Create in Me (and especially in that other person) a Clean Heart, O God.

I recently heard two very different sermons – one was an admonition that if you don’t do what your pastor says you are in rebellion, and the other was a preacher accused of rebellion himself, because he was preaching not to do what the world does, or what anyone says, but to do what Jesus says: to trust, love, forgive, and to take dominion by faith-filled, absolutely fearless, uncompromising words and actions.

The sad thing is that the attempt to squelch and squash and force people into doing whatever they’re told, and saying if they don’t they’re rebellious, is a surefire, tried and true, works-every-time way to push people into rebellion.

Satan’s ways. They don’t work very well, folks.  We try to force our spouses into behaviors based on what our vision is.  Usually when we’re under that controlling spirit our vision amounts to this:  you agree with me on every single issue and we’ll all be happy as larks.  That controlling spirit is a spirit of rebellion, and so blinding it makes us think everyone else is in rebellion.  It walks hand in hand with pride, and therefore, goes before a fall.

That spirit comes after us when we give into fear – fear God can’t or won’t handle this, we must take it into our own hands, do it like some other book, certainly not THE BOOK, says to do it: Childrearing 101; Husband-fixing 101; Basic I know best; Making others behave so I don’t have to for dummies who think everyone else is a dummy.

Disrespect is what this amounts to.  Listen, if you’re gonna take that line you had better be the second perfect human. Of course you’re saying that you’re actually more perfect than that one perfect man, Jesus.  You’re ignoring Him, disrespecting and disregarding Him, and in His Name, Glory Hallelujah, you’re spouting Satan’s lies, and going his way.

But please don’t let us judge anyone else for doing this, because the more horrified we are about it, the more susceptible we are to going from a place of grief and prayer to a place of anger and judgement. And then we, too, will be easy prey.  All of a sudden no one will want to be around us, all of a sudden we’ll be lecturing our kids, and dishonoring our mates, and thinking no one is as smart and wise as are we – just like the behavior we so recently abhorred in someone else.

John Maxwell talks about this in How Successful People Win. He says it was hard for him not to buy into his own press, his own place of leadership, without becoming prideful and unwilling to listen to others’ gentle corrections.  The problem, as he said in so many words, is that once you disdain what someone prayerfully and carefully and in love, tries bringing to your attention, they’ll stop.

It’s an untenable position for the one wanting to help. There is only one answer and that is faith in God through prayer.  The flesh and every logical thought says, “Fine.  See if I try to help your know-it-all self again.”  But after prayer for this attacked and fragile human, remembrance of the real enemy comes, we get revelation about what the enemy is up to, and what’s going on in the precious heart of the one we love.

And, we are ready to fight again.  This time, however, we will let God handle it.  We will only speak if He says to speak (if you’re unsure and have no peace about it, keep still), and we will only say what He says to say.  And . . . we will do it under the anointing, the very love, of Jesus.

If you try and try and try again, and all you get is trampled for your efforts, as the one you love is acting less like a friend or lover, and more like a swine, you can remember two things: 1) God doesn’t expect you to get beat up and disrespected and disregarded; and 2)  He really can handle it.

And here’s where another fear must be faced and fought and brought DOWN.  It’s the fear that this person is going to have that promised fall that follows pride, and that the fall will be too great to be borne, the damage beyond repair.

But when all else fails, it is a clear sign that it’s time for the only thing that never fails: Be still and know that He is God.

About this time is when the object of your prayers starts asking you what’s wrong, what’s on your mind. But unless you know they’re in a place where they really want to know and to do the right thing, rather than in  a place where they simply don’t want the discomfort of you not being all about them, just keep still.

You can say, “I’ll tell you if you really think you want to know, and are ready to listen, and you promise not to get upset.” There’s a good chance here, and be ready for it, they will not respond well to this.  That’s OK.  It’s time to trust God, remember?  He is so much more than able.

What a difference 24 hours can make. You can pray and declare and do warfare, and it looks like it didn’t do a bit of good, and then one or two days later you find yourself trying to keep up with this person set free, and about to sail away to a higher place in Jesus.  Set free.  This is not the time to say, “Ha!  You’d still be acting like a pig in a pen if it weren’t for me, and my super-anointed, spiritual giant prayers!”

