Friday, July 31, 2009

Living In Awe

"Let us live in awe of the LORD our God..." Jeremiah 5:24

When was the last time something took your breath away? What caused this pause? A dazzling sunset? Majestic mountains? Listening to an orchestration of the "Messiah"? Pictures of the Grand Canyon? The roar of thunder? The birth of a newborn baby? These things capture my attention because of their magnificence. In comparison to me, they are so much greater. In their grandeur I see how small and weak I am.

What exactly is "awe"? Webster's defines it as a mixed feeling of reverence, fear and wonder, caused by something majestic, sublime, sacred etc... It refers to profound respect inspired by the greatness, superiority etc. of a person or thing and suggests an immobilizing effect. This deep respect is mingled with love.

OK. I'm reading this verse again.

"Let us live in awe of the LORD our God..."

Live in awe? At times I experience awe, but is my life characterized by being alive with awe? Am I captivated, moment by moment by God's majesty and greatness? Does His presence move me so powerfully that I can't help but remove my shoes and kneel in humble adoration of a God so great? Are my thoughts held by the wonder of my King?

I believe the enemy to awe is comfort. We've become so casual with God that it's driving our awe away. A mystery of God must remain. In our yearning for intimacy in our relationship with God we must still remember His majesty. Familiarity removes reverence of the Holy. Although I desire intimacy , there must still be an "otherness" about God. We can't allow the miraculous to become the mundane.

Lord, I want to live in awe of You. Not a fleeting, emotional response, but a lifestyle of recognizing You As Lord and Savior.

I stand in awe of You. Lord, take my breath away.

post signature

Thursday, July 30, 2009

She Speaks Shepherds

"I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding." Jeremiah 3:15

My mind is focused on some "shepherds" who God has used to guide me with knowledge and understanding. Precious women, who this weekend again will be instructing, leading and advising hearts who are desperately seeking God's will for their lives.

I'm referring to my P31 friends.

This weekend over 600 women will gather in North Carolina. Packed carefully in their suitcases are hopes and dreams. Each one coming at the invitation of the Lord. Each one longing to encounter Him personally.

God has chosen and prepared a dedicated team of shepherds to care for His sheep. I know from past experience these girls have hearts like His. Each one radiates His love and draws others to follow hard after Him. Faithful vessels, they will share not as ones who live a text-book faith, but as daughter's of the King who have met Jesus face-to-face and know the challenges of walking with the Lord, as well as the surpassing greatness of His glory. No false pretense. They have discarded masks for authenticity. They will humbly open their lives, share their stories and embrace others.

They will lead, but they will also serve. They will wash feet as they take on needs that are not their own. The sheep have come to be fed, and these precious shepherds will guide each lady to a banqueting table where they can taste and see that the Lord is good. These lambs will be led into peaceful pastures and their thirst quenched by Living Water. These shepherds are following the Shepherd, making following them desireable.

Faithful to His Word, my life is being enriched and my heart is drawing closer to my Savior because of each of them. They are shepherd's after His own heart.

post signature

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Buck Stops Here

"Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right."

"...and a little child will lead them." Isaiah 11:6

Josiah's dad has just been assassinated, and at the tender age of eight this little boy becomes king.

When he was 16 years of age the Bible says, "he began to seek the God of his ancestor David." 2 Chronicles 34:3. How did he know to do this? I have to stop for a moment and consider the influence of his mom, Jedidah.

Although this is simply speculation, I wonder if he possibly grew to love and follow the Lord because of a godly mother. I wonder if he watched her seeking and obeying the Lord. I wonder if it was her example that ignited a yearning in his young heart to pursue the Lord. I wonder if she would cuddle him close and tell him stories of how in generations past his family loved the Lord. Never underestimate a mother's influence.

However Josiah came to follow God's heart, he broke the cycle of sin in his generation. He took responsibility for his own choices and actions. His history would not control his destiny. He refused to remain caught in the web of the past.

As the expression goes, "the buck stops here". Regardless of what has gone on before us, we can make choices to change the future by changing our actions today. Instead of walking the evil way of his father, Josiah decided on a different path. Seeking God, he followed a new set of footprints. Footprints we can choose to follow today as well.

Yes, Josiah could look back and see a history of defeat, but he could also look forward and see victory.

Which way are you looking?

post signature

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


"The LORD says, 'I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.'" Isaiah 59:10


Can you imagine that? The Lord is holding our answer in His hands, but because we failed to present our need before Him, we did not receive.

The very thing we're waiting on and longing for is available. In my minds eye I see a beautifully wrapped parcel. It's contents will fulfill the cry of our heart. Yet, it sits on a shelf, unclaimed, and we feel abandoned and forgotten.

The prayer that never was, blocked the answer that was.

What keeps us from asking?

Fear? Pride? Doubt? Insecurity? Self-assurance? Friends?

I sent a parcel in the mail to a friend earlier this year. After weeks and weeks of not hearing that it had arrived at it's destination safely, I contacted her to inquire. No...she had not received it.

Weeks later I received notification that it had been returned to my address. The sticker on the package indicated that it had not been claimed. It sat waiting for the recipient to come and just reach out and accept it.

I wonder what answers God has wrapped and waiting for me, if I would just fall on my knees in humility and ask.

post signature

Monday, July 27, 2009

Buried Alive

"Among the living, we are like the dead." Isaiah 59:10

Is this verse convicting anyone other than me?

We can pour our life into so many things to provide a living, but is it providing a life? We can work so hard to live, that we don't actually get to live.

Dead. No longer showing any characteristics of life. Physically inactive. Not circulating or flowing. Not surviving in active use. Numb.

Does that describe anyone's existence?

At the end of a day...what have you done? Are you living? Really living? Or, are you going through the motions?

I heard the other day that life should not be an apology, but a statement. What statement is your life making? Mine is only a whisper right now. Needing to live out loud.

I personally don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything right now. At the close of each day I look back over the past hours and wonder...Lord, what have I done? A little cleaning and cooking. A little writing. A trip to visit my dad. Feeling lost and directionless, I want to have purpose and passion. I feel like life is passing me by. Other's are on grand pursuits, but among the living I am like the dead.

There was only One man who was born to die, yet look how He lived.

post signature

Sunday, July 26, 2009


"Come to me with your ears wide open." Isaiah 55:3

Over the past two weeks I've had very limited hearing. I described it as being underwater in a tunnel. Due to this physical handicap, I have missed enjoying the clarity of birds singing and music playing. Voices over the phone were dulled. One day while driving, it was only thanks to vehicles ahead of me pulling over to the side of the road that I became aware of an ambulance approaching.

