Tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you!

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'” (Joshua 3:5).

The nation of Israel was ready to cross the Jordan River, but the day before they were to do so, their leader, Joshua, told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'” (Joshua 3:5). This wouldn’t be a crossing like we know today. No bridge. No pontoons. No ferry boats. Instead, the Lord commanded Joshua to instruct the priests who carried the ark of the Lord, known as the Ark of the Covenant, to set foot in the Jordan River, at which time, the waters would quit flowing. And they did. Both the priests and the waters. Everyone and creation itself obeyed the Lord. The priests actually stood firm on dry ground – right in the middle of the Jordan–while the whole nation of Israel crossed – on dry ground! It was amazing! Can you imagine?

Consecration. The word literally means to associate with the sacred. awesome! humbling! I want to be associated with the sacred.

It was just a month ago that I was ready to do something I knew I shouldn’t do – something that would not be in obedience to God. Something that would not associate me with the sacred.

“. . .be separate” said the Lord (2 Cor. 6:17). And it was those words, God’s Words,  that kept me desirous of consecration. I want to be sacred. His Word tells me that I am God’s temple, and God’s temple is sacred.

So, today, I am praying to be consecrated before you, Lord.  I come out today and separate myself from the world so that You may receive me. (2 Cor. 6:17) I want to be consecrated,

and I want You, Lord, to do amazing things tomorrow!

 

God Is Using You

“I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

If you’ve followed my postings, you know that this is a trying time for me. Waiting. Wondering. Praying. Fearing. Trusting. Crying. Praising. I wait for Monday. And as I wait, God uses you to comfort and wait with me. To pray, to fear, to trust, to cry, and to praise with me. God is using you.

It started with a facebook message, a “Like,” an I’m praying for you. Then a phone call. A message from Pastor. A blog comment and an offer of prayer. An email from a student–I’m praying that God will strengthen you. It continues with a note from a sweet cousin—Praying for Monday—and a hand-painted poppy from a dear friend. It ends with –well, it doesn’t end . . .

It doesn’t end because God says that His purpose will stand. He summons a bird, or a man (or a woman!) to fulfill his purpose. And He has summoned you for His purpose of comforting me. And you have answered Him.

It’s all a part of His plan – for you – for me– for Monday.

And aren’t you glad that He makes the plans?

“I am God,” He says. “And there is no other; I make known the end from the beginning . . . I say: My purpose will stand . . . I summon a bird . . . from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel” (Isaiah 46: 9-13)

Salvation and His splendor to Kathi and to her facebook friend. To her Pastor and to her sweet cousin. And to her blog follower and to . . . .

God is using you. And because He is, peace fills me now. If only for today, it is refreshing.

I Dig Deep

“Summon your power, O God; show us your strength,
O God, as you have done before. . . Rebuke the beast . . .” (Psalm 68: 28, 30)
Bad news is frightening. The enemy makes me forget the Lord’s faithfulness; the bad news pierces like a knife into my stomach. I’m suddenly nauseous. Discouraged. The outlook is not good. It’s negative. Depressing.
I dig deep into my heart. Dig deep to remember my heritage–to remember the heritage of my family–the heritage that belongs to my children. I dig deep and I find the Word – the
Word, which is near me. It is in my heart. It was placed there when the righteousness came by faith.
And once again, I know the strength He gives–the strength not to fear. I remember the strength He has given me before, I remember His faithfulness, and I remember His promise:
 “All your sons will be taught by the Lord . . . great will be your children’s peace. In righteousness you will be established. Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See it is I who created the blacksmith . . . who . . . forges a weapon. . . I have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD.” (Isaiah 54: 13-17)
The Word reminds me that because my children have been established in righteousness, they will not experience tyranny and terror, nor will I. The attack is not from God; in fact, any who attacks will have to surrender to us. God created the one who forges the weapon. Their weapons will not prevail. Only what God wants will prevail. I am desperate for Him at this time.
And so I pray, “Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before. . . Rebuke the beast . . .”
Further Reading: Romans 10:6,8

The poppies of the field

Passersby stopped their cars. Some actually drove in the driveway, walked up the steps to the porch, and knocked on the door.

