer.

God WHAT is it You want in this very moment; HOW am I to respond, WHY do You have me here, WHERE should Your name be placed, WHO should I reach out to?

When life gets wild and stupidity smiles around the corner, we take a wise pause and invite God into our very moment. One wise guy wrote, “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away…” (Solomon, Proverbs 4:5)

Slow’r down – ask God.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrew 10:24)

Wait. Hope. Soar.


But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

What an amazing word picture, the rising and soaring and then the flight!  Yet this beautiful picture can get lost in the literal translation.  The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) translates, “They shall put forth new feathers like eagles.”  The mature eagle molts his old feathers and new ones grow in their place. (See note below)  Renewed feathers, means renewed strength. The feathers are not grown over night, there is a ‘waiting’ process, but in this waiting there is HOPE.  When the new feathers come in – there is literally a ‘mounting up’, suggesting movement from a lower to a higher place.  As the eagle makes his ascent, he spreads out those lovely strong feathered wings, seeking the wind current and SOARS!

THIS is what God wants of us! Some of us have ruffled feathered wings and lookin pretty tattered, and some – well – they are just plain GONE! When we have lost our strength, no longer have the means to soar, we wait… we HOPE … IN HIM.  We then are like the eagle, we are given new feathers, new strength.

Paul says to the Colossians: “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy.” (1:11)  Endurance is the ‘bearing up under’ in circumstances motivated by HOPE.  Patience is the forbearance with people, motivated by MERCY.

Do you sense a lil molting, God removing with divine intent to replace? Do you need movement in your spiritual life?

Wait. Hope. Soar!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Sacred Spaces

Where is your God place? I mean those moments when you block out the world, the noise, the chaos and quietly bow your head, offering a moment for a spiritual breath. Is it the comfy chair sitting under the light in the living room, or for you it may be a walk on the beach, while brushing your toes in the sand. Or do you wait until bible in hand and you slip into the pew at church. For me, it is a spot on the back porch as I sip coffee.

When God moves and speaks, showing Himself BIG, what is our response? Do we mark those moments on the time line of our life? Or do we just give a quick nod of the head and continue on with our day – our life. I have been studying those great names of old … Abe, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, I found all had many things in common, but one in particular stood out to me … they built altars.

He (Abe) built an altar there to the Lord…” (Genesis 12:7) “Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 26:25) “Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him…” (Genesis 35:14)

This one is one of my favorites; Moses sits on top of a hill, below him the battle wages on. Joshua leads the Israelites against the Amalekites, they were winning as long as Moses kept his hands raised and when he grew tired, Aaron and Hur placed a stone under him to sit and then stood beside him, holding his arms up. They win the battle, Moses built an altar and called it ‘The Lord is my Banner.’ He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.” (Exodus 17:15,16a)  It doesn’t say it in the narrative, but I can imagine Moses taking rocks and placing them on top of the large stone he sat on during the battle, marking the fight and the victory.

An altar is a landmark of God’s presence. It declares a sacred space, sacred because the faithful God of the universe was there. Oh, we may no longer need to gather various rocks and pile them in our back yard, but we can make a spiritual marker. I made a very clear altar of the heart a few years ago. If I could literally see the altar it would be down in a cattle field, at the river’s edge, under a large old tree. It was there I cried out to the Lord, wanting … NEEDING His presence – He never disappoints.

Like the Patriarchs of old, may we too be altar builders. Marking places, seasons where battles were fought, where battles were WON!  Recognizing and declaring THIS is where God met with me. Here is where I will remember. I will remember … HIM.  If we could see as God sees, I am confident we would see sacred spaces scattered across our past journeys.

Sacred spaces.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.”  Hebrews 10:24)