Marriage, Motherhood, and Ministry


I have been listening to Lorrie Flem’s audio Colorado Power Pack bundle. This bundle includes eight hours of godly wisdom for wives and mothers. I have not had the opportunity to listen to all eight hours due to some Internet connection complications we have been experiencing in our home (if you have read many of past blog posts or follow me on twitter I am sure you are already well aware of my frustrations with my Internet, but anyway…) however, those that I have been able to download and listen to have been very beneficial to my heart, mind, and soul.


I listened to a Queen and Her Castle at just the right time (God has a way with timing doesn’t He). I listened to Lorrie as she shared about how my home is the greatest sphere of influence that I will ever have for the Kingdom of God. I am a woman who is very involved in the ministry of the church. Today I am the Children’s Ministry Director. Before that I taught Precept, and I led Children’s Church, and taught Sunday School. I have served in the children’s department, the youth, the college and career and the women’s ministry. I also am involved with special ministries outside and inside our church that minister to the body of Christ in our community.

These are all very important to me and I believe that I have been called by God to serve in every area that I have ever served in. However, none of these should come before my service to my husband and my children. I am first a wife and mother. As you can see from the list above, these ministries have changed. God moves me here and then there, but my husband and my children are the same. They remain. They are who will be with me through what ever life throws at me. Therefore they should hold priority.

Lorrie is very clear in presenting this truth. She also is very clear in making a valid point that as I hold my husband and children and home in their proper priority place I should do so with an attitude that reflects that this is done so because I love them and count it all joy to be able to love them. I should never resent or have an unseemly attitude towards the ministry that God has given me as a wife and a mother.

The world wants me, as a woman, to forsake anything or anyone that gets in my way of succeeding in modern society’s idea of clout and prestige. How foolish would I be to believe that a moment in the spotlight would be worth forsaking the ones that I love more than life itself. Even if that spotlight is a “Christian” spotlight.

The God ordained ministry that God has given me first and foremost is wife and mother and I am not to look at this calling as though it were “baggage”. I am not “trapped” by my husband and children. Being a wife and mother is not something that is holding me back from being all that I can be.

Even by those in the church we hear over and over again how being a wife and mother is a drain on your womanhood and your life. We gasp when someone marries young or has children early in their marriage and we act as though they have just put a bullet in their head and committed ambition suicide. It’s truly insane and backwards. I dare say on the very brink of a reprobate mind.

I can receive no greater honor than to know that my husband and children are loved well by me.


An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good not evil all the days of her life….
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her…
Proverbs 31:10-12, 28


I loved how Lorrie points out that the Proverbs 31 woman was not described by a man. This passage of Scripture, this wealth of wisdom, was given by a woman, a mother, taught to her son, as she shared with him the kind of woman he should seek as a wife.

Dear mother, never ever lose sight of the impact that you have on the very foundations of society. Wife, never lose sight of the impact that you can have on the soul of your husband as you choose to lay down your life for him. Not because you have to. Not because he deserves it. Not because it looks good on Sunday… choose to lay it down because Christ chose to lay His down for you.

Your marriage and children, your ministry in your home, should always come first. However, I do disagree with those who believe that if the marriage and home is struggling then you should drop all ministry work and focus on the marriage and family. I believe this makes marriage an idol. I also believe it takes a person away from the accountability of knowing that others are depending on the success of this family. We must remember that marriage is not about having our own personal needs met. God uses our marriage, our family, to impact the lives of others, and the eyes of those others are always on us, and I think that’s a good thing. We make better choices when we remember that others are watching us.

I also believe that stepping completely away from ministry can cause even greater resentment towards one another and could end up pulling your entire family out of the safety of the assembly. It is possible to re-prioritize without forsaking what God has called you to do. This is when it is time to share your struggle with those who can help you continue to fight the good fight of faith. Many times we need outside eyes to see things in the correct light.

So if you are needing encouragement in the area of marriage, motherhood, and/or ministry… then I recommend this bundle to you.

I write this as a Gabby Mom, for Eternal Encouragement magazine, having received this Colorado Power Pack for an honest review. I also write this because I was blessed by the teaching this bundle holds.

You have an opportunity to receive your own free bundle. Just follow this link, Encouragement: Colorado Power Pack, and fill out the form.




Kingdom Warriors


Last night we had the Awana awards ceremony for our children at Shiloh. I sit back and I look and I watch. I see the kids and I see the dedicated workers and I am overwhelmed with the wave of privilege that washes over me as I thank God that He has planted me and my family among these people that I love and respect so much.

