Category Archives: Uncategorized

Names of God Study: Jehovah-shalom


It’s time for another post in the Names of God series. We have done a little study on the names Elohim, El Elyon, El Roi, El ShaddaiEl OlamAdoniaJehovahJehovah-jirehJehovah-raphaJehovah-nissi, and Jehovah-mekoddishkem. Today we will learn more about our God from His name, Jehovah-shalom. 

We discover this name of God in Judges chapter six. When we look at the context of this chapter of Scripture we discover that this is a time of great turmoil in the life of Israel. It is after the death of their leader Joshua, the one who brought them into the promised land. It is a time when the children of Israel have decided to do what seems best in their own eyes instead of obeying the God who brought them out of Egypt.

In this chapter we are introduced to Gideon. We find him hiding in the wine press threshing wheat. While he hides, God decides to surprise him. The angel of the LORD pops in and declares that this hiding man is a valiant warrior… yes Gideon is shocked. After a time of exchanges and encouragements Gideon asks the angel of the LORD to hang around for an offering which he complies. When Gideon witnesses how the angel of the LORD consumes the offering, he realizes who he has been talking to…

When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD,
he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD!
For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 
The LORD said to him,
“Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 
Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD
and named it The LORD is Peace.
Judges 6:22-24
He named it Jehovah-shalom.
The LORD is Peace.
There is only one way to receive peace… and that is from God.
Yes, we try in many other ways to get it…

We can light all the candles we want. We can try to find a place of solitude and quiet and shut out our inner thoughts and outer noise… but we will not find real peace here. We cannot self-will ourselves into peace.

When we try to self-will ourselves into peace or try to control our circumstances in order to get peace we usually end up banging our heads up against the wall in sheer frustration. We may get the peace for a moment, but the second our circumstances change or an interruption occurs that peace is gone.

Lasting peace comes only from God.

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
 The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
Lasting peace comes from knowing that we are right with God. It comes from knowing that it is God who keeps us and sustains us regardless of our circumstances or life’s interruptions. Lasting peace comes through faith. It comes from God and through God.
Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:1
When trials and tribulations come we have to remember that peace is not found in a place. It does not come through a system. It is found in a person.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27
These things I have spoken to you,
so that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation,
but take courage;
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

 When our peace comes from God then we have it regardless of our circumstances. Our circumstances may be crazy. Gideon was hiding in the wine press because his nation was in turmoil. He was surrounded by enemies and lived in fear… because he had forgotten who his God was. He had forgotten the promises of his God. He had forgotten the mighty works of his God. He thought the problem was his outer circumstances, but the problem was really in him.

Oh precious one, if you have Christ, then you have peace. Your innards are already full of peace. Christ in you the hope of glory! The Prince of Peace lives in you, never to leave you, never to forsake you. You just have to walk in it. You just have to get this thing going 🙂

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4
If we will keep our minds focused on the promises of God, trusting in His Word, walking by faith and not by sight, our God will keep us in perfect peace. When troubles come if we will remember…
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’
declares the LORD,
‘plans for welfare and not for calamity
to give you a future and a hope’
 Jeremiah 29:11
Oh precious one, do you need peace?
First ask yourself “Have I got Jesus?”
If you have Him, then you have peace.
Next walk in Him, think on Him, rest in Him and His Word.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things. 
The things you have learned
and received and heard and seen in me,
practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9
Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the promise.
Remember Jehovah-shalom.
The LORD is Peace.

