Saturday, December 31, 2011

One last time...

Well, I posted a blog I wrote earlier and it wasn't the real post I was supposed to write. Yeah, it was all about obedience and I totally wasn't being obedient.

So what was the real post supposed to be about? It was supposed to be about a big thing that I think about a lot, but rarely if ever talk about. It is painful and exposing and sharing it seems like the craziest thing to do. BUT it is what God is telling me to write about. So here goes....I am hestitanting...still hestitating....asking Him if I really have to do this....okay here goes.

When I moved to North Carolina I had an extremely hard first year. It was a good year, of healing, but healing can be painful because sometimes it involves needed surgery. God did some heart surgery on me and it was excurciating at times. I wouldn't trade that time for anything!

Okay, that doesn't seem like a big deal, but that's just some details. What happened that year was I met someone who stirred something in my heart I had never felt before. No, it wasn't a man. It was a 4th grade boy, and he stirred the Mom part of my heart. I had been teaching for over ten years at the time so I have had hundreds of students, and some who needed special care and loving, but they never stirred that spot in my heart before. His story is his so I won't tell it, but I can say he needed that Mom spot in my heart as much as I needed it stirred.

For two school years I spend time with him and enjoyed the ups and the downs, and sometimes there were serious downs. Even as I enjoyed time with him, I knew that it would change after he was done with elementary school. Those thoughts overshadowed too many of my thoughts and caused an ache in my heart. Then the day came and he moved on from elementary school to middle school. I have to admit I cried like I've never cried before. It honestly felt like someone had died. It felt like a part of my heart had been ripped out.

After a summer of missing him, he played football for his middle school team. I spent Saturdays watching him play and it was a very small taste of what I was missing. But it didn't last. The season ended and then, well then nothing. There wasn't a time to spend with him or watching him and it broke my heart all over again. I tried hard to figure out a way to hold on but I couldn't.  

So then periodic times of rare communication happened, and I realized that was all I was going to get. I wasn't sure if I should try harder. I wasn't sure if I should just let go and think of it as a time period that was. I wasn't sure of anything. I prayed. I cried. I tried too hard. I didn't try at all.

Days passed, months passed, and now years have passed, and the Mom part of my heart still cries and wonders. I wonder if anyone will ever fill that part of my heart. I wonder if some day God will restore a relationship and he will fill that part. Now I know God is the only one who can fill my heart, but there's a reason that there's a verse about the desires of our hearts. He made us with specific desires, talents, gifts. It's okay to have desires of the heart. If it wasn't He wouldn't have included a verse about getting them.

So why did He ask me to write this now? I'm not sure. Maybe it was another part of that heart surgery He performs (believe me this hurt, it hurt a lot!) I still pray for him. I still care about him. I still hope.


On the first day of this year, 2011, I asked God about this year. He gives me a word or phrase that is used to describe the year. This year, it was obedience. He was asking me to step out in whatever He asked me to do. How did the year go?

Well, I know sometimes I stepped out in the small things He asked of me, and the big things. He wanted me to go to Haiti. Haiti! I had never even been on a local mission trip, let alone one in another country, and certainly not a country like Haiti. I remember being asked what I expected of the trip and I could honestly answer with, "I have absolutely no idea!" I genuinely went there with no expectations and totally open to whatever God wanted me to do. It was an incredible experience that has spurred me to want to go to other places. I have submitted my application for a trip to Kenya this upcoming summer. I am so very excited about it!

There are the things He asked me to do that I am working on. My house is a constant work in progress, but I am making progress. I am doing the painting, changing, and organizing that needs to be done. I am so excited to see how He uses my house.

Have I been as successful with other things He asked of me? Um, in a word, no! I was partly obedient, which means I wasn't really obedient at all. We want to give ourselves some create for every little thing we do, even though complete surrender is the only kind of surrender there is. So I stepped out and lead a life group, but I didn't obey God's direction for the group. In 2012 the group will hopefully look exactly like what He asked for in the first place.

Then there are the absolute nos! The things He asked me to do that I let fear and pride keep me from. Sometimes I let the voices of doubt and dread speak too much. I could have told them to "shut up, in Jesus' name", and I did at times but not enough. By the way, one time of letting them speak without shutting them up is too many times. Now I'm not saying I only didn't shut those voices up only once! Do these things that I wasn't obedient bother me? Yes, they do, but I have gone to Him for forgiveness and He forgave me. I just want to listen and obey, regardless next time He asks of me.

So was 2011 a success? Yes! We are all a work in progress and I progressed to be more like Christ. I didn't get there, but I got closer, so yes it was a success. Could it have been a bigger success? Oh my yes! I pray that as I continue to grow more like Him, that each year will be more and more successful than the last one. That each year I will become more and more like Him.

So what about 2012? I don't know yet. I have to pray and listen to hear what His word or phrase for 2012 is. I can tell you that I am very excited about it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Why do I like Christmas?

Ask that question to the same person at different ages or stages of his or her life and I bet the answer would differ. I know it has for me. This year I know my answer was different than it's ever been before.

It wasn't about presents, although those are nice. It wasn't about family, although I love spending time with mine, and this year was so nice and relaxed and fun. It wasn't about food, although I love Christmas cooking and baking. It wasn't about the decorations, although this year was my first year in my house and I thoroughly enjoyed decorating it, inside and out. No, this year the answer is different.

I was thinking about the question on the morning of Christmas Eve. I thought, "how would I answer that questions?" A smile crossed my face and I knew the answer. "I love Christmas because it was the beginning of a plan to save the World. To save me."

That afternoon I went to church for the Christmas Eve service. I debated back and forth about even going. I had family coming and although almost everything was ready, I used that as an excuse for not going. Even though I would be home in plenty of time to finish up any last minute details. It was weird because whenever I struggle with something like going or not going somewhere it usually means satan is messing with me. I am, by nature, a homebody so give me a reason to stay home and I will take it. I realized this as one of those times when satan wanted me to just stay home. So I went.

Pastor Rob's message was not a traditional Christmas message and I love that. Did he mention Christmas? Yes! He said that the reason he loved Christmas so much is because it was the beginning of the rescue mission. I sat up a little straighter and I smiled. I knew that God was confirming my own thoughts of that very morning.

As for the message Pastor Rob spoke, it was a salvation message and quite a few people gave their lives to Christ during that service. Over 240 people in all the services combined. You see, for those people the rescue mission came to a climax that day. They were rescued and on Christmas, the day we remember as the beginning of the mission makes them somehow sweeter.

Isn't that a perfect reason to love Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just Give It Up!

This morning I was trying to sleep in, hard to do with furry babies telling you of their deep desire for breakfast, and my mind wandered to something ugly. Something old, very, very old and painful. Something I don't think about often because with it brings guilt and shame. Sometimes things happen to you and satan loves to use them to bring you shame and guilt. What happened doesn't matter, but I realized as I lay there and thought of it I never gave it up to God.

We all have painful memories, some are of things we did or said, and some are of things that were done to us or said to us. My memory was a mix of both. I lay there this morning and realized I never wanted satan to use that against me again. So I began to simply ask God to take it away. I didn't use any special words, I didn't even pray aloud. I just simply asked Him to take it away.

As I prayed the words, I literally saw the thing slipping away from me, over the side, and gone. The pain, shame, and guilt of just moments ago were gone. God took it and replaced it with peace and joy!

I know that sometimes I pray for God to take things put I pick them back up or I later realize it was lip service, just doing the "right thing". I didn't REALLY want to let it go at all. Whether it is a sin in my life or a pain, sometimes they bring some distorted sense of comfort to just keep holding on to them.

But the peace and joy I felt in that moment of really letting go was different than any of those so-called "gave it to God" times. My heart really wanted it gone!

Our walk with God is a process. We all have sins, hurts, and deep down, gut wrenching pains that we want gone, but God, in His love and mercy, doesn't deal with them all at the same time. If He did, I think we would surely die! We couldn't handle the pain of it. God knows that and that is why He does everything, EVERYTHING, in His perfect time.

We can stand back and see the sin or the pain in others lives and think, "why don't they just ask God to forgive them, ask Him to heal them, ask Him to help them?" Sometimes I wonder if that's what the whole speck in your neighbor's eye, but beam in your own verse is really about. (Matthew 7:3) It's not about judging the other person as much as it's about judging the timing of God. He will deal with that speck in their eye when they are ready. He will take it from them, once He has brought them to a place where they can flush that speck out, they can let it go to Him.

And He will deal with your beam, once you have gone through the process to give it up. He takes us through the process. He knows exactly what we need along the way. He knows who to put in our paths. He knows what challenges and joys need to be apart of the road to bring us to the point.

Have I wanted those memories gone? Has it been a long time? Yes and yes, but He knew the exact moment when I would be ready to just give it up to Him and accept the peace of letting it go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stepping Out (Hopefully Doing it Right this Time!)

Wow! It has been a long time since I have posted. I said before I post when I think God lays something on my heart to say. So I've been feeling it. Can I just say that I love the God stirring I get in my gut. Sometimes I don't really like what the stirring is about, because it makes me step out, step up, or give up. But ultimately I love His stirring in me!

A few months ago I felt God wanted me to step out in a way that I'm not at all comfortable with or even qualified for. I decided God was calling me to lead a group through church. I felt God was calling me to lead a certain type of group. Soon my wonderful brother and sister-in-law were saying they would lead with me. We talked about what the group could look like and I expressed my thoughts, but the conversation moved in another direction. That is when I buried what I thought God was saying to me and I went with what they saw for our group.