“May we look at your flower garden?” they asked.

Daddy’s and Mama’s garden was always abounding with fruits and vegetables – strawberries in June, green beans in July, sweet corn in August, and pumpkins in September. But at a certain time of the summer, the garden was amass with papery-petalled blooms – beautiful red poppies.

Like their garden, Daddy’s and Mama’s lives were amass with ever-bearing vibrancy – beautiful lives of honor and service to God!

Although well-remembered, it is a time past.

Nothing remains of the beautiful flower garden – the vibrant red poppies. For a few years, a little stem, here and there, popped up, but now, withered stubble covers the ground where the poppies once bloomed. And like the garden, nothing remains here on earth of the vibrant lives of Daddy and Mama.

“All men [and women] are like grass, and all their glory is like the [poppies] of the field; the grass withers and the [poppies] fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:6,8)

His word stands forever. It is powerful. It is mighty. It is beautiful. It does not die. It withstands every season, every storm, every fire, and every trial. It is amass with vibrancy – the vibrancy of life.

So again today, I will open the Word and let it fill me with its unending message.  I want people to stop and look at my life and see God’s glory in all of its beauty.

The Fishing Pole

When I was a little girl, Rev. Bob Lindner held summer vacation Bible School at our little country church. The week before the event, he drove the dusty roads with a megaphone speaker atop his car, announcing the upcoming Bible school, inviting the children as they played in their yards, and creating excitement amongst the community! Bible School began on Monday. Each day, more children attended. Our contest encouraged us to invite others and to memorize Bible verses. The top prizes were a plaque and a fishing pole!

By the time the Friday night program took place, all the children knew who had the most points – who would win the plaque. Her name was Linda Crum, and she was a “whiz” with Bible verses. She had a “gift of gab” and could recite those verses better than anyone I’d ever heard! We also knew who came in second place–me! Although I didn’t come close to Linda Crum’s colossal number of points, I was a strong second. I’d worked throughout the week, inviting many children and learning many Bible verses, and I looked forward to the second choice of the prizes – the fishing pole. I knew Linda well enough to know that she had no interest in the fishing pole. She was sure to pick the plaque. And she did! The Friday evening program ended. Linda Crum had been announced as the winner; she had her plaque in hand, but nothing had been said about a second place. The fishing pole was still in place at the front of the church. Of course, I was heartbroken. I shared my disappointment with my mother who explained to me that Rev. Lindner had never announced there would be a second place. He had simply offered two choices for the top place winner. As we turned to leave the church, Rev. Lindner called me up front. He offered me the fishing pole as the second place prize. I was elated!

Evidently someone had  let Rev. Lindner know that I had been working all week for the fishing pole, and he was compassionate enough to care about a little girl’s desires. Looking back on that summer Bible School, I find his compassion to be similar to the compassion the Lord has shown me: a compassion that offers me the “desires of my heart.”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)

 

 

These days . . .

These days are different. I was an organized person before, but, these days . . .

