Category Archives: Proven Path Ministries

It’s Just An Ordinary Day


What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again. Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. All things are wearisome;

Ecclesiastes 1:3-8

Sitting with my family the other night watching the premier of “The Voice” I was reminded of this post that I began several days before. Sometimes the Lord will simply place a thought in my heart and then will build on it before He ever gives me the sit down and be still time to write it out. This thought pulls all the way back to an overnight trip that my husband and I took back in August.

I had been scrolling through colleges and looking at seminary degrees and researching and on our way to our destination I asked him what he thought about me going back to school and getting a degree in Biblical counseling. He then said, “why is just being a wife and mother not enough?

As we sat down and watched “The Voice” there were at least two contestants that had abandoned their families to pursue their “musical dreams” and they claimed to be doing so for their kids, so they could show them that it was okay to go after their dreams.

After the second one my husband and I both looked at each other and then asked our girls which they thought the children of these two would have preferred… Watching their parents forsake those they claimed to love in order to pursue a personal dream or to have them forsake a personal dream in order to be there for the one’s they claimed to love. It didn’t take a second for our girls to answer. They knew that those kids would rather have had their family together.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends

John 15:13

How easily we have allowed Satan to destroy our families and our faith through the shallow promises of fame and mountaintop highs. When did being a faithful spouse, a loving parent, a loyal employer and/or employee stop being enough? 

And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

Luke 4:5-6

In this same week we watched an episode of “The Waltons”. In this episode Olivia had taken a job as a seamstress and she was amazing at her trade. So much so that the owner of the business wanted her to run that store while she opened another one in another town. This coming with week long trips to fashion shows in New York. Olivia flattered struggled with many sleepless nights as to what she should do… deciding that her first priority was to her family she declined the opportunity. That’s quite the opposite of the stories of many today. 

I believe it so often has boiled down to the fact that we have forgotten the sacredness of the ordinary. This is not immune to the church or even to my own heart. Perhaps we just might have set ourselves up to live as Phil Waldrep stated earlier this week “from mountaintop experience to mountaintop experience“. We drag ourselves through the daily routine simply to get us through to the next big thing. Whether it be the end of our school or work week living Friday night to Friday night or in our spiritual walk living Sunday morning to Sunday morning or conference to conference but,

Discipleship isn’t about running from mountain-top experience to mountain-top experience. It is about denying yourself, taking up the cross and following Jesus.
~ Phil Waldrep

Our lives are scheduled from schools start to Fall Break to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years to Valentines to Easter to Spring Break to Summer Vacation. Our church life seldom looks any different than our kids school schedule or the Wal-Mart seasonal decoration aisles.

While the calendar may seem to set us up to live from one major holiday to the next, what if there is far more to expect from the rest of our days? While holy days mark events that dramatically shape both religious and secular worldviews, our ordinary days give us the space to live these events out. In the repetitive rhythm of the church calendar, human hearts are invited to beat expectantly of a greater kingdom. Ordinary time is never ordinary, for God’s presence always involves the unexpected.

~ Jill Carattini

I am sure you have heard the saying about the dash. When these bodies have breathed their last and our spirit returns to the One who gave it to us, we are down to two mountaintop experiences. The day of our birth and the day of our death. Yet these two mountaintop experiences are not what define us… but it is instead the valley of the dash.

Strangers from the time of the laying of the stone until the day of the destruction of the earth will walk by and see the mountaintops, but only those that were a part of your ordinary everyday life will have a clue about that dash.

So we can live our lives so that people who never met us or really knew us can quote the dates of our mountaintops to mountaintops as we hop from one to the next or we can instead choose to dwell long and purposeful in the valley of the dash. Working not for fame, but from faith. Faith that the Lord is there in the ordinary. After all He laid aside the glory of heaven and became ordinary for us…

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

Isaiah 53:2

Just an ordinary Baby from an ordinary girl who married an ordinary man who would teach Him the way he had been commanded by their Heavenly Father in and through ordinary life. An ordinary Baby who would grow to become an ordinary Kid with questions, who would become an ordinary Man who would teach other ordinary men to do extraordinary things for the Extraordinary God in the midst of ordinary days. Who would die on a cross with ordinary thieves so that ordinary girls like me might be saved.

The information in that dash is reserved only for those who were there for the ordinary. The ordinary matters. It’s easy to claim to live for Jesus up there on that mountaintop, and sometimes instead of living Jesus out in the valley of the shadow of death we just want to throw up a tabernacle right there up top, but Jesus brought Peter, James, and John down from the mountain (Mark 9).

Live for Him in the ordinary. It’s never just another ordinary day.

This Is A Test

PPM-3.jpg David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

1 Samuel 17:39

The past couple of weeks I have been teaching my preschoolers about doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, about how wisdom comes from being willing to listen, and about how not giving up because something is hard produces perseverance. Perseverance is a big word for preschoolers… and well it’s a big word for adults too. And walking it out is a big undertaking for me these days.

My preschoolers have been working on learning Colossians 3:17 “whatever I do and whatever I say should be for Jesus and give Him praise” (paraphrased), Proverbs 1:5wise people listen, wise people learn” (paraphrased), and James 1:2-3consider it all joy when you face trials and hard things knowing that this testing of your faith is being used by God to produce perseverance” (paraphrased). These are tough verses to swallow. Easy to memorize and quote (especially the paraphrased version), but a different story in the actual living it out process. In our chapel time we have been learning from David.

Earlier this week as I read again the story of David and Goliath the Lord caused a verse to jump out to me that He had not before. In teaching the children about perseverance I pulled a “suppose this” out of 1 Samuel 17. I said, Suppose that when David was a boy out with his sheep and he picked up that sling and tried to use it, suppose he missed his target on the first try or couldn’t even get the rock to stay in the sling? Suppose that when that happened he would have thrown that sling down  and stomped away and quit. Would he have ever been able to defeat Goliath that day that he stood before him or would he have joined all the others who were shaking in their boots in fear?

