Thirty-three Day Challenge

I am up for a challenge… I would like you to join me in this challenge.
I am a Christian.
I am still proud to carry this name no matter what the world has done to try to discredit it.
I carry it with honor.
I do not carry it lightly.

As a Christian I have read the end of the book.
I know that this world is only going to get worse.
I am not here to save the world.
I am here to be used by God to save those who are His out of the world.
This challenge is for those that are His.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the church not looking any different than the world. I am tired of cults that profess the name of Christ being lumped in with the true Church. I am tired of the lost not being able to find the way of peace because the highway of holiness is so crowded and blocked with briars and thorns and fruitcakes that they can’t get through to see the real Christ. I am ready to be the tree of life that Zacchaeus was able to climb to get over the crowd in order to see Jesus.

I have just finished reading What Are You Waiting For by Dannah Gresh and am now in the middle of Every Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge. Both of these books mentioned this challenge.

Then I saw this:

 

After reading these books and seeing this video and knowing my own experiences and weighing it against about what I know of the Word of God, I can’t help but feel my heart break from the marriages that I am sure have fallen apart simply because that serpent of old snuck his way in and wreaked havoc. I hurt as I think of how many marriages have not even been because the girl couldn’t see God’s man for the fog of Twilight and the fluff of the fairytales. To many of us are too weak and too desensitized to Satan’s presence to even know when to fight him, much less how.

It’s time for the Church to get busy about the Father’s business.
It’s time for the bride to make herself ready for the Bridegroom.

I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness;
but indeed you are bearing with me. 
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy;
for I betrothed you to one husband,
so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 
But I am afraid that,
as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness,
your minds will be led astray
from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:1-3

Today I ask that you bear with me in a little foolishness… because I too am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I want you to be presented to your Bridegroom as a pure virgin… standing unashamed before Him because you made yourself ready for Him. If your Groom were to come today would you drop your head in shame or would your head be lifted up ready to be received by Him?

I am afraid that many of us have indeed been deceived by the serpent… Adam and Eve alike. We have no doubt been led astray from them the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

So if you will bear with me in my foolishness to believe that the Word of God is true and relevant in our day and powerful beyond measure… if you will bear with me in my foolishness to believe that their is still believers in the world today who desire to carry the name of Christ with honor and truly desire to live a sanctified life proclaiming His excellencies… then take this challenge with me.

The challenge:
For thirty-three days.
One day for every year that Christ gave us give to Him.
For thirty-three days we shall live to Him and not ourselves in a purposeful way. For thirty-three days let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh.

Therefore, having these promises,
beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1

Beginning February 14th, the secular day of “love” let us begin to live true, real, Biblical, Christ love.

The challenge will end on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, the day given in remembrance to the man who is believed to have ran all the snakes out of Ireland.

Let us, in this thirty-three day challenge run that serpent of old out of our minds, out of our home, out of our church by loving the LORD our God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength.

How do we do this?

On February 14th put out the trash.

Turn off the television programs that feed your flesh, your lusts, your pride, and yes, your depression. If you wouldn’t watch it sitting next to your Mom or your Pastor or kids Sunday School class turn it off. If it places a burden of dissatisfaction in you and makes you see yourself or your spouse in a negative way, turn it off.

Do the same with what you read, and the music you listen to, and with the conversations going on around you at work, at school, on facebook and twitter, or even in your home with your family.

Take that time and instead study God’s Word.

Listen to God’s Word.

Read God’s Word.

Thirty-three days is all I am asking for.

I will do the challenge with you.

Each day I will share a Scripture to meditate on.

I will share with you excerpts from the books above and together we will work to become women of integrity.

A woman of integrity lives a life that lines up with her Christian beliefs. She lives according to the standard of love rather than the law. She does not claim to be a follower of Christ yet disregard His many teachings on sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, immodest dress, and inappropriate talk. A woman of integrity lives what she believes about God, and it shows everywhere from the boardroom to the bedroom.  ~ Shannon Ethridge

This is not a flippant challenge I am asking you to join.

It is a challenge that could save your marriage if it is struggling.

It is a challenge that can lift you up out of the pit of defeat.

It is a challenge that can give you the strength to say no to what before you caved in to.

It is a challenge that can free you from your past and prepare you for your future.