Well, we started a group and it was just the three of us for quite awhile. Then while I was in Haiti, we had a Group Link and people signed up to come to groups. A couple came to ours, but all the other people who signed up never came or responded when we reached out to them. It continued on with them and us for a little longer and then we had another group link. Again, a bunch of people signed up but only one couple and a woman came. Then although our numbers increased, each time we meet some weren't there and we never all meet together. Then other things came up, like school requirements, children's baseball tournaments, and vacations and soon we were cancelling more than we were meeting.

This past weekend I had a sit down my brother and sister-in-law and they stated that they no longer wanted to lead. That said that they may have led for the wrong reasons. I thought that it would be easy to just give up too. Then I was praying and felt God tugging at my heart again. I believe that He is telling me that He wants me to step out in the way He told me to before. So I sent off an email to set up a time to talk to one of the pastors. I am a bit excited and worried about it at the same time. I don't want to focus on the "you can't do that" thoughts and I just want to focus on what He is speaking to me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This past July I went to Haiti. I had never thought of going to another country on a mission trip. Well, actually I had never thought of going on a short term missions trip. The idea of going and living in another country and teaching has crossed my mind before, but I have never really thought it would happen. As soon as I knew Pastor Rob was in Haiti I knew he would come back and ask people to go there. Of course there is a twist to that.

On January 1 of each year I pray for a word or particular direction from God. This year I knew He was asking me to be obedient to whatever He asked of me. That is a bit scary to think about. Well, Pastor Rob came back and sure enough he asked us to go to Haiti. So, I had to go!

I was scared. I thought that I wasn't equipped to do it. I mean I was on a medical team. I know how to put on band aids and not much more than that. I got to be a pharmacist and filled prescriptions. Haiti is a beautiful country partly because of some of the land and the ocean and the people.

As we neared the end of our few days there some of the others kept asking, "would you come back to Haiti?". I kind of hoped they wouldn't ask me. Not because I wouldn't go back, because I would. But my answer seemed weird to me. My answer was, well actually is, "yes, but it this trip makes me want to go other places more."

Why? I guess part of the not knowing of what to expect appeals to me. Now, I like knowing the whens and whats details. I am not a big fan of not knowing, but for this it appeals to me. I guess I like the idea of going into a situation like that, not knowing what can happen and seeing what God will do, seeing how He will use me. Of course the other part is God used me and I want Him to use me like that again.

So why is this post called Kenya? Because next July there is a trip to Kenya and as soon as I heard about it I wanted to go. Here's the kicker. Recently I found out how much it would cost and I can't imagine being able to come up with the money. It is considerably more than Haiti cost.

Recently we found out we won't get paid in August, because the state says we haven't worked enough days to get paid. That would mean getting paid sometime in September. So we would get paid around the 25th of July and then not again until September. I will need to start setting aside some of my pay to hold me over until I do get paid in September. Also, my house needs so much too. My kitchen needs all new appliances and there are always repairs that come up, hopefully only small ones, but they still add up. So money is the issue.

I would appreciate your prayers concerning going to Kenya. I would really like to go and am hoping God will speak and tell me whether I am to go or not.

Monday, November 14, 2011


"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 ESV

"Now faithis the substanceof things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 KJV

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1 NLT

I wanted to see this verse in a few different translations. I could have listed more. My question is "do I have faith or am I being stubborn and holding on to some thing I shouldn't?". The former is the one I hope is true. But I still wonder.

I realize that when I blog about something on my mind or heart I get some peace and some answers. So this is heavy on my heart and has been for well, years now. Actually, right now I feel my spirit stirring. So what is it?

Do I have the kind of faith that keeps believing even when everyone else has given up on it? Do I really believe something that is, well quite frankly, seemingly impossible? Do I really believe?

Or am I holding on to something that isn't suppose to be? Am I stubbornly holding onto something that God has taken away from me? Am I just being dilusional and stubborn?

Sometimes I am so sure it is faith and that I believe that God is in the process of performing a miracle. Sometimes I think I am just being a spoiled brat who wants her way and is holding on for dear life.

I'm not sure if I'll get answers or even if I have written what God is really stirring within me. I do think if I haven't He'll keep stirring me until I do.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holiday Struggles

So the greatest time of the year is approaching, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that I love, but dread at the same time.

When I was a kid and even as a young adult I loved spending holidays with my Mom's family. I remember holidays in Rochester and Scotsville, NY. I remember lots of family, wonderful food, Aunt Ginny's girly tree in the parlor and the tall tree in the family room. I remember the tree in my Grandparent's living room. We rarely went in there, but with the tree in there we spend time there. I loved that room. I kind of felt like holding my breath when I entered it. I loved the figurines on the mantle and the formal furniture. The room seemed perfect to me. I loved the laughter, games, sitting at the kids' table. I remember watching football, lots and lots of football.

I always thought when I grew up holidays would be like that. They aren't. Sometimes we have family dinners, but sometimes that family is just three of us. We might watch football, but there is no noisy outbursts of cheers or groans. Every year there seems to be a diet someone is on so the meal is simple, good, but simple. There are no children running from room to room. There are some games, when the kids are there. We watch It's A Wonderful Life if it's on. There is no parlor with a girly tree or a sacred living room with figurines on the mantle.

The worst part is I imagined it would be my house full of family, food, fun, and football. But it's not. I have no family. I have no reason to cook lots of cookies, candies, and treats for the holidays. This is what I've always dreamed of. Each holiday season reminds me of what I long for and don't have.

I have great family. They include me, but it also makes me feel like a third, fifth, and sometimes a seventh wheel. Being with the nephews and niece just reminds me of the children I thought I'd have by now and don't. I love my family and love spending time with them, but around the holidays it hurts at the same time. I always imagined spending time with them and my family.

I just wonder how many holiday seasons more I will spend before some of those dreams come true, or if I will spend all the rest of them this way.

Recently I started to wonder how many others feel the same way. I wonder how many people have gone holiday season to holiday season wishing and waiting for a family of their own to celebrate with. Sometimes we feel like we are the only one, but I believe that is a lie of satan. He doesn't want us to know there are others. He wants us to feel isolated and alone. He doesn't want us to turn to God in our hurt. He wants us to stay sad. Sometimes, I admit, it is hard to turn to God when I hurt. Sometimes I am angry with Him. Sometimes I wonder how much longer until He changes things. I know He might not change things, but He definitely is changing me.

I know this holiday season won't be easy, but I also know that He is with me and He knows my every want, desire, and need.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Really Real?

When I post something it is because it is on my heart. I started this blog to write about books that I read, but felt that God was asking me to go deeper and write about me. The real me. No walls. I used to get a lot of hits, which helped me ego. I hoped that people viewing were getting something from my blog that would help them in whatever way God meant it to.

Then I was really, really honest. My heart was hurting and for days I was ignoring the tug on my heart to blog about it. I mean I can be real about some struggles. I can real about good things. I can be real about my thoughts about a book. I found it hard to be real about "the desire of my heart". Finally, I started to write.

I posted it and got the usual amount of hits, and then something happened that I didn't expect. I went from high number of hits to single digits with the next post. That trend has continued since then. So what was it? Was it that people didn't like the real me? Do people just say that want to know the real person, but when the real person is exposed, which I was, they decide maybe not so much?

That has been my life long fear. I guess it is many people's. If "they" see the real me "they" won't like me. "They" won't love me. "They" will go away. Guess what? It seems "they" did. Does that hurt? Yes. Did it make me think "why in the world am I doing this blogging thing?" Yes. Did I find it hard to write the blogs that came after it? Yes. Did I consider stopping? Honestly, no!

I realize that I am not blogging for stats. I am blogging for the few people who read it and want to know and love the real me. I blog to share what God is doing and teaching me. I am far from perfect. I deal with my fears badly, most of the time. I have always felt the sting of rejection very sharply. I just experienced it moments before writing this blog. I thought "how to I deal with it? Do I retreat into the pain of it, or do I acknowledge it and give it to God?" I hope that I am doing the latter. I hope that although there is a sting, it won't be what I focus on.

I guess that God wants me to be real even though people will see the flaws I have tried to cover up. I guess I just need to keep being obedient and posting. I am sure He is at working through it.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Lately I have been thinking of the story of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) The youngest son demands his share of the inheritance and goes off to a far away land. He spends all his money, famine comes, he is need and takes a job feeding pigs. He starts to long to eat the slop of the pigs because he had nothing. He decides to go home and beg his father to let him be a servant.

Meanwhile Dad is at home, watching for His son. He sees him along way off and goes running to his son. He embraces him and kisses him. The son begs for forgiveness and to be made a servant. But Dad tells the servant to prepare a party to celebrate His sons return. He has the best of the best prepared to celebrate.

(Interestingly he didn't say anything to his son. I never noticed that before.)

I have been thinking about someone lately who I think may soon be headed to that pig sty stage or may already be there. I feel pressed upon to pray more than ever and I just feel the time is close. I really pray for the pig sty stage. I hate to see anyway go through it, but if it brings him to God then I pray it will be quick. I pray that he sees the slop as his need for God. I pray that he realizes he realizes he needs to go back to God. I pray that he realizes that He is the only answer. I pray he turns back towards Home.

The best part is that God is looking for him. He is watching for him and when He sees him still afar off He will run to him. He will embrace him and kiss him and welcome him home. He will listen to him ask for His forgiveness and He will respond by planning a celebration.