I see in the eyes of the children pure joy (even through the fear in the eyes of some as they stand up in front of so many grown-up eyes) to be up on the stage sharing with the congregation the things they have learned about their God. I see in the eyes of the leaders absolute love and beaming pride as they share about the kids they have been allowed by God to make an eternal investment in.

I look at the leaders and I know that each one that stands there, stands there because they know they are on a mission from Christ Himself. The One who is King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who holds all dominion, power, and authority in His hand, this One, the very Son of the Creator God… has chosen to trust these little hearts to them. These that I looked at, as I stood among them, know this is Kingdom business and it is serious business.

I stand, trying to hold back tears, as I wonder if they realize what an honor it is to me to be able to stand among them. To know that I can wholeheartedly trust my children to them… there are very few that I allow that freedom over my girls… to just hand them over… and say “here you go, fill there heart, mind, and soul with whatever you got.”

My husband and I allow very few that freedom. We guard their hearts, mind, and soul with fierce determination that nothing will get by us on our watch. We stand with our swords raised and eyes always scanning the crowd for deception and trickery. We keep our senses alert and searching for that sneaky serpent, that prowling lion from hell, that one that wants to destroy our children and the future and hope that is promised them from God.

Yet here I stand, and I see men and women of God who stand guard with me, watching over my girls, and all these other children under their care. They stand with their own swords raised, ready to fight the evil one to the death if he dare attempt to steal even one of them away from their Good Shepherd.

These children stand up on stage and they sing their songs and they sign them as they sing. They stand and they quote and read Scripture, the very words of eternal life (John 6:68). They stand and they share the Biblical truths that resonated in their hearts and minds as they studied and listened to the Word of God taught them by these leaders, by these that they know love them… because they have been faithful and consistent to invest their own lives and time into them.

These children stand up on the stage and they are not just “oh, look they are so cute!”, they are warriors learning to use their weapon of the Word. They are soldiers learning to walk to the sound of the voice of their Commander. They are knights in training, learning to live a life of honor, able to recognize the lie from the truth, and learning how to respond to life with integrity and character.

May they not forsake what they have learned. May they continue to sharpen their swords and increase their own understanding. May they continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God… and may those who have taught them thus far never grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9)… knowing that in due time they will see their Christ reap a mighty harvest.

I love the body of Christ. I love the place where God has planted me. I love those who serve with me. As fellow believers and servants of the Most High God we may have to get past a personality, past a method, past a difference of opinion, but that’s what Christ has called us to do (2 Corinthians 5:16). We are to look past the flesh and look to the intentions of the heart. If the heart is right, then the grace of God is more than sufficient to get past any fleshly conflicts.

I love those who have chosen to get down in the trenches with me. I love them with a godly, agape love, with the love of family. I love those that I have had the opportunity to invest my life into their life… no matter how far away they go… I am always with them and they are always with me. They will come to my mind and I will pray for them, and the same Spirit of God that is in me is in them and in this we are forever united. I do believe that this is what Christ meant when He prayed…

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

For their sakes I sanctify Myself,

that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

I do not ask on behalf of these alone,

but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

that they may be one, even as You, Father are in Me and I in You,

that they may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them,

that they may be one, just as We are One; I in them and You in Me,

that they may be perfected in unity,

so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them,

even as You have loved Me.

John 17:17-23


For the sake of these little ones I sanctify myself. I myself study the Word of God, the Word of Truth, to sanctify myself, to show myself approved. I do this for their sake… that they also might be sanctified, set apart, for the glory of God and that they might know that God loves them. As I love them through His love and give my life for them, the way Christ gave His life for me, these little hearts know that John 3:16 is not just a catch phrase. It’s not just a label under a football players eyes. It’s not just a sign held up at the goal post. It’s Life. It’s Truth.

God sent His Only Begotten Son to die for them that they might have eternal life… eternal life that begins the moment that they believe. Never ever doubt the power of your service to Him and His gospel. Never let the eyes play tricks on you and convince you that it is in vain. Run the race. Finish well. Leave a legacy of faith in your wake.

Expect Expectations

Behold, I am going to send an angel before you…
Exodus 23:20


We are here, still at the base of the mountain. The Lord has declared His commands and the people cried out to Moses to be their mediator between them and God because they feared Him. Now Moses has stepped closer to the thick cloud of God’s presence that covers the mountain and He listens as God declares the ordinances that the people are to live by as they represent their God in the land He is giving them. God is making sure the people understand what is expected of them before they even enter the promised land.

