I L-O-V-E Jesus! I love His word, His emphasis, His stuff!
Last night at church during worship was sang one of my favorite songs, “He has made me glad.” As I had my eyes closed, hands raised I was taken back 4 years prior and reminded that THIS song was one that I sang over and over again. I shared with a friend, that this song, became my theme, and helped me drag my sorry spiritual butt out of the pit! (sorry for the slang, but is SO true , see Psalm 40:2).
“I’ll say of the Lord … You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion ~ Deliverer …”
Reaching out for Jesus and grabbing on to Him with all our might is EXACTLY what He wants us to do. Remember the gal who had the issue of bleeding, and she reached out and touched Jesus’ garment? In the original Greek it paints the picture that her ‘reaching out and touching’ was so intense that it may have left a literal imprint of her hand on the garment. The result? Jesus healed her! (Matthew chapter 9)
May we too, reach out, grab with intensity Jesus, as to leave our print there as well. “It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free… STAND FIRM THEN …” (Gal. 5:1) I’m standing ~ grabbing and HOLDING! Not only is this our nations Independence Day weekend, but I too remember MY Independence Day!
Saved, redeemed, bought with a price in 1979. Re-released … summer of 2004. Thank You, Jesus!
Find yourself in a pit? Stand and sing with me “I’ll say of the Lord … You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion ~ Deliverer …”
~ DeDe (Psalm 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD …”)
I must talk a lot, or rather type a lot. I recently checked my sent file on my computer in my email program. I found that combining both my laptop and desktop, in the last 3 months I have sent out over 3,000 emails. For crying out loud! No wonder I am exhausted, (just kidding).
I began to think about all those words flying around cyberspace, praying that they landed where they should have, with purpose and meaning. I thought of the content, did what I say have some merit somewhere to someone? Was it honorable? Peppered with love and integrity? Sigh.
The Bible speaks plenty about our speech and the affect it will have on others. David says in Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” THAT is the starting point, that what we think, what we say be pleasing to God. James chapter 3 pin points the power of the tongue as well.
The author of Proverbs paints a healthy picture of the NEED to choose our words carefully. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Our words can kill or bring life to others, that thought alone can and should impact us. These words to or about others affect us as well. This verse literally means that we WILL ‘eat our words’. I don’t know about you, but I have had a few phrases return to my plate to feast on, and by golly it was distasteful!
Paul penned these words in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication (unwholesome talk) proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” I want to minister grace !
May we begin with honoring thoughts, “… taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5b) From there ~ launch into life giving mode, that our words to others produce an atmosphere where they feel good and THRIVE about their God, themselves and their future. Ministering grace.
“Father, enable us, empower us with enthusiasm to enrich Your kingdom with our gift of speech. May You be honored and glorified. Using us to minister grace to those around us. In Jesus name. Amen.”
In Him, DeDe (Psalm 92:4, “You thrill me, LORD …”)
This morning, I was looking into prayer, and why it is so important to incorporate it in our study time in God’s word. We may say, “I don’t have … ” God’s word says, “You have not, because you ask not …” (James). “Well, I don’t want to bother God”, we are told “Come boldly before the throne of grace that we may receive…” (Hebrews) “I am confused and don’t understand”, James also says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, ASK of God, who gives generously …” Who couldn’t use more practical application of God in our lives!!!
If we REALLY want to learn of God, then we go to Him FIRST, invite Him, ask Him to share Himself with us through His word. One point God showed me: The same Holy Spirit that was present when the word was penned, is present when it is read.
Then… I found JOY
Jesus says in John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. ASK and you will receive and your JOY will be complete.”
Psalm 16:11 “You have made known to me the path of life – You will fill me with JOY in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Joy is listed among the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. It bears a wide range of expression, from calm delight to … gladness of heart to … EXUBERANT joy! How fun is THAT. I have thought – pondered and meditated on this throughout the day, my excitement has grown!
There is JOY being in His presence, JOY in learning of Him, JOY allowing Him to move in and through us. And wisdom, to know HOW to walk out what we learn of HIM joyfully!
This joy spills over … there is JOY in deep friendship, JOY in a beautiful warm day, JOY in Pepperidge Farm Milano Mint Cookies, (HAD to add that).
Share a little EXUBERANT joy with someone this weekend, share God’s word with them, tell them how much they are loved.
Prayer. Presence. God’s word. Joy. Pass it on.
~ DeDe (Psalm 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD .”)
Recently the gals at bible study and myself were looking at Psalm 121. The author lends a beautifully crafted picture of what it is to keep our eyes where they should be, (representing our focus) Verses 1-2:
“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
We can appreciate the pro-active stance the Psalmist takes as he prepares to position himself. Notice he says “I lift my eyes…” He is not waiting for someone else to do it for him, or even swing his arm out and grab onto the person next to him. NO – HE does it. What does he do? He lifts his eyes. KNOWING that keeping them down will not direct his attention to where his help is.
As another Psalmist states: “Why are you downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God …” (Ps. 42:5)
To help paint this picture at bible study, with the help of a sweet little gal, we scattered coins on the floor. Here and there, pennies, dimes, nickels, yes even those collectible quarters. THEN, I tacked dollar bills to the ceiling, $1.00’s, $5.00’s, $10.00’s and a couple of $20.00’s. As the gals came in, their attention was drawn to the coins on the floor, a few gals picked them up and handed them to me, or politely placed them on the tables. I of course came behind them and discretely threw them back on the floor for others to see.
We progressed through a time of fellowship and worship, nothing was said about the ‘big bucks’ on the ceiling. I opened the teaching time, by asking them if they noticed anything slightly different this morning. One gal commented on the coins. Then they began to chat about that. Smiling I said “Yes, you noticed the little stuff on the ground, but did you look UP? All heads immediately flew up. You could hear the “AaaaHa!” Expressions of revelation.
So often we keep our gaze down don’t we? Not allowing our focus to go heavenward. WE MISS SO MUCH! While our focus is down, generally this is when we fall into the pit of disgust, despair, depression and even dissatisfaction. A side note to add here: in Psalm 42, when stated “Why are you downcast O my soul?” The word picture is that of movement ~ a spiral motion, his soul is heading down AND down. His self talk is SMART.
Can you imagine with me, he bows his head and talks to his soul [ definition of soul: heart, mind, the inner being with it’s thoughts and emotions] he continues on “Put your hope in God…” Mainly … “Dude get a grip! God is your answer, now look to HIM!” However I love the second half of the verse as rendered by the Young’s Literal Translation – “Wait for God, for still I confess Him.”
Do YOU have the down in the dump, downcast doldrums? The antidote? Redirect your focus on God’s ability to help you rather than your ability to help yourself. State it. Confess it. Cry out for it. Live it.
May we purpose to setting our sights as the Psalmist did, NOT notice just the little stuff here on the ground, but look UP to God. THAT is where the BIG stuff is (smile).
I leave us with the song that we as a group of God-loving gals sang at each gathering as we ventured through the Psalms:
I lift my eyes up
to the mountians
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven
Creator of the earth
O How I need You Lord
You are my only hope
You are my only prayer
So I will wait for You
To come and rescue me
Come and give me life
– Written by Brian Doerksen
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD … as I look UP.”)
I learned something very recently. Fear can keep us (me) from going places that we really need to be going. Let me paint a picture for you by what I mean: I used to walk. I would put on my MP3 headset, and set out for a glorious time of worship. I would walk the neighborhood, spend about 30 minutes on my powerwalk, I called it.
THEN, one day the neighbors pitbull (ugly beast) met me at the end of our lane, and proceeded to walk me back up the lane to our house, backwards. I knew NOT to turn and run, he would only see it as a chance to chase. Right when I got to our gate, I slowly reached back and opened it, and slipped into our yard, THAT is when the beast saw he was losing me and charged the gate. I had my pepper spray in my hand the whole time, that is when I chose to use it.