It is a challenge that can open your eyes to the invisible chains that have been entangling you.

It is a challenge that you are not to do alone. Pray for a fellow sister in Christ to openly take it with you, not someone you pushed into it, but someone who is serious about it, God will send her.

Don’t try to force your spouse to join you, but explain to them what you are doing, and how serious it is, they will need to know because I have no doubt that there will be changes you will have to make to meet this challenge.

It is a challenge that I want you to pray about before you commit to it.

That’s why it doesn’t begin until Feb 14th.

Pray and if the Lord wills… join me.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come
and His bride has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7

>It’s a Miracle! …Or Not

>

When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying,
‘Work a miracle,’
then you shall say to Aaron,
‘Take your staff
and throw it down before Pharaoh,
that it may become a serpent.’
Exodus 7:9
The first sign before Pharaoh is the same sign that Moses performed before the children of Israel when he came to them from the wilderness. His staff would become a serpent. I have always found it interesting that God chose this as a sign. In my opinion this points us all the way back to Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made…” I believe God chose this sign as a direct mock in Satan’s face. I think this sign was to remind Satan that God had created him and that he, God, still had complete authority over him.
Now when Moses threw his staff down and it became a serpent, Pharaoh called in his wise men and sorcerers. They too came in with staffs. They threw their staffs down and theirs also became serpents. My friend do not think for one minute that Satan has no power here on this earth. He is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and his desire is to blind you and deceive you so that you might not see the glory of God. He has many tricks up his sleeve and many who will do his will just to experience his power.
In 2 Timothy 3:8 we discover the names of these two magicians, “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses…” But more importantly we discover the nature of these two magicians. Men and women like these have existed since the fall. They are those who are caught in the snare of the devil, and held captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Most are so entranced that even when they are face to face with the truth of God, they refuse His authority over them. Choosing rather to have the temporary power of Satan.
We read in Acts 8:9-10 of “a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from the smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, ‘This man is what is called the Great Power of God'”. We read on in Acts how the people were all amazed by this man’s magic arts. They were captivated and deceived by his tricks. They were confusing his sorcery with the works of the Almighty God.
Then we read how the truth of God showed up through Philip bringing the people the gospel. The people believed and were being baptized. The magician, Simon, saw his followers slipping away, and he also saw that the apostles of Christ came with a power and authority that he had never had and he wanted it. Simon professed to believe and was even baptized, but what we discover was that his profession was not of faith. He simply thought this was his means to gain this power of God.
Oh, but our God does not work that way.
In Acts 13:8-10 we read of a magician named Elymas who is working to oppose the apostles to keep the proconsul away from the faith. We read that Paul “filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, ‘You who are full of deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?'”
These men are everywhere.
Still today we must be on the look-out for those like them.
Going back to 2 Timothy 3:1-9 we read of the difficult times that will come in these last days. We read of those who rise up and appear to have “a form of godliness, although they have denied it’s power;…” (2 Timothy 3:5)
What power is it that they have denied?
The power of salvation (Romans 1:16).
The power of the grace of God.
The grace of God that instructs us to “…deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:12)
These men attempt, as Paul said, “to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord” They mimic God in an attempt to deceive those who are weak so that they may hold a position of power over them. They will succeed if you do not hold fast to the truth, the Word of God.
Holding fast is not just obtaining knowledge. These men are quite knowledgeable of the Word of God, which strengthens their ability to deceive. Satan himself attempted to use Scripture to tempt and deceive Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-12). It’s not just about knowing, it’s about obedience to what you know.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned
and become convinced of,
knowing from whom you have learned them,
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings
which are able to give you the wisdom
that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
Obedience to God’s Word is key to our not being deceived by men such as Jannes and Jambres that stood in Pharaoh’s court and opposed Moses. It is key to keep us from being deceived by Simon and Elymas who opposed the apostles. We guard ourselves against these men by keeping our eyes wide open and watching their deeds.
We read in 1 Timothy 5:24-25 that “The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.”
Men such as these can only go so far. My friend, Satan can only go so far. “But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.” (2 Timothy 3:9)
Yes, the magicians of Pharaoh mimicked the power of God. They threw down their staffs and into serpents they did become, but that is not where it ended. “…But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” (Exodus 7:12)
Oh precious one, don’t you just love our God! This sign so simple, yet saying so very much. Our God is greater. Satan can only mimic the power of the I AM. He can not originate his own. Satan may be able to deceive some for a while with his trickery, but his ways will be swallowed up in the victory of our God. “He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:8, 1 Corinthians 15:54).
Oh Father,
How great You are! You are my God and I follow no other. Keep my eyes open that I may not fall prey to those who are doing the will of Your enemy and mine. Let me not be impressed by a smooth tongue and magic arts. May the power of Your Holy Spirit work mightily in and through me as it did in Moses and in Paul and in Philip. May I not be afraid to stand up to the Jannes’s and Jambres’s of my time. For You my God will prevail. I will continue in Your Word and hold fast to Your truth walking in obedience to what I already know as I pursue to know even more. Strengthen me my God, according to Your glorious might, and Yours alone.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,
Amen

>Responding to Judgment and Mercy

>

When Pharoah does not listen to you,
then I will lay My hand on Egypt
and bring out My hosts,
My people the sons of Israel,
from the land of Egypt by great judgments. Exodus 7:4
We are now about to dive into the great judgments that God would use to bring deliverance to the children of Israel. Moses is now resolute. His face is set like flint. He has no more questions and no more complaints. Moses has submitted himself to God in complete trust. He knows that God is with him. He knows what he must do. In Exodus 7:6 we read “So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did.”
As we go through the next few chapters of this amazing book we will look closely at each plague that God sent upon the land of Egypt. We will compare how these plagues affected the hearts of the people, especially the heart of Pharaoh. We will also compare these great judgments to the great judgment that is to come.
Friend, as we read, as we study, take inventory of your own heart. Examine yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to probe deep within your soul. Let him see if there is any wicked way in you. Allow him to expose it to you. For if it stays hidden, it cannot be destroyed. It only grows stronger in the dark and seeps deeper into the abyss of your being.
God’s judgment is for our good. “But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:32) God’s judgments may come, but His mercy comes with it. 

Let him give his cheek to the smiter
Let him be filled with reproach
For the Lord will not reject forever
For if He causes grief
Then He will have compassion
According to His lovingkindness.
For He does not afflict willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.
To crush them under His feet
All the prisoners of the land,
To deprive a man of justice
In the presence of the Most High,
To defraud a man in his lawsuit-
Of these things the Lord does not approve.
Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass,
Unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?
Why should any living mortal, or any man,
Offer complaint in view of his sins?
Let us examine and probe our ways,
And let us return to the Lord.
Lamentations 3:30-40
God’s judgments are never for just punishments sake. He receives no pleasure from our pain. “The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9) Yes, His mercies are over all His works, even His judgments.
His judgments are meant to wake us up. To cause us to look within ourselves and see our sin against Him. They are meant to lead us back to Him. In Isaiah 26:9 the Word declares, “…For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” When we fall under the judgment of God we are to cry out to Him for His mercy and when He gives us His mercy we are to never return to the wicked ways that brought His judgment upon us.
This, however, is not always the case. Sometimes God’s mercy hardens a heart. In Kay Arthur’s Precept Upon Precept on Exodus one of the statements she made was “judgement softens some and mercy hardens others.” How true this statement is. As we dig deeper into the heart of Pharaoh we will see this played out.
Oh precious one, as we continue our walk through Exodus, examine yourself and probe your ways. I implore you to take a close look at your own heart. Take a close look at your own responses to the judgments and mercies of God. Make sure my friend, that you are where you need to be in your relationship with God. Are you truly reconciled to Him?
Oh Father,
May Your Holy Spirit go before me as I read through these chapters. Let me not be afraid of my own flesh (Isaiah 58:7). Open my eyes so that I may see what You see. Help me to examine the deepest regions of my heart and mind and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Oh Father if there be any part of my heart that has been hardened by Your mercies, bring it to my attention that I may seek Your forgiveness. I never want to take Your mercy and Your grace for granted.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,
Amen

>The Human Heart Experiment

>Science teaches us many things through experiments, and through these experiments we come to logical conclusions, and most of the time we call these logical conclusions proven facts. When we conduct an experiment we form a test group and from this test group we pronounce a verdict on the whole.
Hmmmm I wonder where man developed this concept?