God expects righteousness, holiness, justice, and obedience from those who carry His name. He has made what He declares to be good and right very clear and we have seen that God has been with the children of Israel every step of the way. He lets them know here at the base of the mountain that He will continue to go before them and be with them. God expects a lot from His children, but He has never expected them to meet His expectations all on their own.


Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Be on your guard before him and obey his voice, do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since my name is in him. But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
Exodus 23:20-22


Yes, God would send an angel with them to go before them and He would already have the place prepared for them… but they would have to listen and obey his voice, truly obey. They would have to do all that God said. This was what was expected of the people of God then… and it is what is expected of the people of God still.

However, in and through the shed blood, death, and resurrection of Christ, we have more than an angel that goes before us. Today, on this side of the cross, we have the indwelling of the Spirit of God, Himself. This is why the writer of the book of Hebrews declares,


For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Hebrews 2:2-3


At the base of that mountain God commanded that the word spoken through the angel was to be obeyed and those who rebelled would not go unpunished… how dare we think that any less be expected of us who stand not at the base of Mt Sinai, but at the base of a hill called Calvary. We stand not at the bottom of a mountain that is covered in thick darkness, but we stand at the base of Golgotha that is covered with the shed blood of the Light of the world.

Israel stood at the base of a mountain that a loud voice cried out “Do not touch!“, but we stand at the base of a hill and the still small voice cries “Come!” Come, to the cross. Come to Mount Zion and be saved. Come and receive grace and find mercy in your time of need.

However, when you have come, pay close attention to what you hear, and unite it with faith, and obey it in faith (Hebrews 4:1-13). Our God did not play games with the children of Israel and the shed blood of innocent lambs and goats; and He certainly will not play games with the church and the shed blood of His innocent Son, the Lamb of God.

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:26-29


Oh friend, let us not be found guilty of insulting the Spirit of grace. Let us be diligent to enter the place that has been prepared for us (John 14:3, Hebrews 4:11, Revelation 22:14-17). The place prepared is for those who obey, truly obey (John 14:23). The abode is only for those who abide (John 15:4-10).

Be on your guard, obey him and his voice, do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him (Exodus 23:21). This was spoken of an angel to the children of Israel. This was spoken of the one who simply carried the name of God with him. This was spoken of a created being that merely carried the authority given him by his Creator.

Precious one, with this in mind, what rises up within your spirit when you read,


And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Revelation 19:11-13


As we continue our journey through the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures we will see that God was very serious about the children of Israel’s obedience to this one who went before them, and to these ordinances He had given them.

We, if indeed the church, are the very body of Christ. The One who the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form has promised to abide in us (Colossians 2:9). The Holy Spirit of God, our Comforter, our Helper, our Convictor, the Spirit of Christ, indwells us. The Law of God is written on our hearts… and yet many of those professing this to be true declare themselves powerless to obey Him. When they do so, they insult the Spirit of grace.

Let us stop making excuses, justifying our disobedience with lies straight from the pit of hell, and let us simply obey, truly obey. Having counted the cost. Knowing full well what our God expects from us; and knowing full well that He never expected us to meet His expectations alone.


Oh Father,

You deserve nothing less than one hundred percent obedience from me. I have not an excuse good enough… and every excuse I offer up to You is an insult to the Spirit of grace and the blood of Your Son. He did not die this death for me to live in defeat. Forgive me Father for the lies I have believed, for the cost I have refused to count, and for the times I have taken lightly the amazing gift of strength and might and knowledge and hope that is mine in Christ. I am qualified in Christ, how dare I attempt to disqualify myself simply because I refuse to try to live in obedience. I desire to be presented complete in Christ. I desire to enter that place that You have prepared for me and I desire to live in such a way that You are able to use this vessel to bring others into Your kingdom.

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,

Keep Following


Three times a year

you shall celebrate a feast to Me.
Exodus 23:14


I remember the first time that I studied these feasts. I wonder how many modern believers understand the blessing they have of reading the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament? I linger through the pages of the Torah, history, poems, and prophets. I linger, and I search, for what they have to show me about my Christ.

The Word of God is an amazing thing. The words of the Book simply and plainly lay out clear instructions to us and then those who are faithful to follow those clear instructions will be led by God into the very arms of His Son. Once in the arms of His Son the veil is removed and the wisdom and knowledge of our God that is allowed us in and through Him gives us insight into the Scriptures that literally floods our soul with life.

As we read through the common sense precepts and statutes that God commanded His people to observe we find tucked in Exodus 23 the three feasts that are in fact a picture of the coming Christ and the redemption of the world. We will look at these feast in greater detail in Exodus 34 and then again in Leviticus 23.