>Frogs and Mercy and Forgiveness


Then the LORD said to Moses,
“Go to Pharaoh and say to him,
‘Thus says the LORD,
Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
But if you refuse to let them go, behold,
I will smite your whole territory with frogs. 
Exodus 8:1-2
Seven days have passed since the Lord turned the Nile to blood. Seven days for Pharaoh to think and consider and ponder letting the Hebrews go for a time to worship their God.
God sends Moses before Pharaoh once again to request that he let the children of Israel go. God is asking permission from Pharaoh. God does not have to do this. He does not have to consider Pharaoh at all. God could destroy Pharaoh and all of Egypt with a single breathe from His nostrils, yet He comes and is allowing Pharaoh to make a decision.
With every judgment God is giving Pharaoh an opportunity to bow his knee in submission to the One True Living God.
Egypt worshipped many gods and the True God is about to show Pharaoh and all of Egypt that He alone is sovereign over all the earth. The signs and plagues that the Lord is sending upon Egypt are not random. God is choosing very specifically.
The first sign that Moses brought before Pharaoh was his staff changing into a serpent. The cobra was sacred in Egypt and was connected to many goddesses. One was Wadjet, the cobra goddess of Buto, who represented kingship. Another was Renenet, who was a fertility goddess and was sometimes depicted as a woman nursing a child. She also was known as a protector of Pharaoh.
Let us recall that it was the snake of Moses that swallowed the two snakes of the magicians. Knowing this makes that sign a little more important doesn’t it?
In the first plague God turned the Nile to blood. The Nile was the life-sustainer to all of Egypt. The god of the Nile was known as Hap or Hapi. He was known as the greatest of all gods. He was declared to be the creator of everything. They even believed that all the other gods came forth from him.
Once again let the weight of this knowledge weigh on you as you put yourself in the place of an Egyptian during this time as they watched this unknown God of the Hebrews control the waters of their greatest god.  
Now we come to the second plague, the frogs. The frogs of the Nile were worshiped as sacred objects and if someone killed a frog, even accidentally, the punishment was death. One of the frog goddesses was known as, Heqet or Heka. She was one of the eight gods that the Egyptians associated with creation. She was thought to be the initiator of fertility and resurrection. When the Egyptian women gave birth this was the false deity they called upon. They believed that she was the one who breathed life into the child in their womb. The Egyptians also believed that it was this goddess who took their Pharaohs to their eternal thrones after death.
The LORD told Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his staff over the Nile and bring forth frogs up out of the Nile. Aaron did as he was commanded and frogs came and covered the land of Egypt. Once again, Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, saw that the God of Moses, the God of the Hebrew slaves, had power and authority over another of their gods.
Pharaoh goes to his magicians and they are able to make frogs come out of the Nile also, but once again, they cannot make them go away.
Pharaoh goes to Moses and he tells him that if will ask God to remove the frogs, then he will let the Hebrews go and make a sacrifice to their God. Moses asks Pharaoh to just say when. He leaves the time of the removal of the frogs to Pharaoh’s word because he wants him to “know that there is no one like the LORD our God.” (Exodus 8:10) Moses entreats the LORD on behalf of Pharaoh and the frogs are destroyed.
Pharaoh receives the mercy of God upon himself and upon his nation. Pharaoh gets the relief he wanted. His circumstances have changed. He no longer is in the difficult situation that caused him to seek God for help. This mercy should have caused him to thank the God who delivered it, but instead in the midst of the relief of the mercy of God, Pharaoh hardens his heart. He went back on his word, on his vow, and refused to let the people go.
Oh precious one, have you been there? Have you been in the midst of a difficult time and cried out to God and made promises to Him that you did not keep once He delivered you out of your distress?
Well, my friend, I know that I have. I know that I have cried out to God to deliver me from pain or to give me the outcome that I wanted in a situation. I would cry, “God if you will do what I am asking, then I will do this, or I will never do that again.”
One particular time stands out more than any other. I was eighteen years old and standing outside hospital doors while my best friend’s sixteen year old little sister lay in the ICU from a car accident. At the time I was a rebellious and immoral young girl and I cried out to God and asked Him to save her. I also knew I was living in a way that was not pleasing to God or my parents and as I looked her death in the face I feared my own. I promised God that I would stop having sex outside of marriage. I promised that I would start going back to church. I promised Him that I would change.
The promises I made to God, I didn’t keep. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, but they were promises that were too strong for me to keep in my own will, in my own strength, and especially when it was against the will of another. 
Two months later I found out that I was pregnant.
One month later my grandfather died.
One month after that I miscarried the child.
I lost a dear friend, a grandfather, and a child in a three month span all on top of the guilt of broken promises to a God I had rebelled against and made promises to that I didn’t keep.
Not long after this I received a bracelet as a gift and it had the Ten Commandments on it. I put it on my wrist and thought that if I wore it on my body at all times I could keep these commandments and obey God and say no when I knew I was supposed to say no.
I couldn’t, and my heart grew even harder. 
Now I did not realize that I was hardening my heart in the face of God in these situations, but my failure to keep my promises was from the same root that was planted in Pharaoh. The root of the lie that I had power on my own, apart from God. I thought that the ability to keep my vows all resided within me, in my own strength. I made promises and it was up to me to see them through. I had not yet realized that I was a slave to sin, and had no authority over myself. The good that I wanted to do, I could not do, but I practiced the very evil that I did not want to do (Romans 7:19). I just thought I was a failure and was doomed to an eternal hell because I was not strong enough to do better.
How thankful I am for the grace of our God.
My friend, pay close attention to your heart, to your responses to the mercy of God. Where are you at in your life. Have you hardened your heart in the face of God as He relieved you from your distress? Have you made promises to Him that you have not kept because you failed to be able to do so in your own strength? Precious one search out your heart. Search for the root of this lie that convinces you that you have power on your own.
If you have been delivered it was not because of you, but because of His mercy. Thank Him, humble yourself before Him, and acknowledge Him for who He is.
If you have failed time and time again in your attempt to keep your promise to change, then oh my friend, please know that you alone will always fail.
Know that God has not condemned you to hell, He has not forsaken you. You must stop trusting in and relying on your own strength, because you have none. “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25) You must bow the knee, and acknowledge your weakness to Him and call out to Him to save you. Then in His strength, through His might, you will have victory!
Oh Father,
I am forever grateful for Your patience. I am humbled by Your great mercy. Your lovingkindness knows no end. How long I struggled while I tried to obey You in my own strength. How I failed time and time again. I was convinced that I had done to much and failed to often for You to ever want me. Yet, You still desired me. You still pursued me. You still loved me. You still died for me. Now I know that it is not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Now I know that I can do all things through Jesus, my Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). My God, how very great You are.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,

