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Confessions of a Geeky Gal

Ever have a day that you’d just like to crawl back in bed and pull the covers up, with just enough breathing room, peeking out wishing the day away. I had one of those this week. However, it was of my own making. Confession: As the day began, while praying I sensed the Lord tell me “Patience!” I was going to NEED patience. Alrighty then, that’s nice! But by golly who in their right mind (or lack thereof) would PRAY for patience. I made note of it and went head first into my day. As the day progressed, frustration grew, I was easily irritated by those around me, even irritated by the time on the clock. And for crying out loud, the drivers in front of me “GET OFF THE ROAD!” I found myself reacting to the WORLD. Patience. (I KNOW better!) God told me.

Geeky Gal’s notes: In short, there are basically two words used for patience in the New Testament, both of which I have studied extensively. (Head bowed) First, ‘makrothumia’ (Greek) this patience is with people and motivated by mercy. Mercy, NOT getting what you deserve! In essence, it is extending a tender open hand, as opposed to a fist full of … stuff! And we got us some STUFF don’t we!  God’s mercy is withholding what we deserve and loves beyond. God is so amazingly DIVINELY coordinated. One hand pulls back while the other reaches forward and gives grace. The other patience or perseverance is ‘hupomone’  – a bearing up under, in and through circumstances, this is motivated by hope. Hope, waiting strong with great expectation, it is found in the ‘knowing’ – KNOWING that God is and does and will. Hope.

So mercy and hope, without these, I (we) fail with people, we are terribly inpatient with each other and our situation only seems to worsen when there is no hope.

God told me ‘patience’, I failed miserably (I should have known!!! DUH!) Due to sudden heartbreak, thinking in the wrong direction caused me to get upset. Once identifying the error, I asked God to re-focus my perspective, turn me towards Him and Him alone. THERE lies my hope, my perseverance, my receiving of His hand of grace. His call to patience wasn’t necessarily what I was going to do, it was what I was going to receive – from HIM!  Tender mercy and hope filled vision.

How is your extended mercy and hope? “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” – Hebrews 10:36   How are you with receiving it from the Father? As the picture above depicts, patience can be like being STUCK behind a slow-moving-boring rig. Don’t honk your spiritual horn, or attempt to pass on dangerous ground. Wait. Go the journey. Allow God to love beyond in and through you.  Hope on, a promise awaits YOU!

For Jeremy.

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

 

 

 

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Psalms

 

 

“Once you learn more about God, the object of your worship will be His character.” – Professor Lanny Hubbard. I have found this to be so true.  Of recent, I have been working through the Psalms in my devotion time.  Each morning it is like cracking open a treasure filled piñata, or opening the curtain to a new day as the sun tumbles in.  Each reading, I put myself in the Psalmist place, I am filled with such love, appreciation and yes – worship.

God’s character is flawless, brilliant and holy and cannot become separate from His being.  Yet He “Stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.” (113:6) He watches over the righteous, fills our heart with great joy, makes us dwell in safety and searches our mind and heart.  He brings us out, stills our storms and shelters us. He restores, guides, leads, heals, satisfies and renews. He redeems, comforts and rescues.  He is compassionate, gracious and merciful. My God examines, forgives and covers.  He answers me and makes me GLAD!  I just love the Psalms!

I in turn sing, praise, shout, believe, extol and sacrifice. I cry out, take refuge and give thanks.  I set my heart, trust in Him and walk about in freedom.

I am learning through the Psalms I do not seek God’s hand as to receive from Him, I seek His face (27:8) to be close to Him. I do not keep quiet, I shout His name and I do not hang my head in discouragement, I hope in God!

The next time you read through the beloved collection of poetic prose, highlight, underline or circle all He is about!

Psalms.

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

 

He Calls with Divine Timing

We’ve been singing a song at church that makes me throw my hands up, eyes closed and stop singing and just listen to the words. Beautiful. Just beautiful.  ‘You Came’ (Lazarus) by Melissa & Jonathan David Helser.  The opening words: “You stood outside my grave. With tears still on Your face. I heard You say my name. My night was turned to day.” Continuing in the chorus, “You came, I knew that You would come.”  Knowing the Lazarus story…beautiful.  Knowing  my story …beautiful.

Lazarus, the brother to Mary and Martha, had grown sick, word was sent to Jesus. Upon hearing the news, Jesus says Lazarus sickness will not end in death (John 11) yet even in His love for the trio, He decides to stay a couple more days before setting out to them.  In the meantime, Lazarus dies.  His body prepared, wrapped and placed in the tomb.  Jewish tradition states, men could not wrap a woman’s corpses, but women could wrap both men and women, so Lazarus may have been wrapped by his own sisters.  When Jesus arrives in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.