These feasts would bring the heads of the households of all Israel together three times a year. Three times a year they were commanded to come to the place of the ark of the covenant.

The first feast would be the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Every year the people would be called to come together and remember the Passover. They would come and they would remember their deliverance by the hand of their mighty God. They would remember that it was the blood of the Lamb that spared them from the wrath of the death angel.

Then they would come again for the Feast of the Harvest. The feast that would celebrate their fruit of the fields and finally the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year. Three times a year the people of God would come together, remember their deliverance, and give God thanks for His faithfulness.

These feast have more to them, but I don’t want to jump ahead. I want you to continue with me until we get to Exodus 34 and Leviticus 23 and as we look at these feasts again in the light of the revealed Christ… it’s absolutely breathtaking.

Trust me. Just keep following Him. Follow what you know and He will reveal more of Himself to you as you go.

Come with me and see for yourself.


Oh Father,

How very good You are. You have never left Your people in the dark about your purpose and your plan. You have always given us all the light we need to keep following You. You reveal Your truth to us as we need it. You show us the next step as we in faith take the first. You lead us into Your embrace one step at a time, precept upon precept, and Scripture upon Scripture. I will keep following the Way. I will keep following You. Thank you for never leaving me in the dark. The Light is always there if I will just get me out the way so I can see it.

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,


I Can Never Thank HIM Enough



I can never thank Him enough.

She who’s been freed of much, freely loves and she who knows how she’s forgiven, how she gives thanks. She gives back everything.

It is possible to have a form of religion and not be formed by love for Christ.

And it’s possible to see the law but be blind to love.

And love that is Truth, no matter what, is what never fails…

Who feels such gratitude for their salvation in Christ that they live such affection for Christ?

Who can say just this, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you“? O Please, Lord… let it be said of us.

What’s greater proof to the world of the power of the gospel of Christ — than the world witnessing the power of profuse love for Christ?

~ Ann Voskamp


I sit here now… in the still of the afternoon… and tears are gathering pools in my eyes and my heart is stuck in the midst of my throat as I think of my Christ. It is always in this stillness that I find myself weeping… weeping out of adoration and really absolute confusion as to why the God of the universe the One, Holy, Perfect, and Pure would want me… and not just want me but trust me with Himself.

In these moments I want to shake every person I know that professes to know Him yet lives only for themselves…

I want to grab them by the shoulders and look deep into their eyes and scream WAKE UP!

I want to be found faithful. I don’t want to miss a single moment of loving Him, of living for Him, not one moment of obeying Him. I want to open up His Word and dig and dig and dig…

Digging in His Word  is like that kiss that leads to another kiss that begins to consume you and all you can think about is getting the kiss deeper and harder and warmer and longer and the hunger grows and grows and the kiss alone no longer satisfies. The hunger for communion, for unity, of becoming one fills your heart and mind and soul.

These moments hit and I want to look up every Greek and Hebrew word I want to dig deeper into the truth and I want to flip through every page of His Word knowing every part of it intimately and completely. Because knowing it means knowing Him. I want to dive into the mystery of all that He is and come up craving more and more of Him. I long for communion, for unity, of becoming one with Him. I long for hours and days alone with Him to just sit in His presence and rest in His strength… to fall at His feet and cry “teach me!”

Show me how to love You, how to honor You, how to live for You in this crazy fallen flesh…

In these moment I wonder if anyone loves Him like I do… and I become even more jealous for Him and my time with Him… He is my Beloved… mine. As this wedding band circles the finger of my left hand claiming me as my husband’s on this earth, His Spirit circles the depths of my being claiming me as forever His on this earth and for all eternity.

And I wonder… God do they know?

Do they know how well You will love them if they will surrender their hearts to Your hands?

I am one who can never thank Him enough… I am forever grateful for His love… His forgiveness… His mercy… His grace… His Word… His truth… His life. How ashamed I feel in those moments of this icking flesh that doubt and selfishness creep up my back…

I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.




Bi-Polar Spring

We have had what I have decided to deem a bi-polar spring. In the first of March everything seemed to be going smooth… God was opening doors for speaking engagements, my husband was in line for a promotion at work, our youngest that had struggled with illness since birth due to an immune deficiency had not been sick for over a year, a lady drove up in our driveway to pay us cash for the house we had taken off the market because in a year we never even received a second time looker, we had found our “dream house”, put in an offer and it was accepted, and I was allowed the honor of becoming the Children’s Ministry Director at our church, an area of ministry that I am very passionate about (well I am not sure if there is an area of ministry that I am not passionate about, lol, I just think serving God and His people is just flat out a passionate thing).