David was able to stand in confidence before this enemy with just a sling because he had practiced with it and tested it. God had helped him use it to defeat animals that were coming to kill, steal, and destroy his sheep and therefore David knew he could trust God to help him use it to defeat Goliath as well. This sling had proven to be a faithful tool in the hands of David as he faced lesser foes which allowed David to confidently step before this greater enemy. Through the testing of this sling in the pasture defending sheep David had learned to trust God and this sling and was ready to use it on the battlefield defending all of Israel.

It was 1 Samuel 17:39 and the word tested that jumped out at me as never before as I read it in light of James 1:2-3.

David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

David refused to use Saul’s armor, not just because it did not fit, but because he personally had not tested it. David would not stand before the enemy and trust in anything that he had not yet proven to be faithful through lesser circumstances.

In James 1:2-3 the word for perseverance in the Greek is hupomoné and it means properly, remaining under, endurance; steadfastness, especially as God enables the believer to “remain (endure) under” the challenges He allots in life.

Precious one are you under some challenges? Are you willing to stay under those challenges until God removes them or changes them?

We can look at 1 Samuel 17:39 in light of James 1:2-3 in at least two ways…

  • We are tools in the hands of our God. If He is to use us to fight the powers of darkness and deliver others from the taunting threats of Satan He has to test us. He has to work us against lesser circumstances in order to prepare us for greater ones. We must be proven.

In Romans 5:3-5 we read, “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (underline mine). In order for God to use us for the glory of His Son, His name, and His kingdom we must be tested and proven. The only way to be tested is by facing trials. It sucks, I get it. But we have a choice. We can say throw me down and walk away, I don’t want to be used by You God. Or we can say, alright, Your will be done. Get me ready.

  • David had a sling. We have a sword, (“and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17).  David had to learn how to use that sling. We have to learn how to use our sword.

In order for David to be able to trust in his sling. He had to have opportunities to use it. He might have started out with just aiming at trees and bushes and rocks, but that’s not the same as facing an enemy that is out for blood.  It’s one thing to win Bible drills and ace that Seminary exam on hermeneutics, but it’s another thing to trust in the Word of God when it comes to quoting it in the face of hurt and disappointment. David had to learn to hit a bush before he could learn to hit a bear and he had to be prepared to stand before a bear before he could be prepared to stand before Goliath.

So I ask again… Precious one are you under some challenges? Are you willing to stay under those challenges until God removes them or changes them?

Teaching Your Preschooler To Pray

PPM-3.jpgIt happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”

Luke 11:1 

I am continuing my reviews of books on prayer based by the new movie release War Room. This week I am sharing about a book written by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, the producers, writers, and directors for the movie War Room.  This book is written to help teach preschool age children about prayer.

The book is

Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place is a book containing a cute story of a little boy searching for his perfect place to pray after he realizes that he sees his mother talk to God in a specific place every day.  After he struggles to the find the just right place, his parents talk with him about how he doesn’t need a “perfect place” for God to hear him because God hears his prayers any time and every place.

The treasure of this book is the prayer poster and stickers in the back. This  poster can be hung in your child’s room or on the refrigerator for all to see.  You can use this poster to teach your child to pray specifically and purposefully. My favorite part is the “God answered” stickers. This can help you to teach your child to not just pray specifically and purposefully, but also expectantly.

It’s important to help our children see how and when God answers our prayers. If we don’t do this, then they might become adults who throw words up to God, but never give Him credit for the answers. God isn’t our psychologist that sits quietly and listens while we talk it out. He is our very present help in our time of need.

How often do we give credit to answered prayers to “luck” or to another person, or to our own ability to “figure it out”? How many times have we completely missed that God answered a prayer because He did it so smoothly and gradually? Perhaps this is a book not just for our preschoolers… but for we grown-ups as well.

688683: Peter"s Perfect Prayer Place Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place
By Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick


More War Room inspired book reviews to come!

Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

I am reading Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer. If you follow my Proven Path FB Page then you have probably already noticed several postings that are excerpts from this book.

In her research to write this book, Priscilla polled a large section of women asking them where the enemy seemed to attack them the most. After she interviewed these women she sat down and came up with a top ten list of what she believes is Satan’s favorite strategies against us. As I give you this list, read through them and see if you recognize any of them as direct attacks that you have personally experienced.

Have you experienced him strategically attacking:

  1. Your passion for prayer and spiritual things
  2. Your focus of who’s the real enemy
  3. Your identity in Christ
  4. Your family
  5. Your confidence
  6. Your calling
  7. Your purity
  8. Your schedule
  9. Your heart
  10. Your relationships

Priscilla begins chapter one with these words…

If I were your enemy, I’d seek to dim your passion, dull your interest in spiritual things, dampen your belief in God’s ability and His personal concern for you, and convince you that the hope you’ve lost is never coming back– and was probably just a lie to begin with.

Each chapter begins with an “If I were your enemy…” and the rest of the chapter is written to help you see how the enemy has possibly snuck in and deceived and discouraged you. Then the chapter closes with Scripture references that are directly related to fight that attack. Beloved, we are given an amazing weapon by our God. We are given His Word. The Sword of the Spirit, is sharper than a double edged sword. This Sword is best wielded as an upward thrust from our knees.

When you don’t feel like praying is when you most need to pray. When you can’t pray is when you most need to get in fighting position… on your knees. Prayer has been a struggle for me for over a year now.  Staying focused. Staying “fervent”.

Staying… just staying has been so very hard.