Dead on, target reached. It made him so MAD, he charged again, I sprayed again. He finally pranced away, as I limped away emotionally from the fear. For future precautions, we took the issue up with the neighbor, and the City Animal Control Unit. Since then I have had such a fear of that dog turning the corner and coming at me again, I have not set out walking since then, it’s been a few months.
Until ~ yesterday. Sporting a huge stick AND my pepper spray I headed out. When I got to the end of the lane, oh Beasty was no where to be seen. Whahoo, all the angels are on their feet, high-fiving each other (ok, maybe not – but that is how I felt). Perhaps the ugly beast will never reappear. But my fear can not hold me back. Walk I did, with a glorious time of worship.
There WILL be beasts around many corners. Wisdom will lead us to take precautions. But we can not allow them to keep us captive from setting out. When we do encounter them, and choose to stay put, we may never find out later that they are NO LONGER there. Much of the time, the thing we fear is in our head, not necessarily awaiting us down the lane.
Nearly 50 times we are admonished in the Bible to “Fear not…” or “Do not be afraid.” Yet it is a common default for us all. Paul writes to Timothy about stepping out, using the gifts God has instilled in him, to share the word of God with others, yet I feel this strong statement applies to all fears that hold us back. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
FREEDOM ~ Jesus show us YOUR power, love us through it, and clear our thoughts, allow discipline and discretion to guide us, so the beasts of our minds would NOT rule over us.
~ DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD ..”)
I smell FABULOUS! Even if I do say so myself. Sorry guys ~ girl talk. I was given a gracious gift certificate to one of those good smelly places, lined with rows of bath gels, body oils and room air fresheners, (fortunately I knew NOT to spray THAT on). I played in the bath gels for awhile, and then moved onto the body oils. LOVE the oils! My personal favorite right now is Lavender. I have grown to love the color, the smell, it is fresh and so feminine. That is what came home with me. So, I smell like a field of lavender. I do however, pray I don’t attract bees in my good-smelly-ness.
We are highly sensitive to smell. One of the five senses that strike us with great impact, also one of the most offensive or pleasant. Not only do we smell good, but we can purchase candles, incense, sprays, even night light plug-ins to bathe our homes with fragrance while we sleep.
There is a fragrance however that can not be rubbed on, sprayed or be splashed, but comes from …within. It is the beauty of Christ in our lives, it can and will attract others, perhaps, forgoing the bees ~ smile.
“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, He has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume. As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us.” (2 Cor. 2:14-15, The Living Bible)
In the Tabernacle of Moses, the incense was a prescribed fragrance. Not just any old aroma, but a specific pleasant odor. Certain ingredients were needed, a certain blend. God knew if the mixture was not just right, the out come would be STINKY. Same with our lives, it takes just the right mixture for a pleasant aroma, mixture of the life, love and qualities of Christ. If not, sorry folks, it is just plain old stinky … US (metaphorically speaking of course). Been around a few stinky folks?
Another place where fragrance was a HUGE issue, John chapter 11. Jesus comes to the tomb of Lazarus, telling them to remove the stone, while Martha politely reminds Jesus, that … well after 4 days “…he stinketh.” A big concern for sure. The stone is rolled away and Jesus prays, it was NOT the smell of death that came out. Adding Jesus to the circumstance and LIFE is the result.
Allowing others to see, hear, touch, taste and smell Jesus in our lives is what we are called to. Remember when Mary poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet, in John 12? She didn’t just dab here or there, she POURED enough to cause the house to be filled with the fragrance! Her worship was known, seen and a pleasant aroma. May we too pour it out thick, overflowing, regardless of the cost … loving HIM.
Bathe yourself with and in the qualities of Jesus, and smell wonderful for Him. As we walk in the prescribed fragrance of God, adding Jesus to the mix, others will smell Him. In doing so, as we too pray with His power, and authority, stones will be moved away and others will come out not stinking, but ALIVE!
The fragrance of Christ.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD .”)
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking to our senior saints at their Adults Alive Luncheon. They were so much fun! Yet, I HAVE to share with you where and when the fun … began. As our sound man was prepping me with a wireless mic (I use my hands when I talk and I am afraid I will throw the mic at someone), he was having trouble getting the over-the-ear mic to fit properly. It kept falling forward, due to it being too large for my ear. So after bending and crimping it (sorry Pastor, hope it still fit on Sunday) he had this BRIGHT idea and ran off, he came back with, yes – scotch tape! He taped the wire running down my neck to my neck. By now I had the giggles and hardily thanked him for NOT using a stapler!
Soon, after a lovely introduction I took to the platform. Finding out the mic was not turned on, I graciously looked over to the gal who introduced me, (and without thinking) asked her, “Would you turn me on?” AS I lifted the back of my shirt exposing the battery pack. This gal is so quick with wit, she looked to the audience, smiling and said “I haven’t been asked THAT in a LONG time.” Yep, these folks are alert and awaiting a word on PASSION! God has such a wonderful sense of humor.
I spoke to them about Caleb, from the book of Numbers and Joshua. Caleb was one of the 12 that spied out The Promised Land with Joshua. The two reported back to Moses with a good report, while the others were discouraging and caused the people to fear. The LORD was so impressed with this good report, and the reporter, that He stated this about Caleb, “Because My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24)
Jumping ahead to Joshua 14, it has been 44 years, Caleb is now 85, and they do possess The Promised land. Caleb approaches Joshua (now in charge) for his land, reminding him of the promise God had made to him. His words are full of conviction and energy. “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” The hill country Caleb was wanting still had some enemies to conquer, he continues saying this “… the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as He said.” Caleb still has spunk! Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Hebron as his inheritance, (latter part of verse 14) “…because he (Caleb) followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”
Four times it is said of Caleb, that ”… because he followed the LORD, wholeheartedly.” This wholeheartedly is a wonderful quality. In the Hebrew it is mala, literally meaning to fill, to be full, yet there is more… to satisfy. Quickly, we look at Exodus 40, Moses has just finished setting up the Tabernacle, (verses 34-35) “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled (mala) the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.” (emphasis mine)
The Israelites had finished the work as God commanded, but it was not complete – wholly. It was God’s glory – His Presence that filled, that satisfied the Tabernacle, all the design, the articles awaited the Presence. So it was with Caleb, he filled his life with God. Filled, to the level of satisfaction, wholeheartedly.
What do we fill our lives with? What is it that satisfies us? What is that one desire that dominates all the other desires? May I use a trendy word? What is our PASSION? That deep gut burning’, call it. We can have longing, desire, and hunger for so many things, but is there something, someOne who holds our attention so strongly that we have extreme emotion expressed with enthusiasm over it/them?
May God be that focus. Just as a cup, a glass is designed to be filled, satisfied with contents. We too are designed to be a container for the presence of God. Practically speaking, once filled ~ Oh we share it! We pass it on. Psalm 107:9 “For He (the LORD) satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” If you knit, knit wholeheartedly, if you garden, do so fully. Are you in the season that grandchildren fill you with pleasure, take your filling of God to your grandchildren and do so to the glory of God! Passion is an action word, it does not sit by motionless. Caleb at 85 was ready and willing to keep his satisfying passion rolling!
If asked of me, “What is your passion?” I would have to say, “That my love for God’s word be contagious to others, that they too would come to long for it, with that deep gut burning.”
I leave us with a quote from a dear pastor friend of mine, from his book Holy Passion, “Passion creates opportunities that desire only hopes will come it’s way. Passion builds a highway through mountains that desire just wishes others would construct. Desire waits for others to lead, while passion shows the way.” – Rev. Ben Peters, Chicago, IL.
Let’s pray …
Father we so seek Caleb qualities, to love and serve You wholeheartedly. May we too have a different spirit about us, seeing the good, sharing the report. Empower us to lead and construct the highways where others just sit and wait. Grant us the strength, insight and ability to share it with others. For YOU, may our deep gut burning, our passion, be contagious to those around us. In Your most sacred Name, Jesus. Amen.