So here in the Vaughn household we were having what I decided to call a “Facing the Giants” moment with God. Life on this earth was good.

Now it’s the end of May.

As far as I know I haven’t even been considered for a speaking engagement, the promotion didn’t happen, we were at the hospital with our youngest this week about to be rushed into surgery for an appendix, that ended up not being her appendix, but her white blood cell count has bottomed out and we are now back on the blood test roller-coaster (this breaks my heart), the lady that was going to write us a check for our house has no money, so our dream house is slipping away as also did the money we were going to use to make some changes in our current home before she drove up in the driveway, and well so far I haven’t been fired as Children’s Ministry Director… so that’s the only bright side thus far.

As I have walked… no, moped around, this past couple of months I have doubted my ability to hear God, to follow God, to experience God… how crazy.

I realized the depth of my doubt when I had a little, what is it called… a “Freudian slip”. I was about to send our realtor a text that was supposed to say, “Well we will have to wait and see if **** will come through” but what I began to text was, “Well we will have to wait and see if God will come through”… cold chills went down my back at the moment I realized what I had done…


Did I just almost text that?

How could I even think such a thing?

I couldn’t deny that I had… there it was staring at me in the face… talk about an about face with the Heavenly Father… after all that He has done from me… and here I am saying such “Israelites and the rabble out in the wilderness” kind of stuff.

I realize that God is constantly in a process of adjusting my attitude… how thankful I am that He only lets me get so far before He jerks a knot in me.

Now I sit out here in my sacred spot… that I had forsaken for the spring… knowing now it was my pouting against my God and I read Revelation 5 and I think who in the world do I think I am to play this silly game with the One who is worthy to hold the scroll?

Who am I to treat the One that that every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea cries,

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,

be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.

Revelation 5:13


Who in the world am I to sit here and complain while the myriads of angels, the twenty-four elders, and the four living creatures fall down and worship Him…

I think I shall join them

and fall down on my face before Him

and worship…


Crazy Brain


Of course, this side of heaven we will not do perfectly. Harsh words will be spoken, patience will wear thin. Frazzled mothers will act frazzled. And when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it. Do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. Repent, seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. Believe. Be forgiven. Extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children.

As you go about your daily transformations, set your heart on the truth. Mimic the gospel in what you do. Bring peace, bring order, bring joy, bring laughter. Bring it because it was brought to you. Give, because it was given to you. The gospel is not too big to fit into little situations. It is too big not to.

~ Rachel Jankovic


Yesterday… or well probably the last many days I have had to fight the thoughts that driving into a concrete wall head first at 140 miles per hour would make a wonderful solution to having to deal with getting so consumed and irritated and frustrated with the things of life. I mean after all I wouldn’t have to worry about my husband and children feeling the failure of my attempts to be a wife and mother and I wouldn’t have to deal with the thoughts of all the opportunities I missed to be a friend… the phone calls I forgot to make, the cards I forgot to mail, the emails I forgot to send. I could just go home…

But sadly isn’t those thoughts my greatest moments of rebellion toward my God.

“Yeh God, so You won’t fix me? You won’t fix this feelings of failure, and You keep refusing to either remove them or remove me from this earth and just bring me home to You… well I will show You who is boss… I will come home on my terms… watch this!”

Then the utter feeling of despair in my sinful flesh and mind come crashing down around me and I just want to ball up in a corner somewhere and cry until it all goes away… loving is hard. It so very hard. Especially when no amount of love ever seems to be enough and one moment can seem to destroy years of investment…

How easily I can allow the wait to discourage my hope and destroy my joy.

I think of how grateful I am that God is love. I think of how grateful I am that although I so many times doubt His love, His will, His ways… He still faithfully loves me. He doesn’t forsake me. He also will not allow me to forsake my purpose. He refuses to allow me to throw my hands up in the air and say that I am done with life.

Please know that I have no doubt that if I had not my Christ… I would have been dead long ago. The torments that my mind can play on me are just to much for me to bare apart from Him. My mind is my enemy. That is why I must renew it constantly with the Word of God. I must fill it with truth to counteract and fight against the lies that the enemy of soul bombs me with almost constantly.

That is why I love my quiet time, my study time, my worship time so… the enemy can’t touch me here. I am only HIS when I am here. It’s when I have to walk away… step out in life… the part of life that I find absolutely silly and repulsive and a waste of time. I watch us on tv. America, with all our excess… shoving food in our face, whoring our bodies, and then acting as though we care for the least of these so we can give a chunk of change to an organization and not have to change our lifestyle… and this is what we pat ourselves on the back for.