Nothing is ever finished! I feel like I’m never completely prepared to teach. One day I had all my papers graded—in all classes! It seemed too good to be true. Everything caught up? I kept thinking something was missing. It was! Two days later, my students got online for their “online” class,  but I hadn’t! I wasn’t prepared for my online class!
My heart wants to invite guests to dinner; my body can’t get the house cleaned.
The house is a mess. It’s upside down and inside out. My spring cleaning isn’t done. (This is October!) I can’t walk in a straight line through my storage room. A path must be plowed for the Direct TV installers. Tubs from the Modert house. Boxes from Mom and Dad’s. Clothing is piled. In the washer. In the dryer. Across the bed. I sort summer clothes. It adds one more tub. I file the funeral papers. It adds one more box.  
Furniture is dusty. Woodwork is dirty. Blinds are broken, light bulbs need replaced. Box Children’s school papers cover the kitchen counters. Happy Meal trinkets litter the carpeting. Electronic gadgets and cables surround the television and computer. Box elder bugs are invading.  
I forget to study for my weekly ladies’ Bible study!
I start a job but rarely get it completed before I’m forced to move on to another.
I can’t find my Bible or my devotional book. Oh, here it is. I open my Bible to remember what God has said to me this week:
On Monday, God told me that I need to continue to give to the Lord and let that gift be one of honor, not talking unbelief as I give it but rejoicing when I give it. He said, “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable . . .” (2 Cor. 8:12)
On Tuesday, God told me I can expect the glory of God’s presence because I’m “justified by faith,” so I have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . [and] access by faith into grace . . .” (Romans 5:1-3) Wow! I know He certainly has shown me His grace throughout the last eight months!
On Wednesday, God told me that I am not supposed to fear the enemy because I am “more than a conqueror through him that loves me.” (Romans 8:37)
Yesterday, God told me that I “. . . have this treasure  . . . that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of [me].” (2 Cor. 4:7)
The devotional writer then reminded me that I “must have that ability to survive the pressure in these last days. You’ll need to be able to see Jesus within you just as clearly as you can see Him in the Word. You’ll have to know—not just with your brain, but with every fiber of your being—that He who is within you is greater than he that is in the world” (from Pursuit of His Presence 1998). I‘m sure the writer’s reference to the “last days” meant the last days before the Lord Jesus returns for us, but to me—during these days, the “last days” means these last days of this struggle, leading up to the November 19 court date—the culmination of nine months of turmoil and blessing, distress and joy, suffering and happiness, chaos and peace. During these days, I want to see Jesus within me. I want to know that everything I need is within me because that’s where Jesus is. I want to experience the excellency of His power.

And today, God reminds me to hide His Word in my heart. (Psalm 119:11) I started hiding His Word in my heart when I was a young girl. At that time, it was easy to memorize God’s Word. I learned it to music–as a song. “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” These days, it’s more difficult to “hide it—to memorize it. These days, I need to read it often to keep it hidden in my heart. Today, the devotional writer reminded me to “make those faith deposits . . . to speak the Word day and night” because the words I speak “are either words of faith or words of doubt”(from Pursuit of His Presence 1998).

The house is still a mess. The jobs are still undone. But these days, and with every fiber of my being, I need to hide and speak words of faith! So from that perspective, these days really are no different than any other.

What’s greater?

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes” (Psalm 112:7,8).

What’s greater – my fears or God’s promises?
My fears or His Word?
My fears or my God?

Six days until the sentencing. My daughter. My son in law. My family.

I face my fears. I bring them to the light. The Word tells me to trust in the Lord, to keep my heart steadfast, immovable, firm in belief. The Word tells me to keep my heart secure, safe from the enemy. And so I list my fears. And I list His promises–to see which is greater. I know the answer before my pen touches the paper. My fears are many, but they don’t compare to His many promises!

“My foes are many; they rise against me, but I will hold my ground!

I will not fear the war; I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way; my help is on the way.

Oh, my God; He will not delay- my refuge and strength always.

I will not fear; His promise is true; my God will come through – always – always.

Trouble surrounds me – chaos abounding – my soul will rest in you.

I will not fear the war; I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way; my help is on the way.

I lift my eyes up; my help comes from the Lord.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb4VvNq8WEM
(Kristian Stanfill – “Always” – From Psalm 121, Psalm 46, and other passages from God’s Holy Word!)

Now I ask again,
What’s greater – my fears or God’s promises?
My fears or His Word?
My fears or my God?

The answer is, of course, found in the Word. “My dear child, you are from God. Your fears are not from God. You have overcome your fears because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

Six days until the sentencing. My daughter. My son in law. My family.

And so, I will have no fear of bad news; my heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. My heart is secure, I will have no fear; in the end I will look in triumph on his foes.

Why? Because my God is greater.

It’s part of the journey


Throughout the last six months, I’ve shared feelings of grief.

You’ve read about it.

You’ve comforted.

You’ve understood.

Now, I know you’ll understand how my journey is taking me down a new path -and how I’m learning that it’s part of the journey to move on.
.