In the beginning God created man in the image of Himself, male and female He created them in the image of God. Man and woman were in intimate fellowship with their Creator, yet they were deceived by the great deceiver and they believed the lie and denied the truth and sin entered the world and their hearts.

Since this moment the world that was once good has become not so good, and man in the garden tried to blame God for his choice then and still today man tries to blame God for his choices and for the choices of others and for the receiving of the consequences of these choices.

We see all through the Scriptures how man has tried to prove his own goodness by comparing himself to others he deemed not as good as himself. All through the Scriptures we see man blaming God for his choices and blaming God for the consequences of a fallen world. All through the Scriptures we see man trying to make his own way to a god he created because he could make the rules. All through the Scriptures we see man arguing with God out of foolish ignorance of the magnitude of His holiness. All through the world, in the media, on t.v., on the Internet, we see man is still doing the same thing today.

So how does God respond?
I believe God responded with the “Human Heart Experiment.”

God repeatedly has reached out to man and He has not stopped and He won’t until the day of the white throne judgment (Daniel 7:9-10, Rev 20:11-15). Man for some reason just does not want to admit that they need God. Man wants to think that he is not so bad and is doing just fine. He just needs a break, needs society to adapt to him, needs better circumstances; he’s merely a product of his environment and his upbringing. No not at all, he is merely a product of his heart, and he needs God, not a god, but the GOD, and God conducts His experiment to prove it, not to Himself, He knows our hearts, but to prove it to us.

Many years ago a man named Abram was born in the Middle East in a city called Ur. This ordinary man God called out, and said go with Me, listen to Me, I will make you a great nation, give you a land, and in you all the nations will be blessed. This man listened.

God kept His word as He always does, and Abram became Abraham, and he had a son Isaac, who had a son Jacob, who had twelve sons who became the nation of Israel (the accounts of their lives are recorded in the book of Genesis). Israel would be God’s test group in the “Human Heart Experiment.”

We know that Jacob and his twelve sons moved to Egypt during a famine, and there they eventually ended up an enslaved people, yet even in their slavery God blessed them and they grew in number and became a nation. (This was all foretold to Abraham and passed down from father to son as we can tell from the words of Joseph at his death recorded in Genesis 50.)

God brings this nation out of slavery led by a man named Moses. In Exodus 12 God institutes His test group, as He says this month shall be the beginning of months for you, God delivers the nation of Israel out of slavery redeeming them with a great and mighty outstretched arm. He does all the work for them, cares for them , feeds them, and the whole time they are complaining, God has delivered them out of slavery, given them food money and clothing and shelter and yet they still aren’t happy, He still isn’t doing enough to satisfy them (does this sound familiar?).

It took the nation three months to get to Sinai, once there God made the people, the nation of Israel, a proposition. He told them that if they would obey His voice and keep His commandments He would bless them like crazy but if they turned away from Him and broke their promise He would curse them.

God delivered to them His standard of righteousness, the Law, the nation heard the commandments and agreed with God that they were good (because they merely were the written moral law that already was within them) and God gave them the ceremonial Law, which showed them how to approach Him, their holy God. The nation entered into covenant with God, they shook hands and sprinkled blood and said “it’s a deal”.

The test group formed, the standard presented, the variable in place, now what would be the result? We see the result from Exodus 32 through the Prophets, the variable could never meet the standard. No matter how hard they tried, no matter how many chances they had, no matter how many times they went over the rules, they couldn’t do it. Here’s the thing, God knew they couldn’t do it, but they, we, have to realize it ourselves.

Throughout the Scriptures God describes the nations as waters, so we shall do here. Let’s picture the world as a well of water, and we want to check the purity of that water, how do we do it? We take a sample of that water and we test it, and if in that one sample we discover pollutants and disease we declare the entire well polluted and unfit.

God took a sample for the purity of the human heart through the hearts of the nation of Israel, and He tested that sample. He gave them amazing advantage through the revealing of Himself in signs and wonders and His written word, but still the hearts of the people remained polluted. God already knows all human hearts are polluted (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9). He has so proven it to us through the Law and the nation of Israel and if we are honest we know that He has proven it within our own hearts.