If my physical hearing can be so impaired, what about this spiritual sense? What might block or clog my ears that would keep me from hearing God's voice?

Time. Am I even pausing to give Him opportunity to speak?

Openness. Do I reallly want to hear what God has to say to me?

Unforgiveness. God does not hear, and therefore cannot answer, if my sin has clogged His ears (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Impatience. Am I being still long enough to listen?

Distractions. Are too many other thoughts crowding out His voice?

Position. Have I come away to a quiet place?

Preparation. Is my heart ready to hear?

Attitude. Have I come expecting God to speak to me?

Desire. How desperate am I to hear His voice?

Fear. Am I afraid He will give me directions I don't want to obey?

"Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!"

"'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" 1 Samuel 3:9

post signature

Saturday, July 25, 2009


"He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand." Isaiah 49:2

Hidden in the shadow. Protected. Surrounded. Enclosed. An inseparable companion.

Do you ever wish for a place where no-one and nothing can touch you or find you? Unwelcome intruders cannot take hold. No illness. No disease. No loss. No separation. No hurt. No pain. No tears.

Concealed in a shadow that is always larger. Always safer. Always present.

Wrapped in the security of His hand. A powerful, nail-scarred hand that tenderly, yet firmly guards your life. Fears fade. Doubts diminish. Rest is certain. Strength is infused. Inside this shadow worries and cares are forgotten. A place of comfort, dependability and certainty.

Acceptance. Love. Peace. Refuge.

Dark clouds gather. Thunder rolls. You are held. Free of cares. Total trust.

The shadow separates and defines reality. Suddenly you see Who is real.

Released from breathe.

May we know today that our lives are hidden with Christ in God, Col. 3:3.

post signature

Friday, July 24, 2009


"I have paid the price to set you free." Isaiah 44:22

I sat at the table in the sunroom and watched as a moth beat it’s wings tirelessly on the window screen. My heart was torn. I wanted to scream at this little insect to turn around. I wanted to yell at it - YOU ARE OUTSIDE! The entire world is behind you. Without hesitation and with keen determination this moth relentlessly kept trying to force itself inside the room. Open space surrounded him. Miles and miles to fly. Sights to see. Adventures to appreciate. Yet, as if controlled by some invisible force, all day this moth didn’t stop it’s frantic pursuit. He didn’t understand his reality. He was already free.

Freedom. It brings with it sacrifice and implies blood shed. A battle was fought and a life was given…not taken. Jesus death was not the result of man, but of love. A love so unfathomable that it will never be comprehended, but it can be received and accepted. Do we appreciate and value the freedom we have received?

His ammunition was truth. His opponent, the father of lies. The battle raged, but victory was determined before it began. Rising as King and Conqueror, Jesus paid the price for our freedom. Through the agonizing separation from His Father as our sins were cast upon Him, Jesus experienced something we will never have to endure. Yet, have we embraced that freedom?

Too often I am like that moth. I’m beating my wings against the prison walls that hold me captive. If I would just turn around and embrace Him. God’s Word tells me that it is for freedom that He has set me free. (Galatians 5:1) Has set me free. Past tense. The work has been completed. Any stronghold that binds me is my choice, for it is not necessary. Freedom is my portion and God’s plan. May my life not nullify all that Christ has accomplished so I can soar to new heights with Him.

post signature

Thursday, July 23, 2009


"But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31

I was thinking about the fears I have in my life especially my fear of flying and of heights. I'm a white-knuckle airline traveler. I don't sit up in a balcony. I don't like elevators. I don't even wear high heeled shoes! I prefer to keep my feet on the ground at all times. I'm not extremely adventurous. I don't take risks. Lately I've noticed how these fears have spilled over in my spiritual life and I'm afraid to 'mount up with wings as eagles' and soar to heights with Christ.

While vacationing in Florida with my family four years ago, I suggested we try the new 'Soaring' ride at Epcot. I guess I really didn't know what was ahead of me - and I later understood both the look of sheer shock that appeared on my husband's face when I mentioned that we try this attraction, and the speed in which he quickly raced us towards the ride before I could change my mind.

When our 'flight attendant' came out to give us last minute instructions and those wonderful warnings and health risks, I could feel my pulse begin to beat faster. What on earth was I doing here? To afraid to move, I found myself being pushed forward by all the other passengers as the doors opened and we were seated in our 'gliders'. We were asked to firmly secure handbags, caps, and loose articles in a compartment below our seats, and then a 'steward' came around to ensure that we were all tightly fastened and belted in. My heart was racing so quickly at this point, I just began to pray that God would help me endure this ride and get me off safely. I was seated between my husband and my 13 year old son who were both trying to reassure me how much fun I was going to have on this ride.

Suddenly lights dimmed and our 'glider' began to rise. As gusts of wind began to take my breath away, my hands flew to my face to cover my mouth and nose and I shut my eyes tightly. This is how I remained for most of the ride. Occasionally I took little peaks out between fingers still firmly placed over my face, and saw glimpses of spectacular views.

Finally, the ride came to an end and I realized I was still alive - I had survived.

As we left this attraction God began to speak quietly to my heart. "Joy, I want you to do more than survive life. I want you to live it to the full. I want you to mount up with wings like eagles. I want you to soar". As this ride was called, "Soaring" - I suddenly turned to my husband and said, "Let's do that again". He looked at me strangely. He knew I had hated every second of that experience, but I said, "This time, I want to keep my eyes wide open".

What a thrill this second time around was for me. I don't want to go through life with my eyes closed. I want to live the adventure. We are held hostage and paralyzed by the things that frighten us. There is a children's book that asks the reader to 'imagine a day when you don't need wings to soar'. A song I heard recently has lyrics that say, "It's time for you to fly. It's time to soar on eagles wings. Don't be afraid you're not alone, so lift your head up high. It's time for you to fly". God has designed us to live life fully and Christ came to enable us to live out that design. Christ will empower us to live an abundant life. Are you tapping in to all the power that God has made available to you? Have you made personal all that God has made possible?

God has been telling me that it's time for me to fly...and the great thing is...I don't have to put one foot on an airplane to do so. I just need to surrender myself to the arms of Christ and He'll carry me to heights unknown.