I have never before in over thirteen years ever just rolled over and tried to sleep through my meeting time with the Lord… yet here in these past several months that’s where I have found myself… just wanting to “oversleep”. Yet, I have discovered that attempt after attempt, that even if at the last minute, my feet have hit the floor and I have come to our place even if it’s just to sit and stare and wait. Romans 8:26 has been my lifesaver.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

Praying has been a struggle, but I just keep showing up, everyday, at the same time, in the same place, that I have met God every day since we became so acquainted.

Priscilla made a statement in this book that truly resonated within me. She said, “whenever your passion in prayer is weak or missing, realize that it is God’s work both to give it and then to fan it into a flame inside you. Which means you cannot manufacture it on your own. Your enemy, however- coy as he is- wants to burden you with a blame for not having something that didn’t originate with you in the first place.” Then she goes on to say, “So go to Him to get it back. Don’t try to regain it yourself. Don’t set your hopes on other people or circumstances to fuse it back into the fiber of your being. Trust God’s care. Only His miraculous work can make it bubble back up to the surface where it belongs. And He is more than willing to do it.”

So I’ll just keep showing up and wait on Him to restore what the enemy has stolen.

In the mean time, Priscilla’s book has came just in time as my eyes and heart have been reminded of what the enemy had been able to distract me from in these past many months… my Heavenly Father’s love for me.

In the back of the book there are pages made available for notes and also for preparing your own strategic attack against that slimy serpent of old. Our prayers are our strategies and the weapon of our warfare is His Word.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

So my friend, if one of those top ten up there in that list is a place of struggle in your life… it’s not a freak accident… and it’s not the fault of flesh of blood. It’s your enemy. Make no mistake, he’s after you and he’s after those you love and he’s after your testimony for the Lord. He wants to see your witness and legacy destroyed. He’s not playing games. So we can’t either.

If you need help becoming fervent again or becoming fervent for the first time… then I recommend this book and the Scriptures that she pulls out for you.

A Beggar’s Heart (Part Two)


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:3-4

Let’s pick up where we left off…  In Matthew 5:1 the crowd is there and Jesus has left and gone up on the mountain and He has sat down and His disciples have come up the mountain to and for Him and they sit at His feet.

Then we read in Matthew 5:2 that Jesus opened His mouth…

Let us recall that this word “opened” in this verse in the Greek is anoigó and it means to open, break a door, a gate. Metaphorically it means to give entrance to the soul. It means to furnish opportunity to do something, to open to one, to grant something asked for, to speak freely, to hold nothing back. It means one who recovers the power of speech to restore the faculty of hearing, to part the eyelids so as to see, to open the eyes of one’s mind, to unseal, to unroll.

Beloved, did you let that sink in?

Are you there? Have you separated yourself from the chaos and cries and demands of the crowd? Those that are there only because they want something from you to meet their own immediate needs. Those that will allow you to convince yourself that as long as you are meeting their needs and serving them that these good works are enough to deem you righteous and worthy of eternity?

Have you looked up from the hard work to realize that Jesus is no longer there with you? That He has pulled away. That He has separated Himself from the crowd and gone up where once again His voice can be heard. He knows that you are listening to the wrong voices and are caught up in the chaos. He has stepped away not to abandon you in your service, but to call you to Himself. He knows how very easy it is to get distracted and disjointed. He knows you need refocused.

There is more to righteousness than knowing the Law and there is more to righteousness than doing good deeds. There is more to being blessed than being healed and happy. As a matter of fact we will learn that healed and happy doesn’t even make the list.

And there is more to the kingdom of the Messiah than overtaking Rome.

I can almost guarantee that the disciples had repeatedly asked Jesus when the kingdom would come. When would He build His army and overthrow Herod and Rome? When would they be free of the taxes and subjugation of this Gentile rule and fully receive the blessing of Abraham?

The disciples had been asking and now Jesus would grant them what they asked. He would now speak freely to them. He would unseal and unroll truth before them that they just could not see. He would now attempt to open the eyes of their mind to understand…

Jesus opened His mouth and He said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

The disciples could probably look out over the crowd and see a lot of poor desperate people. They had poverty staring them in the face and screaming at them for help. They also had men, I am sure, standing proud, with robes held tight, at a distance so as not to be touched and made ceremonially unclean by certain peoples in the crowd.

But Jesus didn’t say blessed are the poor. No, He said “Blessed are the poor in spirit…

The word “poor” in this verse in the Greek is ptóchos and it means deeply destitute, completely lacking resources, to be thoroughly frightened, to cower down or hide oneself for fear; hence, properly, one who slinks and crouches), often involving the idea of roving about in wretchedness. In classical Greek from Homer down it means reduced to beggary, begging, mendicant, asking alms. 

And this depth of poverty that Jesus says is blessed is that of the spirit.

You see a person can be utterly destitute of earthly possessions and even physical ability, yet still never recognize the poverty of their spirit just as easily as a rich religious man can be blinded to the depth of his spiritual destitution by his self-righteousness and earthly wealth. Jesus wanted to make sure the disciples caught this truth because the kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit alone.

The next blessing made by the great Teacher,”Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted” can be seen as a direct result of realizing the depravity of our spirit. Beloved if there is no mourning there has never truly been a realization of the poverty of our spirit. If there is no mourning there has indeed never been a moment of repentance.

Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance…

Matthew 3:5-8

Confession is nice, it might even make us feel better about ourselves. It might relieve us of our guilt for a time, but confession is not repentance.  No repentance. No entrance. The cry of Jesus is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

The word “mourn” in the Greek in this verse is pentheó and it means to properly, grieve over a death; (figuratively) to grieve over a personal hope (relationship) that dies, i.e. comes to divine closure. It refers to “manifested grief” –so severe it takes possession of a person and cannot be hid. 

Those that realize the poverty of their spirit cannot help but mourn because the thought that they in themselves might be able to please God comes to a divine closure. All personal hope in themselves dies and they realize they have no relationship with God and they realize it is there own fault. The disclosure of the magnitude of their sin and the truth that in no way do they lack the resources to attain salvation hits like a brick and there is nothing left but to mourn.

I remember the moment well.

First of all let me say that I remember the moment that I believed that Jesus was the Son of God. I was a child when I believed that I was a sinner and I believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sin and rose from the grave on the third day to never die again. I believed.

I also remember that in that belief, as I grew older, I could take Him or leave Him as He fit my need for the moment. I recall living like hell on Saturday and sitting in church on Sunday and feeling only a little discomfort over my actions, not enough to actually change them. Oh I hated getting caught. I hated the consequences that came with my actions. However, I could drown that easily enough.

Then eventually, finally, I began to carry a great enough guilt that I really tried to act right. In that really trying, I realized that I couldn’t. I just flat out couldn’t. It was at that moment that I realized that I was powerless. That I was bankrupt. That I was just flat out wretched and I truly began to mourn my condition. It was in this mourning that I picked up my Bible in desperation and asked God to please speak to me if He could forgive me… and He took me to Psalm 25… and I knew that He could… and He began drawing me in with His cords of love.

It was in my mourning that I was comforted.

And it was in my comfort that I cried out and begged God to never let me forget how I felt in my poverty and in my mourning because I never, NEVER, wanted to find myself that far away from Him ever again. I did not EVER again want to be seduced and deceived by the lies of Satan and find myself in the depths of that pit. Apart from mourning, real mourning, it’s easy to forget.

He has been faithful.

It is very easy for us to look at the Pharisees in Scripture and say, “Oh I am so glad I am not a Pharisee!” (Does this sound a little familiar? Maybe kind of like Luke 18:11) It’s very easy for us to get comfortable in our Christian bubble and forget that dead men have no power to not sin. It’s very easy to find ourselves standing with our robes tightly held, at a distance… forgetting where we came from… where we were when He saved a wretch like me.

But beloved, when we remember where we came from, then we stay crouched down… and when we stay crouched down we can be used by God to speak the truth of the gospel to others so that in His Light they too might be able to see the poverty of their own spirit and be able to mourn the depth of their own depravity so that the kingdom can also be theirs.

Precious one, do you mourn your sin and the sin of others or do you justify your own and look with disgust on the sins of others? Whether we be earthly poor, afflicted, and addicted or earthly rich, educated, and religious… apart from a beggar’s heart we will have no part of His kingdom.

Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
The poison of asps is under their lips”;
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.”
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:10-18

A Beggar’s Heart (Part One)


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:3-4

Blessed. In the Greek this word is makarios. As we went over  our small study of this word in our precept class one gentlemen shared this statement about the word makarios, “there is despair in the attempts to find its English equivalent for translation.” Ponder that. When Jesus said “Makarios…“, the word held so much power and meaning we don’t even have a word in our English language that can really correctly interpret it… “blessed” is the best we can do.

Then as we have a tendency to due with our English words, we find a way to use them into the point of the dilution of their meaning. They become common place and begin to be applied to things that really are not worthy of their original intent. We make words meant to describe great depth of meaning and significance into common ordinary words that end up holding no immediate significance.

We use the same word to describe our desire for ice cream as we do our devotion to our spouse. We use the same word to describe a roller coaster ride as we do the character of our God. We use the same word to describe our affection for spiders as we do the evils of this world. We make common the uncommon and therefore when we read the beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-10 we think how sweet, but we miss the point that as the words of Jesus enter our ears they should cause our mouths to drop open and our hearts to turn over within us.

First of all let me help you get a better picture of this day. In Matthew chapter 1 we are given the genealogy of Jesus. We see immediately that Matthew want us to see that Jesus was a legal heir to the throne in the direct line of David, both by birth through Mary (who was the son of David through his son Nathan, 2 Samuel 5:14) and by adoption through Joseph (who was the son of David through his son Solomon). Then we see that Matthew wants to make clear to us that Jesus was the Son of God, Immanuel God with us. Conceived not by flesh and blood, but by the Holy Spirit. Matthew begins his gospel by laying this foundation.

He also uses the first four chapters of this book to show how from the moment of the intent of His conception Jesus was fulfilling Scripture.  At least seven times we read, This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the LORD through the prophets… (Matthew 1:22, 2:5, 2:15, 2:17, 2:23, 3:3, 4:14). In chapter 3 we meet John the Baptist. John would be the one who be the forerunner to the Messiah. He would be the one who make ready the path of the LORD. He would be the one who cry out, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 

Beloved, do you realize that if you belong to Christ you too are supposed to be a John the Baptist? You too are supposed to be crying out into the wilderness of your world, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. You too are supposed to be making ready the way of the LORD and making His path straight?  You too are supposed to look and sound and act differently than the religious self-righteous and the lost secularist? Are you?

Now John had grown the crowd. John had made the way. Then Jesus stepped onto the stage. In chapter 3 we see Jesus come to John for baptism and in His baptism we read that all those watching that day heard God the Father confirm God the Son and saw God the Spirit descend upon Him like a dove.

We then read in chapter 4 that immediately after that Jesus is led into the wilderness to battle Satan in His flesh and blood for forty days and forty nights… and while he battled all of Jerusalem and Judea and the district of the Jordan was a buzz. The talk was scattering all around about the man who came down to the river to be baptized by John who declared Him the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

Sometime after Jesus battled in the wilderness John the Baptist was taken into custody… and Jesus picked up his cry, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. John had fulfilled his purpose. Beloved as do we. We can only lead someone to the Way… we can’t walk them down the path. Our job is too make the Way clear and the path straight, Jesus will do the rest.