Satisfying Passion. Following the LORD, wholeheartedly.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD …”)
The hills of life often turn into a mountain of challenge. Ever felt that way? One more heap of this or that, and it continues to grow. I have asked the Lord to tell me about the mountain. It has consumed my mind these last couple of days. I have found that if we sit at its base and do nothing, nothing is obtained, attained, nothing is conquered.
God showed me in His word, different mountains, and the different aspects of His character met at each mountain. There is first the bowing of head, seeking the covering of His Spirit, grace to endure, strength to go on.
As I journey up, I see Noah. Genesis 8:1 as the flood swirled around him, it says ‘God remembered Noah’. God took Noah and placed him on a mountain top, there He made promises and a covenant. I observe the faithfulness of God, I journey on.
I see Abe, Genesis 22. God calls Abraham to the mountain – to sacrifice. There was the laying down of a deep love, yet in obedience … he offered. It says ‘God called out to Abraham’. He again, is faithful.
Exodus – Moses is taken to the mountain, God gives His word. His word becomes their guidance. Guide LORD!
Now I stand at the Mt. of transfiguration, Matthew 17. Jesus invites. It says He takes Peter, James and John with Him, as He uncloaks His humanity… showing His glory. How powerful to be in such a Presence. Jesus is faithful to show Himself to us in our need.
I stand now at my own mountain, perhaps of my own making, the mountain of LIFE. Jesus says… ‘I remember YOU, I am calling out to YOU, I give YOU my word, and I invite YOU!’ OH, the faithfulness of God.
Matthew 17:20, Jesus tells His followers ‘… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’.
What is YOUR mountain? God is faithful ~ He remembers us, calls out to us, gives us His word and invites us… enables us through our belief and trust in Him to tackle the mountain, nothing is impossible!
Have a God-loving, mountain tackling week.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD …)
This week at bible study, I challenged the ladies to think outside the box. Yep, put on that creative hat, and ‘create’. On each table was a piece of paper filled with graphics, a pair of dice, some 3×5 cards, and two different colored plastic army men, (borrowed from my youngest son).
The gals were to work as a team, nine teams, nine tables in all. What were they creating? A game, a board game of sorts. THEY had to come up with the starting point, the goal, the rules, figure out the course of the game, the objectives, the stumbling blocks, and the rewards. The cool part was they only had 5 – 10 minutes to do so. You guessed it, moanings and groanings escaped from their lips. I HEARD that! However ~ when the time began, they got really into it!
After the allotted time, I told them ‘pencils down, time to share!‘ I asked the ladies, ‘when I first gave you the instructions what were your feelings, what emotion did you experience’? ‘Frustration’ was blurted out… ‘annoyance’ … one gal said ‘PANIC !’ We then went around the room and shared the games they created, what a variety. These gals can play games! There were treasure hunts, survival games, a couple with military themes, one game was titled ‘Freedom’, LOVE IT! You can imagine the wonderful discussion we had over this, as we thought through the steps of the game, finding it difficult to determine how one wins the game, and clearly defining the rules. .
You ask, ‘what was the purpose of this little exercise?’ This week, in our homework we looked at the blessings of God, also the fear of God and obedience to Him, how they all tie into one another other. My thoughts went to: how often we ‘try’ to change the rules at times in this game called life. How would it be if WE had to come up with the game plan, define the rules, and consider who ‘wins’. My ladies found out just how hard it was (is).
The course we run, the game we play (to help paint a picture) is designed by God. His objectives, His rules, His rewards. SO glad it is His job. No matter how hard I try, that job description still does not fit on my head along with the other hats I wear. I know what you are thinking, what about those times the game path is uncertain, we role the dice, there is freedom to go either way on the board. Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him (KNOW Him), and He will make your paths straight’, (emphasis mine).
We choose God, His plan, His rules, and receive His rewards! Consider the strong words spoken by the LORD in Jeremiah (29:11) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. Oh we CAN’T stop there . verses 12-14 ‘Then you will call upon Me, and come and pray, and I will listen to you, You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD …’
The game is set, His game. Play according to the rules ~ trust, seek, know, call, and pray ~> HIM and you WIN! \o/
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 ‘You thrill me, LORD…’)
I heard a quote yesterday 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 all the photos of family and friends, (so I will).
The quote? “When life gets stupid“. Isn’t THAT so stinkin true! Life just gets stupid at times, crazy with family, friends, church, ministry, chores, phone calls, emails, grocery shopping, baseball … 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!
I thought about this throughout the day yesterday. Hm, when life does ‘get stupid’, perhaps that stupidity takes it’s liberty, and brings along a dear friend who’s name is chaos.
WHAT do I do with it (them) stupidity and chaos?
Wisdom! That ‘w’ word. Inviting the practical application of my God into my very 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. NO! Ask GOD! God, who gives generously. And there ARE days that we NEED to tap into the ‘generous’ offer. Bring on the wisdom, pour it on heavy! There is a time and place to seek counsel, but where do we go FIRST!
So, when life gets stupid, I will ask. Ask God about ‘Sophia’ (no it’s not gossip, it is Greek for wisdom) and ask that He give it generously. Go God! Proverbs 4:5 ‘Get wisdom, get understanding, do not forget my words or swerve from them’.
We ask: God WHAT is it YOU want in this very moment, HOW am I to respond, WHY are my motives important, WHERE should Your name be placed.
WISDOM, inviting God into my very moment.
~ DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me LORD…)
Healing waters, sounds soothing doesn’t it. Peaceful. Inviting. Paints the most tranquil postcard picture, the kind you want to send to others with the tantalizing message of ‘wish you were here!‘
Last week, we looked at the river of God, the waters that needed to be crossed. God delivering us on dry ground. Today, we go in the waters ~ we immerse … healing waters.
We go to 2 Kings 5. There is a fellow by the name of Naaman (Naw- mawn). He is the commander of the army of Syria, known to be great and highly regarded. Victorious in battle and the word says, ‘he was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy’. The story goes on telling that his servant girl is an Israelite and suggests that Naaman go to Israel and seek out a prophet for healing. To make a long story, not so long, Naaman goes to the King of Israel, who then sends him to Elisha the prophet.
Naaman was READY to be healed, he was packed and had the treasure chest to prove it. He brought along silver, gold and 10 sets of clothing (whahoo ~ portable Macys!) to give as gifts. When he approached Elisha’s house, Elisha sends out a messenger saying ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed’.
Hm… he sends out his MESSENGER? Dude I expected MORE! Naaman went away quite peeved, and understandably so, after all, he had come all this way. “All I have to do is go dip in the Jordan, you have to be kidding!” What happened to all the ‘call on the name of the Lord, and wave his hand over me’ stuff? I want DRAMA! I want BIG! I WANT to be HEALED!
Leprosy, is not a pretty disease. It deforms, and debilitates. One of the external evidences are skin legions, and in most cases there is a loss of sensation in the feet or hands. Not only the physical pain and disablements to deal with, but in many cultures, isolation is the social response. Naaman was getting desperate.
In Naamans distress over his expectations of grandeur, his servant approaches, and gently expresses, ‘if you were told to do some wonderful, great BIG thing, would you do it? This is simple, you CAN do this, why not just do it?‘ (my paraphrase) Simple obedience. The best definition that I have come across so far for obedience is ‘having a clear understanding of the instructions and acting accordingly’.
Couldn’t get any clearer for Naaman, pretty straight forward. Verse 14, ‘So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times … and his flesh was restored and became clean’, the New Living Translations says ‘and he was healed!’ Most excellent.
Some dipping and he was good as new. NO, not hardly. Heres the fun part. The Hebrew word used for ‘dipped’ literally means ‘PLUNGE’, to become fully saturated. To help paint the picture, it is the Hebrew rendition of the Greek word ‘baptisma’, yes, baptism, ‘to submerge, immerse’ ~ WET! To go down, and come up taking on the likeness of that which you are immersed in. In water baptism, we go down ‘us’ and come up identifying with and to the Lord Jesus Christ. Dying to self, now alive in Christ.
Naaman went down, immersed in the waters, allowing ALL (again ALL) of him, to become saturated. He didn’t just put his face in the water and pat the water with his hands, He went completely in. He came up … healed. Healing waters. Was there something special in the water? No. It was him going in with ALL he had, obeying the simple, and seeing what God had for him.
What does this story have for US? We too can be saturated with healing – restoring waters. What do we come with? What is our ailment ~ physical, emotional, spiritual? Are we too, getting desperate enough to pack up and seek healing. Oh, we may be asked to do the ‘so simple’ (or perhaps some of us, it is BIG) but … ‘just do it’. Don’t take the simplicity of God for granted, or as Naaman expected, give me something BIG, like ‘oh I have to have the pastor pray for me (yet there ARE times) or have the elders anoint me (there ARE times). What is being asked of YOU? Do you need to take the plunge in the river of God?
I have a very dear friend who REALLY wants healing, restoration in an area of their life. They have not only come to the waters and ‘gone in’, they in a sense waited until the pool was empty and went to the high dive. Yes, the climb up the ladder was tedious, even scary, but they have walked to the edge of the board, and have taken the ‘plunge’. Obedience in such a way, that to others they may seem silly or extreme. But this friend is becoming disabled, and doesn’t want to lose sensation, or experience isolation, they are desperate!
May we too come to the river of God and immerse ourselves. For goodness sake if you feel compelled to do a swan dive, feel free! Some of us may do a belly flop, but hey, at least we are in the water. Allowing Him to soak up every corner, every crevice of our life. A total ‘dipping’ we will do! Silly, simple, BIG ~ even scary? Perhaps. But come on in, the water, the river, the PRESENCE of God is GREAT! Come in and see what God has for YOU!
Immerse yourself in the healing waters.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 ‘You thrill me, LORD…)
Last weekend I had the sweet honor of speaking at our annual women’s retreat. The theme was ‘Come to the River’. The location of the retreat was spectacular. High above the Columbia River Gorge, nestled among the trees. Yet sporting a wonderful view of the river.
Come to the River, being the theme, I shared on 3 approaches to the river of God. The first being, ‘delivering waters, needing to be crossed’, the second, ‘healing waters, are to be immersed in’ and lastly, ‘satisfying waters are for refilling’. I know the gal most impacted was the one upfront, looking into the eyes of the women.
You too are now among us … delivering waters.
We begin our journey in Joshua chapter 3. To give a ‘brief ‘ summary of where we are on God’s time line, Moses has brought the Israelites out of Egypt, delivering them from slavery. They are heading for the Promise Land, their inheritance, a place to call their own. Due to MANY circumstances which could not be contained in this devotional ~ they wander for 40 years. Following Moses’ death, Joshua, whom now holds the reins of leadership, prepares the people to cross the Jordan River into the Land, to take possession of what is rightly theirs. Can you imagine with me, (for humor sake ) what it was like for Joshua as he opened Moses’ will… ‘to Jeped I leave my sandals, to Eliazer my cloak, and to Joshua – THEM. The thousands, those who complain, the dusty ones. May Jehovah have mercy on your soul’. ( Just kidding , totally kidding).
We look now at verse 1, it states that they ‘set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over’. The King James words it ‘they lodged’ there, they literally pitched their tents. They were SO close, across the river was their goal, they could see it, after all these years, THERE it was! Hm, how many of us too, have had (or are having ) let’s say ~ good intentions. We set out, yet come to the rivers edge and pitch our tents, we camp for while, (perhaps TOO long), knowing that across the river is our inheritance. Jumping ahead ~ it is expressed that the river is at flood stage (v.15). Oh great, we get here and this is what we find, it is bigger, wider, and deeper than we expected.
Joshua summons the people: ‘consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the LORD will do AMAZING things among you’, (v.5 emphasis mine). Looking at the flooded river, yep ‘amazing’ is what it is going to take! I love this ‘amazing’. In the Hebrew it is ‘pala’ (paw-law), meaning as you would think, amazing, wonderful, extraordinary. Yet there is more. Psalms 118:23 ‘The Lord has done this, and it is wonderful in our eyes. Verse 24, ‘This is the day the LORD has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it’. ‘It is wonderful in our eyes’, same word, ‘pala’.
Now track with me, we turn to Genesis 18:14, this is the story where God tells Abe and Sarah that in their old age they will have a son, and remember Sarah laughs ( who wouldn’t !). Backing up to 13, ‘Then the LORD said to Abraham, ‘why did Sarah laugh and say, will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Then God says, ‘Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.’ Too hard, ‘pala’. Is anything too amazing for God, too hard for HIM?
The river is RAGING. Joshua has the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, God’s very presence on their shoulders, go to the rivers edge. ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s water, go and stand in the river‘ ( v.8 ) There was no – raise your hands high, bow 3 times, SHOUT with all your might, (that comes later at the walls of Jericho). Just stand. Don’t get me wrong there IS a time to shout, bow and raise your hands, but also a time to ‘stand’, (see Eph. 6:10-18). To take the toe of life and place it in the water, the raging water, takes courage. The KNOWING that once we do, what is too hard, is an opportunity for God to do ‘amazing’ things among us. Jesus says in Luke 18:27 ‘What is impossible with men, is possible with God’. God takes the ‘im’ in impossible and turns it into ‘I AM’.
Verse 15, ‘Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from up stream stopped flowing‘. Go God! As they walked to the middle of the river, ‘they stood firm on dry ground’. Here is a wonderful analogy for us. As Israel passed by, the priests stayed right there in the middle of the river, until all were safe. God’s presence staying in the middle of OUR circumstance until we are safely on the other side. He goes into the water with us, He stays and crosses exactly where we are.
Twelve men were chosen to gather a stone from the middle of the river and take it to the other side, symbolic of God’s deliverance at the river. There in the sanctuary where I spoke, in the middle of the isle I had a treasure chest full of stones. I felt God wanted us as women to identify ‘our river’. We, standing on one side, and NEEDING to cross over to our inheritance in God, taking possession. At first I thought, a rough stone will do, we are after all, rough and still a work in progress, but the Lord told me, ‘no – a smooth stone,’ symbolizing too that as we cross over, walk through the river on dry ground, taking the Presence of God with us, standing and seeing God do amazing things in and through us, we are being smoothed. I likened it to God taking us and our circumstance in His hand, His fingers rubbing us smooth. The gals were encouraged to take a rock and write on it (pen provided) what was ‘too hard’, what they wanted – NEEDED from God. Joy, freedom from fear, no longer being insecure, deliverance from consuming habits, a real, REAL sense of His love. These can be the river we cross.
Coming to the river requires a decision. There is most often a tendency to hover near the waters edge. It is a meeting place with God, a place of dedication, devotion. Yes, take time to search, and be searched (Ps. 139) pray, but NEVER stay there. Our inheritance (joy, freedom, assurance, security, love), awaits us on the other side. Our option? Turn back … into the desert, wander some more, even go back to captivity. Us … too hard ~ God … AMAZING!
It is in the RIVER that we take that first ‘step’ and stand. We take God with us, to the very middle of the circumstance, and we stand FIRM! Safe and dry. We do as the 12 leaders did, we take something from the river as a reminder, and build that altar before God, HERE and now YOU preserved me, YOU brought me through, YOUR presence stayed there in the middle of it all, to see me to the other side! Isaiah 43:1-2 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…”
We need only to cross the waters. God with us, God in us, God delivering us.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 ‘You thrill me, LORD …’)
This morning I witnessed a random act of kindness, to be perfectly honest it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Kind of like those moments on Little House and the Prairie when Laura would be kind to Mrs. Olsen ~ heart wrenching isn’t it!
I was driving near the County Courthouse, when in the middle of the congested intersection sat a car, an older gentleman and young gal hop out and begin to push the disabled vehicle. THEN all of a sudden, across the street came their help. Two women ran to the back of the car, one swung the strap of her purse around her neck, the other gal, placed her clutch purse between her teeth, and they both began to push with all their might. The car was soon out of the intersection. I would have LOVED to hear the conversation between the older gentleman and the women, with the ‘thanks so MUCH’ offering to pay them for their labor, kindness these days doesn’t come cheap and FREE – well there is always a catch somewhere, or so it seems. Then ’oh it was nothing’, they part and go on their way. Kindness.
Years ago, I worked at my dad’s fast food restaurant. One day a little boy, about the age of 6 or 7 came in, he asked for a small ice cream cone, and politely placed on the counter the now moistened coins so tightly clutched in his hand. I looked at the pile of nickels, dimes and pennies, in knowing it wasn’t enough, the little guy saw my hesitation. The worried look on his face would melt any heart. I quickly reached in my pocket and pulled out a few more coins, I looked him in the eyes, with a huge smile “perfect amount“, I told him. Then there was even a more worried look on his face, he didn’t trust my kindness. I quickly went over and made him the largest ‘small’ cone I had ever made, handing it to him, he never took his eyes away from mine as he reached up, took the cone, backed away and slowly walked out the door. Kindness.
The bible defines kindness as ‘goodness of heart’, as found in Galatians 5:22-23 the listing of the Fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is among the qualities of Christ that we too possess and share with others as we allow His Spirit to flow in and through us. John MacArthur says this about kindness, ‘it is the genuine desire of a believer to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats him’.
It is fairness, a tenderness, a true concern for others. Kindness at times comes across as a weak quality if we possess it, we have to be TOUGH! Look out for number one – ME! That is why at times it is not to be trusted. That is NOT the fruit of the Spirit. It is taking the time to kneel and begin to write in the sand, as Jesus did. Bringing the attention to the kindness and grace extended to us and the NEED to extend it to others. Kindness.
I was interested to see what it is to NOT extend, be or show kindness. According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, it states that acting in unfairness, callousness even (here’s the clincher) iniquity is un-kindness. Hm…
May we begin to help rephrase ‘random acts of kindness’ to ‘routine daily expressions of kindness‘. Oh we may need to dip into our pockets and pull out a few coins, lovingly help with a hefty push. Even make the cone bigger than expected. A smile, a wave, opening the door for someone who’s hands are full or may even be crippled. In doing so, we go – do and be Jesus to others.
I so enjoy how one resource words it, I will close with this: “Kindness is the grace which spreads throughout the whole nature mellowing all which would be harsh and stern” (W.E Vine)
Kindness, rendering our hearts to others as Jesus renders to us!
In Him, ( Ps. 92:4 ‘You thrill me, LORD …’)
Normally this week is the traditional season of Passover for those of Jewish heritage or faith, (though Easter is on the calendar earlier this year) Passover is the Hebrew celebration of remembering God delivering them (the Hebrews also known as the Israelites) from Egyptian enslavement and bondage. The story unfolds in the beginning chapters of Exodus. Further on we find that God gave Pharaoh ample opportunities to free the Hebrew slaves, yet he still refused. After many plagues, God sent the angel of death to every household killing the first born son, (note: just as the Egyptians had done to the Hebrews, killing the baby boys)
In Exodus 12, the Lord instructed Moses to tell the Israelite people, to place the blood of a sacrificed ‘unblemished’ lamb on the sides and top of the doorframe of their house. The Hebrew word is ‘tamim’, meaning without blemish, undefiled, whole. Yet it means more, it is also the Hebrew description for upright, truth, integrity, and perfect. Used many times in reference to God, one is found in 2 Samuel 22:31
As for God, His ways are perfect, and the word of the LORD
is tried, He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him. (KJV)
Moses instructs them in the same breath, that they were to eat the meat roasted over a fire ‘whole’. Verse 14 of the same chapter declares they were ‘not to break any of its bones’.
That evening as they partook in these events, the angel of death came and found the blood on the door posts and would ‘pass over’ (pesach) that home, saving all inside. Those found without the blood, the first born son perished. Pharaoh eventually released the Hebrews and they left Egypt.
In practicing the custom of Passover they would re-enact this, by story telling. They would also recite what is known as the Hallel, portions of Psalms 113-118.
So it was the blood of the lamb that saved them….
Now we are at another time and place. Consider if you will, you are standing on the cobble stoned narrow streets of Jerusalem’s, there is the hustle and bustle of life all around you when…
WAIT… what is that we hear…. LISTEN ~ do you hear the muffled sounds of a crowd, now the clip, clop of hooves? Someone is yelling something. Who is it that comes riding in on a donkey….. the LAMB of God!
When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their
cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their
cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they
cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those
who followed shouted ‘Hosanna’, Blessed is he who
comes in the name of the LORD, blessed is the coming
kingdom of our father David, Hosanna in the Highest’
(Mark 11:7-10 NIV)
This is where it gets really good, now hold on….
Hosanna is the Greek version of the Hebrew saying ‘yasha na’ (yaw-shaw naw) meaning … ‘save we pray’. This too is taken from the Hallel, from Psalms 118:25,26
O LORD, save us; O LORD , grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you. (NIV)
The King James says Save now, I beseech thee, (hosanna)
As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, they yell “Hosanna!”, “Save we Pray!” Can you grasp the impact of what they are saying? They go on to yell,
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David’
Jesus was fulfilling the prophetic words of Zechariah 9:9 and that of 2 Samuel 7:12-13
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter
of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and
having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt,
the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
God speaks to David….
‘When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I
will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come
from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He
is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will
establish the throne of his kingdom forever.’ (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
They finish their declaration with again….. “Hosanna in the highest”.
Then…. just 4 chapters later, that same crowd was again yelling, but this time… Crucify Him!, Crucify Him! Little did they know they were yelling the same thing… both times! For you see, for Jesus to ‘save we pray’, they had to ‘Crucify Him!’
Not a bone was broken in His body. It was known that to confirm or speed up the death of the one hanging on the cross, their legs would be broken. In John’s account it states that the soldiers came and did so to those on either side of Jesus, but when they came to Jesus they found He was already dead, instead they pierced His side. (see Is. 53:3-7)
Jesus, the upright, truth, integrity, and perfect Lamb of God, was slain, His blood now covering us, that none should perish.
Loved ones… Jesus is our Passover Lamb! But we can’t stop there. Luke chapter 24. Early, three days later after the death of Jesus, women were said to have gone to the tomb, when arriving they found the stone had been rolled away. When they entered in, they did not find the body of Jesus, yet ‘two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them’ (wouldn’t that scare the Easter bunny out of anyone). The men said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; HE HAS RISEN “(emphasis mine). They reminded the women of Jesus’ words … “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”
This is where we celebrate …. ‘Makarios Anastasis ! Blessed Resurrection !’ Oh the joy of Easter, the story, the reality, the TRUTH.
Hosanna has become a phrase of praise. In it’s declaration it holds the complete gospel story. ‘Save we pray’… that He did!
Blessings to you and yours,
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 ‘You thrill me, LORD!)
I love words, some capture my attention and I can’t let them go until I have a really good understanding, then I work them some more (I know, I am geeky). I have been working on and through ‘meno’, the Greek word for ‘abide’ as found in John chapter 15. Through an online study we are on week 9 of what it is to ‘abide’ – fascinating.
This season, I am drawn to ‘egeiro’ (e-gay-row) Esti egeiro in particular. HE has RISEN! Just the sound of it in Greek inspires awe. Esti egeiro. He has risen doesn’t just imply He, Jesus is no longer here lying dead in the tomb, THAT is big news in it’s self, as Luke states in verses 1-8 of chapter 24, the women come to the tomb and are greeted by 2 men, (angels) who inform them “why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, He has risen!”
There is much doctrine and theology built around the resurrection, but today I look simply as the love and desire Jesus has for us!