Now we know that whatever the Law says,
it speaks to those who are under the Law,
so that every mouth may be closed
and all the world may become accountable to God;
because by the works of the Law
no flesh will be justified in His sight;
for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:19-20

One of the reasons God gave us the Law was to erase any questions and all excuses. Those who do not have the written Law, yet try to walk by the moral law within them, show the others around them their own sin thus the reason we constantly try and find someone who is worse than us or either we gather all those around us who are most like us with our same sin to somehow make our sin not so bad in our own eyes.

People respond to the knowledge of their sin in several ways, they try to hide it, deny it, justify it, fix it, or seek to destroy the who or what that brought attention to it.

Makes sense now why the nations have always hated the Jew, why the people fight to have the Ten Commandments yanked down from public display, if we destroy the test sample, if we ignore the standard, then we can pretend as though we are just fine. Sorry it doesn’t work that way, whether a sample of the well water was taken or not doesn’t change the pollutants and disease that is there, it just keeps killing the people who in ignorance drink the water.

>Stress Mess

>Yesterday morning our little one awoke to a headache and a small temp. Which immediately still sends a rush of panic through my system.

For six straight years she was sick.
Doctor visit after doctor visit ended in treating symptoms because the blood work tests that had been done thus far couldn’t pin-point the root issue. She began to become resistant to antibiotics and would end up going on 2 or 3 rounds of different kinds in order to get her better… to just start over again in less than three months.

It was one of those things that you think you are handling well until you wake up one morning doing this:

This was just my arm… it was worse than this on the rest of my body… from head to toe I was covered with a rash that was induced by stress. Stress from “not worrying” about my baby girl…

So this morning when we awoke to her still running a fever, now burning up with a 103 temp, my husband and I catch ourselves convincing each other that it is nothing and she is going to be fine. While all along panic threatens to overtake us both from the memory of those days when one little sniffle would end us up at the hospital. When we couldn’t understand what in the world was going on and why no one could figure it out.

How thankful we are for doctors who don’t stop until they know that they know. An immune deficiency had beaten our little one down. Once discovered the doctors treated her with a vaccine and we quarantined her to give her body time to heal.

Today what hurts most is when I still see the fear in my baby’s eyes that it is beginning again…

It is here that I have learned to return her look of fear with strong confidence that God has her in His very capable hands. When before I had to leave the room and crumble in a heap of tears on the floor from the fear of the unknown and wondering if I was as crazy as I felt everyone else thought I was.

Around 4pm today we decided to go ahead and make a trip to Urgent Care, which revealed that strep has attacked our little one yet again… but we are confident that she will be well again soon. This is the first antibiotic she has had to take since April 2010. She is so much stronger now.

As is her mother…
No stress rash… I learned my lesson on holding on to worry. I had much rather lay it at the altar of mercy and throne of grace than wear it on my flesh.

The past few years I have been through God’s-Got-It boot camp. I have learned lessons in God’s grace and mercy and sovereignty that I will never forget. They were not fun… but they were most definitely worth it.

>Stand

>

 
If I fall in a land of peace
If I crumble in the face of the free
How shall I stand in a day of battle
How shall I reign victorious over my enemy

If I can not stand at attention in obedience to my call
When there is no war raging have I ever stood at all.
If I can not live the truth in the protection of this peace
Then how shall I fare when a weapon of hate is pulled on me

If I stumble in this day of privileged liberty
Will I stand when shackles for the gospel are placed on me
If I shrink back at the fear of the loss of approval of man
If my life is threatened how shall I believe I could stand

If I fall in a land of peace
How will I do in the thicket of the war
If I can not stand strong against an enemy already defeated
How shall I win against an enemy that is still yet to come

If I truly am a soldier enlisted and secured
If I lay down and sleep in the hour of still
If I put up my armor and remove my shoes
If I take off my helmet and lay down my shield
If my breastplate is placed on a shelf
My sword sheaved and discarded
I am already defeated though the battle be not started

The day of peace is not for leisure
The time of freedom is not for play
The hour is for training so that I will not be ashamed
So whether in the thicket of the Jordan or safe in Jerusalem’s walls
I shall stand, stand firm, by Your grace never shall I fall.

“If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”
Jeremiah 12:5

>Not Who I Was

>

But Moses said before the LORD,
‘Behold, I am unskilled in speech;
how then will Pharaoh listen to me?  
Exodus 6:30
Moses has already made the complaint out to God that he was “slow of speech” (Exodus 4:10), and now he cries to God that he is “unskilled in speech.” The word unskilled in the original Hebrew text is arel which means exposed or uncircumcised. Moses is actually saying “Behold, I am uncircumcised of lips;…”
This is essentially the same cry that the Prophet Isaiah made in Isaiah 6:5 when he said “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” Moses is not crying out to God in doubt of his ability, he is crying out to God in realization of his unworthiness to be God’s messenger.
Moses is looking at himself. He is looking at the children of Israel. He is looking at Pharaoh and he is crying out to God. I can hear Moses saying “God, they know me. They have seen all that I have done. They know I murdered a man. They know all the sins of my youth. They have seen all the mistakes I have made and God I know all the mistakes I am still making. I am uncircumcised of lips. I am a man of unclean lips. God I have said things I should not have said. I have wounded with my words as well as my hands. The children of Israel will not listen to me why would Pharaoh. He knows even more about me than they do. He shall call me a hypocrite, a traitor. I am a fool in his eyes. God, he will not listen to me.”
Oh precious one, have you been there?
Moses is so real with God. He is so obviously just a man like you and I. He is not a superhuman. He is a man who was living a life apart from God but now has been brought near to God to accomplish a mighty mission for the kingdom of heaven. Part of that mission is to return to where he came and show them that he is not who he once was.
He now looks different, walks different, and talks different. Moses may look at himself and see a man of no worth, but once again God does not even acknowledge his cry of insecurity. God simply reminds him of his mission.
We can not allow who we were to hinder who we are now called to be. It doesn’t matter who we were. “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Yes, you may have to prove yourself, but if your salvation is real, the proof will be made evident. Even Paul had to prove himself. We read in Acts 9:26 that “When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.” Our past goes with us, but it does not control us, nor does it define us when we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Moses would go and be obedient to God. He would not have to worry about whether Pharaoh would listen to him. Pharaoh’s response was between Pharaoh and God. We too must go and be obedient to God. He has a mission for us just as he did for Moses. A mighty mission to accomplish for the kingdom of heaven, for the glory of our God.
My friend, do not allow what lies behind you to slow you down or cause you to shrink back from what your God has commanded you to do. Forget what lies behind and press forward to what lies ahead. Remembering always who you are in Him.
Has the burning coal from the altar of our God touched your lips and taken your iniquity away? Have your sins been forgiven (Isaiah 6:6-7)? If so, precious one, then speak. Speak all that the Lord has commanded you to speak. Speak with authority and love and confidence and leave the results up to God.
Oh Father,
I look at who I once was and all that I have done and the enemy can so easily convince me that I have no right to speak on Your behalf. The truth, however, is that it gives me every right. I am a living testimony to Your Word. I am living proof that You are God. Comparing who I was to who I am now only strengthens my testimony and greater displays Your grace. Yes I may have to prove myself to some, but that is okay with me. Father I just pray that You would set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3) so that my relationship with You would be made evident and obvious to all.
My Jesus, it’s in Your name I pray,

Amen

>Ministry and Motherhood are Messy

>This is a post a wrote in 2010… but it remains a prayer and point of focus as I walk in 2012…

I began 2010 reading through the Proverbs. My prayer for 2010 was “Lord increase me in wisdom, Your wisdom.” Little did I know how much I would need these proverbs as 2010 came rolling in. I thank my God for His Word.

As I studied I came to a particular proverb and out in the margin beside this proverb I have noted “serving the Lord and kids in the house” with a smiley face underneath my little note.

“Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,

but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.”
Proverbs 14:4
I am by birth, by nature, by DNA, a clean freak and a perfectionist. It was once said that you could eat off of my floors. I would have your cup cleaned and in the cabinet before you even finished setting it down from your last swallow.
Then came a baby…then came salvation in Christ…then came another baby…!
Needless to say things changed.
I realized I could have a perfectly clean house or I could have a life that imparted life to others. God says to choose life, so I chose life.

Our homes, our church, our ministries all relate to this verse.
Will we sacrifice a clean manger for the revenue of life…eternal life?