In Matthew 4:17 Jesus begins to preach and in Matthew 4:18-22 He calls His first disciples. Now let us remember that the one’s that He calls had already met Him. Jesus didn’t walk by the Galilee that day and say, Alakazam! Follow Me, and these fishermen mindlessly got out of their boats and zombie walked after HimNo. We know from John’s gospel that some of these men had been following John the Baptist. Andrew was there the day Jesus was baptized and he spent the day with Jesus (John 1:39) and I have no doubt that those forty days that Jesus battled Satan alone, Andrew was talking to John and his brother Simon, and who ever else would listen and discuss these things with him. So when Jesus picked up the baton of John the Baptist and said Follow Me… these men were ready to follow a man they knew, He was not a stranger (John 10:4-5).

From that moment on…

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

Matthew 4:23

Jesus did not just pick up the message of John the Baptist, He WAS the message. We read in Matthew 4: 24-25 that the news spread throughout all Syria. Crowds followed Him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

Look at the map below and think about it for a moment. Look at the range of distance and how quickly the news spread over this range. Now, this was before Fox News and CNN. This was before the telephone. This was before the telegraph. This was how powerful the impact was that Jesus was making on everyone who came in contact with Him.


So here we are. Jesus is with His disciples and He is going throughout all of Galilee teaching in the synagogues and healing every kind of sickness and disease and He is proclaiming the gospel and crowds from all over the middle east are traveling to Galilee to find Him. Coming to Him, bringing their sick with them, in hope against hope that He would heal them. Then in Matthew 5 we read “When Jesus saw the crowds…

Imagine the scene.

It’s not the Jesus movie scene where everyone is sitting quietly criss-cross-applesauce on the green grass listening intently to a standing Jesus speaking softly with open arms and hands… no I believe it was probably closer to utter chaos.

In the crowd were the sick, the dying, the demonically possessed, the epileptics, the paralytics, the leprous, the blind, the deaf. In the crowd were the Jew, the Gentile, the Samaritans. In the crowd were the searching and the seeking and the skeptic. In the crowd were both those who wanted to be a disciple, those that were just enjoying the show, and those who were there to determine the validity of this One who was causing such a commotion in the land.

I imagine this scene closer to a refugee camp or a war zone makeshift hospital. Everyone screaming and demanding that their loved one be touched first. Pushing and shoving and fighting to get the front. I imagine the sounds of the screams of the hurting and the sounds of the venomous cries of those who were demoniacs standing so close in the presence of the One who had authority over them to bind them in eternal chains until the great day of the LORD. I imagine the disciples being caught and lost throughout the crowd trying to maintain some type of resemblance of order and calmness.

Then I imagine Jesus. I imagine Him looking at the crowd and turning to walk up the mountain without saying a word. I imagine that one by one His disciples, realizing that Jesus had went up on the mountain, told the people to be still. To hold on, they would be back. And then they themselves, one by one and two by two, turning and heading up the mountain to sit at the feet of their Teacher.

Then we read in Matthew 5:2 that Jesus opened His mouth…

This word “opened” in the verse in the Greek is anoigó and it means to open, break a door, a gate. Metaphorically it means to give entrance to the soul. It means to furnish opportunity to do something, to open to one, to grant something asked for, to speak freely, to hold nothing back. It means one who recovers the power of speech to restore the faculty of hearing, to part the eyelids so as to see, to open the eyes of one’s mind, to unseal, to unroll. 

Beloved, just let that sink in…

Are the cries of the crowd overwhelming you? Have you realized that you are deafened to the voice of your Teacher because of the chaos of the world around you? Then precious one look up… Jesus is on the mountain. He has sat down. He is waiting for you.


More on the Sermon on the Mount:

 Getting Real With Yourself

A Beggar’s Heart (Part Two)

But God, You Gave A Snake


The definition of righteousness in the book of Matthew within the context of the Sermon on the Mount is the Greek word dikaiosuné and it means to have the approval of God, deemed right after being examined, it is demanded by God, it is correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting. That my friends is a pretty tall order. As I read this definition of righteousness I was hit with the correctness in thinking and feeling…

I am leading a Precept Upon Precept study on the Sermon on the Mount so I have been reading through Matthew 5 – 7 over and over the past several weeks. I am coming at the study seeking the kingdom of my God and His righteousness and I am coming as one who is mourning and needed to be comforted. My thinking and feeling is not all that correct right now and the enemy of my soul knows very well that I am vulnerable. That slimy serpent is even using the Word of my God as weapon against me.

As I read though the Words of my Savior in Matthew 7, I found myself questioning my God.

Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?

Matthew 7:9-10

I read these words and my heart said, But God You gave me a snake. Then His Spirit said to me, That’s not true to My Word.

You see my struggle is not so much that my Daddy went home to be with his Lord. My struggle is how he went home. He went home in what feels like chaos or in a whirlwind. With Phillis we had time to prepare. We had time to tell her things. It doesn’t make missing her easier or less, but I don’t have the nightmares with her that I do with my Daddy. I don’t wake up crying in the middle of the night because we didn’t get to tell my Daddy what the doctor said and I didn’t get my last Monday. With daddy we had JUST been given permission to let go and stop fighting and prepare to say good-bye. We had JUST been given the peace to talk about the step into eternity instead of the next step in the battle for life.

Monday was my day with my Daddy. I was supposed to have Monday. Just me and him. The Lord took him home on Saturday. So it feels like I asked for a fish and my God gave me a snake.

I don’t think I have ever felt the fangs of the serpent digging into my heart and my mind as painfully as I have these past several months. I have lost count of the Scriptures that he has spit at me and said, See I told you He was the liar. You have believed in vain and you cannot trust Him. There is nothing and you are nothing. 

