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

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.)

Grief to Beauty

“His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth, His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.” (Habakkuk 3:3b,4)

I went to the grave this morning to replace the once pink geraniums and withered vines with a mum plant, bursting with soft purple blossoms, one I knew Mama would have loved.
I hadn’t been to the grave in weeks, an unusual break of custom for me, but after months of faithful visits, tending and watering the summer blooms, often crying, and always reminiscing, a persistent grief had encompassed me, a grief I had been trying to shake by avoiding the tradition. So on this crisp autumn morning, I faced grief in order to bring beauty.

The little country cemetery was quiet. Sunshine flooded the diamonded dew.

As I stopped the car, close to the grave site, two old wild turkeys left low branches of a century-old maple at the edge of the cemetery and flew a short distance to the ground, their heavy bodies lighting not far from Mom and Dad’s grave.

I wondered how many times Mom and Dad had seen these very birds from the kitchen window of their yellow house – across the road from this cemetery – in their daily rituals of watching families of turkeys roam the countryside. I wondered if these two turkeys had followed Mom and Dad to their final resting place, perhaps waiting their own time to pass, as well. They fled when I lifted the latch gate, took the plant, and walked the few, somber steps to the stone.

Together Forever, I read.

“Mama, Daddy,” I cried, as I had so many times before.

As I grieved, I stepped behind the stone and discovered that since my last visit,the bronze plaque had been set in place, the honor bestowed Daddy by the Veterans Administration. I pulled out my cell phone and took a picture of it to send to my sister, but it wasn’t until after I later opened the electronic picture that I saw the rays of sun flooding over the tombstone and into my lens.

I considered the “splendor” of the morning and the sun rays that “flash from his hand.” I was reminded of his “power”– the power that lifted the very souls from Daddy and Mama’s aged bodies; the power that will one day lift those broken bodies out of that grave and transform them into perfect models of their once young, vibrant beings; the power that will bring us all together again; “His divine power” that “has given us everything . . . and has given us his very great and precious promises . . .” (1 Peter 1:4). . .

and the power that consoles my grief in order to bring beauty.

Keep talking faith, Kathi!

Notes about the Word  – Part 2
 

My faith has strengthened through reading God’s Word- the Bible. His Word has become very close to me – in my mouth – in my heart. For that reason, I have centered my blog – this journal in which I share some things God is teaching me – on a passage from Romans 10:
 

“The righteousness that is by faith says, ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart; that is the word of faith!’ . . .”
 

In this passage, Paul is explaining how Moses, in the Old Testament, described righteousness that came from the law (I wrote about that in my last posting.) Now, in the New Testament, Paul tells us that righteousness comes by faith in Jesus. He calls it “the word of faith.” And “faith comes from hearing the message . . . through the word of Christ.” The more I read God’s Word, the Bible, the greater my faith becomes. It is near me – in my mouth and in my heart.

Today, as I have my devotion (a bit of time speaking to and listening to God), I speak that Word:

 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

“Above all else, I guard my heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Even as I write this, I am interrupted by the phone – I am reminded of troubles – fear comes to me – I feel anxiety creeping into my heart – I speak words of doubt. Then I remember today’s devotion I have just read from Pursuit of His Presence. Gloria writes: “Did you know that the devil can’t do anything to you if you won’t give him any place? That’s right. If you won’t speak words of doubt and unbelief, but instead speak words of faith, he can’t sustain his attack . . . keep talking faith . . .”

“The word is near me; that word of faith is in my mouth and in my heart.”

These days, I must constantly remember to keep talking faith!

” the righteousness that is by faith . . .”

Notes about the Word  – Part 1

Before Jesus, people had to live “under the law.” What a challenge that must have been! Sacrifices, strict laws to follow, . . .

After Jesus – and because of Jesus ( because of his sacrifice), we now can be righteous. What? I can be righteous? Yes, I am made righteous – not because of what I have done or what I do, but because of my faith in the one who became the final sacrifice – Jesus Christ!

This is the “righteousness that is by faith,” that we read about in Romans, chapter 10, as well as in many other places in the Bible. And this righteousness says (yes, it speaks!), “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.”

Let’s break that down into two parts (the teacher  in me is coming out):
1) The word is “in your mouth.” That’s speaking – that’s confessing that Jesus is Lord! (Romans 10:9)
2) The word is “in your heart.” That’s believing – believing “in your heart that God raised him from the dead . . .” (Romans 10:9)
And then what happens? “It is with your heart that you believe and are justified”– that means He took my place – He covered it all – He made things right between me and Almighty God!   “ . . . and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10)
Wow!
Friends, if you haven’t yet believed and confessed, do so now! (It’s your prayer to the Lord God.) The word is near you!

(Look for Notes about the Word – Part 2)