"Those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles" Isaiah 40:31 (The Message)

Will you come and fly with me?

post signature

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


"I have heard your prayer and seen your tears." Isaiah 38:5

Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry.

Having endured 8 days of very limited hearing and feeling like I've been living underwater in a tunnel, I couldn't wait to see my Doctor. I was so sure of the diagnosis and the procedure needed to bring restoration. However, after only minutes of consultation it was clear I was wrong. Inflicted with a bad infection, I was prescribed three treatments and told it could take up to six weeks for all the fluid to drain. This was not the news I expected or anticipated.

Having intended to head to the grocery store following my appointment, I first took a detour. I couldn't get home quick enough to crumble. Falling on the floor in my bedroom I cried and prayed. I was exhausted. Straining to listen and carry on as 'normal' over the past week had taken it's toll. The pressure inside my head would remain longer. I wasn't prepared for this news.

"I have heard your prayers and seen your tears."

Father, thank You for seeing me. Thank You for letting me know You noticed my grief and heard me calling out to You. I would love for You to intervene immediately and miraculously bring healing, but for today I'm content to know You know. You haven't abandoned me. Delay is not denial and I will continue to trust You.

I can't stand the thought of You withdrawing Your presence from me like You did with Hezekiah in order to test his character (2 Chronc. 32:31). I pray my faith would stand, "for character is more easily kept than recovered." (Deanna Champman) Lord, I can't live a day without You.

Thank You for holding my fragile, broken heart. Please continue to dry my tears.

Psalm 30:5, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

Watching for the breaking of that dawn.

post signature

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today's the Day

"But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen." Isaiah 37:26

We walked in the door to find the answering machine flashing, indicating four new messages. Each one contained disappointing news. The one that was the most difficult to accept, announced that the Accelerated Math Course my son wanted to take this summer had been cancelled due to limited enrollment. Now what? The only reason he had registered for this course during vacation time was because it wouldn't fit into his schedule in the Fall.

Going to bed that night I was questioning God's ways. Lord, why wasn't this working out? Why couldn't his agenda be altered so that Summer School could be avoided? He works so hard all year, why did this have to happen? And now, this course will not be running? Lord, what do You want us to do?

With fresh perspective the following morning, and a quick phone call, we were able to enroll him for the same course at a school only about a 15 minute drive further West from the original location. Not only that, but after receiving our son's timetable for the Fall, his first semester will carry a much lighter work load. This is perfect. He hopes to write a three-hour music history exam with the Royal Conservatory in December and try his A.R.C.T. practical piano exam in January. With completing this Math course during the summer, he will have the extra time needed for study and practice of his music. Although receiving the initial news of Summer School caused us worry and doubt, we now see God's hand all over this circumstance.

I don't like sudden changes. I'm not a 'fly by the seat of your pants' gal, deciding a course of action as I go along. I'm not into "winging it". Improvisation and spontaneity intimidate me. I'm not comfortable living for the moment IN the moment.

Although I do enjoy a good surprise, I like to know ahead of time what is expected. I book hotels before I reach my destination. I take a grocery list to the store. When I was first married I even had a cleaning schedule that included daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal activities. Ask my friend Cathy. She would phone on Tuesday afternoons just to make sure I was following my agenda and really scouring those bathrooms!

The Lord works from a pre-arranged plan as well. Psalm 139:16 says, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day passed."

You have no idea how that calms my heart. I need to know that Someone is orchestrating each day of my life. I don't want to think that coincidence or chaos is in control. When unexpected circumstances suddenly startle me, I hold on to the fact that God didn't even blink an eye. This is part of His plan. He is not shocked or wondering, 'how on earth did that happen?'

These unanticipated events are not all unwelcome interruptions. God has plans for us that are immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

I like to read the verse above with a flavour of anticipation. I imagine the Lord saying with enthusiasm, 'Haven't you heard? I'm so excited! I've been waiting to give this to you for so long and the time has come. Today's the day!'

He has dreams for us that are on their way, even now. He is going to fulfill the longings He placed in our heart. We can trust Him even when we don't understand. He is not writing our life story as He goes along, uncertain as to the ending. The chapters were completed before we were born. His purpose and plans for us will prevail. He is going to make it happen.

post signature

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rising Again

"...though I fall, I will rise again." Micah 7:8

I was shelving new books when I heard my employer call my name. Only being weeks on the job and wanting to respond promptly, I turned quickly, and in so doing, caught my foot in a delivery box I was unpacking. Within seconds I was completely sprawled out face down on the hard, thinly carpeted, cement floor. With nose tingling and eyes watering from the impact, I sprang to my feet. More embarrassed than injured, I hurried to the counter to serve a customer. Although shaken, I refused any attention. No broken bones, just battered pride. As they say, you can't keep a good woman down!

Are all recoveries made so quickly and easily? Physically we may be laid up for a season, but often emotional, mental and spiritual falls take longer to heal. Outwardly there may be no bruising, but inwardly wounds cut deep. On a downward spiral, the bottom has been knocked out of your life and there is no edge to regain footing.

Stumbling blocks of low self-esteem, insecurity, pride, fear, unworthiness, rejection, captivity, shame, doubt and judgment are rocks on the path of life that cause my feet to slip. James 3:2 says, "We all stumble in many ways." Yet, Psalm 37:23-24 tells me, "If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand."

Like those little "Weebles" that wobble, but don't stay down, the Lord picks us back up. We will fall, but we will rise again. We have a God who specializes in resurrection. Not rising in my own strength, I can have confidence in the One who has already risen.

post signature

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moving On

"Arise and depart. This is not your place of rest." Micah 2:10

For five years I had been discontent. We were struggling spiritually at the church we were attending at the time. I kept praying that the Lord would make it clear if we were to go or stay, but as of yet the confidence in that clarity hadn't come. Friends were giving advice. Family were offering guidance. We were waiting on the Lord. In the waiting I was throwing myself into activity and heavily involved in many areas of ministry.

I was tired of the not knowing and the indecision. I was pleading with the Lord to speak. I wanted to put this decision behind us and move on, if not in physical location, in heart and mind. That Friday morning I opened my Bible and discovered I'd be reading in Micah. Immediately a thought came to me. I'm ashamed to voice it, but it's what ran through my mind. "Oh...Micah...well, I guess I'll be waiting until tomorrow to hear from You." The audacity to think that God could not speak to me through any part of His Word. I believe He showed up big that morning just to prove to me that ALL of His Word is living and active.

