Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Drinking from the saucer

I had a conversation with a dear friend about the "flow principle" the other day.  I'm convinced we will will be learning this principle as long as we walk this earth.  

I have included a link that contains five minutes of words about abiding and drinking from the saucer. I pray it encourages you this day, wherever you are, and with whatever circumstance you find yourself in.

Still learning to abide!

Much love,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It Is Well

The words "it is well" have been gently pushed into my heart over the years by the hands of a loving Shepherd.  How does a woman say, it is well, while living with chaos, hurt, loss, sickness, insecurities, and uncertainties?

Instead of writing this post I have linked a teaching that I did recently on 2 Kings 4.

Still learning to abide and still learning to say, it is well, when things around me are saying something else and when my own body is screaming different words.

Much love,

Friday, October 9, 2015


Our daughter had really long and thick hair when she was growing up. (Still does actually,not down to her waist but still just as thick!) When she was little, some of the most dreaded and dramatic moments in our home was when it came time to brush out that mane after bath time! Oh, the wailing and nashing of teeth....  Then this product came out that would actually de-tangle hair, with just a few squirts of a spray bottle, all of the tears of brush out would go away.  Truly, I thought this was an answer to my prayers and a gift directly from God!!

Wouldn't it be great if we could de-tangle our lives with just a few squirts of something magical from a bottle?  A scripture that has been rolling around in my head from 2 Timothy 2:3-4,
"Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."  We get caught don't we?  I get caught too.  I get caught with too much of the worlds food and not enough of the sustaining and life giving food of the Spirit.  I get entangled in social media, events, what other's are doing, and the list can go on.  It isn't as easy as a few squirts, it takes discipline to fast or limit those things that have crept in to steal our attention.

If you know me you know I read a lot of Amy Carmichael, missionary to India.  I have posted some of her writings on this subject.  If you find yourself tangled like me, I pray her words will speak to you as they have me in recent days.

"Those of us who are God's emissaries are to treat the world (not just its corruptions, but its legitimate joys, it's privileges and blessings also), as a thing to be touched at a distance.  We must be aware at all times that if we are caught by its spirit, or fed by its meat, we will lose our sensitivity to the very breath of the Highest and will no longer receive the manna that falls from heaven to feed our souls.  It is not that He forbids us this or that indulgence or comfort; not that He is stern, calling us to a life of harsh asceticism, as if that would make Him more pleased with us.  No, it is that we who love our Lord, and we whose affections are set on the things that are heaven for us today-- we voluntarily and gladly lay aside things that charm the world, so that we may be charmed and ravished with the things of heaven.  Then our whole being may be poured forth in constant and unreserved devotion in serving our Lord, who died to save us."

"No, there is no harm in recreation, if by that you mean a pastime that will re-equip you for future work, and will not cause a leakage of spiritual power."

"...quite without our realizing it certain forms of "recreation" have taken hold of us and hinder rather than help."

"We cannot allow ourselves to be entangled, and at the same time believe that we will have spiritual power."

Excerpts from the book entitled, God's Missionary.

Still learning to abide and not be tangled.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Do you need help today?

Are you discouraged?
Is your marriage on shaky ground?
Do you have children that are rebellious?
Are your finances a mess?
Are you lonely?
Do have a big decision to make?
Is your life chaotic?
Are you afraid?
Is life not what you thought it was going to be like in this season?
Are you facing illness?
Is suffering in your life?
Is your heart broken because of loss?

We all face the questions like the ones on the above list.  Many of us can say an affirmative, YES, to one or more of the questions.  The Lord in His faithfulness brought a familiar scripture to my mind this morning as I was crying out for help.  

Psalm 46:1-2
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea..."

Our God who spoke the world into existence, who authored salvation and a way for man to be redeemed, and who is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, this same God says He will be my help in the time of my need.  This beautiful scripture is not referring to just any kind of help; no this is God size help.  It could read God, our Refuge and Strength, is abundantly available for help in tight places, or places of trouble, or when the time arises and I find myself in need!  