>The Dance

>Lost in thought, lost in His eyes,
Dreaming of the day I’ll throw off this disguise
Watching the clouds drift slowly by
Listening and watching for my Knight to arrive
Drifting away from the weight of this world
Eagerly anticipating my freedom unfurled

Oh to dance with my arms open wide
Singing and shouting to the Love of my life

To twirl and to trust as a child understands
To walk in a faith that is able to move mountains
To swim in a sea of forgiveness freely gave
To be firmly established upon the Rock that never caves
Throw off all inhibitions, all chains destroyed
No cords encompassed, no locks on the door
Cast all cares away, all fears to the depths
No burdens bore, no worries felt

Oh this world how captivating it is
The serpent’s a charmer he does persist
Forsake he says, forsake your first love
Forget His voice, ignore His shove
No need to give all, what you’ve gave is enough
Your His, you are, no need to fanatically rush
Stay a while enjoy this place, after all life is short
No need for these pleasures for you to abort
Isn’t God good, doesn’t He want happiness
Then come says the serpent, with me dance
I’ll twirl you and spin you and give you a high
Keep your eyes on my world for soon enough you will die
Come fill your plate with the things of this world
Don’t you know when you go these will be no more
No regrets I promise after all would I lie

Would he lie?
Would he lie?
I ask you twice.

Forsake? No! Forsake my first love ?
My Savior, my Life, draw me unto You from above.
Fill me anew, afresh from Your heart
Pour down Your Spirit, Your truth do impart
Flood my mind and my soul with Your joy abound
Make me drunk with Your passion, I am Your renown

I shall shout I shall sing I shall declare Your praise
Lift high, lift high, Thy banner I raise
I run this race, I shall run till the end
For Jesus, my Lord, has also callen me friend

I love You I do, I love You so
My Jesus teach me, into Your image might me You mold
Into your hands I fall, into your arms I rest
Encompass me Father, let me inhale Your breath
Fill my lungs with Your life, my mouth with Your song
Oh my Father, it is here, in You that forever I belong

>Thankful For Affliction


Thus says the LORD,
‘By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand,
and it will be turned to blood. 
Exodus 7:17
Moses came to Pharaoh with a request and with a sign. The request was to let the children of Israel go into the wilderness to worship their God. Moses did not even come to Pharaoh demanding freedom for the Hebrew slaves. God sent Moses to Pharaoh simply requesting a time for the children of Israel to come and celebrate a feast to him. Yet Pharaoh would not listen.
Moses returns to Pharaoh to request again. This time he comes with a sign to show the authority of the God in whom he comes. When Pharaoh’s magicians mimic the sign that Moses displayed Pharaoh hardens his heart. He refuses to let the Hebrews go. He pays no attention to the fact that Moses staff swallowed up the staffs of his magicians. This sign of God performed by Moses does not humble Pharaoh, it hardens him.

Then the LORD said to Moses,
‘Pharoah’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.
Exodus 7:14

The sign has been given. The easy opportunity has passed. Now the judgments begin. My friend, God always sends a sign before He begins His judgments. His desire is not for us to perish. He desires for us to live. We will see how His judgments start out small and increase with the continued rebellion. Jesus said, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” (Matthew 24:8)

The judgments of God come like a woman in labor. The pain comes light at first and increases with intensity as the time of birth draws closer. Why does God work this way? Because, once again, He is not willing that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

With each judgment that God will send upon Egypt there also comes an opportunity to repent, to turn to Him in obedience. God is not just after the hearts of the Hebrew slaves, He is after the hearts of all of Egypt, and the hearts of all the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). These great judgments will spread the name and fame of God throughout the land. We know this from a harlot in Jericho as she declared, “For we have heard how the LORD…” (Joshua 2:10)

God uses the very staff with which He performed the sign before Pharaoh to bring about the first judgment, the first plague upon the land of Egypt. Moses “lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood.” (Exodus 7:20) What is amazing is that it was not just the water in the Nile that turned to blood. The water in the homes throughout the land of Egypt stored in vessels of wood and stone were even turned to blood.
Pharaoh turns to his magicians and then they too use their magic arts to do something similar, and Pharaoh once again hardens his heart. “Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this.” (Exodus 7:23)

Pharaoh thought he had power of his own therefore he hardened his heart in response to this act of God. Pharaoh saw no reason to submit to the authority of God because he thought he too was powerful. Pharaoh thought himself self-sufficient, but there is only One who can make that declaration (Psalm 50:7-12). My friend, we must be very careful, because we can harden our own hearts in the very same way.  

One thing that perplexes me is that Pharaoh once again misses the obvious. If his magicians were as great as God, why could they not reverse the situation. Why could they not turn the Nile filled with blood back into the Nile flowing with water?

We read that the Egyptians had to dig all around the Nile to find drinking water and we read that seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile (Exodus 7:24-25). Seven days and the magicians could not reverses the hand of God, yet this appears to not even cross the mind of Pharaoh.

Oh precious one, the lies we will believe when we do not want to accept the truth. How very sad it is to watch the Pharaoh tighten his fist in the face of God. He is not the first to do so and he will not be the last. There is another day of judgment coming. A day when God will not just be judging a nation, but the whole world. In that day many will tighten there fist in the face of God and refuse to believe the truth. One will come with even more power than Jannes’s and Jambres’s and many will be deceived because they have rejected God and His Christ.
that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan,
with all power and signs and false wonders,
and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish,
because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence
so that they will believe what is false,
in order that they may be judged who did not believe the truth,
but took pleasure in wickedness. 
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
This judgment coming on Egypt in Exodus is the day that the children of Israel are to be set free and consecrated unto God as His chosen nation to represent Him to all the world. It also is a foreshadowing of the great day of judgment that is to come. The day when God will concecrate all His chosen, from every tribe, every nation, and every tongue, (Revelation 5:9) to Himself forever and finally destroy Satan and those who follow him.
In Revelation 8:8 the Word declares, “The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood.” The waters one day will once again be turned to blood, and in that day some will fear God and be saved, but sadly, most will shake their fist in the face of God and show “no concern even for this.” (Exodus 7:23) 
Oh Father,
Thank You for Your signs. Thank You for Your judgments. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word… It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:67, 71). Thank You for loving me enough to pour out Your wrath upon me. For if I had never experienced Your wrath, I would not have cried out for Your mercy. Had I never cried out for Your mercy, I would not have experienced Your grace. Had I not have experienced Your grace, I would still be dead in my sins, seperated from You for all eternity. Thank You, my God, for being so patient with me.
My Jesus, I love You so.
In Your name I pray,

>It’s a Miracle! …Or Not


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

>Responding to Judgment and Mercy


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

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

>Stress Mess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Not Who I Was


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


>Ministry and Motherhood are Messy

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

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

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

“Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,

but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.”
Proverbs 14:4

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t it worth it?

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

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

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

The ministry…it’s messy.

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

There Is Hope


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

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

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

—Winn Collier

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

Open up His Word and hear Him speak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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