Esti egeiro, He is not only no longer dead, He takes the posture of STANDING! Egeiro, to stand, to rise, to be FULLY watchful, fully awake. What is it that would bring the Son of God to His feet? In all rights, Jesus is tired; He’s just been beaten, thorns are perceing his forehead, he is nailed to a cross and died for crying out loud! But NO! HE stands! And STANDS up with authority! The enemy would have loved for Him to stay down. Can you imagine with me, the horror of the demonic hovering over the burial site “stay down, STAY DOWN, give up!”
What brought Jesus to His feet? ~~~~~> YOU!
Pause – think on that! The resurrection POWER of the Almighty God stood up, ALIVE, defeating death, bringing that power to the lives of each and every person on the face of this creation, those who look to Him in awe, trust and faith.
Esti Egeiro ~ LOVE~ He has Risen ~ He stood up for … YOU!
Blessed Easter season!
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD …)
If you could describe yourself with the imagery of a fabric, what would you be, what color, texture, and your use? In our morning ladies bible study we have been studying the Tabernacle of Moses, found in the book of Exodus. This week we stood at the veil, the tapestry that guarded the presence of the Most High God. Behind the veil was the Holy of Holies, God’s living room, the Ark of the Covenant, topped with the mercy seat.
As we looked at the veil, four colors were used representing four divine qualities of Jesus. First, white ~ His purity, purple ~ royalty, red ~ His ever constant flowing sacrificial blood, and blue ~ heaven, home with the Father.
With this, was a fresh ability to see with creative eyes into our own fabric. As the women were seated following worship, they teamed up with one other gal. They were presented with questions to help guide them through discovering how they too could describe the fabric of their life. YET – they could not just answer the questions, they had to share the answers with the other gal, and when called upon each gal shared the others answers, thus each woman got to hear her self described. Impacting.
These were the questions:
1. If your life were a fabric, what colors would you see?
Would there be one or many colors?
What would they represent?
2. What kind of cloth would it be —- plain cotton, linen, smooth or textured, clean, new or tattered and torn?
3. What would be the use of the fabric, decorative or functional? (Examples: I would be a table runner, a bath towel, a fine ball gown, or a dust rag)
As we went around the room, I noticed that besides the common factor of the DNA quality of WOMAN, beyond that . we were … VARIETY. So many colors, textures and uses. There was a lot of thought going on, laughter and yes – tears. One gal shared she saw herself as the color qualities found in a prism, all the shades of light, representing beauty – His beauty found in her, (knowing this gal, so true . mature and God loving).
Another gal, saw herself as black, due to a dark past, yet red where Christ now resides, with yellow . new life of hope, and pink for her femininity. ‘Many colors’, was one response, because of her indecisiveness (how honest!)
The textures were just as vast: soft and transparent, and silk with its so many forms . rough, smooth, and one of the strongest natural fabrics. One gal was clean and new, another ‘cotton’ with all the wrinkles, yet ironed out by God. ‘OH BOY’ one gal shares – ‘tattered, and mended, a patchwork’. One gal, a seamstress says wool, flexible, good for the cool or warm times. This one ~ I thought humorous but oh so true, she was suede, the evidence of her kids brushed her one way and her husband the other!
As the veil in the Tabernacle was HIGHLY decorative with the colors and the cherubim embroidered throughout it, it too was very functional. My ladies began to see themselves as both, full of beauty, but full of purpose (this little exercise was ‘doing the job’)
One gal shared she saw herself as a nightgown, soft, cozy and feeling of security, another she was a coat – wide enough to shelter, and warm enough to give comfort. ‘An apron’, was shared, she was a ‘doer/worker’. There was mention of ‘snuggly blankets’ and one gal smiled as she described herself as a towel, going behind her kids and wiping up the messes.
As I prepared to wrap up that session, the ladies asked “what are YOU?” Hm… I think I would say ‘my color is purple, perhaps a more shade of lavender, desiring my King so strongly but fall short of the nobility to wear the color myself. My material would be that of burlap (don’t laugh). It can be very rough, but through time it softens, and I would say my function … as a bag, filling up as to be taken and given out again.’
How would YOU describe yourself? The fabric of YOUR life, are you cozy, rough, (needing Holy Spirit fabric softener)? Are you dark in color or bright and vibrant? Or perhaps you are ‘camouflage’ as to hide your true self? Are you primarily decorative only, or functional? May the qualities of Jesus come out in our colors, our texture, and our purpose.
The Fabric of our life.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD )
Passion to Privilege
Ever been given something that caused you to be so excited; you could not wait to show and share it with someone? Perhaps an object or even a new perspective you now have, an answer to prayer, or a triumph in your life. Our excitement in the Kingdom of God is not meant to be kept to ourselves.
We see this in David’s life. As he wrote with passion many of the Psalms, he couldn’t wait to tell of … ‘what he had’. In Psalm 18, he begins with:
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (v.1-2)
This was not written as a teen skipping through the fields with his sheep. NO! David had come out of one of the biggest trials of his life ~ Saul was out to kill him! Yet God delivered him, and he HAD to tell about it. He declares:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. (v.16-19)
Psalm 20 David takes his victories and shares them …
In times of trouble, may the Lord answer YOUR cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep YOU safe from all harm. May He send YOU help from His sanctuary and strengthen YOU from Jerusalem. May He remember all YOUR gifts and look favorably on YOUR burnt offerings. May He grant YOUR heart’s desires and make all YOUR plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of YOUR victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all YOUR prayers. (v.1-5 emphasis mine)
This week while at bible study, the Lord showed me something very personal; I sat next to a new gal, she in her mid 60’s, declared she is NEW to the bible and knows nothing about it, I found that to be true as I showed her where the book of John was. As the study progressed I helped her fumbled through the pages to find the verses we were looking at.
Then at one point I was driven to near tears. It hit me, what an awesome privilege to sit next to this woman. She was so hungry and wanted to learn so badly. Later, as she prepared to leave, she told me of her frustration of feeling inadequate when it comes to the bible and God things. I had the opportunity to share with her my passion for the Word of God and how that passion grew from trials in my life and God meeting with me. THIS encouraged her, she is coming back next week! My excitement and passion ~ now a privilege!
Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (Ephesians 4:29 The Amplified)
I admit I have taken this verse ‘slightly’ out of context, yet the truth is so relevant. May my excitement and passion be verbalized as to cause growth in others!
What passion has or is being birthed in YOU that someone next to you could benefit from? Do as David did, share God’s truth, share it from your life. What an honor and privilege to have God pour into our life as we in turn pour it out to others!
Passion to privilege.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD …)
This morning at bible study, as the ladies walked down the small hall way to the door opening to our class room, they were met with – ‘obstacles’. They had to weave their way past 2 garbage cans, a large room divider on wheels and stacks of boxes. I wanted them to ‘work for it’, to enter the room. See what you are missing at bible study! I enjoyed the looks, the comments, even the suggestions of moving the obstacles. At one point I had to leave the room, to find that our senior pastor had come in to greet the gals, and he too noticed the ‘stuff’ blocking free access to the room, and asked if we ‘needed any help’. (thanks Pastor)
I am always looking for ways to make a good point, to bring the gals something they can get their head and heart around. This week we studied the altar of incense in the Tabernacle, and the significance it paints of ~ prayer.
God has gone to great extent to make way for us to have relationship with Him. He longs for conversation. Not any conversation, He wants intimate one on One time with us. As we looked at the process to enter the Tabernacle it literally took alot of work, but since Jesus came, the work was and is DONE! As the veil was torn we now have complete access to the Most Holy God. YET, again YET, why do we still hesitate in our approach to God. Since the way is now clear, the obstacles are more likely of our own making. Hm …
I suggested to the gals that as they came in to class, they had to go past the garbage, (not pretty is it) past the dividing wall, and the stacks of stuff to get to their goal ~ the coffee and donuts AND bible study, (not particularly in that order). They ALL made it too. I then asked them how do YOU approach your time when you pull out your bible, homework, and prayer? Do you allow obstacles to hold you back, or hesitate? Do you keep going regardless? Does the garbage in our life distract us, or are the dividing walls erected to keep us from a full view of our God. The stacks of stuff, have you too noticed that if it is not properly dealt with, we just move the stacks from place to place.