Often when I find myself in one of those "tight places", it is because I have not looked to Him as my refuge, but tried to provide my own covering.  My own strength and desire to fix it has stepped in, instead of me relying on His strength. And, instead of crying out for His help, I have gone my own way seeking out another form of help or relief.  

Later in chapter 46 of Psalms, we see another very familiar verse.  One that I fear many of us have decorating the walls of our home, but quite possibly don't have hanging in our hearts.

Psalm 46:10
"Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth"

The key to reaching to Him as my help, to taking refuge in Him alone, and exchanging my strength for His, is to learn to be still and to place Him in His rightful place.  To know He is God is much more than a mental assent to truth, it is to live as one who is under authority.  This truth dislodges the lie that we are in charge, that we can fix it, or that we have the strength to change something.  He will be exalted above all.  The question is; is He exalted above me?  Is He exalted to His rightful place in my life?  

Not sure what you are facing today, but He does.  Would you hold that thing, that question, that hurt, that impossible situation, out to Him with palms open and facing upward?  Will you get still before Him?  Will you cry out to your Refuge, your Strength, and your Help, and place Him where He rightly belongs?  

Oh, Lord dislodge me from the place of authority in my life.  You are God, and there is no one besides You.  Forgive me for thinking that I'm in charge.  Lord, I need Your help and I need You to show Yourself mighty over my heart, life, and the situations that are such a struggle for me.  

I am praying for many that are facing great trials, big decisions, and heartbreaking situations right now. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else knows and is praying.

Still learning to abide,

Friday, August 28, 2015

Recognizing The Enemy

Our family is walking through some very intense days...  

You too?

Life is hard.....
   Sin abounds....
      People break under pressure...
          Hurting people, hurt people....

People sin, say words that hurt, act hateful, betray, become selfish, reject, demand, and try to be in control. That is the human condition.  It is so easy for us to look at others as our enemies when these things are present.  Yet, we are told that, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood". People may be the occasion but they are not the reason.  For those of us that are followers of Jesus, we will spend all of our lives participating with Him in the removal of the human condition from us, so that He can conform us to His image.  As we participate it is vital to acknowledge our enemy but keep our eyes on Jesus.  Our enemy is not those people who hurt us and or those that send wreckage into our lives.  They are the material that our enemy would like for us to look at, but ultimately they are the material that Sovereign God uses to mature us and make us more like Him.  Sometimes it is really messy and sometimes it is very painful!

A little bird didn't fly south for the winter as all the other birds did.  As the weather got colder, the north winds began to blow, and snow and ice began to fall from the winter sky.  The little bird began to get very cold, so cold in fact that her little wings froze.  As she was sitting in her frozen state, worrying about what she was going to do, a cow came by and pooped on her.  She thought, "oh great, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, this stupid cow poops on me!”  But, much to her surprise she found that the manure was warm, and it began to unfreeze her wings.  She began to flap her wings with excitement, hopping, flapping, and tweeting over her freedom.  Just then a cat came around the tree and ate her.

Moral of the story?  
Not everyone who poops on you is your enemy.
Your real enemy is lurking around seeking whom he can devour. He just uses "cows" to distract you from seeing him and his plan.
If you are a bird, and you are supposed to fly south for the winter, you probably should fly south for the winter, and not go out on your own, rebellious, way.
Just some thoughts on this rainy Friday morning as I contemplate, acknowledging my enemy but keeping my eyes on Jesus!

Still learning to abide,
Ephesians 6:10-18, 1 Peter 5:6-9, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pondering prayer

The last few years I have been trying to address disconnects in my life.  The disconnects are those things that I know what God's word says, yet that truth is not functioning powerfully in my daily life. 

Such is the area of prayer.  

Prayer comes in many packages. There are prayers of gratitude and acknowledgment of our God, we say these to start or end our church services, as we sit down to a meal, at a bedside, or even before a football game. There are prayers that are ongoing communication to our God throughout the day, as we whisper the names of those we love and situations we are facing. What about what Jesus had? Or what Elijah had? Or what David had?  Their prayers were more a way of life, a prayer life, even the term communicates that it has a life of it's own.  