I am filled with joy just thinking about it. What a celebration it will be!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Waking up to a Song

I am not very musical. I like to sing, but I don't pretend that I do that well. So I think it is interesting that God uses songs to speak to me. I know that if I wake up with a sang playing in my mind then He is talking to me. The really interesting part is once I talk to Him about it, I usually can't even remember the song. Not that I don't know it anymore, I just can't remember which song it was.

This morning I woke up very, very early with a song. The one line kept playing over and over again. I can't remember the words, like I said I usually can't remember. But the words brought with them a strong feeling of conviction. I started praying. Because I had no idea what I was being convicted of  I just started listing things. I also realized that when I pray I don't repent enough. I might talk to God about things I've done wrong or things I didn't do that I should have. Yet, I don't think I repented as much as I talked to Him about it.

That might have been the real reason that I was feeling such conviction. I need to do more than just tell Him what I have done or haven't done. I need to ask Him for forgiveness and repent.

I obviously feel back to sleep while praying because I woke up to the alarm clock and a sense of peace.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Lessons from Chester

It's been two and a half weeks since Chester got out and ran away. I cried and cried over him in the beginning. I still miss him very much! I had to stop putting food out front for him because the sweet gray cat who looks like Chester was eating it. This caused my cats to go nuts. They thought he was Chester and would run from window to window to see him and meow at him. I still put food in the wooded area behind my fence.

Well, I was talking to God about Chester the other day. I was telling Him that if He has the sparrow then He has Chester. I resigned myself to the idea that I might never see him again. I thought about how I would miss having him sleep next to me whenever I took and nap or at bedtime. Monty, affectionately called Fat Boy, tries to sleep by me, but he isn't the same.

Friday I pulled into my driveway and saw a gray cat sitting on my living room windowsill. I opened my car door and called, "Chester". The cat jumped down and ran. I ran after him, but he was quite a bit a head of me. I saw him go into the ravine area behind my house and I know I wouldn't be able to see him once I got there. I called and called out for Chester but I saw nothing and only heard the birds in the trees. I went back to the house, got some cat food and brought it back to put out there for him.

Later I had to run out to put up garage sale signs and when I drove back into the driveway a gray cat took off. I didn't chase after him. I walked back the way he went and looked to see if I could see him. I didn't get a good look at him so I thought it could have been the other gray cat. I went inside.

Later I needed to go outside and when I did I saw a gray cat go around the corner of the house. I walked over there and saw the cat. My hopes raised, it was getting dark so all I saw was a gray cat. The cat meowed and I knew it wasn't Chester. He came over and I petted the nice gray cat and then I went back inside.

I started to wonder about the whole thing. Why did he run? Why did the other gray cat not run? What was the point of this?

I thought about how sometimes people come back, they sneak around, hoping God won't see them. They want the life but without Him. They spend time looking through the window, into Home, just like Chester did. But when the Master comes around they run away. He calls after them, He pursues them but they hide. They live out in the "woods" where it's cold, their exposed to the rain and wind. They live in the bramble of fallen trees and bushes. They could be living in the Home that God has prepared for each of His children, yet they won't.

They are angry with Him for choices they made. They blame Him for the rain, the wind, the cold. They blame Him for making them hide in the bramble. They blame him for being winded from running from Him. All God wants is His children. He wants them Home safe under His protection. He wants to spend time with them. He wants to have a relationship with Him.

I pray that Chester comes home and I pray that those who need to come Home to God will. I will keep pursuing Chester and God will keep pursuing them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lessons from Chester

When I lived in an apartment Riley and I had a following. Of cats! The strays loved Riley because she loved them and of course I had food with me. There were some days that I definitely felt God was teaching me something through these kitties. I thought I should write a book called "Lessons Learned from the Strays".

Last night, my sweet Chester and Rosie decided to be adventurous and pushed the screen out of the open window and went outside. I'm not sure how long they were out there but as I opened the front door they were just a little away from the house. Rosie turned around and jumped back in the window, but Chester headed toward the driveway and went under the car.

I went in and closed the window and headed back out to get him. I thought he would be scared but he would come right to me. I was wrong! He would not come out from under the car. I went in and got a bowl of food, he's a skinny boy, but he loves to eat, and set it under the car. He ignored it. I reached under and touched his paw. He moved farther under the car. I sat there and talked to him for a long time, but he wouldn't come out.

I tried everything I could think of. I tried to feed him. I tried to touch him. I tried to talk to him. I opened the window back up for him. I stayed up late and watched for him. But he didn't come back in. Then I felt God speak to me that He understood exactly what I was feeling.

He has all these children who He loves. They breakout of His care and venture out on "adventures". He gives them His Word for food, but they don't take it. He reaches out and touches them, but they pull back and move farther away from Him. He talks to them, but they ignore His voice. He opens up the door to coming back into His family, through His Son, but they won't come back in. He watches over them, always watches over them, and yet they say He isn't even there.

My pain over missing my sweet kitty is nothing compared to our Father's pain at seeing all of His children run away from Him. Thankfully, some of them actually turn back to Him and come back home. I am thankful that I did. I am thankful that He called me and I heard and came back inside to Him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


So, I have this little problem. I have a little clutter problem. Some might say it's more than little. :)

I have plenty of excuses for the stuff. I'm a teacher and we have a weird sort of thing that we "may need that someday for some lesson". I've moved a lot and right before the move I run out of time to go through stuff so it just gets put in a box. I'm too tired after work to clean up. I could go on and on, but I won't.

I have felt God telling me to get rid of the stuff. I have been working on it. I could be working harder and faster. Some times I just need a reminder to get at what God is telling me to do. Yesterday morning I got two of them.

The first was waking up to the clock radio. It is set to a music station but at 5 AM there is a FamilyLife Today program on. These are the words I woke up to...

"As a single woman, you can accept so many different opportunities at work. Before you know it, you are completely fried because you didn‟t have the built-in boundaries that you might have when you get married. So, right now is a great opportunity for you to go ahead and establish personally, "What are my Sabbath boundaries going to be?"—boundaries, not only in your calendar, but boundaries also in your living space. I mean, you can accumulate so much stuff to where your home isn‟t inviting and isn‟t a place of peace anymore. You are enslaved in your living space. You can't really enjoy anything because you have too much of everything. If you don‟t personalize these boundaries, then you won't have anything to carry you over into the next season of life, as well."

Ummm, I might be thick but that spoke loud and clear....seriously those were the first words I heard. Then I got up and did the normal routine, let the dog out; feed all the furry babies; check Facebook (that part is so sad!) and here's what I saw on there.

"He wants us... to open our eyes and be fully aware & engaged in what He’s doing in this particular season of our lives." -Priscilla Shirer
The funny part is it was Priscilla Shirer who was speaking on the radio too. So I put the laptop down and prayed that God would help me to clear out the clutter. I don't have the desire to clear it out so I need Him to help. I believe He will!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Comfort Zone

I'm a comfy clothes, comfy home, comfy life kind-a person. I love comfy! I can't say I love my comfort zone. I am used to it, but that doesn't mean that I love it. Actually, there are parts of my comfort zone that I really hate!

This year I started the year by telling God I would do whatever He told me to do this year. I became involved in praying at church. I started a Life Group with my brother and sister-in-law. I started going to another Life Group too. I went to Haiti. Next summer I want to go to Kenya (hoping that God makes that happen.) I started attending church at the Monroe campus. And today, I went to a meeting to start a new ministry at church, at the Weddington campus.

There was a prayer group started up in February when Garren Janes' AVM ruptured. It was so hard at first. I have to admit I felt guilt. I had prayed just a few days before that Garren would be a witness to one of his friends. Then his AVM ruptured and I thought, "that is not what I meant!" I cried, a lot! When I shared my guilt with a friend she helped me see that God already had this as part of His plan. Now, I know that God has used Garren and his family to witness to so many more people than just the one friend I prayed he would.

As Garren started to improve the group started to pray for more areas of our church and people and the group got smaller and smaller. It shrunk to the day it was just me and one other. Then it stopped with a promise to make a plan to start it again at some point. Well, this morning a small group meet to talk about a new ministry of prayer.

There were five of us and two pastors who meet and discussed praying during services. There will be people praying at both services and even people to pray at the end of services with people who need it. I realize I will have to pray during the 9 AM service so I can still drive over to the Monroe campus for service, at least that is my plan. Well, this is a little out of my comfort zone, but that isn't the real step out that I made today.

During the meeting we were asked if we would like to be both the ones who pray "in private" as well as praying "in public". My first thought was, "NO!" I am not qualified to pray with other people about their needs. Not only am I not qualified, I am not comfortable doing it. But my answer wasn't, "no". So, I guess I am taking another one of those "out of my comfort zone" steps, and it feels pretty good!

There are other comfort zones I need to get out of, at work, in my personal relationships. I need my steps out in my spiritual walk to transfer to those areas in my life too. I am excited, anxious, and all sorts of mixed up feelings when I think about stepping out in those areas.

I wonder if I will even recognize the me from January 1, 2011.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not Sure What to Title This

I have considered writing this post for awhile and thought I couldn't possibly. I thought it was seem so pathetic. So whiny. So needy. So honest.

For the last few weeks I have cried every day. Most times two or even three times. I cry on the way to work. I cry on the way home. I cry when I'm on Facebook. I cry when I hear the good news. I cry as I read my Bible. I cry myself to sleep. I am crying right now.