Then I hear him mock me, What? This has shook you? There are people being sawed in half and watching their children being raped and beaten just because they follow Jesus and you are questioning Him over this? Really? You are quite pathetic aren’t you. You know you are going to stand before Him ashamed don’t you?

His hissing is like a fly that keeps buzzing around my head and trying to land on my food. The kind that is so persistent that you cannot even eat the food because you can’t stop shooing the fly away long enough to get a bite. Of course, that’s his goal. He wants to exhaust me with his hissing and buzzing so that I never actually get a taste of the Bread of Life that I have sat down to partake of so that I might find nourishment in my time of need.

Do you know what I mean?

Is this flying serpent buzzing around your head?

The lie is that He gave a snake. The truth is that He gave a fish. Walking by faith and not by sight is not always easy. It’s actually quite impossible apart from God. I am looking forward to the day that I see…

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

1 John 3:2

Walking by faith is trusting that God gave you a fish especially when it feels like He gave you a snake. Remembering that He loves His own with an everlasting love. Remembering that His character is one of compassion and lovingkindness. Remembering that He is just in all His ways. Remembering that His purpose is the glory of Christ and His Kingdom.

I can do this because I know that even Jesus felt forsaken. The Only Begotten of the Father experienced doubt in His hurt and groanings in this world. Even He cried out to God in prayer and felt as though His prayers hit the ceiling.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
In You our fathers trusted;
They trusted and You delivered them.
To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

Psalm 22:1-5

I often read this Psalm and find myself unworthy to apply any of it to my suffering. Jesus quoted these words when on the cross dying for me. I almost feel ashamed to claim them as my own… yet I suppose in claiming them I am lifting up my cross as His.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Matthew 16:24

So as I dig into this Sermon on the Mount I am seeking my Lord and asking Him to work on my heart. I am hungry and thirsty for His righteousness and I am weary from shooing this flying serpent away from my face and plate. I need the wind of His Spirit to blow him away so that I can rest and eat. Remembering that He is holy.

I might feel He is silent. I might be weary. Yet He is holy. And those who trust in Him are never disappointed.

So here is my heart Lord. Speak what is true.

Getting Real With Yourself


This coming Wednesday is the introductory lesson to a new Bible study that I will be leading on the Sermon on the Mount.  As I turned to look at lesson one which will be discussed on the 26th of this month I read these words by A.W. Tozer:

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatsoever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts. 

I am hungry for this study of the Sermon on the Mount. My soul needs to be nourished. I need to be reminded of who my Jesus is and who He has called me to be. The great challenge of this in-depth study of the words of Christ that were delivered on that mountain is allowing them to penetrate to the very core of your being.

We can sit in a Bible study and choose to remain on the outside of it in a hypothetical discussion and we can choose to use other people in our lives to be the examples for our interpretation and application of what we study, but this only keeps us from experiencing the reality of the Word of God and thus His very presence in our life. The Word was made flesh to come and dwell among us, not for us to continue to hear it in hypotheticals, but to experience Him wholly. As I personally dig into these truths I will be rending the garment of my heart and crying out for my God to come down and enter within in all His fullness that I might delight in Him.

I felt led to offer this study back at the first of 2015 as I was completing a study through the book of Jeremiah. I thought the Lord was leading me to it in order to hopefully open the door to those who would be new to inductive study, as studying the Old Testament and prophesy seems to intimidate so many believers today. I had no clue that He was leading me to it because He knew I myself would need it so very much. He already knew that I would have this wall laid up in my heart that He would need to tear down.

So for those of you reading this that will be entering into this study along side me, know that this study will not be lead by someone who is simply going to instruct and facilitate facts and exposition of truth, but by someone who is coming to this study to experience her God. The rains have came and the flood waters have risen and the winds have crashed up against the walls of this heart of mine until I have found myself clinging to the solid Rock with my fingernails dug in deep and I wish to find my footing so that I might once again stand firm.

In a casual reading of the Sermon on the Mount it would appear that Jesus is standing up on the mountain preaching to the multitude, but that is not the case. Jesus saw the crowds that had followed Him because of all the hoopla that was buzzing about Him. He saw those that followed in hopes of being fed, in hopes of being physically healed, or simply just to see a show. He saw them and He left them and went up the mountain and sat down. After He had sat down, His disciples came up to Him.

The Sermon on the Mount was not delivered to the multitude. The Sermon on the Mount was delivered to His disciples. In Matthew 5: 1 we read,

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him

That last “Him” in Matthew 5:1 is in the dative case. The use of the dative case is the case of personal interest, pointing out the person to or for whom something is done. If my understanding of this Greek word is correct then those who came to Jesus came not to gain something for themselves but because they were interested in Him and they came to the mountain to Him and for Him, not to ask anything from Him, but just to learn how to follow Him.

Then that word “His” before disciples, it is in the Genitive case. The genitive case may be defined as the case of qualification (or limitation as to kind) and ( occasionally) separation. So once again if my understand of this Greek word is correct, then the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus telling those that would be His disciples what their qualifications must be. This is what will separate those who are His from those who are not.

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 5:20

The Sermon on the Mount is imperative. It is not a hypothetical idea and it was not a nice way of living that Jesus proclaimed to a faceless crowd.


It was Him, face to face and heart to heart, with His disciples saying these are your qualifications to be Mine.  So beloved, I don’t know about you, but I want to be separated unto Jesus. I want to be His. I want to qualify to be His disciple and when I step down off that mountain I want the crowd to be able to know that I have been with Jesus and I belong to Him.

Jesus closes this one on one face to face teaching with those who came up the mountain to sit at His feet with a word of warning…

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.

Matthew 7:21-23

Jesus already saw what we see so much of today in TV evangelism and traveling road shows that make a spectacle of the gospel in order to draw crowds not to make disciples.