One gal said, she came in and through and didn’t even notice the obstacles. We all had a good laugh, cause we are all moms, and at times, that IS our life, FULL of things we have to crawl past, step over, and climb around. But we don’t give up do we, we don’t use it as an excuse.
I gently posed the challenge that the next time we are tempted to stop and pay attention to the ‘obstacles of distraction’ in our life, keeping us from time in God’s presence, that we think of entering the door to bible study ~ we wanted in, and moved past, regardless. I am not saying we don’t deal with our garbage, walls and stuff, we do, we just don’t use them to keep us from GOD! Get in His presence, turn and then take them on. Go God!
The door is WIDE open, come on in! Enjoy!
In Him, DeDe
“What? What was that, did you call me?” Have you too experienced thinking you heard your name called. Troubling isn’t it? The world is so loud at times; to hear your name called, and being assured you heard correctly, can be a challenge.
I am suppose to be studying the altar of God, in the court of the Tabernacle of Moses, but keep coming back to an assignment given to me by a pastor, ‘how God choreographs our lives through relationship, the Holy Spirit and His word’. Perhaps, I am still standing at the altar on this one; BOTH are relationship, the Holy Spirit, and His word.
I was taken to 1 Samuel chapter 3, the boy Samuel is in the Prophet Eli’s care. One night Samuel hears his name called. Little Sam was being ‘trained’ to hear the voice of the Lord. Notice how patient the Lord was, He could have sent another prophet to Samuel and Eli saying ‘look here, little proph in training, God wants you to know …‘ proceeding to share the word of the Lord with him. Or, Eli could have just said, ‘here’s the deal ...’ continuing with a tough, confrontive lesson. No, God is gentle. He wanted SAMUEL to hear and receive the word, personally.
The Lord comes at night, in the quiet and speaks Samuel’s name. I find it interesting that at first Samuel mistakes the voice as Eli’s. He goes to him, trying to discern the voice. Either way, Samuel acted, even in his ‘not-so- assuredness’. He got up and inquired.
Eli the wise teacher is used in this process of learning. Sending Samuel back to bed, then provides opportunity for Samuel to REALLY hear God. Verse 9, “if the Lord calls to you; say ‘speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’” To me, these are some of the most life changing words of advice ever recorded in the bible. “Speak Lord, I am listening”, what an invitation!
To hear God, and want to listen to what He actually has to say, is quite daring, I might add. The God of the entire universe speaking to ME, whooo! I LOVE what happens next, just as Samuel says the words God was looking for, “I am listening …” the Lord came and stood there, (v. 10) Presence is accompanied with listening. LOVE IT! God knows, He REALLY has Samuel’s attention now, saying “Samuel, Samuel“. There is another place that God repeats a name, remember “Abraham, Abraham …” just as Abe’s hand is raised ready to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22). God KNOWS when He has our full attention. Again Samuel says, ‘speak, for I am listening’. Then God shares with him His word.
In this we learn ~ hearing God’s voice:
First, God’s voice requires a trained ear, we will hear Him. Jesus says, “My sheep listen to My voice’ (Jn. 10:27) This ‘listening’ means to give ‘an audience to, to understand’, but most importantly, the opposite of this listening is ‘to talk’, meaning WE stop talking and are quiet while HE speaks, we ‘shut up and listen up’. (smile) Often I have heard folks say, “God doesn’t talk to me, I can’t hear Him”. My response would be, ‘are you quiet long enough to allow Him room to … talk.‘ There is a time for dialogue, but also a time for quiet.
Second, He will come again and again. He will continue speaking until He gets the answer He is looking for. Ever felt you are hearing the same thing, over and over again. Everywhere you turn, ‘there it is – again’. In His speaking, He may use the radio, TV, books, people, His written word, and the pulpit.
Thirdly, others may help in the process of hearing God, go to them, go to those whom God has entrusted to you through relationship; one who you know already hears God’s voice.
Fourth, expect God’s presence. Where His presence is, He is speaking. And lastly, God’s word is personal. He knows us by name, and calls us by name. Keep an attentive ear, for YOUR name. Be seated and ready, as an audience on opening night, excited. When you hear it … be oh so quick with “speak Lord, I am listening“.
This week, may we listen . TRULY listen, offer times of quiet.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD …)
you can view my personal daily blog at http://butgod.blogspot.com
Awed By God
Title, achievements, wealth even appearance, these are the qualities that we look for to be amazed by another. We are so captured by what we read in the media and hear through the air waves, that without the awe of people or circumstance, we tend to slip into a stupor, a daze of ‘blah’. We desire, long for – even pursue to be found . .. marveled. We seek the BIGGER, the more grand to keep our senses alive.
With all this stimuli, are we found awed by God? Do we see the same excitement when we read His word? Do we pursue it, position ourselves for it? hm ~
Joshua told the people “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5). They were preparing to cross over into the Promise Land. It had been YEARS of waiting, years of telling of the promise, now they were going to experience it. There was great anticipation.
They were called to ‘consecrate’ themselves, this was the call to ‘make oneself holy’, in that, they were to set themselves apart, separate from the norm, prepare, position. In their preparedness, God would do amazing, ‘awesome’ things in their midst. Fascinating, that the Hebrew wording is the same for their part as it is for God doing His part; consecrate, separate from the norm, where ‘amazing’ is to be separate, distinguished, to be extra-ordinary! See the pattern? They prepare to be amazed, and God just shows up. Are YOU awed by God?
Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God“, LOVE this verse! It is translated ‘cease striving’ in other versions. Cease striving, means ‘to release’, but not only that, it means ‘to become weak, to let drop’. We are releasing those things as if in a tight grip of our hand, as we do – we will know God, letting God BE God. It is not merely the ability to gather information; it is a ‘knowing by experience’, this experience is done through relationship. Relationship with God, what an awesome, extra-ordinary opportunity. Are YOU awed by God?
In the New Testament, it says that people were amazed, and marveled when Jesus healed the sick, calmed the storm, and taught with such wisdom. There is a time also; that Jesus just appeared, and show His nail scarred hands.
Thomas, he was known for his doubt. I appreciate his honesty. He said, what most of us may have been thinking and feeling. John 20, Jesus appears to the disciples following His resurrection, it says that Jesus stood among them, saying “Peace be with you” and then said to Thomas “Put your finger here, see My hands … stop doubting and believe”. Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God“. It doesn’t say it, but I would believe this was said as he falls to his knees. Thomas was awed by God, the revelation of WHO He is. Are YOU awed by God?
Are we found feeling ‘blah’? What is it that would cause us to ‘awe’, be in wonder, marveled? Do we allow ourselves the permission to release what we hold so tight, and experience the Lord? Do we seek relationship? Do we prepare for the extra-ordinary of God? Do we listen to the wisdom of Jesus? Do we allow Jesus to step up to us and show us His nail scarred hands?
God is BIG, bigger than anything that Steven Spielberg can create or even image. This week, allow the opportunity to be awed by God.
May we stand with hands lifted high, eyes closed, and quote the words of David ‘For Thou are GREAT, and doest wondrous things; Thou art God alone! (Ps. 86:10) May our attitude be “Nothing and no one comes close to You! I start talking about You, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words..” (Ps. 40:5 The Message)
Awed by God.
In Him, DeDe (‘You thrill me, LORD …’ Ps. 92:4)
Trim Your Wick
The CANDLE . Warm glow, dancing of the flame, the slow drip of the fragrant wax. Soothing isn’t it? One could sit for hours in its shadow, just admiring the affect it has on us.
At bible study, as the women enter they are greeted with a white linen covered table; with two tapered candles burning in long stem crystal holders. The atmosphere is warm and elegant, inviting. There is something about … a flickering flame.