Each and every day I am smacked in the face with others having the one and only thing I have ever wanted. When I was a little girl I became a Christ Follower. I remember that moment. I see my little 9 year-old self sitting in that chair in the church and bowing my head and asking Jesus into my heart. That day I changed. It wasn't long after that day that the dream started stirring in my heart. It grow and grow and became the only thing I have ever truly wanted.

I know satan hates the dreams God plants in us. I know he wants to see them die. He also knows how to use them to hurt us. He knows how to put in the knife and twist. That has been what has been happening to me lately. I can barely go through my day without others shouting my dream in their lives from the roof tops. I hear all the announcements, celebrations, and new beginnings and I smile. I smile because good news should be meet with smiles. They should be congratulated. But deep inside all I want to do is run, run away and cry.

I am not looking for pity. I have seen those looks. I am not looking for words. I have been told so many well-intentioned words that really didn't help; sometimes they even hurt. I am not looking for Christianese. That is shallow. I am not even looking for Scriptures. People have shared them over and over. I am looking for my dream to finally be fulfilled. I am looking to cry for joy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not by How I Feel

I am reading Ezekiel. I believe God told me to read it, so I did. I keep reading it and wondering why God asked me to read it now. It is one of those books full of God telling Ezekiel to tell Israel what He is going to do because of their sin. Last night I read something that jumped off the page.

Ezekiel 20:10 says, "I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt..." (The Message) The verse goes on, but this was the part that jumped out at me. Do you know who is talking here? God! He was saying He didn't destroy Israel because of His promises, regardless of His feelings about their sins. He said this four times in this chapter. They worshipped idols, despised His laws, desecrated the Sabbath, offered their first born as sacrifices to idols, among other things.

They gave Him plenty of reasons to be angry. It doesn't say that God wasn't angry. He was! God still felt the anger. He didn't say being angry was wrong. The Scriptures say to not sin when angry. I have heard people say that anger is wrong. Well, if it is those people might need to tell that to God.

But God acted out of who He is not His feelings of anger. I'm a woman. I have emotions. Sometimes those emotions are out of whack. Sometimes they are overwhelming. Sometimes I let them rule me. Okay, maybe more than sometimes. But I can act out of who I am and not how I feel.

Who am I? God's workmanship - Ephesians 2:10, His child - John 1:12, chosen by God - Ephesians 1:4, a precious jewel - Malachi 3:17, a new creation - 2 Corinthians 5:17, and I am loved 1 John 3:3. I could go on and on.

Well, I am annoyed with some people, really annoyed. I still feel angry at them. I wanted them to know I am angry. My passive aggressiveness wanted me to let them know. Then I remembered what I read last night, "I acted out of who I was, not how I felt..." So I decided I could react, let my emotions lead me, or I could act out of who I am. Am I still angry? Yes. Will I let myself react? I am trying really hard to learn the lesson I believe God showed me last night. I am trying to act out of who I am, not how I feel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something To Say

I've been told I'm stand-offish, stuck up, and snobbish. I've been told I'm insightful, a good listener, and that I only speak when I have something important to say. I've been told I'm quiet. Too quiet!

For those who really know me, I've been told I ramble, as my Mom once said, I talk in run-on sentences. I run on and on and on. My report cards often said, "talks too much". That of course was back in the day when teachers were honest and didn't have to be sensitive.

So when did it change? When did I go from talking too much to not talking enough? Why did I go from chatterbox to shut up tight? Why didn't I find some happy medium? Why do I always think of something to say afterwards? Why wasn't I able to come up with the words to tell someone how I felt? Why did I let silence build walls between friends and some people I truly care for?

I don't know the answers, maybe I never will. But I have heard God speaking to me for the last couple of years and he's been saying that I have something to say, that He has something He wants spoken through me. So now the important work begins. I can't speak what He wants me to unless I listen to what He says. I need to delve deeper into God. I need to spend more time with Him. I need to be obedient, and not let the fear take control, and speak when He tells me to.

So, I guess I'm letting you know, don't be surprised if I start speaking more and soon. Because I have something to say!

Monday, September 19, 2011


For about 2 weeks now I have gotten this stirring in my gut. Many time it is at school but the kids are gone, I'm busy getting ready for the next day and this stirring happened. I keep wondering "what is this?". Oh, I know Who it is, but what is it. I know the Holy Spirit is stirring, but I don't know what to do with it. I just get the stirring, no direction, just a stirring. I stop and ask Him what I am I suppose to do? Is there something I should say? Something I should do? Someone I should seek out? Should I just be quiet? So far no answer, just the stirring. Some days it is stronger than others. I just hope I listen and don't miss whatever He is stirring me for!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Adjective: Not deterred by danger or pain; brave.
For the past few mornings I have woken up with Casting Crowns' Courageous running through my head. Then my clock radio comes off and the program on 91.9, Family Life Today, has been talking about a book from a series called A Call to Courageous Manhood. Now I'm not a man, but I do find it interesting that that is what is on.
Which make me think about my favorite book of the Bible, Joshua. God tells Joshua, more than once, to be strong and courageous. I am sure that he needed to hear it. What I really love about Joshua is that he is courageous and he does go in and take the land. I wish I was like Joshua!
I wish that I could hear God telling me to be courageous and actually be! Oh, I believe He is telling me but I feel less than courageous. I looked up the meaning and thought, "no, that doesn't describe me." Right now I feel anything but courageous. I want to be! I want to laugh in the face of danger. I want to push through the pain and step into the Promised Land. I want to see the giants and know that I can fight them in Him. 
Honestly, I am wondering about what I am going through right now. I miss something I really didn't have, just wished I did. I miss people who meant a lot to me. I have hoped and prayed to move on, to move past it. Why is God telling me to be courageous? Why are all these thoughts and feelings stirring up? I really don't know, but I know He has a plan. I will continue to trust, and hope that I can be strong and courageous in Him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What If I Was Honest?

Last night I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry away all the pain and longing that I was feeling. Well, eventually I did curl up and cry myself to sleep. I woke up and the pain isn't gone and the longing is still there, but sometimes the cry is just necessary. I have never been a big crier. I was always a "stuffer". I stuffed all the mean things people said or did down and put on a smile. I stuffed all the pain of relationship difficulties. I stuffed and stuffed and stuffed!

About 5 years ago God started to work on removing some of the stuff. It would have been nice for Him to just take all the stuff away and it didn't hurt, but that's not how He did it. He's been removing the stuff and helping me not to stuff it down. There are still times when I am really bad at it. Last night was one of those times.

I pulled myself together, dried my eyes, and grabbed my cake and went to Life Group. I was driving there and wondering about just driving right by and keep going. I turned into the development, drove on towards my destination. I went to the cal da sac and turned around and came back by the house and parked. All the while still wanted to drive away. I sat there for a minute or so, checked my eyes to make sure they weren't teary or red and climbed out of the car. I went in and the mask went on.

Then we had the study "What If We Were Honest?". It was about sharing sins and struggles and holding each other accountable. Did I say anything? Nope. I certainly didn't think the ache of my heart was what we were talking about. Well technically it wasn't. But what if I had been honest and shared my hurts? I had no desire to go into any details and share the hurts and aches, but part of me did. Part of me wanted to pour it all and have it be gone. The problem is I knew it wouldn't be gone so I didn't bother.

Well, the evening ended, I didn't get to take any leftover cake home because the cat and helped himself while we weren't looking. So I just grabbed my purse and headed to the car. Drove about 30 seconds and the tears just poured out. I drove home, climbed into bed and cried my eyes out. This morning I still hurt, I still ache, I still wanted to cry, but I also wondered "what would this morning be like IF I had be honest and shared last night?".

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today I was working in the yard. I planted some tulips and pulling some weeds. I pulled a weed and found it was thorny and a vine. I was glad for my gloves, even though a few thorns got me through them. Then I realized there were lots of them and many were intertwined with some of the plants. I had to get out clippers for the more mature ones that were thick and too hard to just pull out. As I continued to work I realized that they were every where. What should be a nice flowering shrub was almost completely over taken by this weed. I had to pull, tug, cut, and untwine this nasty weed.

Then I felt God speaking to me. He showed me that I am like the shrub. I let harmless little weeds get around my base and then let them grow up with my branches. Before I know it they are wrapping themselves around me. Then I notice the pain of their thorns digging into my branches and their leaves growing up and covering mine. I start to change and instead of looking like a pretty flowering shrub I become a mass of vines.

Then I need the Master Gardener to come and remove the vines. He pulls, tugs, cuts, and untwines. Oh, it hurts! I get my branches pulled out of their place. I see the clippers coming so close to me that I think I'm going to get cut. But then I start to realize that my branches don't hurt anymore. There are no thorns digging into me and no vine intertwined with me. I am free.

How did those thorny vines get wrapped around me in the first place? I let them! Yup, I let those seemingly harmless things into my life. I thought how can it hurt me, it's just a little thing. I can look back over my life and see some of those vines. Thankfully, God has removed them. But I need to ask Him to examine my heart and reveal the vines that are there now. Then I need to let him pull, tug, cut, and untwine those things from my life. Most importantly I need to ask Him to open my eyes to see them little "harmless" weeds for what they are and not allow them to become a part of me. Thankfully, He is the Master Gardener and is always ready to weed to keep His creation beautiful.

New Name?