Jesus withdrew often to talk to His Father in prayer.   Elijah, in constant communication with God, prayed prayers of boldness.  David, desperate for God to answer, sang His prayers to God.  Their lives exhibit to us, chunks of time for nothing else but prayer.  As I have been asking God to teach me what this looks like and how to do it, I have looked at men and women that I have admired through the years.  These are men and women that God has used in the church and in the world.  Their walks with God, the testimony of what their lives have stood for, and or their writings, are things that God has used to disciple me.  I found a common thread, it was prayer.   Their prayer time was more than an activity of duty, it was setting aside much time to encounter God, to seek His direction, and to intercede.  The Word of God was the material of what they prayed. I have been inspired, corrected, and convicted by studying prayer lives in scripture and of those that I sense possess something I do not.  

Adoniram Judson would seek to withdraw seven times a day from business and company to lift up his soul to God in private.  Robert Murray McCheyne said; "I must pray before seeing any one. This must be secret prayer.  I can do no good to those who come to seek anything from me apart from it. I feel it is far better to begin with God, to see his face first, to get my soul near him before it is near to another."  Edward Payson, a pastor in the second great awakening, was called Praying Payson, it is said that he wore groves into the hardwood floors where he would pray because of how often and how long he would kneel before the Lord.  The prayer life of Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Martin Luther, and David Brainerd, certainly was a key that unlocked something supernatural in their lives and the life that God had for them. 

There was another common thread in the lives listed above, they were desperate.  They knew who God was, they knew who they were, and they were desperate for Him to do what only He could do.  These common threads, ask me questions about my own prayer life that beg for answers. Am I, (are we) desperate for the things only God can do?   How long will I, (will we) keep living the same way but desire a different outcome?  Does the life, the power, the change, come any other way except through a life surrendered, centered with His word, and in constant prayer?

Often we spend more time talking about prayer and studying prayer, than actually praying.  I truly believe if we are going to see God move in our lives, families, churches, nation, and world, God's people are going to have to pray. (2 Chronicles 7:14, James 5:16)   We must set aside time in our own lives and in the lives of our churches to seek His face. We used to call them prayer meetings, where we came together to meet with God and with each other through prayer.  They seem to be no longer "relevant".  Is prayer no longer relevant? We have regulated prayer and given it only a snippet of time in our lives and in our churches, yet keep longing for God to do something.  We are anemic and have lost power as the church because we have forsaken our only Power for a pitiful substitute of what we can do. We have ceased to call our houses of worship, houses of prayer, because that would not be cutting edge enough to draw a crowd. (Matthew 21:12-13) 

Just some thoughts this afternoon as I ponder prayer.....

Still learning to abide,

Below are some of the scriptures I am learning to live in and some quotes that are written on scraps of paper and scattered around my home.  If you are interested...

Scripture on prayer:
1 Chronicles 16:11, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 4:1, Psalm 145:18, Proverbs 15:29, Isaiah 62:6-7, Matthew 6:5-13, Matthew 7:11, Luke 6:12, Luke 18:1, Romans 8:26, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Timothy 2:1-2,8, James 1:7, James 4:6, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9

Prayers to study in Scripture:
John 17, Exodus 32-34, Psalm 51, Chronicles 20, Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Acts 7:54-60, 1 Samuel 1:1-2:10

Some quotes to ponder on prayer;

 "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer."  John Wesley

“God shapes the world by prayer.” E.M. Bounds

"Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Corrie ten Boom

"The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'" (J. Hudson Taylor

"No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack." E.M. Bounds

"Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer."  John Bunyon

“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.”  Charles Spurgeon

“What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use— men of prayer, men mighty in prayer"  E.M. Bounds

"Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work."  Oswald Chambers.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Women Of God #4

Hey exhausted mommy!  
I know you....