The Lord revealed Himself many times in the flame, the bush with Moses, where he was commissioned, and Yahweh gives us His name, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3). The pillar of fire at night to the Israelites, extending His guidance, warmth and protection (Ex. 13). Solomon dedicating the Temple, fire came down from heaven as God’s glory filled it (2 Chron. 7). One can not talk fire, forgetting to mention the show down on Mt. Carmel, Elijah and his God against the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18).
Oh, we may not be calling God down from heaven these days to consume our sacrifice to prove a point, but the use of the flame on a smaller note, we can understand. The theme of the candle or lamp in the bible is strong. In Psalm 18:28 David writes “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness”. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path“. It is God that burns, His presence, His word that lights our way; it is in our very next step we desire Him to be present. Light our way O God!
With the joy and privilege of the candle comes responsibility, tending. The priests DAILY tended to the lamp in the Tabernacle. Along with the sacrifice, the water, the light, these needed daily attention. When God gave strict instruction of the articles for the Tabernacle, He included the ‘wick trimmers’. Exodus 25:38, the wick trimmers were made of pure gold.
The Lord spoke to me about the need to come DAILY, seeking His presence, His word, that FRESH FIRE, depending not on yesterday’s experience! As I trim my wick and prepare for a fresh word from God, His presence comes. As He did with Moses, He will reveal Himself to me, commissioning me for the day. As the Israelites, He will guide me. As His temple, He will fill me. Just like Elijah He will do great things in my midst.
How is your flame burning? Is it yesterdays fire, or has it gone out completely? Seek as David did,.. ‘light my candle O God!
Fresh Fire. trim your wick, for a pure, even, lasting flame, Go God! (wouldn’t that look great on the Yankee candle label)
Have a God loving, burning bush week.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD .)
* You can read my daily blog at http://butgod.blogspot.com/ (copy/paste to your search bar)
God is Our Initiator
I have the privilege of doing research for pastors. I LOVE it! I get to do what I call … play. I dig around in the original language, cross reference and put the puzzle pieces together. This last week, I worked on God is Creator. This pastor gives me just the title and I run with it. This was not only fun, but impacting.
I began at the very beginning. Genesis 1:1, ‘In the beginning God created …’ Created is bara (baw-raw) in the Hebrew. Lovely word, it means to create, select, and choose. It expresses creation out of NOTHING. Genesis is an awesome display of creating out of nothing. It is also to engrave, carve. Paints a wonderful picture doesn’t it?
Bara is used ONLY in context to God as the One who creates. Many other words are used for create, such as– to make, to form, establish. All are qualities of God, yet ‘bara’ emphasizes the ‘initiation’ of an object. God initiated the world, He initiated man/woman. He initiated covenant with man. He initiated a love relationship, “We love, because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19)
There are other places God initiates. David says in Psalm 51:10 ‘Create [bara] in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me’. David goes to the One who could do such a thing. He isn’t asking God to take and use what is already there in his heart, but to create something completely new, use new materials, God materials. THAT is our God! As bara is the initiation of something, may I suggest, David cried out ‘start something here, right here in my heart God!’
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)
God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Have we found ourselves frustrated, because we may do or even ‘be’ what we don’t want? We attempt over and over to change, but to no avail. What do we want – NEED God to start, create, even carve in us? Place there for the very first time. God is the God of start, the God of firsts. God is our Initiator!
May we implore of God as David did, ‘Create in me ________ O God’ (you fill in the blank) Be honest! Watch as God does His handiwork in YOU!
Have a God-loving, allowing God to create, week!
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD …)
There has to be a verse in the bible SOMEWHERE, giving the call to … upgrade. Hezekiah 7:3, yes that is it … ‘those of sincere desire to accomplish much, will seek to improve that which is already possessed.’ (Totally kidding! no such verse, sounded good)
Last night, I sat horrified starring at the computer screen; soon my head was in my hands, as tears stung my eyes. It’s GONE! ALL GONE! To upgrade my bible software to the newest – fastest – BETTER program, I had to ‘uninstall’ what I did have. So I began the process. Bible Explorer vaporized, Wordsearch 7 only a memory. ALL the commentaries, dictionaries, 18 bible translations now lost. Oh, the pain!
Confident I had pushed the right buttons, that 5 letter word, that sends chills down even the geekiest neck, flashed across my screen ‘ERROR’. I could NOT install the new version. Mind you, that for some this is a minor event in one’s life, but for a bible teacher, this is my Kitchenaide, (which I have no clue how to use) my industrial vacuum, all the gadgets most swoon over.
I sat starring into the black abyss of the screen. Then it dawned on me, I reached forward and laid my hands on the computer screen – “in JESUS NAME, come out of there!” Obviously I do not have enough faith, the screen did not fall as if under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or scripture begin to run across my screen in neon lettering, NOTHING.
Then I resorted to plan B. CHOCOLATE! That was it; I hadn’t had any in 3 days. So, I drowned my sorrows in a bowl of fat free chocolate frozen yogurt. I felt better, but the program still didn’t work! Being the teacher that I am, thought there IS a lesson in this.
‘Wait on the LORD, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart, wait I say on the Lord.’ (Psalms 27:14) real verse.
So, I wait ~ until Monday morning when I call the tech support for the installation challenged morons – that is me.
Is there something you are waiting for? It is NOT all gone, restoration is on the way!
Waiting in the upgrade …
The Mis-used Gift
This last week I have been studying in the book of Exodus, preparing for our new ladies study of the Tabernacle of Moses. I NEVER get tired of the story of God delivering, guiding, providing and dwelling with His people. I am in chapter 32. I love the heading of this chapter, so to the point, tells of the whole sad scenario in 3 words… The Golden Calf.
While Moses is up top on the Mountain getting the instructions for the materials and the building of the Tabernacle, the children of Israel were down below… ‘playing’.
Chapter 25:1-3, 8 (NIV)
“The LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze… “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”
Fascinating! While God was telling Moses to have the people bring HIM their gold… the gold HE provided for them, when leaving Egypt:
And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! (Ex. 12:35-36)
See what the people were doing with a portion of the GOLD. The gold they were to offer to HIM. GOD’s gold.
The people grew extremely impatient waiting for Moses. Moses was their leader, the spokesman for their God. No leader, no God was their mindset… we can’t see our God, we can’t touch our God… so what did they do … ‘make their God’. Isn’t that so true today! We want… we make to fill and feed our insecurities.
The people went to poor Aaron, (yes, I like this dude) telling him, ‘make us gods, who will go before us’. So Aaron told them ‘take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing and bring them to me.’
They did so, and the golden calf was made… Aaron built an altar in front of the calf, and sacrifices were presented by the people. They continued on as mentioned in verse 6 ‘they got up to indulge in revelry’. The King James says ‘they rose up to … play’. They were mocking, and as verse 25 says ‘they were running wild’. You can imagine what ‘running wild’ means – they were being ‘naughty’.
God sends Moses back down off the mountain, and Moses finds this MESS! In his anger AFTER he throws the tablets to the ground… he melts down the golden calf and grinds it into powder, then adds it to the water and makes the people drink it. It was the only way to ‘completely’ destroy the idol.
What a stinkin waste of good GOLD! Gold that was provided for the people for a specific purpose! The Tabernacle, a place God’s presence would dwell, a place of worship.
After I got over the chuckle of Aaron’s response to Moses… ‘I threw in the gold, and looky there, out came a calf’ – HA! The Lord spoke to me in this. We do the same thing today… God provides something, someone, even a circumstance intended to be used for HIM, His use… His presence – His glory… and what do we do with it… we make it into something for … US! Once it is made, we worship, we play, run wild…
May we seriously consider what the Lord has given us… gifts we have (are) mis-using, that is intended for HIM. To be direct and specific… do we have talents, skills, finances, time, relationships (the list goes on), are we taking those and making for US?
Personally, I don’t want God to make me ‘eat’ or drink something that was meant for a blessing, because I mis-used it! I get enough of humble pie! How about you?
Have God-loving, don’t mis-use the gift, week…
In Him, DeDe (You thrill me, LORD …) Ps. 92:4