Yesterday I was getting ready for bed, thinking about my book I've been reading and how I haven't blogged about what I've been reading in a long time. I have been reading, like crazy! My Bible, a study to be ready for my Life Group, some of my favorite fiction books, and now with school starting, books for school. I just haven't been blogging. I LOVE blogging so it's not that I don't want too. It's not even that I don't have time to, although that can be true at times. I think it's that God has been speaking to me so much, in so many different ways that I can't keep up! What a wonderful problem to have!

I also decided that maybe I should consider changing the blog from my thoughts from what I read to my thoughts on what God is showing and speaking to me. So I am thinking of a new name for the blog. Any suggestions?

I am looking forward to blogging again soon! Maybe later today! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Sign of Jonah

"If borderland has a king, his name is Jonah."

Jonah was sent to Nineveh to tell them of their impending doom. He did not want to go. His story mirrors something that I may believe deep down inside. I worry that God is going to send me some where I don't want to go. I worry that He is going to ask me to give up something I don't want to give up. I worry that He is going to ask of me what I dread.
Jonah had good reason not to want to go. The Assyrians were a brutal, evil people. He didn't want to go to them because of who they were, how evil they were.

I can understanding not wanting to go there. I certainly can understand not wanting to tell them that God was going to destroy them. I can imagine the torturous ways they could kill me. Maybe where God is sending me to won't kill me, but it could treat me badly, make my life miserable. Maybe what He asks me to give up will make my life more difficult. Maybe who He wants me to give up means too much to me.

What if He does? Why is He asking me to give up, to go? He does it to reveal my heart, what is really in my heart. Are there some who do not deserve the love and forgiveness of God? Are there things in my life that mean more to me then God does? What is your answer to those questions? Be honest! If you say, "no," you may find yourself being asked to do something you don't want to. God knows our hearts far better we do. I have to be honest I know there are things in my heart that need to be dealt with.

But Jonah didn't want to go because He also knew that God might be merciful and not destroy them. He thought God was too hard for making him go, and he thought He was soft on his enemies. And of course, Jonah is right. The people of Nineveh do repent and God does have mercy on them and spares them.

Here's the best part, I think, Jonah was disobedient. He ran from God and had to be swallowed and spit out before he went to Nineveh. He went with a bad attitude. He still wanted the people to be destroyed. I wonder if he gritted his teeth the whole time he prophesied to them. But God used his disobedience. That's the part!

Like I said before God is interested in our heart. "Obedience by itself can make our heart wither and bitter and barren as a husk," Mark Buchanan writes. "What is God mostly interested in? Strangely, anticlimactically, it has to do with concerns - with what our hearts fix on, with what stirs us in the depths and makes us rise to the heights. What are we concerned about? Is it what God is concernedabout? Both Jonah's disobedience and his obedience rise up from the same source: from what he is concerned about."

Jonah is concerned about himself. He wants to keep away from the too hard, too soft God. He wants to keep the status quo. He safe in Israel and the evil Ninevehites destined for destruction from God.

But God is not too soft nor too hard. He is too concerned. He is concerned about each of us. He is concerned about the sinner and the saint. The question is should He just not be so concerned? Should He just let my status quo stay as it is? My view of God and my relationship with Him depends on how I answer those questions.

(Disclaimer - I feel like I need to put it out there again that I write this blog based on what I read. Most of the ideas are not my own, but the authors'. I just summarize them and write my thoughts. Just a reminder for you and me.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Counting Dead Fish part 2

I can't believe that it's been this long since I last wrote about this chapter. Life has been busy! I leave for Haiti in the morning. Very excited and nervous at the same time, more excited than nervous though! :)

This part of the chapter isn't even 2 pages long, but I think it deserves its own separate post. It starts out with,"we usually applaud any gesture of intimacy toward Jesus." Okay you might be like, "yeah. Intimacy toward Christ is great!" But then the author writes about the brothers, James and John.

Jesus asks them, "what is it you want Me to do for you?" They told Him they wanted to be seated on His right and His left in His kingdom. He told them, "no." A few verses later a blind man is calling out to Jesus and His disciples tell him to be quiet. Jesus asks him the same question He asked James and John. "What is it you want Me to do for you?" The blind man says, "I want to see." Jesus heals him and he followed Jesus, praising God.

What was the difference? James and John wanted places of honor and power. The blind man wanted to see and praise God. Mark Buchanan writes, "we typically applaud people who want to get closer to Jesus. But that in itself tells only half a story. The movement toward Jesus begs interpretation. The motives need to be searched, parsed."

I think the original reason someone comes to Christ needs to be examined. The rich young ruler came and wanted to know what he could do. Some may come so they can do the "right" thing. Some may come for what they can get from Jesus. Some may come for the "power". Some, of course, come for a genuine transformation through His salvation.

Even after we come to Christ we need to continue to reevaluate our own motives. Just the other day I found myself thinking more of how I would look in a particular situation. I was focusing on how good I would look. Thankfully, it was only for a few minutes, before I realized I was focusing on me in the situation and not God. I repented and thanked the Holy Spirit for convicting me. I want to be closer to God. I want to be more like Him. But I still need to make sure my motives are pure. Like Mark says at the end of the chapter, "'What is it you want Me to do for you?' Jesus asks. So much depends on our answer."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Counting Dead Fish part 1

Have to admit and "eww" came out of my mouth when I read the title of this chapter. Then I was excited to find out what those dead fish could be about.

I to confess that the calling of the disciples confuses me. It seems like some are called in different ways from one gospel to the next. In this chapter, is the story from Luke that tells about when Peter, he was still Simon then, was out fishing and they didn't catch anything. Jesus comes along and tells them to try again. Peter protests but he does it, and then they bring up nets full of fish. Then he falls on his face and says, "depart from me for I am a sinful man."

Peter had just witness Jesus heal his mother-in-law, heal the sick, and drive out demons. It wasn't the first time he saw the power of Jesus. The author, Mark Buchanan, believes this is when Peter realized that Jesus was calling him to follow him. Peter realizes that Jesus didn't do this to promote his business. He wasn't going to be apart of Peter's life to do miracles for him. Jesus was calling Peter to follow Him. To promote His business. To be a part of His work.

Jesus may come into our daily lives and fills up our nets. We might get a promotion at work, a new home, a new car, or a raise. Our response is usually "Thank you Lord, depart from me." We are thankful but we want to hold onto what he gave us. We want to enjoy our blessing. But if we need our nets full again we will be glad to let him back to fill them up.

Recently I bought a new house. It was a long wait and I truly believe that it is a gift from God. I was in my house for only a few days and realized that the house didn't bring me joy. I love this house! I am thankful for this house! But I know this house is a gift. I know that living here is more about Him than me. I believe He will use this house. I look forward to seeing how. Is that frightening? Will He ask me to leave my comfort zone? Yes and Yes, but I want to follow Him.

If Peter had refused to follow Him he would have been left counting dead fish. If I refuse I will be left to count dead fish. Yeah, I hate fishing so counting dead fish doesn't appeal to me.

There is so much more in this chapter. I would love to share, so I guess there'll be a part 2 of this chapter too. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The God Who's Not Safe part 2

Yesterday I started writing about this chapter and realized that I couldn't do it in just one post. I underlined so much in this chapter and still won't be able to touch on all of it. The third story in this chapter is from Judges and it is about Gideon. The funny thing is it reminds me a little bit about what I wrote before about Saul in an earlier post.

Gideon is in the winepress threshing wheat. Notice he is in a winepress threshing wheat, not on a threshing floor threshing wheat. He is literally in the winepress hiding. Threshing floors are open so that wind can come through and blow away the chaff. The winepress is closed in and the chaff isn't blown away. I don't know much about threshing wheat but I do know that you don't want the chaff. Why is he hiding? The Midianites come down every harvest season and plunder the wheat. So he's hiding his wheat from them. (This is what reminds me of Saul, the hiding.)

An angel comes and says to Gideon, "Hail, Mighty Warrior." Gideon was not a warrior, and certainly not a mighty one. He is a farmer hiding from his enemies. So why did he call him a Mighty Warrior? God knew that Gideon would become a mighty warrior. So what does God call you? What does He know you will become?

Mark mentions that before Gideon was given the task of leading an army against the Midianites he had to destroy all of his idols. I know many of us don't have actual idol figures but we do have idols. God wants to use me but I need to find those idols and destroy them. Then Gideon had to build a proper alter to the Lord. Here's the catch, he did all that, but he was afraid of his family and the men of town so he did it at night. I would love to say, "what a wimp!" but I can understand it. I know there are things God has asked me to do but I have feared family members' reactions and what others would think.

Mark wrote, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, this God who claims us so completely, uncompromisingly, that He often puts us at odds with family, with the men of the town. This God brooks no rivals and orders us to tear them down with our own hands. this God calls us out of secluded winepresses and into open battlefields." and then "Why ruin the idols of the safe god and risk our good standing in the community?"

The safe god was the god who allowed Gideon to thresh wheat in the winepress. He's the god who wants us to be cowards. He wants the chaff mixed in with our wheat. He wants us living under oppression.

But God wants me to be a mighty warrior. He demands full allegiance. Idols smashed. Chaff free, full harvests. Living in freedom through Him.

Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course He's not safe. But He's good. He's the King!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The God Who's Not Safe part 1

There are three stories told in this chapter. One is from 2 Samuel, the other is from The Chronicles of Narnia, and the last from Judges.

In 2 Samuel the story of Uzzah is told. Well, it's not really all that long and you really have to understand the law to understand God's reaction. David is kin of Israel, the Ark is brought to Jerusalem and he is dancing before it and worshipping. But the Ark starts to fall off the ox cart and Uzzah, the priest, reaches out and stops it. Then he's dead. Yup, dead! God struck him dead for what?

Well, God told them exactly how to carry the Ark. They were supposed to use poles that priests would lift up and carry the Ark. Notice in the story the Ark starts to fall of the ox cart. Oh, so they weren't following the direction of the Lord. When Saul was king the Philistines captured the Ark and after they kept dying from having it in their town they decided to send it back. They placed it on an ox cart and sent it back. So Uzzah must have thought that was a more convenient way to transport the Ark. The priests didn't have to do any hard work they could just walk beside the Ark.

That is why he was struck dead. Because he decided that the directions, the law, of the Lord was inconvenient and he could do better. The Israelites wanted to be like other nations, remember they want a king like everyone else. Uzzah thought that the Philistines had a better idea then God did so he made a new tradition.

That is one thing that we humans do we make traditions. We get caught up in the traditions or the trying to be innovated, like everyone else around us that we forget to look to and dive into God. We are like Uzzah, who tried to protect the Ark of the Lord from falling and hitting the ground. We make traditions to make God look good. We focus on His mercies, and he is merciful, but we don't focus on His justice. We don't focus on a God who sent His Son to die. I never thought of it this way until a few weeks a go when Clayton King preached at church, but he said God killed His Son. Yes, He killed Him. I can't wrap my brain around that. That doesn't seem like the God I should want to follow. Isn't a safe God better?

No, he's not. That god doesn't give us anything and doesn't ask anything of us. He never brings us to our knees in desperate prayer. He never makes us bold enough to dance or sing or shout or do anything for anyone else. He only tells us nice things, sweet things. He doesn't ask us to give up anything or to even grow up. He likes us stuck in the muck, in the pit, in the borderland.

The second story is from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The children are with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and they tell them about Aslan:

"Is-is he a man? asked Lucy.
"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion-the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh," said Susan, "I thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver, "don't you hear what Mrs. beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you."

I am thankful that my God is not safe, but He is good.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Refuge of the Stuck

Okay so it's summer and I'm supposed to have more time to read and blog, but not so far. :) I was at the mall today looking, failing, to find pants for Haiti and passed the Christian bookstore and went in. I wanted to see if they had Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers. It is a compiling of 5 of her books The Priest, The Warrior, The Prince, The Prophet, and The Scribe. I loved her book A Lineage of Grace which is also a compiling of 5 of her books. She is an amazing fiction writer! I can't wait to read my new book!!!

Chapter 1 of Your God is Too Safe tells about this amazing place called Busia which is a border town between Kenya and Uganda. When I think of a border town I think of all the times I went to Canada when I lived in NY. There is usually a small space between the two countries and sometimes a bridge, but that is usually it, well at least in NY. This is different in Busia, it's an actual city of sorts. It is about 100 yards wide and 300 yards long but it has residents. People who actually peddle things, hawk things, and beg there.

When you live one of these two countries you have to walk, yup not drive, through Busia to the other country. There are no laws. You could be robbed, beaten, and even killed and no one would do anything about it. The guards at both country's border patrol will do nothing. You are on your own. I can't image the fear of crossing such a place. Yet there are people who live there! They choose to live there. That is what Mark is describing in the first section of this book. The borderland that some of us live in, that fearful place, that we choose to live in.

If you're thinking "no way" really think about it. How many times have you not been able to let go of the past? Hurts? Fears? Even joys? I know I have! I think we all have. As I read this book I realize how many times I have done this. I realize how much I currently am doing this.

Mark says that this place is actually safe. It is familiar, you know what to expect, what to do to survive. He says it takes endurance to live there but not much else. "Life there requires no discipline but falls into neat routines. It's domesticated lawlessness. It's chaotic, but predictable. Borderland might be dangerous, but even more, it's safe." That description sounds like a terrible place, but if you feel stuck, blah, in a rut, that is probably where you are.

In the introduction, Mark talked about becoming a Christian and jumping in enthusiastically, but they it didn't last. The fizzle happened and it just became stuff he did. That's it I guess, we keep doing it. We keep working at that job that we can barely get out of bed for: teaching that Sunday school class with the same stories year after year: being in that relationship where you give and the other person just takes; and so on and so on.Sometimes the thing we are stuck in isn't bad, like Mark said he did. He still taught the youth group and volunteered for church events, but he felt stuck. It's not about the thing we are stuck in but about our relationship with the god we created, the one who is safe.

Mark talks about how some of the most stuck people are those who know a lot about God. They may have gone to Bible colleges, seminaries, theological schools and learned all about God. They have an intellectual view of God. They talk about God a lot. But they don't know who God is and they don't talk to Him. This isn't just for Bible students. We go to church, we sing, we pray, we listen to preaching, we talk about God, we volunteer, etc. But when we step out of the church doors we go back to life as usual.

I love this part so I will just quote it. "Down in our bones, mingles with our blood, silent and potent as instinct, is a dread of God...I'm talking about something more primal: a deep down craven terror, a black hole of unknowing." Mark is talking about how we fear God. Not the fear of the Lord that is mentioned in Proverbs. We know we should want Him, but part of us wants to run from Him. We want to see God works and miracles, but we don't want Him to work us in our lives. We are like the Israelites who wanted to hear from God but they didn't want to do it themselves they wanted Moses to listen to Him and tell them about it. (Exodus 20:18-19) They knew that God is a holy God and they were unholy. We know that too. I know that too.

Jesus came and did the miracles and the people loved Him for it. They wanted to follow Him. And then He did the unpredictable, unsafe thing and said "follow me." He asked people to give up what they knew, and they went back to it instead. He said leave your job, and they headed back to fishing boats and carpentry tables. He said leave your family and they went home. He wasn't safe. They wanted to be lead to freedom, but didn't want to do what was necessary to get there. They didn't want to follow the One who would take them away from the borderland and into the holy wild.

I so understand!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Slow and Burning

I had plenty of time to read the other day when I was traveling from Charlotte to Ithaca. I spent many hours in the airports, with three short flights in between. I finished the Introduction and read the first chapter. I made myself stop after that though. Partly because I don't want to read way beyond what I am blogging about and partly because sitting around airports had made me very sleepy.

Mark tells the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He tells how they walked with Jesus and tell him all about how Jesus was crucified and now His body is missing. Jesus says, "how foolish you are and how slow of heart." Then goes on the explain the Scriptures of how He had to die to fulfill the prophecies. Then as they have arrived at Emmaus and are eating and Jesus blesses the food they recognize Him. Then He disappears. They say that when He was speaking didn't their hearts burn within them.

Our relationships with Jesus can often be the same as these disciples. He walks the road with us, we are looking right at Him but don't recognize Him. He opens up the Scriptures to us. Then the scales finally fall from our eyes and we see Him. And sometimes we, just like the disciples, say, "didn't our hearts burn within us?"

That is what Mark says our heart condition is like today, well during the stuck in the borderland part of it. Our condition is slow and burning. "The burning heart keeps us going on the journey. The slowness of heart makes the journey wearisome. A burning heart inspires us to run. A slow heart discourages us sometimes from even trudging. And sometimes it tempts us to run, yes, but away....It will usually call for resting when we think we should be striving, and wrestling when we just want to sleep." (I figured I couldn't say it better.)

I don't know about you, but I know exactly what Mark is talking about. I have been there, more often then not. Maybe that is why I felt a longing to read this book again. There are times when I feel so stuck. I want to want more of God. I know I need Him, more of Him. That might be the problem. I "know" I need more of Him. It needs to move more from being something I want in my head to something I want more in my heart.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Your God is Too Safe

I have not abandoned Joshua, but I had a longing to reread this book. I've read it a couple of times before and love it. Do you ever feel stuck? Do you want to go deeper into what God has for you? Yes, well then you may enjoy this book too.

I decided that I need to break it up, because there is so much in this book. So I read just over two pages from the introduction and decided it was a good place to stop and blog.

Mark Buchanan starts the book with "I'm stuck." He wrote this book because he totally understands the being stuck stage. I love author's who are real! I love ones who let you know they are human and struggle with the same things that I do.

He goes on to say that when he gave his life to Christ he was on fire to do whatever he was even a little bit good at. He then goes on to say that the zeal fizzled. He still many of the things he started out enthusiastically, but it just wasn't the same. He was stuck. He mentions that he slipped back into some old patterns, like cynicism.

Ever read about Huck Finn? He was adopted by the Widow Douglas. Huck has to conform to her rules and standards. He does it for awhile and but then he leaves and returns to his old life. He tells Tom Sawyer that to get out, that it just wasn't for him.

That is exactly how Mark felt. He found it easier to gossip and grumble than to praise, easier to be selfish than a servant. He felt that the Christian walk had become legalistic and he couldn't stand it. Like I said he kept doing the church things but he felt tired and fatigued.

He ends the two pages, not the introduction, with "I was stuck, and though I was often lonely in it, I wasn't alone." I know exactly what he means! I often feel lonely in what ever area of struggle I am experiencing, but I am not alone. There are others who have the same struggles.