The first time you gave birth, you thought to yourself, "I'm not old enough to have a baby", " I can't do this", "Who would trust me with a life?"  I remember the first day you were left alone with two babies under the age of 2, both still in diapers, sleep deprived, and pretty sure God had made a mistake.  After all, how would He let 2 children be completely reliant on a very flawed woman like you?!  I see you, with the toddlers in tow at the grocery store, one throwing a fit and one touching everything in sight. I remember you momma, the times you sat and cried because you didn't know if you were disciplining right or teaching them right.  I see you sitting at the kitchen table after going over the same math problem for the 50th time and questioning, "should I really be homeschooling?", "surely someone else could do a better job.".  I remember your thoughts, your anxious thoughts, of were you enough for these children that God had given you, could you love them enough, teach them enough, prepare them enough.   And mommy, I remember your prayers, prayers of utter dependency, of knowing, if God didn't come through you were sunk in this whole mommy thing.  He did come through!  And, in the process you learned that coming to the end of yourself and clinging to Him was best for you.  This is a process that you are still learning, and probably will until you draw your last breath.  But, it is with the material that we call children, that He sinks that life giving reality down deep.  The constant caring, disciplining, holding close, and learning to release, teaches us something about this divine relationship of Father and child, that keeps us ever in the position of needy and learner.

We live in a time where there is more information on how to raise children than ever before.  There is an abundance of materials, books, websites, magazines, and what about the mommy blogs out there!?  And for all of the information, I'm not sure it serves you well mommy.  When we see in Titus 2, Paul admonishing that the older women were to teach the younger women to love their children, it was to be within community.  Things about husbands and children are spoken about within the confines of relationship, face to face, life on life, community.  We as a culture have become so accustomed to googling whatever we need we don't even know how to go ask another woman how to cure diaper rash, discipline a toddler or a teenager, or talk to our children about God, sin, sex, and or countless other life talks.  Why?  Are we so used to an instant fix?  There is no instant fix with children; it is day after day, year after year.  Are we too proud?  So afraid that someone might think we don't have it all together, how far will that get you? And, what will happen to your children in the mean time?  When I was raising our two, we had the bible, our parents and grandparents, a few faithful friends in the same place we were and wanting to do it God's way, a few families we saw that had somehow survived and their kids were grown and loved Jesus, and James Dobson.  Which I was pretty sure his book, Strong Willed Child, was written just for me, my copy was falling apart and was almost completely highlighted...every word!  You know what?  I think we had enough.  With all the information out there today it breeds insecurity and comparison at a time that you are certain you don't know what you are doing anyway!  God gave you your children, so I have to believe He will give you what you need to raise them.  But, once again, the culture is screaming at you, telling you everything IT believes you need to know and do to raise your children. On top of that, all of these so called, "words of wisdom" come from a culture that at its core doesn't value children.

The culture says; Children are expendable...
This is evident with 153 million orphans in the world, over 700,000 abortions each year in the U.S., and 397,122 in foster care just here in the states.  Children are often viewed as not important, and an inconvenience.  I am bothered by some of the mommy blogs that I read, even those that pride themselves on being Christian in content, that speak as if they will be able to go on to more important and greater self fulfillment when their children are grown or out of the house.  Our culture tells us how to discipline our children or not to discipline our children. It tells us how to allow our children to have full expression, and not be stifled in any way.  If our children are not expendable, then we need to get our identity or a sense of validation from them and their achievements.  Our culture tells us as parents that we must make sports a god in our kid's life.  There is always pressure to be busy every night of the week with a sport, a music lesson, and or some other extra curricular activity.  And, if your family doesn't look like that, then you are not offering your children everything they need.  Clearly, they will be stunted somehow!  More loud voices say to us, buy your children everything they want, your a bad parent if your child doesn't have the latest tech gadget,  aren't allowed to own every video game, and spend as much time as possible playing them.  