I was reading along, not paying too much attention to what I was reading, when suddenly Micah 2:10 jumped off the page. "Arise and depart. This is not your place of rest." What? are telling us it's time to leave.

That very day I was leading a Women's Day at our church. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. The event ran smoothly and all went well. The Lord was honoured and hearts were changed. As the guest speaker was packing up and getting ready to drive home she came over to me and said, "Joy, you've seemed a little distracted today. Is everything OK?"

Sitting down in the front pew of the church I shared with her a journey our family had been travelling for awhile and the verse the Lord had spoken to me earlier in the day. Her response was the confirmation I needed. She also encouraged me that we would be leaving on such a 'high', not in anger or frustration, but because the Lord had said, now is the time.

That Sunday was our final service in that church. We knew that if we stayed any longer we'd be in direct disobedience to God's directive. We invited two of our Pastor's over for tea and shared with them how God was calling us to move on. They prayed God's blessing over us as we left and we parted with hugs and tears.

Although I never doubt that God called us to change churches at that time, I do often still wonder why He has placed us where we are now. The teaching is incredible. I am most certainly going deeper with the Lord and applying His Word like I never have done in the past. Yet, I desperately miss my friends. As a newly married couple, my husband and I had been in a small group at our previous church for over ten years and to this day those friends are our 'gold' friends.

God moved us physically. We moved to a new town and a new church fellowship. More recently I heard the call to move again. This time it was an emotional and mental move. Forgetting those things that are behind, God has called me to arise and depart and not rest in the negative or be held prisoner of the past. I'm letting go of regrets, failures and mistakes. I'm leaving behind expectations, people pleasing and a closet full of masks. I'm looking ahead and moving on.

post signature

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Show Your Power

"But the LORD says: 'Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might.'" Isaiah 33:10

Oh Lord, would You say that again today? Would You say it over my life? I need to see Your power today.

"See Your Power" (Copyright 2005 Words and Music by Laura Dugas)

I pray dear Jesus bless my day
As I've been taught of yesterday
I read my Bible now and then
I see a need and lend a hand
I go to church and bring my smile
I try to go the extra mile
I am a good girl, I'm just fine
My Daddy's proud so why aren't I

I need to see Your power
I long to say look what the Lord has done
This is my one desire
In Your name we'll speak and overcome
Of miracles I had heard
For I was a child raised in Your word
but this is the here and now
I need to see Your power

Lord as Your child I'm asking You
Believing that Your word is true
Those miracles You did back then
Lord I believe You could again
I cannot dream of second best
I'll use my faith You do the rest
So show me God I dare You to
I wanna see what You can do

post signature

Friday, July 17, 2009

Miles Apart

"And so the Lord says, 'These people say they are mine. They honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.'" Isaiah 29:13

I'm usually not that emotional. In fact, I've been praying for the Lord to soften my heart. After years of building a wall and being strong, it takes a lot to penetrate this tough exterior. This verse had me sobbing on the floor beside my bed. Wounds from a Friend. God was speaking to me.

I know this verse well. I've quoted it. I've used it to reflect the actions of others. I've prided myself in having a 'close heart'. I could write volumes around it. I could impress and astound you with profound thoughts that great minds have shared in regards to this teaching, but I'd be doing the very thing this verse warns against. I'd be honouring the Lord with my words, while my heart is far from Him.

Oh Lord, I'm so tired of words. Growing up in the church I know them all. I can easily persuade and move emotions with my pen. I know how to express thoughts to evoke and manipulate a desired response. Writing is often my way of wearing a mask. I can hide behind sentences and paragraphs.

Like children who holler out "Jesus" for every question asked in Sunday School, I know the expected response and can give it out with clarity and conviction. But, where is my heart?

My heart is far from the Lord. My heart is immersed in lesser things. My heart is cold and dry. My heart is resentful and envious. My heart is jealous and angry. My heart is hurt and confused. My heart is repentant and broken. My heart is weeping and longing to see the Lord. My heart is tired.

My worship is nothing. It's lost it's love and passion. It stands when called to stand and sits when told to sit. Where is that unbridled desire that used to burn for more? Complacent and content to conform, the call to contagious joy is gone.

Lord, Your Word says, "The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord." (Isaiah 29:19) Father, I need that filling of 'fresh Joy'.

God, empty me completely so that You can begin a new work within. I need to see You. Lord, I beg for a revelation. Not answers. Not action. I need Your abiding presence. I need to know You are here in this very room. I need to see Your smile. I need to feel Your touch. I need to rest my head on Your shoulder and be embraced by Your loving arms.

Lord, I desperately need only You.

Father, please forgive my wayward heart. Remove again all other gods that have taken Your place. Lord, remove the pressure of performance and the longing to be loved by anyone but You. Remove comparison and competition and replace it with acceptance and assurance. Bridge the gap Lord, between my heart and Your presence. We've been miles apart.

"I'm so tired. I'm tired. I've read every book. I've sung every song. My mind may be right, but my heart feels so wrong." ("Could You Be Messiah?")

post signature

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Building Reservoirs

"Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago." Isaiah 22:11

Have you built any reservoirs lately? Who's plans did you follow? Yours or God's? It's not the building of reservoirs that's in error, but the building of them on our own. The Lord wants us to prepare, but our efforts are pointless without prayer. The Lord must guide our activities.

"Never" is a pretty strong word. Not ever. Not at all. At no time in the past or future. Not in any circumstances. You never ask. You never considered. Running our own race. Going ahead with no thought of inquiring of the Lord. Taking control of the reins and then desiring God to bless our attempts. Plans fail for lack of counsel...His counsel.