Now this book is not all a downer, but it does start out making the reader really look at his or her life in the Borderland. But then Mark takes you into the holy Wild. Now that's a place I want to be!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Joshua 11

I find the next few chapters a bit hard to write about. There's a lot of which towns and cities were destroyed. But I will try to write about what I get out of them anyway.

In chapter 11 it begins with the king of Hazor hearing about how the Israelites have wiped out the five kings who came against Gibeonites, who had made a treaty, a deceptive treaty, but a treaty none the less. Joshua and the people wipe them out and then gone on to wipe out a bunch of other cities. Well the result is the same. Joshua hears that the king of Hazor is gathering some other kings to come and attack. God's response is, "don't worry about them. By this time tomorrow they will all be dead."

That is how it is for us. Satan continues to attack us as we are doing what God has asked us to do, posses the land or something that seems a little less major. Sometimes we don't know the attack is coming and other times we hear about it. Regardless if we know it's coming or not God says, "don't worry about it." He has already won the victory!

And of course the story goes on to say that they defeated the Hazor king and the others who came out with him. Then Joshua goes on to take the whole country. We don't need to just defeat satan when he attacks us, we can go on the offensive, like Joshua, and take the enemies territory for the Lord.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Samuel 10

I am back! The Internet is up and running in the new house. I planned to go back where I left of and blog about Joshua 11, and I will. But today I was reading in I Samuel and came across a story that has always struck a cord with me. So I'm blogging about that today.

The chapter begins with Samuel anointing Saul as the prince of Israel. Then Samuel gives him a list of signs that he will experience as he heads home to his father. He will be offered two loaves of bread and he will prophesy with prophets. Then he is tells him to wait seven days and they will sacrifice offerings together.

In The Message verse 9 goes like this "Saul turned and left Samuel. At that very moment God transformed him-made him a new person! And all the confirming signs took place the same day." I love that! I love that he was transformed at that very moment. That is how it is when we except Christ as our Savior. We are transformed. It doesn't mean we become perfect or all the problems disappear.

Saul goes on and prophesies with the prophets and people are like "what's going on here?" These people knew Saul and were surprised by this and wondered how it happened. Just like us when we begin to show the changes that God has done in us. People will be shocked by the positive, godly changes they see in us.

Then Samuel shows up and goes through the men of Israel to get to the Benjaminites, and then Saul's family and finally Saul, but....where is Saul. He is hiding in the stuff! Here's the part of the story that I love because I totally relate. God anointed Saul prince of Israel, transformed his life, made promises, and even gave him a date when he'd bring it to pass, and Saul is scared. He hides.

God has transformed me, made promises to me, and I go and hide. I start to listen to those people "who is this? what does she think she's doing?" I listen to the fear. I focus on everything but what God has done and what He has promised. I don't love this story because it gives me an excuse to be like Saul, but I like it because it reminds that even the anointed king hid from what God had for him.

The story goes on to say that they found him and brought him to Samuel who anointed him king of Israel. I don't want to have someone come get me from the stuff, but it's also nice to know that God will send others to help me out, out of the stuff I hid myself in.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Missing Blogging :(

I recently moved out of my apartment, in with my Mom and waited 3 weeks until I closed on my house. Those 3 weeks were full of end of the year school stuff, especially paperwork. Then I closed on the house and spent 3 days cleaning and painting. I moved in one week ago and have been busy unpacking. I do not yet have my internet so I haven't been able to blog (I'm visiting Mom and using hers right now). Obviously, I long ago finished reading Joshua, but once I get the internet at home I will go back and continue blogging about Joshua. I can't wait, I have really missed blogging about what I read.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Joshua 10

It's been a whirlwind of late! Major changes are happening, moved out of my apartment, waiting to close on my new house. Emotional roller coaster ride as well, most having nothing to do with the moving thing. I know that my enemy has been at work and too often I have been focusing on him and not on my Savior. It is so easy to do. His voice is loud and sounds a lot like my own at times. I think that is why it so easy for him to deceive, because sometimes he repeats things we have said ourselves. God's still small voice sounds different! It sounds quiet yet powerful, but I know most times I don't listen. That's just an aside, there's Joshua 10. I actually read this quite awhile ago but haven't had time to post.

In chapter 9 the people of Gibeon deceive the Israelites into a treaty with them. Now, five kings from some powerful nations decide to attack Gibeon because they are alarmed by the treaty. It's in this chapter that we learn that the men of Gibeon are strong, seasoned warriors. I find that interesting. That even the strong must come to the realization of the extraordinary might and power of God and His people who listen and obey Him. Reminds me of "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess" Philippians 2:5.

So these five kings join together and set out to attack Gibeon. Gibeon sends word to the Israelites and they have to come to their defense. This reminds me of Abraham and Ishmael. He had this child in his own strength and then had to deal with the ramifications it had with Sarah, Isaac, and of course Ishmael. The Israelites made a decision based on their own judgement and now they have to take care of it. That said, I am no better than Abraham or Joshua, I have made plenty of decisions based on my own understanding, my own limited knowledge and have had to deal with the consequences, sometimes over and over again. Maybe because when I have the enemy's neck under my feet I don't finish him off. You'll see what I mean later.

God tells Joshua that He has given him the victory! They march out to Gibeon, capture the enemy by surprise and the warriors are thrown into total confusion. The men ran and the Israelites chased them and killed them and God rained hailstones down on them and killed even more. Even when He gives us the battle plan and we are gaining the victory He shows up and proves who really is the Victor.

The five kings are found hiding in a cave and the Israelites roll a stone in front of the cave. They opened the cave and brought the kings out. Joshua had the field commanders come and place their feet on their necks. Then Joshua says something interesting, "don't hold back. Don't be timid. Be strong! Be confident! This is what God will do to all your enemies when you fight them." Then he kills them.

It is interesting to me because they are captured, having their necks squished and he is telling them to be strong, um this seems like a place of strength doesn't it? But then I think about how many times it seems like victory is right there and fear sets in? Then I shrink back and take my foot off the enemy's neck and he is up and running again. I don't take the finally kill shot.

This begins an attack on more people of the land. Joshua doesn't simply go home and revel in  the victory. He goes on and takes five cities and destroys them and for good measure one king who comes out to help and he gets wiped out as well. Then they go back to camp.

Here's the big thing I learned from this chapter, and there really is a lot, is that God uses every thing, even our bad decisions, to accomplish His will. They made a bad deal with Gibeon, but then when Gibeon needs rescuing God gives them the land of eleven cities, the five who came against Gibeon, the five they attack afterwards, and the one that comes out to help. A major victory! God can't be put in a box just because we back ourselves into a corner. He is God! His Will will be accomplished. In our weakness, our bad choices, quite frankly our sin, He will have the victory! He will be glorified!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joshua 9

It has been almost a month since I last blogged! Life has been busy, crazy, and wonderful. I went house hunting, am under contract, packing to move out of the apartment but have to wait a few weeks to close, school, and soon getting seriously ready for Haiti! I have missed Joshua and started reading it again a few days ago. I had finished reading through the New Testament and decided to jump back into Joshua as my daily reading as well as for the blog.

The Israelites have destroyed Ai and everyone around them is scared of them, with good reason. So these neighbors of theirs, the people of Gibeon, decide they don't want to be wiped out by the Israelites. They come up with this plan, obviously a good one, to pretend that they are from far away and have traveled along way to make a covenant with them. They dress in rags, get out wine skins, and dry, old bread and set out for the 3 day journey to Gilgal where the Israelites are camping.

They come to Joshua and tell them they are from far away and want to be their servants. He asks them how he can know they aren't neighbors. So he was suspicious of them. They go through their whole story of their old, worn out stuff and Joshua and the leaders believe them. Here's the kicker, they don't ask God about it! They make a covenant with them!

As it turns out they find out that they've been lied to and the men go up against Gibeon and Joshua has to stay true to his word and delivers them from the Israelites. He does say they must be servants, woodcutters and water carriers for them.

So what does the chapter mean for me? I guess the first thing is that satan will do anything to deceive me, even look harmless. He wants to derail me from the plans and promises of God. The Israelites are supposed to possess all the land, that's God plan and promise, but they make this decision that means they don't get all of it.

Also, Joshua was suspicious of them. I need to be aware of when the Holy Spirit is telling me something isn't right, something is deceptive. I need to listen! And even if I think it sounds okay I NEED to ask God. I need to ask and listen!

Making decisions, good or bad ones, have long term affects. In the next chapter the Israelites have to come to Gibeon's rescue.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Joshua 8

I love that God gives another chance! In chapter 7 Joshua send a small group of men against Ai and they were defeated. It turned out that there was sin in the camp because of Achan. In the chapter it doesn't say that God told Joshua to take Ai, but He did say the land was theirs and they were to go in an posses it. Joshua and the people had just defeated Jericho and they were probably feeling pretty powerful and invincible. Ever felt like that? I have.

So they tried to take Ai with only a small portion of their forces. That doesn't work; Joshua grovels before the Lord; the Lord says "get up!"; tells Joshua there is sin in the camp; and Achan admits his sin and is stoned, burned, and buried. But, in chapter 8 God says "don't be timid and don't hesitate, take your men and Ai is yours." God tells Joshua to set an ambush. This time Joshua chooses thirty thousand seasoned men to set the ambush. In chapter 7 he send two to three thousand men total. These thirty thousand were just the ambush! I wonder how seasoned these men where. Before entering the Promised Land all the men of Joshua's age have died because they didn't believe. There hasn't been a lot of fighting other than Jericho, but these men are considered seasoned.