God says; Children Are a Gift...
"Children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." (Psalm 127: 3-4)  Psalm 127 begins with, "unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it."  God desires to build our homes and to give us what is needed to raise the little gifts He has given us.  The first perception buster in this psalm, compared to what the voices of our culture are speaking, is that our children are gifts.  How do you view the children God has given you?  Now, speaking from personal experience, I didn't view my children as little presents with big red bows on their heads everyday of life!  What the psalmist is teaching is a theological principle, that it is God who gives you children, so we are to view them as coming directly from His hand to ours.  He then refers to our children as arrows.  A warrior in that time would have fashioned his own arrows to go into battle.  He would have spent many hours preparing them, making sure there were no nicks in the shaft so they would fly straight, securing and sharpening the point of the arrow so that it would penetrate the target.  A warrior would not be caught with arrows that could not protect, defend, and fulfill the purpose for which they were given.  In this we see the years we have our children in our homes.  We as warriors, under the watchful eye and guidance of God Himself, are to fashion our arrows.  We spend countless hours straightening the shaft and making sure it is free from nicks and things that would cause it to not fly straight.  In doing this, we lead our children to God, and participate with Him, by showing our children their sin and the only answer to that sin is Jesus.  Because, one day, you will shoot your arrows from your home and you want, or should want, them to be of some effectiveness for Christ in this world.  We want them to be able to pierce through the culture on their own and stand firmly for God.  How do we do this?  God's word is instructive, “Teach my words to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house, and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Duet. 11:19) We are to talk about God, even when they are tiny and don't fully understand, we talk about Him all the time and everywhere we go.  We can be teaching our children theology even as toddlers!  When you see a bird or a pretty flower and you point it out to them, then you ask them who made the bird?  God did!  Who made you?  God did!  They learn God is Creator and He even made them.  Theology! God tells us how children are to respond to parents and how parents are not to respond to their children. "Children obey your parents... Father's don't provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (Eph. 6:1-4) Ultimately we want our children to learn to obey God.  Children will not learn to obey God if they can't obey their parents, nor will they learn to obey God if mom and dad don't obey God.  How do we discipline?  "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him" (Prov. 22:15) this is wading into some deep waters in our culture today!  To spank or not to spank, that is the question!  I really think the question is; do we know what biblical discipline is?  Whether it is a spanking, taking away something precious, or time out, if any of these methods are used to punish our children and somehow hope for right behavior, we don't have a biblical understanding of discipline.  Discipline means to teach and to give understanding. There might be a sting at first, but the goal is to teach and get to the heart of issue of what is going on. Our children need to see us modeling what we are trying to teach.  "Effective teaching involves explaining to our children what they are already observing in our lives by example." C.J. Mahaney. How does God deal with us?  What is He after in us, good behavior?  No! God is after a pure heart, a heart that is His, and desires to follow.  So should our "discipline" be with our children.  "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life."  Good behavior isn't the goal; a pure heart is the goal.  I don't know about you?  But, God isn't through with me yet!  He patiently parents me day after day.   

Hey exhausted mommy, you're doing a good work, you're doing the most important work!  Stop comparing yourself, and stop worrying that you are going to mess them up!  If reading mommy blogs, books, and magazine causes you to just feel like you're a failure, because you look at all "so and so" is doing with her kids, stop reading them!  After all, do you even know if what you are reading is true? Real life looks a little chaotic at times, sometimes there's a load of laundry that needs to be folded on the couch, and dirty dishes in the sink, and a child that is 
disobedient, and....the list goes on. Let's get real! Call an older woman!  An older woman can be someone just a little further down the road than you or she can be that woman who has already raised her children. I remember crying on the telephone one day to an older woman, (my mom) about how hard my strong willed child was being, how I felt like all I did from sun up to sun down was discipline, and how everything seemed to have come to a stand still in my home, or should I say a "stand-off".  She said these words, "God could have given them to any mommy, but He chose you, I guess that was His confidence that you would, with His help raise them to love Him. And sweet daughter nothing, not laundry, not meals, nothing, is more important than the two little lives He has entrusted to you."  Wise words and just the words I needed to close the chapter on that day and get up and do it all over again, with purpose.  I know you are tired, I know there are days you want to throw in the towel, and I know there are days you cry and worry. I know because I lived them too.  "Don't lose heart in doing what is good, for in due time you will reap if you do not grow weary." Galatians 6:9

Still learning to abide, and cheering you on!!

P.S. some excellent resources in your pursuit of God's ways in parenting and leading your children.
Leading Little Ones To God
Jesus Storybook Bible/curriculum 
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Shepherding Your Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
How To Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell