Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Last Morning of January

Lest you are decieved by my optmisum into believing that spring has sprung in the Pacific North West, this is how my deck looked in that same moment the fluffy clouds and blue sky graced my view.

Ye have not passed this way heretofore. Joshua 3:4 This is a new day for you, but He Who loves you meets you at the gate of the day, and at the gate of the new month, and He says, "Fear not, the Lord will give you strength: the Lord will bless you with peace. (Psalm 29:11)
Edges of His Ways by Amy Carmichael
This new day. A phrase filled with hope. Fresh and new. It has been a long time since I have listened to a bird sing, but one was singing this morning. Still warm and in my bed, prayers running through my soul, friends with need that I observe, family that I love, cyber friends whose voice only comes to me in written words. My pastor who must be bathing tomorrows good news in the Spirit that has been bubbling hot in him the last few weeks. My cousin Cathy who is organizing a woman's retreat. To my God who saves all from slavery by the blood of the Lamb, yet requires that we enter covenant with Him if we are to join eternally to him at the Passover Table. I think the bird sang, Amen.

Heavy fog has its mystery and falling snow is cozy from my nest of a quilt but seeing a bit of blue in the sky is a delightful way to be greeted by the new day. Soon enough there will be work to do, challenges to face, joy to draw strength from and maybe the hardest will be the mundane that will require a chunk of my day. But this moment is for hope that sunshine and birdsong in the morning bring.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mark 1:14-20


Someone or something has been interrupting my mornings for as long as I can remember. As a child it was my mother, waking me up for school. As a teen my mom bought me a clock radio to save our relationship since I tended to be openly grumpy in the morning. Some person or some device has been waking me up to start a day that did not seem to be of my choosing.

Wake up and get an education. Wake up and go to work. Wake up to wake up your children so they can get an education. Just wake up. Every morning was the same. Every day was basically the same. Christmas was the only break in the year. On Christmas I wanted to spring out of bed with a giggle. I want that Christmas morning spring out of bed joy in the morning.

Bob Dylan's voice runs through my mind, "You've gotta serve somebody". I do not remember being offered a choice about who I would serve. Those born into their slavery may not even realize what they are until they are offered a way out. To choose to leave your slavery is to turn your back on what you were serving and to face the freedom. John the Baptizer let the people know that the Mighty one was coming to set them free. John experienced prison because of his message of freedom. Y'shua/Jesus took hold of the baton of the message of the gospel of freedom and began the course.

Make a decision William Lane wrote, "Either a man submits to the summons of God or he chooses this world and its riches and its honor." Well put. Joshua said, . . .choose this day whom you will serve. . .but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Mark 1:14-20 NAS
And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And they immediately left the nets and followed Him. And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. And immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
Decide As forerunner, the Baptizer called the people of Judah and Jerusalem to repent, for the remission of sins. Now the forerunner is locked away in Herod's dungeon. The Mighty one John spoke of, came to the shores of the Sea of Galilee with the same call, "Repent" but to that call he added, "and believe in the gospel" The season of fulfillment had come. The time was at hand ...the presence of the future was now.
Decide Brothers Simon and Andrew were fishing, earning a living, when the Mighty One, the Messiah, confronted them directly. "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." A righteous call with righteous work. Mornings would feel like Christmas. The same call went to the brothers John and James. Each of them had to decide. They turned their focus from their business inventory, their livelihood, family and probably their inheritance in this world for the kingdom of God. Christmas morning.
Decide The call came to me one morning in a little church by a lake. Make a choice, do it today. I had wanted the perks of religion but wasn't sure just how far I wanted to go, how fanatic I wanted to be. Make a choice today, who will you serve? I chose Jesus, I chose Christmas morning before I knew that it was possible to wake up everyday feeling this way.
Decide In Bible Study Fellowship we used to laugh when we reminded the ladies that the sweaty palms and a racing heart were not to be ignored, God was calling them. But it is for freedom that God calls, not for slavery. The choice to breath free can be frightening, you may talk yourself out of it. Don't. You get this chance to choose. You get to decide if you will serve Jesus. The world never offered that to you. But those of us who chose to follow Jesus know that, "You gotta serve somebody" Decide...

Joshua 24:14-15 "Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It just is not easy to get a dog!

Two Sundays ago I was wondering if there was any way I could afford one of those new fangled compost bins. Now that I live in town a wire cylinder filled with all the "stuff" from the bunny hutches, the chicken coop, the duck and goose beds and my kitchen seems like the wrong choice. (besides lawn clippings, leaves, and whatever else could go in as long as it was vegan) It wasn't that they smelled bad, at least not until it was time to turn the pile once every two weeks, It is more that my garden is now so small. There is no abundance of maple leaves to deal with, no animal litter, and the lawn is so much smaller then it once was. Things being what they are, I was sure that we could not afford one of the new style compost bins.

I did not even pray about this, but the same day I wondered about them, Jason told me that the people at Sarvay had two they wanted to get rid of. Jason was sure that I would take them. Wow, thanks Jason! Even more, thanks God! You keep reminding me in so many ways that I am always on your heart. By the way, see the sun glowing on the grass (it was covered with snow this morning)

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:7-11

Trying to adopt a dog. Sure, we have some specific needs. We want the first dog that we bring home after five + years without a one of our own to be, 1. small and 2. young. We did not think it would be so tough. Small dogs seem to go fast. It is hard to not get excited about one that I am looking at on the Internet only to find out that it has been adopted while exchanging e-mails with the agency that has it. I think it would be VERY easy to find a dog if we could handle the needs of a larger dog.

We started looking the day before the raid on the puppy mill in Gold Bar (followed by the raid on the owners mother in Skagit County and friend in Snohomish). Just shy of 600 small dogs were taken from them and are currently overwhelming the system. Eighty percent of those dogs were pregnant. Some have already had puppies. It is expected that there will be close to 10,000 dogs for Snohomish and Skagit counties to care for. None of them are available to adopt because they are part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Ray and I went to the animal shelter on Monday to look for a small dog to adopt and to donate money for the puppy mill dog's care. It was unbelievable. We were part of a convoy of at least 20 cars going to the shelter. Some people just wanted to look, others wanted one of the dogs, still others were bringing things they thought the shelter could use, or like us, were dropping off money. God bless those people! Chris and I went to the NOAH shelter where Everett said all their adoptable animals were sent while they try to deal with the puppy mill dogs. No small dogs. But some of the puppy mill dogs were also at NOAH. There were signs on the glass to be kind, these dogs (most were toy poodles and Chihuahuas) had not known any human kindness beyond what they were experiencing from people cooing to them through the glass. Who does that to one of God's creatures?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Faith is my shield

Faith is my shield, my refuge in time of trouble and when under fire from the enemy of souls.

Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in Thee.

I said to the LORD, "Thou art my Lord;
I have no good besides Thee."
As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their libations of blood,
Nor shall I take their names upon my lips.

The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
Thou dost support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Psalm 16:1-6 NAS

I can trust my God in all circumstances and delight in fellow believers who stand with me as well as trusting me to stand with them.

I like the bench in the picture. I have sat in it to pray on the back deck in Robe when the rain was coming down, tapping out rhythm on the roof, listening to the Varied Thrush sing her rain song. The sound of the river flowing somewhere just beyond the trees; a beautiful place to curl up in an old quilt with a pillow and tea, to pray. Here in Everett the wood slats get warm from the sun, the tea is iced and all around me pots overflow with flowers as if I had done something wonderful by jamming them into the bagged soil on my deck. Today it is just the office chair that I sit in as I pray. Too cold, too wet to be out on that bench.

I just read a blog on prayer and realize that I have drifted away from trust in God and his saints. It is high time to get started again. The little booklet, "The Hidden Life of Prayer" by David MacIntyre has me anxious to get started.

This passage was suggested as today's passage from the Psalms in John MacArthur's book, "The MacArthur Daily Bible" It seems to be as good of a place as any to reacquaint myself with daily praise.

Pray without ceasing. To God be the Glory

Mark 1:14-15


And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:14-15 NAS

The most popular man of the day, John the Baptizer, was put into prison for the crime of not being a respecter of persons. The man whose ministry excited all of Israel, from the most common of men to the priests and those involved in the Hebrew renewal movements of the Pharisees and Sadducees, got excited about being Jewish again after some 400 years of silence from Heaven. John was put into prison for the crime of telling the sitting king of Galilee that he was not above The Torah of God. The king of Galilee and his mistress, his brothers wife, were told to repent just like everyone else in Galilee and Judah. John was no respecter of persons and for that he went to prison and was eventually executed because one woman thought she could silence her own guilty conscience by forever silencing John the Baptist.
Then the devil left Him (Y'shua-Jesus); and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, And to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a light dawned."

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:11-17 NAS
Y'shua (Jesus) could have spent more time in the Wilderness, drawing close to God, enjoying the ministry of angels. He could have gone to Jerusalem and the throne of His father David, to build his army, oust Rome and then conquer Herod. What actually did happen is stunning. The Messiah of Israel went to despised Galilee and picked up the message of the Baptizer in the front yard of the very man who put John in prison. Courage.
Where has courage taken me lately? I love the privacy of the Wilderness. Others are drawn to the glamour of the centers of political power. Neither of these choices are evil. But at the same time, neither of them are particularly courageous (or cowardly). Living a life of faith, letting Y'shua live his life through you, laying your own life down, requires courage. To go to your neighbor with the Gospel takes courage. To speak the truth to your family and friends surly requires the grace that brings courage or more of us would do it. To be part of a grass roots movement of faith instead of just part of an ethical debate is a courageous act. It is not that faith in the public forum is wrong or even a waste of time. If that is your calling, then that is what you must do. God bless those who answer that call, people like Val Stevens of Washington State need our support and prayers. There is no other way for even a woman of faith like Senator Stevens to thrive in office except that people of faith pray for her. But I have in mind being faithful in the otherwise small things that have been placed in our lives. Our friendships, our conversations, who we are when we assume no one is looking. These are bigger issues to me then public office, mountain top experiences or living the simple life.
Where has courage taken me lately? The Kingdom is at hand.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mark 1:12-13

O God, thou art my God;

Early will I seek thee,

My flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty Land

Where no water is.

Psalm 63:1

Have you considered my servant (your name here)

One moment Y'shua is immersed in the water of the river, the next he is driven to the desert wilderness. Mark 1:12-13 If I were the one writing the story, he would go directly to Jerusalem to show his people, to show even Rome, that he is the way, he is the truth and he is the light. Freshly anointed by the Spirit and with the testimony of the Voice, he has the witness of John the Baptizer and the penitent crowd. He should go straight to Jerusalem and set things right. Doesn't that seem like the next logical step?

...take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:11-12

And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
Mark 1:12-13 NAS

The battle is not against flesh and blood! Y'shua/Jesus was driven away from John's growing army of repentant souls, away from those who were aware that these were the days of Messiah and were expectantly looking for him. He was immediately impelled walk away from a people ready for a change from what Jerusalem was offering.

If I had written the story, then those who came to the wilderness for the baptism of repentance would have responded like the people of Elijah's day when fire (rather then the Spirit as a dove) came from heaven to consume the sacrifice. At that time the people proclaimed, "The LORD, He is God!" and then slaughtered those who were not on the Lord's side. A great and bloody victory. But it was not written that way. Instead, the same Spirit that descended "like a dove" now drives him from those who came to the river, deeper into the wilderness. Mark doesn't tell us much of that time in the wilderness. Only that it lasted for forty days. Forty days of temptation by old Satan himself, that wild beasts were his companions and that he was ministered to by angels.

I am always struck by the first chapter of Job. It shocks me that it was the voice of God who brought Job to the devils attention, "Have you considered my servant Job?" God is almost issuing a challenge to the devil because God was confident that Job would stand firm. But the devil was equally confident that once the perks were removed, Job would "curse God to His face."

The devil is not like God, he is not omnipresent. At the Jordan stood all these people, immersed in repentance, I should think they would require the attention of the devil. But in the wilderness was the Son of God, the heir to the very throne that Satan coveted. There was no time to lure the repentant back to the darkness; instead the devil would spend his time tempting the Son of God.

The Theology of Charmin My husband makes toilet paper for a living. Toilet paper has to be soft to the touch and able to break down quickly once flushed. At the same time it has to be strong enough (sorry about this. . .) to not let your finger poke through when it is wet. (Hey, I said I was sorry!) This quality is VERY important to consumers. The wet strength of toilet paper is tested at the factory before it is released to the public. Why (I can hear you wonder), am I telling you this? Hang on!

Finding the wet strength of toilet paper is not referred to as a test (in an industry that tests everything). For some reason it is called temptation. Weird, I agree. But there is more. The manufacture of toilet paper expects the product to not fall to temptation, not because of any determination the paper makes, but because it was made to stand the test. The wet strength is tested through temptation but is full expected to glorify (if you will) the name of the manufacturer by resisting the pressure of temptation and passing the test. But wait! There's more! If for some reason the paper fails the wet strength temptation, it is labeled "reprobate." The reprobate paper is not thrown away, it is not incinerated, it is remanufactured and prepared to be tempted again. We are manufactured by a God who is far more merciful then the makers of toilet paper!

The Son of God was tempted in the wilderness He was not found reprobate. He passed the test to the glory of God. But he was also with the wild beasts and ministered to by angels (ministered comes from the same Greek word we translate "deacons")

I have read many theories about why Mark included the detail about the wild beasts, but only one of those satisfies me. Mark wrote his gospel to the church in Rome. Mark was the Apostle Peter's translator in Rome. His Gospel is said to be drawn from his remembrance of Peter's sermons to the Roman Church. In Rome, probably at the time of Mark's writing, Christians were facing wild beasts in the heart of the city at the coliseum games.

Here at the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, before the account of Pilot's indifference (the Roman official in Jerusalem) to the innocence of Jesus, before the account of the cruel mocking of the Roman soldiers or of how the religious leaders stirred up the citizens to demand crucifixion of the King of kings, before all of that, Mark tells his readers something that will assure them that the Lord knows and has faced their fear. The Son of God received the anointing of the Spirit and the testimony that God was pleased with Him. Then he was sent to the wilderness where, like them, he faced beasts during the days of temptation.

Why me? That is probably the most common question asked when a believer faces the fear of their temptation. I have asked it myself. Why me? I cannot remember ever getting an answer to that question at the time of temptation. I think the reason is because the question has already been answered. Like Job, like Y'shua, I am beloved of God. It is for God's glory that I am tested and not found reprobate.

Temptation must be allowed by God before it can come into our lives. He loves us and has confidence that in the unseen battle we will glorify the Lord, standing firm against the tricks of the devil. Amazing love.

In Rome, believers were thrust into an arena with a savage wild beast, alone but for the blood thirsty spectators. But what we see with physical eyes is not always the whole story. The Lord has gone before us, angels minister to us as to him, and the coliseum?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

Hebrews 12:1-9 NIV

Are you a legitimate child of God? Then prepare to fix your eyes on Jesus when life becomes impossible, and hang on, there's more!

Orginally posted August 14, 2008 on Deb at Shoutlife

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I can see again

I like to wake up my mind with a passage from Amy Carmichael’s little devotional, Edges of His Way. They tend to be short and significant. Not too much to handle before my first cup of coffee, nor are they a silly waist of time. The passage this morning (January 24) sprang from Revelation 1:16-17 where John tells of his vision of Him who held seven stars in his right hand and of that right hand being laid upon John as he was told to “fear not”.

Amy asks a question that I have been known to secretly ask, “How can He, Who has the whole world to care for, attend to this tiny matter that troubles me?”

In Gaza people are dying while the world argues about who the bad guy is. In DC it has been announced that President Obama will allow federal dollars to pay for abortions again. In a day when our national debt cannot even be fathomed, we are paying to kill citizens who might one day contribute to the reduction of that debt. More innocent blood will be shed on the land that we once proclaimed in song that God shed His grace upon. These seem like big and important issues that need my Lords attention. Big BIG problems.

What is the heart of one woman who does not want her son to go to prison but does want to practice the knowledge that our Lord never leaves us nor will he forsake us? Why does is matter if grace is shown to one recovering alcoholic when the law is clear on the consequences of his actions? Who else would care? What other life would be touched by this grace? Yet the One who holds the stars in his right hand, the hand of compassion, takes the time to touch me with that same hand of compassion without, for even a moment, forgetting the bigger issues of world concern. I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving.

Is it significant that the fog is gone, that the sun is bringing out the colors of the wooden fence and drying the air so that it feels a little less bone-chilling this morning? Even though the temperature has dropped enough to put a frame of frost on the black bunny that overlooks the bluff beyond the fence? I have seen few of the houses across the gully during the days of fog. Today the view is clear. So is my head. My prayers feel less anxious, the scope of subjects are wider. Today, with Jason free from the threat of prison, I feel only one sharp ach, and that is for my cousin Cathy and her husband Bill, who does sit in prison with little hope of release. For the two of them today I am praying for some miracle and until it is realized, I pray for the joy that sustains us, that sustained me. To God be the glory!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mark 1:9-11

Mark 1:9-11 And it came about in those days that Jesus came
from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And
immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased." NAS

The Mighty One Who will pour out the Spirit is coming
. . .He was despised, and we esteemed him not. . . Isaiah 53:3

In Mark 1:9-11, all the country of Judah and all the people of Jerusalem made the journey to John the Baptizer in the wilderness, to confess their sin and immerse themselves in repentance for the remission of sin. They went to the man who came in the spirit of Elijah 2 Kings 1:8, the man whose mission was to prepare a people for their Messiah.

Who is this King of Glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, oh you gates;
Lift them up you ancient doors,
That the King of Glory may come in.
Who is He?
This King of Glory?

They came, and like Naaman in Elijah's day, they were expecting great and even glorious things for themselves. 2 Kings 5:1-19

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee Mark 1:9

Among the people of Galilee, Nazareth held no esteem. In Judah, Galilee was despised. The people of Judah and Jerusalem came to John because he was telling them that the Mighty One was coming, and would bring with Him a glorious baptism for these new seekers. To this expectation, the Man from Nazareth of Galilee comes to the First Baptist Assembly at the Riverside, in humility, to be baptized by John.

Many have attempted to explain why the Holy One of Israel came for the baptism of repentance of sin when he had not sin to repent of. The best answer I have seen is that the Son of God acknowledged the sin and guilt of the children of Israel and the wrath of God that they deserved because of it. He would be their required Lamb of sacrifice. The Lamb is innocent. The sinner lays his hand on the Lamb in recognition that the innocent would die for his sin. The difference here is that no one but the Lamb seemed to realize that Y'shua/Jesus was the Lamb of God except for those who heard John the Baptizer proclaim it.

The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters Genesis 1:2

Coming up out of the water he saw the heavens rent, and the Spirit like a dove
descending upon Him. Mark 1:10
The outpouring or baptism of the Spirit would not happen for all of Israel until the Lamb was slain and the veil of the temple was rent as the heavens were at Jesus baptism. For now, the spirit came to Jesus alone.

Take now your son, your only son, whom you love Genesis 22:2
God will provide for Himself the Lamb Genesis 22:8

and a voice came out of the heavens: "Thou art My beloved Son."Mark 1:11
The journey to the cross formally begins here. It was promised in the garden. It was planned from the foundation of the world, but it begins here. Jesus the Son of God will go deep into the wilderness, then to Galilee but the journey is to Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, Mt Moriah of Abraham's day, the place where God promised to provide a lamb.

For the next three years Y'shua ha Mashiach (Jesus who is the Christ) will love a people who despise and reject Him. He will carry their sorrows and bear their grief. He will eventually be pierced for their transgressions and crushed for their iniquities. He will be chastened for their well being and scourged for their healing... for my healing, for yours.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me... The late Francis Schafer wrote a book whose title asked, "How Shall We Then Live?" As I sit here thinking about the implications of these three simple verses in the first chapter of Mark, that phrase keeps going through my head, "How then should I live?" God provided His own beloved Son, His only Son, for my sin. "How then should I live?"

Faith A quick word study of faith, the substance of my hope, puts light on how to live. Faith is my victory in overcoming the world. The justification that allows me to have peace with God comes by faith in Jesus Romans 5:1-2. Peter, the inspiration for the Gospel of Mark, took the opportunity to give a short, powerful sermon after a man was made whole and able to walk after a lifetime of lameness. What Peter said about the man who could now walk, he could have said about me.

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are
witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know
was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has
given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. Acts 3:15-16
Faith in Jesus name has given me complete healing from sin. I came to God and He rewarded me for seeking Him. Faith is my victory.

The rest of the story...

Faith in Jesus name has given me complete healing from sin. I came to God and He rewarded me for seeking Him. Faith is our victory. So how should we live? Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to TRUST in the Lord with all of our heart, (the control center of who we are) and not to lean on our own understanding. We do not have to figure out what is going on in our circumstance. Nor do we need to get a handle on why something is happening. What we do need to do is trust that Jesus has it figured out and that He understands what is going on and why. Our job is to trust Him. Oh! There is one more thing we are to do. Acknowledge Him in everything. When prayer is answered just the way I had hoped, I joyfully acknowledge the Lord. When an unexpected benefit comes to me, I gladly acknowledge the Lord. Those are easy. But, does God really expect me to give Him some kind of acknowledgement when things go completely wrong? When I am misunderstood, when the evil someone else commits impacts my life, when I do not have what I need, Does God want to be acknowledged then?

Humm, what does the Word say?

Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, do not lean on your own understanding,In all your ways acknowledge Him.

If I do not acknowledge my shepherd, my Lord, in everything, then I am back to trying to figure things out for myself. That is a red flag telling me that I do not trust my LORD unless I feel good about my life.

Most of us learned Psalm 23 in Sunday School.
The LORD is my shepherd

My shepherd prepares a feast for me, a table better then Thanksgiving at Grandma's house.He leads me to the feast, my cup runs over with goodness. But where does he lead me, where do we go to get to the table He has prepared for me? We walk right through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. If, while in that scary valley, I try to figure out what I am doing and how I got here, I will stop trusting the shepherd. If that happens then I will stop following Him. If that happens I will not get to the place he wants to take me. I will direct my own way instead of letting Him direct my path.

When things are hard, when life feels like it is crashing and nothing good can happen because of the scary things that have been thrust into your life, when you are thinking, "Why me, what did I do wrong?" just stop. Take a moment to tell Jesus you don't like what you see, but you will trust Him and thank Him for understanding. Then get up and let Him direct your path. He knows where He is taking you... and he loves you.

Orginally blogged on Deb at Shoutlife, August 11, 2008

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The Joy of the Lord is strength.

For too many days my husband and I have felt sick to the pit of our souls at the thought of Jason going to prison for the next two years. Something in my heart turned a corner this afternoon.

Ray and I were driving to court when this feeling swept over me. I wanted to start laughing. I wondered if this was what if felt like to “loose it”

Joy, tangible rejoicing, a physical feeling of a spiritual reality unlike anything I have EVER experienced before. I was just a little bit worried about feeling like that when my son might be going to prison.

I told Ray what I was feeling, all the while grinning like Christmas morning. He wished he could feel it so I spontaneously reached over and put my hand on his shoulder. “What are you doing?” he asked. I told him that I was trying to share whatever it was, we both were laughing, praying, praising.

Jason was given a firm warning to be careful about compliance details and sent back to his life. The judge reminded him that last month he intended to send him to prison but something changed his mind.Tears. Joy. Laughter.

Thank you for praying. Thank you to the believers that Jason works with who prayed. Thank you for your notes to the probation officer, the phone calls from the people who are allowed to call her and tell of the positive changes you have seen in him. And a special thanks to Rich and Val who have prayed with us for such a LONG time. We will never be able to fully describe just what you have meant to us in the last two years. Thank you Tom and Barb. I know you know. And Susan, all the love you have spent on me is treasured in my heart. I could feel your prayers this afternoon and I am grateful.

A Woman's Right to Choose?

Jason's God-daughter Abby earlier this month.
In all the excitement that is President Obama, I almost forgot what today is. The anniversary of Roe v Wade. I don’t even remember how many years it has been now. Too many. I came across an interesting post this morning that made me wonder, was it EVER about women and our right to choose?

Roe No More on the blog, “Between Two Worlds” The true story of Jane Roe and her baby. An enlightening post about the genesis of the abortion battle. It had nothing to do with Jane Roe or what she wanted.

Yesterday was a celebration of the first African-American President in the history of the United States of America, truly a day to remember. But today we put on the whole armor of God and once again, take up the sword of the spirit in holy warfare, using the weapons Paul instructed us to use,

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NIV

The Obama administration has an agenda, for expansion of abortion “rights” as well as many other areas of ethics and life; as do we who believe that Y’shua came to bring life, righteousness in Him, eternal, everlasting, full and abundant life.

Make your stand. Call your senator, your representative. Pray. The battle is about to heat up. I invite you to join me and so many others as we Choose Life.

Mark 1:2-4

Why the Wilderness?

Mark 1:2-4 NAS
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way; The voice of one crying in the wilderness,'Make ready the way of the
Lord, Make His paths straight.' "

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

The more I look at Mark Chapter 1, the more I want to know why it takes place in the wilderness?

John the Baptizer suddenly shows up in the wilderness preaching that life must be immersed in repentance (a baptism of repentance) for the remission of sin. In response, all of the country of Judah and all the people of Jerusalem go to John, confess their sin (step one of repentance) and are immersed (baptized) in the Jordan.

This is a beautiful passage about a people longing for their God. It is very much like the cleansing that Moses called the Children of Israel to before God came to Sinai with the original Covenant. Just as Moses played the forerunner to God in the Wilderness at Sinai, so John is doing before the Son of God comes. But, why the wilderness?

Here is the reason for my question. All the people of Jerusalem are coming to John (who Luke tells us is the son of a Priest). From Jerusalem? In Jerusalem is the Temple, the center of worship for the Hebrews. Every fall the Hebrews are required to come to Jerusalem for Yom Kippur, a time to confess sin and stand in righteousness before God, but for some reason they are responding to "a voice in the Wilderness". Not just the odd few, but all of Jerusalem. John the Apostle tells me that even the priests were responding to the call. Why?

We know that the glory of the Lord was not in Herod's temple and that the High Priest was appointed by Rome instead of being descended from Aaron. As I understand the times, the Ark of the covenant was not even in the temple at that time. The practices of Yom Kippur were nothing but empty ritual. Did that make it right for the people of Jerusalem to leave the city of the great king and the temple of God to go to the wilderness for a baptism of repentance?

To help me understand "the beginning of the Gospel" Mark gives a reference to the Prophet Isaiah.

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord"

My favorite Old Testament commentary is Kail and Delitzsch. They tell me that it was through the desert (the wilderness) the God went to redeem Israel out of Egyptian bondage and to reveal himself to Israel from Sinai.

Now John too calls Israel to the wilderness to prepare to meet God. But they must come to the desert. If God were leading the people from Jerusalem to the desert then He would clear the way. But He was coming through the desert to Israel, therefore Israel herself was to take care that nothing should impede the speed or detract from the favor of the coming One... the One from Galilee.

Orginally posted Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at my Shoutlife page

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Windmill

All is gray today. The cold mist of January is without any promise of heat or light. No sound or breeze. Just shroud of winter. The old windmill came with us from the garden I kept in the mountain valley where we once thrived. Before us it belonged to my mother-in-law. It seemed to remind her of a childhood home in Texas. It moved to my garden when my father-in-law came to live with us for a season, maybe to remind him of her. We couldn’t leave it behind when we moved to town. It has had many coats of paint in an unending war with rust. It needs a bit more repair to stand up straight and tall. Age has a way of showing. A time comes when paint is not enough.

This is the cold time of year in the Northwest. I see the old windmill in the fog and get to dream for a moment of summers when she stood sentinel over the peas and snapdragons. Stellar Jays and Robins would rest on her cross bars until a small breeze would come and give her blades a spin. Her rattle has been one of the notes to the music I would hear when I stopped for a moment on the sun warmed deck watching the grass grow and listening to the river flow. It seemed such perfection, a place to pray and hear the voice of God coming to my heart on the breeze that played in the leaves.

Here in town the sounds that dominate the atmosphere are sirens and the howl of the neighbor’s beagle. But when the wind kicks the blades of the old windmill, and I hear the rattle of her wings, and remember for a moment who I am and that I once belonged somewhere. Sometimes I want to go back. Most of the time I am willing to go forward with the safety of my remembrance and the promise of today waiting for me and she.

Mark 1:1

Ever wonder about the word "gospel"? We spread the gospel, we say it is truth but what does the word mean? Where did it come from?

Gospel is from the old English, "godspel," a compound word that was built from the old English words god meaning "good" (not God as many say, even though He is good) and spel meaning "story" or "message".

"Godspel" was translated from the Latin word, bona adnuntiatio which came from the Greek word euangelion. Our English word "evangelist" springs from this Greek word. But where did that come from?

Of the four Gospels, Mark is the only one that calls itself a Gospel. When Mark wrote his remembrance of Peter's sermons to the great city of Rome, he introduced the document that we know as the Gospel of Mark with the words, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." None of the other "gospel" writers used the term "gospel" to describe their book. It made me wonder why.

Matthew was for a Hebrew audience, Luke for a Greek culture and John was written to a culture polluted by Gnostic heresy, but Mark was for the Latin church in Rome, the city of Caesar. It is said that church documents were in Greek rather then Latin at the time of Mark. Even so, the Gospel of Mark is rich with "Latinisms" unlike the other gospels. Gospel or euangelion is one of those Latinisms. It can refer to the person who spreads the news or the subject of the news. It is a word that communicates the "glad tidings" or good news of a powerful leader, such as Caesar. I have always heard the phrase "good news" associated with gospel. In fact, when I conducted a casual survey, everyone said gospel meant good news. But what is that good news?

The "good news" or "glad tidings" originally meant the birthday of the god-king (Caesar). An evangelist gave the report of this historical event which introduced a new situation for the world. Therefore, John-Mark was announcing the God-King, Jesus, as a radical event which brought a new state of affairs for mankind. He introduced this event with Jewish prophecy in order that all would understand that the Christ was the long awaited hope of Israel, and a light for the entire world.

The Gospel is the report of the Messiah who came to set us captives free from our slavery to sin and death. Have you heard about it? Have you passed it on?

Orginally blogged on July 28, 2009 on my Shoutlife page.
Shoutlife has been my blogging home for over a year. To read it you need to be a member of shoutlife. I am taking a chance that this less private format will be worth the space.