Then Joshua leads the rest of the men, all the rest of them, to Ai. They pretend to flee before the overly confident forces of Ai and led them away from the city. Then God tells Joshua to stretch out his javelin toward Ai and the ambush springs to action and wipes out the city. The men with Joshua attack the men of Ai and all of them are killed except the king, who is later hanged. Joshua did not lower the javelin until the city and all the people are destroyed. I think that means Joshua never fought. If he never lowered the javelin he couldn't have fought against the people of Ai.

When I think about this story I see some valuable truths. I see that God gives second chances.When He makes the plan then the enemy is defeated. I have go up against my enemies with the full strength of the Lord, not just the little bit of strength I may possess. And most importantly sometimes I don't even have to fight. Sometimes God asks me to do something crazy like hold up a javelin in the middle of a battle raging around me. I can just see it. It's kind of like a Hollywood movie where the hero is standing in the middle of the fight staring down the enemy and no one attacks him. Seriously, he just stands there and then one of them charges at the other and the battle is on. How many times have I seen that scene involving Mel Gibson? Maybe that is what this looked like, except Joshua never charges in he just holds the javelin.

Now that is not to say that I just get to stand there in all fights. Sometimes Joshua was right in the midst of the battle fighting along side the men, but in this case he did not fight. Sometimes God just puts me in the middle of the battlefield while angles or others fight the battle. How do I know when to just stand with my javelin and when to run the enemy through? Listen. God told Joshua to hold up the javelin. God will tell me when to just hold up my javelin.

After the battle is won Joshua builds the alter to the Lord, follows all the instructions of Moses, and then with all the people looking on reads all the instructions of Moses to them. When God has given me the victory I need to commemorate like Joshua did, built my own alter to the Lord. It is probably not going to be a stone alter, but it needs to be something. Then I need to spend time in Him and in His Word. The Lord gave the victory so the least I can do is acknowledge Him and spend time with Him in praise and thanksgiving.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joshua 7

I have missed blogging. I have had a couple of very busy school weeks but it's break now so I have some time to read and post about Joshua. Interestingly right now The is going through Joshua so I get to hear it each day.

Right after the walls of Jericho fell down the Isreaelites fall under the holy curse. Joshua sends men against Ai and they have to flee. Joshua is devasted and falls before the Lord and asks why they weren't allowed to just settle on the other side of the Jordan. God says "get up!" Okay I added the exclamation point, but I bet that He said it that way. He informs Joshua that they have sinned and how to find out who it was.

I want to stop there because this is where I got the most out of the chapter. How many times have I felt the victory of the Lord just to end up running from the enemy and telling God "why did or didn't You...?" I think it's interesting that after Joshua has been made famous all over the land he sends out spies, again, and then sends only a few thousand men against the city of Ai. I wonder if Joshua was feeling invincible, prideful, and thought "I got this." I wonder if he talked to God about it all. The Bible doesn't say that he did. As an aside I am amazed at how some of the Old Testament people talked and listened to God so regularly. I wish I was at that point in my walk.

Joshua sent his small group of men up against a seemingly weak city and they had to run for their lives. Sometimes I forget who is the one who wins the victories in my life. It isn't me! It's the Lord and I wonder if Joshua did the same. He sent his spies, will he not learn about those spies, didn't talk to God about Ai, and sent only a small group of men against the city. I send out spies, don't talk to God, and go forth in my own strength and end up running for my life. I thought I could defeat the enemy I went up against.

Then I do a Joshua and fall down on my face and cry out to God asking Him why He didn't let me stay immature in my faith, why He asked me to step out in faith and take the land which He promised me. Then He says "get up and stop graveling! You have sinned." Yup, I have sinned. I have come short of the glory of the Lord over and over again and sometimes that sin results in a fleeing before my enemies. I may have never hidden gold or silver, or a robe, that must have been one nice robe, but I have taken hold of unclean things and tried to hide them from God, just like Achan did.

Thankfully, even though I have to face the consequences of my sin, I don't have to be stoned to death and then burned. But hopefully that part of me that needs to die will. As much as I don't like the consequences of my sin I hope that the Lord is gracious and what needs to die in me does. I don't like repeating the same mistakes. I don't want the selfishness, fear, covetness, etc. to continue in me. I want to deal with the root of my sin and have God tell me to not hesitate or be timid and to go back up against my city of Ai like He tells Joshua in chapter 8, but that's for next time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Joshua 6

Most of us have known this story since we were children, the walls of Jericho come tumbling down. I love the story, love love it, but I thought what insight will I get to blog about. I guess this isn't really new insight for me or many others but I think it's important to remember.

God told Joshua "I have already given Jericho to you." Love that He starts with that! Then God proceeds to tell him to walk around the city for seven days. On days one through six they are to walk around one time and then head back to camp. The priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant and blow their horns, the front and rear guards say nothing. On the seventh day they walk around seven times but the priests only blow the horns on the seventh time and then Joshua commands the men to shout. As they shout the walls fall down.

Okay, first, how do you think the people of Jericho acted on the seventh day? I mean for six days these people had walked around the city, blowing on the trumpets and then going back to camp. But the seventh day they are quiet for six laps. I think the people of Jericho must have known today is the day. It's kind of like the calm before the storm.

The thing that I wanted to write about, though, is the walls of the city. I am no expert but I would imagine that the trumpet blowing each day weakened those walls. They walked all the way around and blow the trumpets so I wonder if the walls started showing cracks, maybe not on day one, but maybe by day three or four. If they did, I would think the people of Jericho started to notice, especially those like Rahab, who lived on the outer wall.

How about all those feet marching around as well. Would those feet have affected the walls, maybe not on their own but coupled with the trumpets blowing. I wonder if on day seven each silent pass around the city made the cracks larger. Then the trumpets start up again as they begin the seventh pass by and those walls were probably moving by now. Then the thunder-clap shout! That shout was the finally straw for those walls. They crumbled down and the Israelites went in a killed everything, except Rahab and her family.

Sometimes God asks me to do strange things. Sometimes He asks me to do them after He has already promised the victory. They seem strange and ineffective, but they may just be like those daily trumpet blarings and feet stompings. Maybe they are cracking the walls. Sometimes He asks me to do them for along time. I think "why do I still have to do this?" Maybe because each step, each trumpet blare, each whatever thing He asks me to do is preparing the wall to crumble. I can't wait until the final time around and God says "shout!" I need to trust Him when He asks me to do the strange, the unlikely, the unpopular, maybe even the crazy thing. He has a reason. He has a purpose.

I know the Israelites get a bad rap from Christians, and not that they shouldn't, but we can learn so much from the lessons God taught them. What they go through in a physical sense we go through in a spiritual one. So I like those Israelites, because it gives me hope to know that as much as they messed up they were God's chosen people and He always kept His promises to them. He chose me and I certainly mess up a lot, but He always keeps His promises to me. Looking forward to doing some crazy things, because I believe He's gonna make some walls come down!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Joshua 5

Okay, so this is an interesting chapter, especially for a girl to write about but here goes. The chapter starts with how the Amorite kings and the Canaanite kings heard about how God stopped the Jordan River and the Israelites had crossed over. It says their hearts sank and they were drained of courage just thinking about the People of God.

First, that is how our enemies, demons, should feel about the People of God today. They should lose heart and realize that the power of God is in us and they will be defeated. I think ultimately, deep down in their devil hearts they know they are defeated. BUT the People of God don't act like it so why should they? I know that I have spent more time cowering from the enemy then standing in the strength of the Lord and declaring His victory over them. The interesting thing is the Israelites didn't really do anything that should make the enemy fear them. What they did do was listen and obey. Yup, that simple! Oh, if I could just do that I know the enemy would lose heart and be drained of courage.

Second, is the bizarre timing of the circumcision. That is the best part to me, not the circumcision, but the timing. They cross over into enemy territory and God says circumcise everyone. Not sure if Joshua raised an eyebrow or not because the Bible just says that he did it. I would have, no I take that back I have. God leads me into the Promised Land, the enemy is disheartened to know I'm there because of the power of God, and He decides now is the time to circumcise something from my life. But God that leaves me defenseless!

Remember how Jacob's sons trick the guy who raped their sister, into getting circumcised? Then they went in while he and his men were healing and they killed them? Exactly! If the Ammorites and Canaanites knew that was the condition of the Israelites they could have wiped them out! When God decides to circumcise things from my life I am left vulnerable, but the enemy doesn't attack. But that doesn't seem to be how God works. He knows I am completely vulnerable. He knows an assault will likely take me out. But once I have healed from His cutting that thing out on my life then I am stronger in Him. Then the assault may come but God has prepared me for it.

Well, the Ammorites and Canaanites didn't attack. They were either too scared of God or didn't know about theIsraelites' condition. I doubt they didn't know about it. I mean how did they know about the Jordan River? Someone told them. Someone is watching the Israelites, maybe lots of someones. I am sure there were someones who lived in Gilgal who had fled from the Israelites. I'm sure the land there was good for camping. It obviously had a good food source since they started eating the food of the land and God no longer provided the manna. I'm sure they knew, so that means they didn't attack because of their fear of the God of the Israelites. The same God who won't let the enemy attack us except in His perfect timing.

So I must be willing to listen, obey, cross into the Promised Land, and obey when God says to cut something out of my life. He has already prepared the way and He knows the enemy will not be able to attack. I just have to trust Him.