So, what's on your agenda today? Have you surrendered your schedule? Does He want you "building reservoirs"? Maybe you need to take some time to find out.

post signature

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

His Faithful Love Endures Forever

"His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 136

I am no Psalmist, but today I wanted to do something different as my reading in the Psalms is coming to a close. Captured by the pattern of writing in Psalm 136, I have written my heart's Psalm. May it give praise alone to my Lord.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
In His great mercy, He spared my life
His faithful love endures forever.
When Doctor's felt there was no hope of survival,
His faithful love endures forever.
I received a miracle from His hand.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who blessed me with a godly family and heritage.
His faithful love endures forever.
He called me to be His own.
His faithful love endures forever.
He adopted me into His forever family.
His faithful love endures forever.
He has led me in safety and watched over me.
His faithful love endures forever.
From wilderness wanderings to mountaintop moments, He has always been with me.
His faithful love endures forever.
His voice has instructed me and His Word has guided me.
His faithful love endures forever.
Early in the morning I seek Him.
His faithful love endures forever.
At night He is still with me.
His faithful love endures forever.
When fear attacks and worry threatens,
His faithful love endures forever.
He reminds me that I am His.
His faithful love endures forever.
He has gifted me with a husband and a son.
His faithful love endures forever.
He is shaping me into a godly wife, mother daughter, friend.
His faithful love endures forever.
His patience with me is unending.
His faithful love endures forever.
He knows my secret longings and innermost thoughts.
His faithful love endures forever.
He travels with me through valleys and seasons of drought.
His faithful love endures forever.
When my heart is cold, He warms me with His love.
His faithful love endures forever.
He forgives all my sin.
His faithful love endures forever.
He takes great delight in who I am.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the LORD, the God of heaven.
His faithful love endures forever.

post signature

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why Can't These Things Please You?

"The LORD does whatever pleases him..." Psalm 135:6

You know, I wish every day my heart was "up" and I could write words of encouragement. I wish I could always see the good, and regardless of feelings live according to truth. But, I'll be honest. Some today...I struggle...I mind is bombarded with 'why's'.

If the Lord does whatever He pleases, why isn't it pleasing to Him right now to intervene in my Dad's situation? Why isn't it pleasing to Him to breathe life back into that marriage? Why isn't it pleasing to Him to heal my friends Mom? Why isn't it pleasing to Him to mend that relationship? Why isn't it pleasing to Him to bring that prodigal home? Why isn't it pleasing to Him to see that spouse receive the Lord?

Oh, I know the Lord would have to find pleasure in answering each one of those prayers, but if He does whatever He pleases, why am I not seeing action? Why wouldn't it please Him to act now? I guess too often for me "seeing is believing", yet that eliminates faith. God is calling me to trust Him in all these circumstances.

Again I remind myself that God's ways ARE NOT my ways. Whether I see Him or not, He is working in my life at this very moment.

Charles Swindoll has said, "God not only moves in unusual ways, He also moves on uneventful days."

I will choose to keep trusting and looking for His hand.

A friend just shared this song with me today. Please, please listen. The lyrics have had a profound effect upon me.

post signature

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now and Forevermore

"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8 (NIV)

I'll never forget the morning of March 18th, 2008. After a sleepless night, I reached for my Bible and journal, desperately needing to hear from God. Events that transpired over the previous twelve hours had shaken my world and I needed confirmation from the Lord. On my knees, in tears, I begged God to speak to me. Longing to hear, yet uncertain how He would answer, I opened my journal. The verse above was written on the top of the page. My answer had come.

For those of you who don't now this story, God miraculously opened doors for me last year to attend the "She Speaks" conference in North Carolina, but my fear of flying was keeping me from registering. I’m nervous of heights. I don’t understand the scientific reasons or how a huge plane filled with passengers can defy gravity and stay up in the air. I just couldn’t get past my fear of flying. I knew of no-one headed down to the conference with whom I could travel and in my heart of hearts I knew God was calling me to fly and to go alone. Although God had already intervened in ways beyond my wildest dreams, I had to have the assurance of His presence if I was to step one foot on that plane.

He will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore.

God wasn’t guaranteeing me a smooth trip or even necessarily a safe trip, but He was promising me and reminding me of His presence.

Before I could change my mind I registered for the Conference and I found out later that as soon as I registered, they closed the registration.

I wish I could tell you that for the next 3 months, from March to June when the conference was being held, that I ran with determination, confidence and joy, but the truth was I was on quite the roller coaster ride. Some days I was going to tackle this no problem and other days I would have surrendered my ticket in a heartbeat.

My husband booked my flight on a little 50 seater plane - which didn’t encourage me much. I wanted the security of something large, but you see, again, I was placing my faith in the wrong thing. It wasn’t the size of the plane that would get me to N.C., it was the size of my God.

The morning I was to fly out my husband drove me to the airport, and I must say I was shocked at how quickly he abandoned me. He basically dropped me off, pointed me in the right direction and told me to have a great time as he kissed me goodbye.

After discovering I had to take a bus to a different terminal to find my Gate, I sat in the waiting area calling on God’s Name. In my hands I held 31 pages of typed written verses, prayers, notes of encouragement that friends and family sent me - and I was claiming His promises.

About 30 minutes before my flight was to depart, I happened to look up and I saw a girl walk by - and as I looked again - I knew her!!! I got up and followed her to the next aisle and as she was sitting down I said, “Lorie?”

She looked up and said, "JOY!" We embraced and I questioned her - Are you going to the She Speaks Conference? Yes! Are you flying Air Canada Jazz? Yes! Lorie and I had attended school together back in grades 7 and 8, but in the last 30 years I had probably only seen her about half a dozen times. We quickly reminisced and then the stewardess gave the Boarding Call. As we gathered our belongings, and went to stand in line, Lorie asked me where I was sitting. I grabbed my Boarding Pass and told her I was near the front of the plane. She then told me that she had booked her seat on-line, but when she arrived at the airport just half an hour ago, they had changed her seat. She went on to say she couldn’t understand why this had happened as the flight we were travelling on wasn’t even half full. As she pulled out her Boarding Pass and we took our seats on the plane, guess where she was sitting? RIGHT BESIDE ME!! Just half an hour before take-off God had moved her seat.

Where God guides He provides. If there’s an adventure with your name on it, and you’re hesitant, know that He will not abandon you. He can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. Could He have asked me to travel alone? He most certainly could have, but we have a God of compassion. He saw my fear. He saw my willingness. He saw my mustard see faith. He saw my trust and my obedience IN my fear and He honoured that step of faith.

He continues to watch over my coming and going, both now and forevermore.

post signature

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blocking Any Views?

“Oh that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.” Psalm 119:5-6

I was at the Zoo on Friday and although the park wasn’t overly crowded, there were times when only being 5’2”, my view was blocked by a taller guest in front of me. I could see some, but not all of the attraction. My line of vision was impaired.

Reading these verses this morning, I’m reminded that although I’m small in stature, my life still has the ability to hinder someone’s view of Christ.

M heart joins with the Psalmist’s plea. Oh that my actions would consistently reflect God’s Word. Even more than the personal shame that envelops me when I see my life through His mirror that exposes my heart, is the pain of knowing I may have caused someone else to look away and abandon their search of God.

Far too often I stand there transparent, echoing Paul’s discouragement. "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." Romans 7:15, 18-19

The Psalmist goes on to say, “As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!” (vs.7-8)

Lord, please don’t give up on me. I fail. I just hate that something I do or say could blur or block someone else’s vision of You. Amy Grant used to sing a song with lyrics that said, “If a part of me should keep you from seeing, the part of Him that would start you believing…”

Wonder how often my life blocks someone else’s view of God…

post signature

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Give Me Success

"Please, LORD, please give us success." Psalm 118:25

I heard this concept for the first time just five days ago. Sitting under the teaching of Dave Earley, Chairman of the Department of Pastoral Leadership for Liberty University and Liberty Theological Seminary, he opened my eyes to prayers in the Bible that God is pleased to answer, prayers that could change my life.

Hesitant to pray certain prayers from God's Word because they appear selfish upon initial reading, Dr. Earley was sharing some requests, that when offered with genuine reverence and humility, could help me grow spiritually and take me on quite the adventure. One such prayer was "give me success".

He recounted the story of Abraham's chief servant travelling to a distant land in search of a bride for Isaac. In spite of the fact this looked like Mission Impossible, he offered a simple prayer, "...give me success today...", Genesis 24:12.

To me this prayer sounds tainted with arrogance and brushed with self-importance. Reading it again today in the Psalms I'm still struggling with this idea, but hearing it twice in the space of a week is making me take notice. I do believe if motives are pure and the ultimate desire is to see God glorified and His name honoured, then God is pleased to answer this request. There is no pride or personal prosperity evidenced in the servant's inquiry, but prayer for success in a God-directed assignment.

Are you feeling led to pray for success in an area where God has called you to step out in faith? He will provide where He guides. Trust Him with the outcome of your obedience. God will have His endeavor through you accomplish it's intended purpose.

Please, LORD, please give us success.

post signature

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fear Less or Fearless

“Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” Psalm 112:1, 7-8

After hearing the speaker’s introductory phrase, I was lost in thought. “Imagine a day without fear."

It would have to be “imagined” as I didn’t believe it was possible. Being little "Much Afraid", fear has been my constant companion through so many years that the thought of living a moment without it held me spellbound. Was it even possible?

A question interrupted my ponderings.

"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"

This wasn't the first time Christ had thus inquired as I battle this enemy of fear. Joy, why are you so afraid?

Lord, I don't want to be. I long to have the trust in You that banishes all fear. Your Word says, "I will make peace flow to her like a river". (Isaiah 66:12) Lord, I want to experience that peace. A peace that isn't boring and dull like a stagnant pond, but like a river. Beth Moore writes that "Few bodies of water are more exciting than rivers! When God used the analogy of a river, He described a peace that can be retained while life twists and turns and rolls over boulders. It means to have security and tranquility while meeting many bumps and unexpected turns on life's journey."

Father, I don't want to just fear less, but be fearless. Lord teach me how to fear You and delight in Your commands so that I can experience that confident trust and face my fears triumphantly.

post signature

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Leanness of Soul

"And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Psalm 106:15

Are you familiar with the cliche, "be careful what you ask for, you just may get it"? I think the Israelites may have come to understand the full impact of that statement several times as they journeyed to the Promised Land.

God's Word says that His people refused to wait for His counsel, so He gave them what they asked for, but at the same time brought emptiness to their heart.

Have you ever experienced that nothingness? The thing you were positive would fulfill that desperate longing left you lacking. You received, but you were not satisfied. It's a fleeting filling that falls short leaving your soul starving.

Todd Bentley says that a lean soul is one without power, revelation, revival or Word from the Lord.

Think I need to be careful what I ask for from the Lord. God may give me what I ask, because of my persistency, but at what cost? I believe I would rather have a 'no', than accompanying leanness to my soul. I would so rather my soul be filled if my petition is not.

What about you?

post signature

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One of the All Things

"The LORD takes pleasure in all he has made!" Psalm 104:31

All is defined as the whole number or amount, every one, to the full or entire extent, completely and totally. Nothing would be excluded. It's inclusive.

Do you realize what this means? He takes pleasure in you and me.

Pleasure. Joy. Someone or something that provides a source of happiness. The state of being pleased. Enjoyment. My web search said pleasure was a fundamental feeling that is hard to define, but that people desire to experience.

I don't know about you, but there are many times I find it difficult to believe that God finds pleasure in me. Dealing with debilitating issues of insecurity and fear, the phrase, "To know me is to love me" doesn't often ring true. Yet, God is saying here that He takes pleasure in ALL He has made...and I'm one of the all things.

Today I am blown away by knowing that I am special and treasured by God.

A song recorded by my friend Deborah Klassen comes to mind. It is entitled, "God Loves You". May you know just how much God loves you today.

In the heart of every man,
there's a need to question who we are and what we believe.
And the answers that we find are simple ones for us to say
but hard to receive
You say that God is love
You take Him at his word, but do you really understand

that, God loves you and made you for the pleasure of knowing you.
God loves you and made you for the pleasure of knowing you
and showing you, God loves you.

Well every person fails, and every man needs love to pick him up
time after time
This world can use you up
and leave you with a world of care where hope used to shine
But God can give you strength, when all you've done is fall,
So say it till you understand, and tell me do you really understand?

God loves you and made you for the pleasure of knowing you.

Time shows us what we thought we knew
and time helps us to know the truth

God loves you, and made you for the pleasure of knowing you.
God loves you and made you for the pleasure of knowing you,
and showing you God loves
I believe that God loves you,
God loves you.

post signature

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Unless The LORD Had Helped Me...

"Unless the LORD had helped me..." Psalm 94:17

There are so many examples in my life of situations where "unless the LORD had helped me", I would have failed miserably.

Unless the LORD had helped me...
~I never would have passed gym class
~I wouldn't have withstood peer pressure
~I couldn't have walked into that job interview
~my fingers would have floundered on the piano keys during my music exams
~never would my feet move into a plane or an elevator
~I would have been terrified raising a child
~I would never sleep during a thunderstorm
~I would have abandoned that relationship
~life would be too hard
~I would still be harbouring unforgiveness towards that person
~I would have spent so much of life living and trusting so small
~I would have surrendered to fear and never experienced Him as Provider
~I would have missed the opportunity of speaking at Ladies events
~depression would have conquered me
~I couldn't have volunteered to teach 3 year olds
~I never would have reached out to that person who is now a treasured friend
~nerves would have kept me from caring enough to confront
~insecurity would have bound my life in loneliness
~I couldn't love and obey Him like I do
~I would have said 'no' so many more times than I've wanted to say 'yes'
~I couldn't bring thoughts captive
~I would have lost hope
~I couldn't get up every morning longing to praise and follow Him

Unless the LORD had helped me, I would be nothing at all.

post signature

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Birth Story

"O Lord, you alone are my hope. I've trusted you, O LORD, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother's womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you!" Psalm 71:5-6

When I was a little girl I would often climb up on my Daddy’s lap and ask him to tell me the story of the “Dale Twins”. Dad would cuddle my sister and I in close and begin a familiar tale of two babies who were spared life by the divine hand of God.

It all started one day when the families only daughter noticed two pink hyacinths in bloom in their front garden. She confidently announced that her Mom, who was expecting a child at the time, was going to give birth to twin girls. This daughter was 18 years old and there had been no siblings in all these years. One baby was going to be a change…but twins? Impossible! Besides, twins didn’t run in the family. Her Dad however was hopeful. He declared he would love twins. In fun, he put in his order for identical twin girls with curly, red hair.

It wasn’t long after this that the Mom did go into labour, at 25 weeks, and two precious, little one-pound baby girls with curly red hair were born. No-one had been anticipating twins, and definitely not this early. The Doctor didn’t even know that twins were arriving until he saw the second head coming. Can you imagine the surprise? Upon hearing the news, the teenage daughter was quick to exclaim, “The hyacinths were right!“ The Doctor’s gave absolutely no hope for either babies survival. Born with undeveloped lungs, diseases and other concerns characteristic of preemies, these little ones were just too small to beat the odds.

Feeling the babies were too fragile to be transported to a specialized facility, they were put in incubators and basically left on their own. Their parents made 101 trips to the hospital before they could even touch one of them. My Dad related how their Dad would stand by the nursery window, watching their little chests rise and fall, and wonder, would that be their last breath? The agony of each moment. The pain of watching, yet too afraid to tear his eyes away, as if his very presence brought an unseen strength, willing these babies to fight for life.

And fight they did. Surpassing all probability, day after day these little girls clung to life. There were people praying for them all around the world. They became known as the “Miracle Babies”. Each day brought increased hope. Daily miracles were evident. After weeks and months of agonizing uncertainty, these precious little ones finally came home. The journey still wasn’t without challenges, but the prayers of many had been answered.

(I’m on the right!)

That story began almost 47 years ago. Those two little babies were my twin sister and I.

As I read the verse above today, again I am thanking God for the gift of years that Dr’s said would never happen. Nothing is impossible with God. Today I am thankful for each breath and pray that my life has been worth the gift bestowed on me by my Lord and Saviour. Lord, from my mother's womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You!

post signature

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keep Walking

“What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.” Psalm 84:5

Pilgrimage. A journey to a sacred place. A new destination. A change. Wherever you are right now you do not have to remain. It’s about forgetting the past…looking ahead…moving on.

The Psalmist isn’t describing a physical move, but an intellectual one. It’s not a geographical location, but a mind adjustment and a heart's position.

Where is your mind today? What is your focus? Disappointment? Resentment? Heartache? Envy? Pride?

Last Sunday my friend Cheri reminded me of Colossians 3 where Paul encourages us to set our minds up. I loved her choice of words. Set my mind UP!

Father, I pray You will keep me from being weighed down with cares and concerns that interfere with my journey. When my thoughts want to pitch a tent and set up camp in the valley of despair, Lord, don’t allow my heart to settle there. Keep me from being caught in the quicksand of doubt or detained by a forest of difficulties. Father, may Your strength enable me to resist the enticement of other travellers who have built homes and become permanent residents here, becoming citizens of grudges, unforgiveness and regrets. Even a short rest could prove dangerous. Discontent breeds among commiserating companions. Give me an urgency so that sand has no time to collect in my shoes. Let a cloud of dust bear witness to my minds constant walk.

As a George Harrison song title says, Father, today, “I got my mind set on You.”

post signature

Saturday, July 4, 2009

All This

“All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant. Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path.” Psalm 44:17-18

The ever popular question surfaces again. Why do bad things happen to good people? The Psalmist here is expressing the bewilderment when suffering seems undeserved.

Lord, I haven’t forgotten You. I’m keeping your laws. I’m not wandering from my walk with You. My heart is in Your hands. Why am I experiencing defeat despite my faith and obedience? Why has “all this” happened?

Are you in an “all this” season? It’s easy to identify. It’s marked with questions, doubts, confusion and countless why’s.

God wants to take our “all this” and transform it into one of the “all things” that He is working together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

I read a commentary saying that “all this” may not be punishment, but a battle scar that demonstrates our loyalty. Do I love God for what He does or for who He is? Is my commitment conditional and my allegiance qualified, dependent on His blessing? Bad things happen to all people. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, Matthew 5:45. The storm hit’s the home built on the rock as well as the sand. The difference? When the weather clears and the damage is surveyed and assessed, the foundation of faith has remained. Touched. Shaken. But firm.

Maybe the mystery is not so much that bad things happen, but that God allows great things to happen for His redeemed. Is not the good we receive even more undeserving? I'm just saying...

post signature

Friday, July 3, 2009

No Editing Needed

"Do not add to his words..." Proverbs 30:6

I received an e-mail from a lady at my church asking if I would consider editing a speech that she was preparing to give at an upcoming event with her family. I was blown away by this request. Why did she ask me? I'm not an editor. What did I know about revising anyone's writing? Did I even want the responsibility of looking over her carefully crafted preparation and correcting grammatical errors and sentence structure? What if I happened to offend her by correcting her work? I am far from a genius in the literary field, but I do have a passion for writing and a willingness to be available, so I agreed to at least look over her writing and gently 'tweak' it if necessary.

It's a daunting job playing 'Editor', and I do mean 'playing', as I've had absolutely no training. Meshing together someone else's words without inserting my own opinion or disturbing the authors perspective and personality. It was so tempting to insert my own thoughts and delete sentences based solely on individual preference. By the time I finished, I truly believe I kept her ideas intact. The message remained the same, just packaged with some new expression.

I wonder if I sometimes take on the role of "Editor" when it comes to God's Word. Do I believe that every sentence in the Bible is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, training and correcting? (2 Timothy 3:16) Do I believe that every sentence, every word, every thought in the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit? Do I sometimes desire to add or delete certain phrases, words and even complete passages based on my obedience quotient? God's directives that fit neatly into my life with relative ease I'll embrace and follow, but those that require effort, surrender and change I'll omit or re-write to suit my schedule and agenda. After all, God certainly didn't mean we had to follow ALL of His Word did He? It's not really commandments, but simply suggestions....right?

WRONG!! God doesn't want me to change one 'jot' or 'tittle'. I must leave every 'i' dotted and every 't' crossed, for "not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved." (Matt 5:18). So, although I had freedom to edit this ladies paper, I do not, DO NOT have permission to edit God's Word. I must read it and apply all of it to all of my life.

Oh how I pray that the Lord will keep me faithful in the reading and sharing of His Word. May I not look to God's Word to make editorial corrections, but instead may I allow the Divine Editor to use it to refine my life and change my character to match my calling.

post signature

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Iron Sharpeners

“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27: 6, 17

Seeing the senders name, I clicked into her e-mail with enthusiasm. My excitement was quickly dashed. Like hitting a brick wall, the impact of her message was sudden and abrupt. The smile that had only moments ago danced across my face faded. Her words brought a waterfall of tears. Sobs wracked my body. Sounds I had never uttered before escaped, as my heart felt torn in pieces. What had I done? As far as I could remember my only mistake had been loving and caring too deeply. Stung by her written word, David’s thoughts were mine: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend…” Psalm 55:12-13.

Feeling like a sword had pierced my heart, I dropped to my knees. Every ounce of strength had vanished. Sobbing uncontrollably, I fell on my face. Never had I known such pain. When the tears finally began to subside, I lay on the floor now completely alone with my thoughts. Questions filled my mind. Hesitantly I finally asked, “Lord, is there any truth in what she has said? Does this seemingly unfair attack hold any merit? Father, is there something You desire to change in me?”

Immediately my eyes were opened to a personality trait, that although positive, if not reigned can smother the recipient. Her words held fact and were valid. God wanted to work on refining my character. This wound from a friend would heal.

It is impossible to sharpen iron without striking it. Sparks often fly. There will be pain as rough edges are shaped and cut away. In the process both objects are changed.

So it is with friends. We need each other to keep a sharp spiritual edge. We need to be wise in choosing companions, and pray that God would bring those into our lives who will encourage us and bring out the best in us.

I have a friend who is constantly telling me that she’s not going to pat me on the head saying, “there, there”, and I love her for shaking up my life a little…or a lot. Others see things in us to which we close a blind eye, whether intentionally or accidentally. As Nancy shared in her comments on Tuesday, “not all pain is harmful”. It can hurt, but it may not harm. We can grow from the experience, embrace the pain and allow God to change us and love us.

God uses time spent with a godly friend to shape us into His likeness. I am forever thankful for the “iron sharpeners” the Lord has placed in my life. I am more like Jesus because of each one of them. Thanks for rubbing off on me.

I'd like to dedicate this song to a couple of my faithful friends. Love ya.

post signature

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reporting For Duty!

To all my Canadian friends...HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!! Click here to hear this song: Worshipers Agree (Thanks Raylene for finding the link!!!)

Worshipers Agree
Let our nation sing to the King of Kings
Let our people pray to the Lord today
May the anthem of my country be pleasing God to Thee
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree
That the Lord of the Heavens is the Lord who reigns in me
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree
O Canada let the worshipers agree
O Canada living God reign in me
O Canada we stand on guard for Thee
O Canada
Let our nation sing to the King of Kings
Let our people pray to the Lord today
May the citizens and leaders ever stand on guard for Thee
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree
May we trust in the living God to keep us glorious and free
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree
O Canada let the worshipers agree
O Canada living God reign in me
O Canada we stand on guard for Thee
O Canada
Let our nation sing to the King of Kings
Let our people pray to the Lord today
(Written by Laura Dugas, His Season)

Celebrating my country and my heritage today!

“‘My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.’” “Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD.” 2 Chronicles 29:11, 30:22

An exclamation mark always catches my attention. Preceding words take on power. There’s urgency and emphasis. The Lord here is calling us back into service.

Taking personal inventory, I’m asking myself, have I become inactive or ineffective? Have I, or am I, neglecting my duty? I know there have been times, whether by choice or circumstance, I have pulled out of ministry positions. Wondering now…has this been God’s direction or my decision…a decision most likely based on emotion. Feeling overlooked, overwhelmed or unappreciated, I withdraw. Thinking I have “done my duty”, served in that nursery, led the Bible study for years, taught that class, attended enough choir practices, served endless luncheons and cleaned up after enough events. It’s someone else’s turn.

Well, I’ve got news for all of us. Regardless of age, attitude or ability, until the Lord calls us home, we have purpose and He has a plan. God isn’t finished with us yet.

It wasn’t that long ago I was in desperate need of some time of refreshing. I was sure the Lord would understand if I stepped back from my position as Bible study leader at our church. I was tired. I didn’t feel like anything I was doing was benefiting the ladies who were faithfully attending each week. Ironically, we were studying
Lysa TerKeurst’s book, “What Happens When Women Says ‘Yes’ to God”, and I wanted to say ‘no’!

I approached my co-leader and asked her if she could take over the remainder of the year. She lovingly told me she would, but only if I first agreed to pray about my decision for a week. No problem. I was sure God would just confirm what I already knew.

On the 7th day, I opened up my Bible to have my morning devotions, and this is what I read, “Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:11 (The Message)

No easy road out. I was not to neglect my duties. The Lord, for some strange reason, had chosen this inadequate, weak vessel.

I love how Hezekiah not only called the Levites back into active service, but then he followed up with encouragement. Let’s not neglect expressing appreciation towards others. A little word of sincere praise goes a long way. We are often so quick to criticize, but maybe today your child’s Sunday School teacher needs a hug…your Pastor’s wife would be uplifted by a precious note in the mail…the church custodian could use a Starbucks…the office secretary might be blessed by some fresh flowers. I don’t know what God will place on your heart, but Proverbs 3:27 reminds us, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”

If you know the Lord as your personal Savior, He wants you in active service. He has recruited you. Today I'm reporting for duty.

post signature