The yellow house on a dreary day

It’s a dreary, rainy, late October morning. The sun is not shining. The trees are no longer covered with brilliant foliage. One might think I’d be depressed today, but I’m not. The same grace God has rained down upon me in the past is pouring upon me today. It’s not a cold rain like I feel outside today; it’s a warm, refreshing rain, and I’m basking in it.
As I prayed this morning, I looked across the yard at the yellow house, as I often do, and again I thanked God for the heritage bestowed upon me by my parents. But this time, no lump comes to my throat; no tears well in my eyes. Instead, I see a path ahead that that is bright and sunny, and as I step onto the path, the rain of grace that covers me is soothing and healing. I read (slightly paraphrased),
“My daughter, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.
When you walk , they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.”
(Proverbs 6:20-23)
God leads me in a new path today. If you’ve been there, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, ask God for the grace to find it. The beautiful part of the journey is moving on.
 

 
 

I Don’t Like It

Six and seven months have passed since I lost my parents. Many of you know how it is. Just when I think I’m moving on, something happens that moves me back one step. In the last week, I heard of the passing of several friends and acquaintances of my parents (and mine) – dear people their ages. Finality. Reality. I don’t like it.

This week, I attended the funeral of my very close friend’s father. The reality of it all brought more hurt. But God has given me comfort today:
“I thought I couldn’t live without him, but now I know I can. That would make him proud.”
(Oscar Schell, speaking about his father, in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – a powerful film with many inspirational messages imbedded in the story.)

The Old Soap Dish

 

The Old Soap Dish

It doesn’t look like much. And to most, it probably isn’t much. Just a soap dish, from K-Mart, one might assume. Probably purchased in the 50’s. Pink plastic with removable drainer. The gold trim of its crown nearly worn from years of scouring with Comet Cleanser. At first glance, one might easily overlook the esteemed position it held through the years.

The soap dish held court at various locations in the old Victorian home—the big yellow house—as it sustained its royal status throughout the years the family resided within.

Court was first held upstairs beside the claw foot bathtub. The woman scooped the white Ivory bar from the dish, scrubbing the children’s skinned knees and alfalfa-entangled hair before wrapping each child in blanket-sized towels and carrying them  downstairs, one by one, to the warmth of the oversized heat register to dry and dress in their flannel pajamas.
At other times, court was held at the guest sink in the small bathroom, not original to the yellow house but added years later in the empty space under the stairway. The woman placed a new Dove bar (her favorite) in the clean soap dish, and the beautiful, elongated white bar, embossed with the famous dove lasted quite some time in that location.
The years passed; the children grew and left the big yellow house; and the soap dish with the Dove bar was removed from its guest sink location, being replaced by liquid soap in a sterile, aloof, pump dispenser.

From that time on, court for the stately container was held in the back room of the old house, aside the jumbo cast iron sink and the old pitcher pump. A large, green coarse bar of LAVA soap now filled the dish, and the man used the LAVA bar several times a day, faithfully scrubbing his aging hands, ridding them of the evidences of hours of labor on his land. The soap dish was often covered with the dirty, dried bubbles of the resultant purification process, thus the woman used more Comet Cleanser, more often to clean the aging dish.
More years  passed until the old man and the old woman sadly left the big yellow house. The old pink, plastic, soap dish rested alone and nearly empty, filled with but a sliver of coarse soap and covered with dried pumice ~  a simple, quiet remembrance of the old man, the old woman, and the family who had once inhabited the royal surroundings.
The little girl who had years before overlooked the pink, plastic soap dish and to whom the soap dish had once seemed silly and unimportant, had grown up, and one day, while browsing the back room of the empty house she had once occupied, her eyes fell upon the seemingly useless and meaningless container. Now she perceived it unlike she had in the past, scrutinizing every detail of its surface, regarding it in different light. Suddenly she recognized its royal significance. She gently carried it from the yellow house to her own home where she carefully cleaned it and placed it at a prominent position, once again releasing the soap dish to resume its noble post and to hold court . Now, in the time of fragranced, foaming, liquid soap selections, the soap dish holds a plain, white bar of Kirk’s Castile and is regularly but delicately cleaned in an effort to maintain its royal stature.
The little girl, now grown, understands that the old pink plastic soap dish doesn’t look like much to the visitor or to the passerby.  And to most, it probably isn’t much. But to the little girl, it’s another sweet reminder of her stately past and a  true confirmation of her royal heritage.