There are moments that I want to throw all caution to the wind and just go out and spend my day fighting to save eternal lives… because I feel the time is so short and I get so frustrated because my life is not mine to do that. I belong to everyone else… I don’t belong to me. I don’t know if I ever will again.

The choices I make, the places I go, the things I do, are always to make someone else happy to meet someone else’s needs, to not hurt someone’s feelings… yet every effort I make to be all things to all people never is enough. I feel as though I am so very often condemned for just being me.

You need to take what you believe and apply it to these difficult moments. Does the Bible teach us that God is disgusted by our frailty? That he doesn’t want to carry our burdens? That he doesn’t have the energy to deal with us?

~ Rachel Jankovic 

I pour this out in this post, all the craziness that is bouncing around in the Christ-loving brain of mine. I so often look for His return. For His rescue. For His explanation…

How often I self condemn myself for these thoughts… really expecting God to explain His wait to me. To explain His patience, purpose, plan, and position. Asking one more sign of proof that He even really loves me… When really I am just a spoiled child who likes my moments of confirmation and conviction much more than my moments of simply walking by faith in what I already know of Him and His love and purpose for me and my life.

How thankful I am that God is not disgusted with my frailty. He likes me, really likes me. He loves me. He doesn’t get irritated or frustrated with the things that make me, me. He created me to be me. He doesn’t condemn me for being me. He takes me and weeds out what sin and Satan are attempting to contaminate and He conforms me more and more into the image of His Son… my Jesus.

I am a work in progress. Always a work in progress. I have not obtained perfection… yet still I seek it. I press on. I fight the good fight. I refuse to allow any hurt, any pain, to be in vain. God will use it to mold me, shape me, prepare me…

Well I have spent this morning wallowing in my self… and now it is time to get up and shake off this muck of fleshliness, because some how in the midst of this confession… He has restored my soul and I am ready for today.




Names of God: Elohim Shamayim



The name of God we will be digging into today is Elohim Shamayim… God of Heaven. This name of God is used only about twenty times in Scripture. It has it’s root in the book of Daniel

In that the king saw an angelic watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven and saying, “ Chop down the tree and destroy it; yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze around it in the new grass of the field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him,” this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes. And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.

Daniel 4:23-26


…but it is mentioned at least eight times in the book of Ezra. As a matter of fact the book of Ezra begins with the mention of this name of God.

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Ezra 1:1-2

The last name of God we looked at was Lord Of All The Earth. So how is God of Heaven different from Lord of All the Earth?

When we look at the context of the Scripture passages that use Lord of All the Earth we see that these are all referring to a future day. They all refer to the day when Christ will return and physically rule this earth with a rod of iron. I look forward to that day…

However God of Heaven is the name that even those who refuse to bow down and give their allegiance to the Creator God in this life will use. This name of God shows us how although our God is in heaven He still rules over the affairs of man and over this earth. He rules from heaven. God does not have to be standing before us in all His glory to see that His will is accomplished. He simply speaks His will from heaven and all the earth obeys.

We see this beautifully in the book of Esther. The name of God is not even mentioned in this book but His presence and His purpose and His hand on this recorded event in history is unmistakable.

We also clearly see God ruling from heaven in the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra takes place during the reign of King Artaxerxes and King Darius. This is after Nebuchadnezzar, after Belteshazzar and the writing on the wall, this is after Cyrus, king of Persia.

Let us remember that it was Cyrus that God moved to write and record the decree that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (Isaiah 45:1-5, Ezra 1:1-4, Nehemiah 2:3-8), exactly seventy years after their Babylonian captivity that was purposed by God (Jeremiah 25:11, Daniel 9:2).

Ezra is there in Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple is at work and the people of the land, those not Jews want to help build the temple, but the head fathers of the children of Israel say no. These people worshiped God as a god, just one of many, they were not Jews and they would not be a part of the hands on of the rebuilding of His temple. Well these people get a little ticked because Zerubbabel and Jeshua have told them “no” (Ezra 4:3), so they concoct a lie and send it in a letter to King Artaxerxes.

This King sends orders to stop the rebuilding of the temple. It stopped until the second year of King Darius. The people began to rebuild and when they were questioned they sent their own letter to King Darius.

Thus they answered us, saying, ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon. However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God.

Ezra 5:11-13

So Darius gets up and goes through the record books to check out their story and low and behold there it is… the written decree. Darius immediately sends his reply that the building is to continue and not only that the taxes of the nation would fund it.