One thing I learned was that I could dust everyday and still when I got up the next morning the dust was back again. I could wash clothes all day and still the hamper would fill up again. I could mop and make my floors shine everyday, but still someone would walk on them and leave their prints behind.

Then I looked at my children and no matter what I did I couldn’t make them infants again, I couldn’t make the sunshine come back out so I could take them to the park now that the house was clean. I won’t be able to make them little leagers again so that I can coach and teach them. I can’t make those adoring, innocent eyes, so filled with love and trust, turn back to me after I have repeatedly told them I don’t have the time for them.
Trust me I’m still learning to place my priorities, but I am getting better.
Does the house ever get clean?
Yes it does. But it is now in the balance.

In our churches…if we want a church that is full of life…guess what…kool-aid gets spilled on the carpet…the gym floor gets dirty…the paint on the wall gets nicked…but each spill, each nick, each mark was made from a life that was there and heard the message of Jesus Christ?

Isn’t it worth it?

In our ministries…ministry is messy! We make our plans, but they don’t always go according to schedule. People don’t always respond the way we think they should. If we didn’t minister to people then we could have a clean, well-organized manger…but what revenue would we have to show for our ministry?

So Mom’s don’t stress over the house. I mean keep the roaches away and make sure there’s nothing growing on the dishes stuck under the bed and try to keep clean underwear for everyone…but I promise you the dust will be back in the morning!

Church instead of frowning at the nicks, stains, and dirt…pray salvation and the grace of God over the one who made the mark and pray that God will fill your walls with more souls to make more stains!

The ministry…it’s messy.

But God is in control, remember it’s all about HIM.

There Is Hope

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As Walter Brueggemann put it, “This family (and with it the whole family of Genesis 1–11) has played out its future and has nowhere else to go. Barrenness is the way of human history. It is an effective metaphor for hopelessness. There is no foreseeable future. There is no human power to invent a future.”

Then, the story turns with these simple words: “The Lord . . . said . . .” (Gen 12:1). God spoke into the barrenness and chaos. It was as if He said, You’ve done your best, and this is where it has gotten you—now step aside.

Still early in the Genesis story, these words remind us of another time God spoke into darkness and chaos. Before God began to create, the “earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.” Into nothing, “God said . . . ” God spoke and light erupted, vegetation blossomed, humans appeared. This is still what happens whenever God speaks.

—Winn Collier

You know… I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know the barrenness of your heart or the possible chaos of your soul. I don’t know if you are in a place where it seems that life is crumbling down all around you and you feel as though you are standing alone in the midst of all the broken pieces… but I do know that our Creator God can speak life and order and healing into whatever you are going through. I do know that He has not forsaken you, I do know that you are not alone… no matter how alone you feel.

Open up His Word and hear Him speak.

Stop trying to do it all on your own… you were never meant to.

God is there and I guarantee you that there is someone whose name is on your mind right now that you know would be there for you if they just knew what was going on. You may not have ever really spent a lot of time together. You may not have ever even talked to them. You may not know them at all, but have just seen them interact with others… but their name, their face, is before you now for a reason as you stand among the broken pieces.

Don’t let pride or fear of rejection or condemnation keep you from seeking help. Don’t keep hiding in the dark because our Creator said, let there be light!

A Night of Hope
So far away, so full of doubt
So lost inside, there’s no way out
Within this prison I scream, I shout
But no one hears, no eyes look about
Can no one see me
Is everyone blind
My fear overwhelms me
I’m falling this time

I smile I do, I play the game
I try to be different, but nothing does change
I hate this I do, don’t like how I feel
I want to be happy, I want to be sure
I want to be confident and secure
They tell me this, they tell me that
Follow ABC and all will be well with me

I’ve walked the line
I’ve jumped the hoops
But this time the tight rope is just to loose
My feet are slipping my knees to weak
My mind is reeling, into the darkness I sink
The darkness is safe, in it I hide
No one can see the thoughts of my mind
I hear the whispers, this voice so sleek
It tells me go on, in the darkness there’s peace

But another voice I hear, it’s distant and sweet
It whispers I love you, listen to me
It says in the darkness there is only dark
It says come to the Light, give me your heart
It says I see you, and hear you too
I know your thoughts and hear your screams
Come be still and know that it’s Me
Know that I came to give you a hope
Know that I’m here, My love have I shown
Come this night and know that I’m here
Come this night know to Me you are dear

While in your tears lift up your eyes
Take them off the dark and put them on the Light
Keep them focused looking right at Me
Know that I AM is right here, you’ll see
Trust in Me and in My love
Feel My arms around you embraced in a hug
Take a deep breath, breathe in My scent
Know for you My flesh was rent
I died for you that you might live
So lift up your head, for this hope to you I give

I wrote this May 7, 2009… in Him, in His Light, there is hope no matter how great the darkness, no matter how loud the chaos, no matter how barren the heart… in Him there is always Life no matter how deadened you may feel.