Hearing of Jesus’ arrival, Martha goes to meet him, Mary staying home. Martha full of emotional pain, states what I’m sure we all would have said, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Jesus says to Martha, Your brother will rise again… I AM the Resurrection and the Life…” (v25) Mary is soon sent for, she comes running (with a crowd following) reaching Jesus, she falls at His feet.  She too states the same painful declaration.  Jesus seeing her pain and of those with her, He asks “Where have you laid him?” Jesus too weeps.

Reaching the tomb, Jesus tells those nearby to remove the stone. With the stone rolled away, He looks up and prays, then saying with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” Why the loud voice?   He could have commanded the same with a whisper.  Could it be, beyond wanting those congregated around to hear, Jesus wanted there to be NO mistake of this being of magic or sorcery. “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritist, who WHISPER and MUTTER, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” – Isaiah 8:19 (emphasis mine) He calls with DIVINE authority!  This is no act of sorcery; this, THIS what you are witnessing, is an act of the Miracle Working God! “The loud voice was not for the benefit of Lazarus, but for the sake of the crowd standing around that they might see that Lazarus came forth simultaneously with the command of Jesus.”*

“Lazarus!” Augustine once remarked that if Jesus had not said Lazarus’ name, ALL would have come out from their graves. Earlier in John’s gospel Jesus said, “Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.” (5:28-29) “Lazarus!”

As Lazarus responds to the Son’s voice, he comes out bound. The wrapping was thorough, binding the limbs to keep them straight, Jesus instructs “Take off the grave-clothes and let him go.”  

How many of us too, were tightly bound, death over taking us, barricaded in. Until. Until  He called our name!  He calls with DIVINE authority! He calls with divine timing!  In our walking out, may we not forget to take the grave-clothes off, they are not designed for walking… or for living!  Jesus’ last words “…let him go…” in the original Greek: the verb meaning ‘to go’ means to go NOW, while the complete opposite renders, ‘do not return.’  When Jesus frees us, we are FREE – no turning back, no rebinding.  Free!

“You came, I knew that You would come.”   He calls with DIVINE authority! He calls with divine timing!

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

Enjoy the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7NdBVTtvcg

  • Quote: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.

Resources: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, NASB Greek-Hebrew Concordance/Dictionary, Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Bible Knowledge Commentary, Barnes Notes on the New Testament, The Classic Bible Commentary, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Matthew Henry Commentary, Bible Background Commentary – The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament, Bill Puryear, Masters of Divinity, Talbot Theological Seminary notes on the Book of John. And other geeky stuff I forgot to jot down.

There is Nothing Little in God

I do a great deal of reading, scads of articles, books, commentaries and for those who know me best, yes dictionaries, Lexicons and volumes of expository works. I read contemporary authors, Rabbinic writings for cultural content, but some of my favorite are of the classics.  I read slowly as to not miss anything, but frankly in attempt to understand the old style of writing of Chambers, Wesley, Wuest and Murray.

This morning while reading Charles Spurgeon, I stopped. Fully alert.  Read again. “There is nothing little in God.”  Oh my!  His verse of premise is “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” (Psalm 52:8) Beautiful, poetic, but researching further, the words do not convey the background.  David wrote these words in anguish of heart, betrayal and conflict. Saul was still hunting him, wanting to kill him. (See story in 1 Samuel 22) Yet David declares,  “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”  God is.  God is in the midst of us.

Spurgeon goes on: “This steadfast love is a tonic to your drooping spirits, a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds, a heavenly bandage to your broken bones, a royal chariot for your weary feet, a bosom of love for your trembling heart.”  His love, His mercy.  God is.

How many of us too share in anguish of heart, conflict swirls around us, we are broken, weary or trembling. Oh we may not have a troop of men on horseback, carrying swords to kill us, but we may have circumstances hounding us just the same. To those I say, to myself I say, “There is nothing little in God.”   Do not mistake His small whispers, His soft gentleness as little.  God is great. When God shows up, ALL of God shows up!  No detail, no situation, no hurt of heart is too small or too big! God sees it and knows it, “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”

I love Paul’s words… “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength— that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in. And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Ephesians 3:14-20 (MSG)

Life, regardless, “There is nothing little in God.” 

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

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)