I want to be a disciple that makes disciples and I want to honor my Lord from the inside out. The Sermon on the Mount requires us to go past the outside religious activities that anyone can walk though without heart. Anyone can attend church. Anyone can debate Scripture interpretation. Anyone can help others for the pat on the backs and the self gratification it brings. Jesus calls those who are to be truly His to go even deeper still.

The Sermon on the Mount calls us to get real with ourselves. We have heard it said… but He says to us, you are salt and light.

Just Repeat After Me


This summer our family traveled with several other families from our church to Boston to help put on a VBS for a Baptist church in the area. When we arrived after a two day drive we were sat down by the Pastor and informed of some do’s and do not’s that were required of us while we were there.

One of the do not’s was that we were not allowed to pray with any child to “receive Christ” and send them home to tell Mom and Dad that they “got saved today. ” The Pastor explained to us that in that area, with all the different religious backgrounds, that many times what a parent heard was not, “I got saved today” but “I was brainwashed today“.

I nodded my head in agreement with the Pastor. His request was not something that bothered me for many reasons. For one, I no longer do the repeat after me prayer with adults or children. I did at first, because that is how I was taught to lead someone to Christ so that they could be saved. However, after my own experience with this repeat after me method and now that I have longer studied the Word for myself and have sat at the feet of Jesus and shared His Word with many, both young and old, I have seen the danger of this teaching. The danger I see in this method is that I believe it simply has us repeating memorized rote instead of being lead by the Holy Spirit to speak to the heart of a particular individual.

I cannot find anywhere in the Scripture where Jesus commanded us to say, just repeat after me, nor can I find Him commanding us to say, now by the authority of the prayer you just prayed I declare you saved. 

Jesus said Follow Me, Come to Me, Believe Me, Love MeObey Me… and teach others to do the same. Whether or not they do, is between them and Him.

I simply cannot find Him teaching His disciples to get together a method and go out and tell people to follow that method and then you can tell them they are saved. As a matter of fact I lean more to finding the exact opposite of that,

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition…

Matthew 6:7

I have no doubt that this method probably didn’t begin as a “method” but from a sincere heart of servant of Christ who simply was sharing how the Lord led Him to lead an individual or individuals to Himself and then we do as we do. We discover it’s easier to follow steps that we can see than to walk by faith. It’s easier and less personal to repeat a rote method than to be still and possibly led into the unknown depths of a hurting soul. It’s less messy to just say repeat after me and move on. Check the box. My job is done. Next.

When the Lord opens the door of opportunity with me to sit down with a heart that has heard the gospel and professed to believe I always put the ball in that individuals court. I let them know that this is between their heart and Jesus. They need to talk to Him themselves. I will sit with them. I will hold their hand, but they will do the talking. He is their High Priest, their Mediator, I am just the messenger.

I am simply there to say, Individual this is my friend Jesus, Jesus this is my friend Individual. I’ll leave the two of you alone to talk. Because frankly if they are not close enough to Him to talk to Him at that moment then they have not yet encountered Him.

In our Sunday School class we are going through the MasterWork series and as I read over the lesson Saturday morning I loved what Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation wrote in their book Compelled: Living the Mission of God

Jesus did not say “make converts” or “teach them to pray a particular prayer.” Rather, you and I are to participate in the work of multiplying the number of surrendered learners and followers of Christ. We are to lead people into the kingdom by way of the cross. Again, this is not about enrolling people into a Bible study group or making them an adherent to our particular denomination. Rather, they are to intimately follow Christ.

The use of the word make (“Go therefore and make disciples…” Matthew 28:19) signals us to be involved in the process. Scripture describes believers in this way: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Today, clay jars are decorative items placed about the home to add color or panache. However, in the time of the early church, a clay pot was just a storage container. They were as common as the plastic tubs one buys at the dollar store. And yet diamonds can be stored in a cheap container. As the church, we are collection of these plain vessels that carry the gospel. We bring the light of Christ to those in the dark, but we are just the instrument, not the light. We pour out the water of life to those who exist in a spiritual drought, but we are only the jar, not the water. We serve the bread of life to a famished soul, but we are only the plate, not the bread. We make disciples by intentionally carrying this message to the lost.

Then Sunday night as I sat and listened to a guest pastor share a message from Luke 15 that focused on the fact that Jesus received sinners and therefore so should we as the church, His body, he used an illustration from the parable of the lost sheep. He shared that today in many of our churches when we see or hear of a lost sheep, instead of leaving the 99 and going to seek that 1, we will instead say: Well, let’s fill out a prospect card. Once again a man made method…

Jesus also never commanded us to build a big beautiful building and make what is going on inside fun and interesting so that the lost will come. Yet another man made method.

No, He said, Go and make disciples. That building is nice, but it is not necessary. He shared how often many in the church will declare that their church is right slap out in the open on a well traveled route and if people want to come they know where it is and they will come if they want to… but that is not how Jesus taught His church to think.

What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?

Matthew 18:12

I know how easily it is to allow this mentality to pollute an entire church. Just yesterday as I was driving I was listening to one of the Christian radio stations in our area and the radio host made the comment about how we pick up the accents of those we live around. This is so very true. If I, as a southern girl, moved up to Boston eventually my accent would begin to pick up on the flavor of the area. If I stayed there and had children in that area, my children would most likely not have my southern accent, but a full blown Boston accent. The influence of one generation becomes the reality of the next. 

Oh beloved of God, let us examine our hearts. Leading someone to Jesus is not simply taking someone by the hand and saying, repeat after me, Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died on the cross for my sin. I ask You to come into my heart and save me. It’s that simple yes, but the power is not in the prayer. It’s in the gospel. We must be born again.