>Waiting on Deliverance

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So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage. Exodus 6:9
Moses cried out to God and God answered him. God declared, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh…” God then reminds Moses who it is that he is speaking to as He says, “I am the LORD;”
God expounds to Moses that when He appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He appeared as God Almighty, El Shaddia, but to Moses He has appeared as LORD. As far as we know Moses is the first Israelite to know this memorial name of God.
God is giving Moses a pep talk. God is building the confidence of Moses. In other words, God is saying ‘Moses, you can do this! You know Me now as no other in the flesh does. I have allowed you and you alone this privilege. You will have victory!’
In the first eight verses of Exodus chapter six, God tells Moses four times “I am the LORD”, at least nine times God tells Moses “I will”, and twice God speaks of the Abrahamic Covenant.
I can just see God taking Moses by the shoulders and looking him deep in the eyes baring directly into his heart and soul and speaking these words as a coach would his boxer in the corner awaiting the second round.
Moses is pumped and he returns to his brethren to share God’s words of deliverance with them, but they would not hear. The Scripture tells us that they would not listen because their “despondency and cruel bondage.”
The word despondency is qotser in Hebrew and it means shortness of spirit or impatience. God sent word by Moses that He would redeem them with an outstretched arm and with great judgments (Exodus 6:6). Israel did not want to wait for “great judgments” they wanted their freedom now.
Sometimes we have to wait for our deliverance.
In Acts 1:6-7, after the resurrection of Christ, we read “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;'”
Then also in Revelation 6:9-10, we read “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Waiting is not easy for us, but with God waiting is required. Waiting is a lesson in trust. It is a lesson in faith. It is a lesson in endurance. The Israelites were in despondency, but they were also under cruel bondage. I believe it was because of this cruel bondage that God looked over their impatience.
God never condemns the children of Israel for their lack of faith while they are slaves in Egypt. He looks over it as though it was never said. He doesn’t even address it with Moses when Moses brings it up to Him. God just reiterates what it is that Moses has been called to do and sends him to do it.
Our God knows the depravity of our situation. He is a compassionate God and just in all His ways. God sees the weight of our chains. He knows we are blind, deaf, and naked. He knows we are poor, wretched, and despised. He knows we are bitter, confused, and fickle. Yet He comes to us anyway, with “outstretched arms and great judgments”.
Oh precious one, do you see the foreshadowing of the cross in this word from God to Moses. Yes, He is speaking of deliverance from the Egyptians, but also He is pointing to the greater redemption. Our redemption from slavery to sin and the prince of this world who holds our chains. Great judgments fell on the shoulders of our Savior as He, with outstretched arms, hung on that cross. Yet, it was by these outstretched arms and through these great judgments that our freedom was found.
My friend, I would almost bet that you too once would not hear the Word of your God, because of your despondency and cruel bondage. Possibly you did not even believe that God was there because you had not been immediately delivered out of your bondage. Perhaps you are struggling with listening as you read this now.
Maybe you are one who, like Moses, have friends and family who will not hear. Believe me, I understand, but more importantly God understands. Trust Him. Keep doing what you know you are to be doing, and trust Him. He will deliver those who cry out to Him. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
Oh Father,
I love You. Waiting is not easy. Afflictions and struggles are not fun, but they come with the territory of a fallen world. Yet, I can still rejoice because I am no longer a slave. There was a time when my cruel bondage kept me from hearing Your words of deliverance, but You were so patient with me. Even now I can catch myself in despondency. I find myself impatient with You, expecting You to deliver me immediately, but as I grow in faith and in my walk with You, I learn that I have much to learn. Mostly I learn that I need to be as patient with others as You have been with me.   
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,

Amen.