Leave this work on the house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I issue a decree concerning what you are to do for these elders of Judah in the rebuilding of this house of God: the full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury out of the taxes of the provinces beyond the River, and that without delay.Whatever is needed, both young bulls, rams, and lambs for a burnt offering to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and anointing oil, as the priests in Jerusalem request, it is to be given to them daily without fail, that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. And I issued a decree that any man who violates this edict, a timber shall be drawn from his house and he shall be impaled on it and his house shall be made a refuse heap on account of this. May the God who has caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who attempts to change it, so as to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued this decree, let it be carried out with all diligence!”

Ezra 6:7-12

So if the taxes would fund it guess who would pay for the rebuilding of the temple? Yep, that’s right, those that wrote the lie letter that caused the pause in the rebuilding.

This is our God of Heaven at work.

We may not see Him with our eyes in all His glory… we couldn’t handle it if He did show Himself to us in that way… His holy fire would consume this sin saturated flesh of ours… but His presence and the glory of His majesty is still clearly displayed to all the world. All the way to the very end…

There are only two times that this name of God is used in the New Testament and it’s in the book of Revelation

But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “ Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Revelation 11:11-13


Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom becamedarkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.

Revelation 16:10-11

Once again we see how even those who refuse to bow down to Him cannot refute that He is indeed the God of Heaven.

But here’s the thing.

In the gospel of Matthew the term Kingdom of Heaven is used thirty times.

You see here is the day that the God of Heaven came down and He cries out to us all.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 

“ Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

Jesus still cries out. The God of Heaven came down and He died for the sins of the world. Today, now, still from His throne in Heaven, through His body (the church) on this earth, He stretches out His nail-scared hand to the world and He cries repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

He wants you to know Him as more than this distant God of Heaven… He wants you to be able to call Him Father. He wants you to be able to call Him Redeemer. He wants you to be able to call Him Savior. He wants you to be able to call Him, El EloheJehovahm-shammahJehovah-nissiJehovah-raphaJehovah- raahJehovah-mekkodishkemJehovah-tsidkenu.

But before you can do that you must first call Him Adonai

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,

and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,

you will be saved;

Romans 10:9

Who Pursues Who


Let my soul live that it may praise You,

And let Your ordinances help me.

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,

For I do not forget Your commandments.

Psalm 119:175-176


This morning I awoke and crawled out of bed, grabbed the laundry basket full of dirty clothes that I had waiting on me at the foot of the bed, and headed to the laundry room to start a load. I then started my coffee and while it was brewing took the dog out. I got distracted with the weeds in the flower bed and began pulling them out and then looked up to realize that our dog had run off… again.

All this and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet…

So I pour my cup of coffee, unwrap my poptart, grab my Bible and notebook and head outside for my prayer and study time… trying to ignore the fact that the dog is no where to be seen. Which doesn’t go to well…

I go back inside get the car keys and drive around the neighborhood in my pj’s searching out this dog that aggravates the snot out of me because if I turn my back on him for a split second he is off somewhere in the unknown. I cruise through once and see him no where.

I go back in the house, fix a fresh cup of coffee, and come back outside to hopefully be still and spend some time with my God and Father… ugh… nope.

I begin my prayer, “Oh Father, how close I can feel with You at times and others how far away. How easily I can become caught up in this world and the next be so ready to leave it all behind. I just want to forever pursue You…” this is as far as I get and I cannot shake my need to get up and go find that dog.

I call him “Dog” everyone else calls him “Amos”

After another slow cruise through the ‘hood I find the distracted sucker coming out of the woods behind a house at the curve end of our road. Guilt all over the dog’s face. So once again I am there in the middle of the road, in my pj’s, yelling at “Dog” to get home. This time at least he comes when I call. I get in the car, roll the window down, and he runs beside the car all the way home, even ignoring the other dogs that usually also distract him and cause him to ignore my “Dog! Get in the house!”

So he goes in his kennel time-out. I fix another cup of coffee, and now I sit still finally… by this time kids are outside waiting on the bus for school and they are loud of course. I begin to get aggravated that the dog has caused me to lose my quiet, still, time. I start to get up, pack up, and head in the house, but instead this time I stop, I choose to pray for the voices I hear. I choose to pray salvation over loud souls and I realize that this was God’s plan all along.

Now as I type this out… my God reminds me how that “Dog” is kind of like me (shhhh don’t tell my husband, he knows how mad this dog makes me most of the time). I head out to take care of the business at hand and so easily get distracted by the things of the world… not necessarily sinful things… just things. House payments, house sales, mortgage loans, gas prices, other people’s lack of responsibility, ball practice, pre-teen drama, internet disconnection, weeds in the garden, dirty dishes, pretty projects… just worldly distractions.

I wonder how many times my God has had to chase me down after I have wandered off somewhere in the unknown and has shook His head in holy aggravation at me and instead of calling me Nicole… calls out “Woman! Get back in focus!”

How thankful I am that although I pray and speak my desire to forever pursue my God… the truth of the matter is that I am safe only because He chooses to get up and go out and forever pursue me.

So He told them this parable, saying, 

“ What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them,

does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture

and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 

When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luke 15:3-5



Mass Destruction

You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.

Exodus 23:2-3

I read this verse this morning and my mind couldn’t help but go to our current day… the health care plan, the occupy movement, the gay marriage, the political movements as a whole…

Have we in America not watched our politicians, the supposed leaders of our country do this exact thing that God so clearly says is wrong in His Word?

Have we not in our American churches not done this very same thing… choosing to make concessions, compromises, in order to meet the cry of the masses. So we would get the masses in our doors…

Christ never bowed down to the masses… He never followed the masses… nor should  we  who claim to follow Him. Jesus stepped into the boat and separated from the masses. Yes, He went to the masses but then He stepped back and said come and follow Me. He didn’t chase after the crowd or attempt to appease them… He simply spoke truth and who followed was who followed.

It didn’t matter to Jesus if you were rich or poor, righteous or wicked, loved or hated, right or wrong, religious or heathen, sick or healthy, holy or worldly… He didn’t change who He was and He didn’t adjust His words to fit who ever was listening at the time. He always spoke with love. He always spoke with purpose. He always spoke with authority. He always spoke with compassion. He always spoke with kindness. He always spoke with self-control. His life nor the masses ever counteracted or had the ability to change His words.

In our day today we have churches and government submitting to evil, we have laws being passed to pervert justice in order to appease the masses… we use the “poor man” as an excuse to form laws and regulations that are flat out wrong.

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?

James 2:1-7

We all cheer this verse. “Woo-hoo that’s right rich man you are no better than me!” However where is the one who is willing to say “Just because you are a poor man does not make you right in your dispute nor give excuse to the perversion of justice.”

The fact that the poor are poor does not give anyone the right to steal from the rich man. What a man has earned he has earned. What is right is right… for the rich and the poor. Justice is justice… that is if we all have an even absolute truth that we will stand on.

Our nation was founded on Biblical truth and Biblical justice. The lines and law were clearly defined. The Bible was taught in the schools. The children of our nation learned to read through the pages of the Scriptures… and our nation was great. It was a nation of honor. It was a nation of principle. It was a nation of hope. It was a nation of strength, dignity, and integrity. It was a nation that was not perfect… but still always gave the individual the vision that they could make the nation better by putting their stamp on the pages of it’s history.

How sad it is to hear that the majority of the leaders of our country cannot even pin point a Biblical reference to support any of their stances. The news anchor, the journalist, the columnist spew the views and condemn those who hold to morality and they have not even taken the time to reference why these people hold to their stance so strongly.

The only good thing about the course our nation is beginning to take is the fact that the blurred lines of those who follow Christ and those who claim to follow Him, but really don’t, are beginning to become less blurred.

Those who obey Him, love Him. It’s as plain and simple as that.

You will either join the masses or you will step out and follow Him… you can talk all you want… profess all you want… but your life shows who you are following. If you can unashamedly mock His cross and His grace, ignoring the conforming to His Word… how can you claim to love Him?

Believe me, I understand growing in the LORD, I am growing as well… but growing requires… well growth. Standing with Christ requires taking a stand… taking up your own cross.

If our nation continues on this downward spiral away from who she was created to be will you be one who goes down with the masses or will you be one who steps in the boat with Christ and weather’s the storms to get to the other side with Him… and that being in every area of your life: business, political, and personal?

Oh Father,

Let me not be deceived or washed away in the masses. Let me always keep my eyes on Christ. The lies of Satan and this world are always directed to appeal to our flesh. We as people are too easily swayed when masses begin to cry out. Those who walk in accordance to darkness know this and they use it to their advantage. I often wonder how many that cried “Hosanna!” also cried “Crucify!” as my Savior stood beaten before them? How many just simply went with the crowd? Oh Father, strengthen me that I might always stand with You, even if it means I stand alone. Teach me how to teach others to do the same. Let them see it lived out in my words and my actions. My Jesus I remember now Your words to Peter when he asked you about the purpose and direction of someone else, You simply turned to him and said, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:22). I am not to focus on others. I am not to focus on the crowds. I am to focus only on You and follow only You.

My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,