Testimony after testimony shows us that this method has left many coming to the altar, after years and years of stale church attendance and wrecked lives, realizing that all this time they thought they were saved because they prayed this prayer and the person they repeated after said they were saved, but they, in fact were not. I suggest we get back to the basics. I suggest we get back to the Book.

When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs,what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.  And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

Acts 16:27-34 (underlining for emphasis) 

What do I see here in this passage?

First I see two men who were free yet chose to stay in the cell in their freedom so that they could bring others into freedom.

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  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…

John 17:15-20

Then when the one who is overwhelmed that even though these men were free and could have left, they forsook their own freedom in order to save the life of the one who had put them in chains, cries out to be saved… they speak the word of the Lord to him. They did not say, well repeat after me and you will be saved.

We also see immediate response with action to what the jailor had heard and professed to believe. The jailor washed their wounds. The one who was served immediately served the server. The heart change had taken place. The humility of salvation was made evident.

When we stop and think about it, the way to salvation, the mandate of God to those who are His, has never changed… it simply has gained even more power:

Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 31:12

Is God’s call to the children of Israel when He was about to have them step into the Promised Land after delivering them from the slavery of Egypt any different from the commission of Christ to the church?

Let’s break it down.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

In order to assemble people, we have to go and get them, and not just any them’s but all them’s, the male, the female, the adult, the child, even the alien… all the nations. In order to make disciples we have to teach them to hear and to learn and to fear the Lord… to observe all that He has commanded.

Salvation does not come from praying a repeated prayer. It comes from hearing the word of the Lord. It comes through the Holy Spirit opening hearts and minds to understand what they have heard. Salvation is proved by our obedience to what we have heard.

We preach the Word both by living the Word and speaking the Word. The jailor had heard the reason why Paul and Silas were in prison. He had heard for himself the sounds of their praise being lifted up even in their persecution. He then saw them live out their willingness to die for the life of others. It was all this beautiful testimony wrapped in one that caused the jailor to cry out to be saved. Then when he cried out Paul and Silas simply spoke the Word of the Lord some more. This is our example. When someone says what must I do to be saved, we too need to speak the Word some more.

Salvation is simple. Believe Jesus, confess Him as Lord, and obey His commands. If we have truly believed we will love Him and love others and if we love Him we will obey Him and so prove to be His disciple which means we will too now go and make disciples. We will be compelled to do so… we will not be content with our own salvation but will earnestly desire to see the salvation of all nations and every people.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

693517: Compelled: Living the Mission of God Compelled: Living the Mission of GodBy Ed Stetzer & Philip Nation / New Hope PublishersThink the “mission field” means traveling to foreign lands or unfamiliar neighborhoods? Stetzer and Nation show you how to make a difference right where you are! Providing ample illustrations, they explore the basic theology and principles of missiology, as well as personal applications in this revised edition of Compelled by Love. Includes thought-provoking discussion questions. 192 pages, softcover from New Hope.

Loss, Life, and Love


Some of you may be getting tired of my Daddy and Phillis posts… but we are still trying to muddle through this hurt. Who would have ever thought that seventeen years ago me and this guy would meet and fall in love and get married and then in one month we would both lose two people that helped define who we knew ourselves to be.

There is a hole in our lives that no one else on earth can fill… and I am still waiting for God to step in and fill it with Himself… or perhaps more so God is waiting on me to let Him.

My husband hit it on the head yesterday… I don’t want to NOT HURT. For me, right now, to not hurt is equal to saying they really were not that big of a deal in my life.

I am still working through anger, disappointments, and not saying things I want to say to people who have added insult to this injury. I am still battling it out with my Jehovah-rapha the Lord my Healer. Praising Him and resting in Him in one moment and then pounding my fist into His chest and telling Him to let me go in the next.

It’s hard to mourn for two when the two who are mourning do it so differently. Different moments cause different memories to surface and what I am terming “phantom memories”, the memories that now never will be but you know beyond a shadow of a doubt would have been.

I wish the promise of eternal life was enough of the balm of Gilead to ease the gap of the distance between here and there, but it’s not. Knowing where someone is simply does not make the separation any less painful.

I can’t imagine how someone without the hope of the promise made from the lips that would rise from the dead as the Firstborn of many (Colossians 1:18) could ever survive this hurt and remain mentally and emotionally stable.

The problem with love is that when it is lived the loss of it is ever so much greater. At least that is how it appears from my end at this moment.

Last week was the hardest. Last week was three months to the week that we were given the death sentences. Phillis received her news on April 27th and my Daddy on April 30th. I was sitting with my Daddy as I was texting Phillis while she was at the doctor. I was sitting with my Daddy when my husband called and said Phillis has called a family meeting. I was sitting there trying to encourage my Daddy that he would feel better when they got that tube out of his side…

I keep repeating in my head, the joy of the Lord is my strength…

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

The day that my Daddy and Phillis were set free was holy to the Lord.

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.

Psalm 116:15

It was the day that He got to bring His adopted children home.

We have friends in our church who are anxiously waiting on the home coming of their adopted children. In great anticipation they are looking to the day that those rooms they have prepared for them are filled with their presence.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:1-2

I imagine that in even greater and deeper anticipation our Father in heaven awaits us. He sent His Son to pay the price and make sure all the legal stuff was covered and the passports sealed, signed, and verified. He fully supports us by His riches (Ephesians 3:15-19) from His home country by which we are now legal citizens and are in the process of being made ready to cross the border (Philippians 3:20-21).

It’s amazing how God turns sorrow into gladness and mourning into dancing. I really do not know how He does it, because I want to be angry with Him. I want to grieve. I want to mourn. I want to shout why at the top of my lungs and fall in a heap on the floor and kick and scream until He brings them back to me… but He simply won’t let me.

He allows me to hurt, but then He reaches into the depths of my soul and that fountain of living water releases and wells up in me as a spring of life… just as He said it would.