All this requires harnessing the tongue to the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Bible tells us in the Book of James that no man can tame the tongue.  But the Holy Spirit can not only tame it, He can make it a powerful weapon against the enemy of our souls.  I like to pray David’s words from Psalms: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

When we get too focused on the wrong spirits operating on and pressuring and having a high old time in other people, when all we can see is their stupidity and ignorance and stubbornness, it can mess up our own spirits. Not only that, it can make us prey (judgement does this) to those very same problems in our own sweet selves!

Let us not focus on what the enemy is doing, but on the Greater One who can whip him every single time. Amen!

P.S.  Love is Patient.  Love is Kind.  And Love is Fearless, which is why, as we know, Love never fails.

P.P.S.  Remember to get your copy of “The Maker’s Marriage” right here on homefrontshow.com just by clicking on the picture of the book! 

Freedom From Fear – Hooray! Today at 2:00 on 1360am.co

Life is once again colorful.  The cloud I’ve been struggling and smothering under has made life as grey and bleak as a cold and cloudy day.  It’s the cloud of fear.

Fear is the world’s currency, as faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God.  After a two-year struggle with fear in a certain area, I am free indeed.

Join us today at 2:00 Mountain Time on The Homefront Show.

Just go to http://www.1360am.co and click on Live Radio.

God is good and His mercies are new every single morning, and you’ll hear lots more about that today when you join me.

Thanks!

No Reproach, Mrs. Bennett, I Beg You! ESPECIALLY on the 4th of July!

There are potatoes to be chopped and bacon to be crisped to go along with everything else already ready for potato salad.  There is a feast to be shared and great and glorious words to be heard this evening at church before the fireworks.

(No, this is not my potato salad, but I thought it looked appetizing.  Mine has potatoes, celery, dill pickles, green and sweet white onions, mustard, mayo, sea salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and bacon)

As usual, there is much to be done!  But first things first, regardless.  Communing with my Maker in His beautiful Word, in prayer. in praise and thanksgiving.

“Thank you, God, for America.  For freedom.  For bringing me from glory to glory, from freedom to freedom.”  A nation is only as free as its people, and people are only as free as they allow Jesus to indwell them.  Free indeed.

I was free this morning to become upset because my breakfast and git-er-done plans weren’t quite panning out.  The raisin bread was generously spread with organic salted butter, the applesauce in the serving bowl, bacon browning nicely in the oven, coffee in the French press, Rooibos in the teapot, milk in the cow creamer and heavy cream in the pitcher.

And then it was time to whip up the eggs for scrambling.  But alas!  It appears that last night someone ate almost all the remaining eggs in the fridge.  Four eggs to feed five people.  I asked a daughter to go after more eggs (in another fridge in another building) so we could have breakfast before another daughter had to leave for work.

But the speed of molasses was quite fast compared to the movements of my tribe this morning, and early-morning logic told my daughter that she had to look ready for a photo shoot in order to go after eggs.

Temptation to sabotage breakfast with my stress and upset set in.  Temptation to reproach my beloved for scrambling not one, not two, not three, but six eggs last night set in.  Temptation was after me, plaguing me – to vent about “slow and lazy” people, to put labels onto my children they need like a hole in the head.

Who has the hole in the head, anyway?  Why didn’t I simply invite the daughter who’s leaving early to join me on the balcony with baked peanut butter on raisin bread and a lovely cup of French roast with heavy cream in the cool and birdsong-blessed morning?

I plugged the hole with praise and prayer and DETERMINATION not to gripe or complain or in anyway ruin the joy and beauty of the morning for my beloveds, and all of a sudden they appeared, smiling, hugging, thanking me for breakfast, eager to partake (perhaps the power of the wafting smell of bacon?)..

So I scrambled those four eggs, and the going-to-work daughter (who doesn’t care for eggs anyway) happily put peanut butter and honey on her raisin toast, and had thick and crispy bacon slices with applesauce and tea and was happy as could be.  Between the other four of us the eggs were plenty.  Where is it written, I asked myself, that we all have to have two or three eggs every morning?  No wonder I’m a bit sluggish after breakfast sometimes!

SO GLAD I DIDN’T REPROACH JOHN FOR EATING THOSE EGGS LAST NIGHT.  I was less tempted by the lack of eggs, than by my disapproval of late-night eating.  Reproach, I know full well, never changed a husband.  Conviction by the Holy Spirit of our Creator, perhaps put in motion by my faith-filled prayers, has often worked wonders in the lives of my beloveds.

Reproach, not so much.  Reproach is very often also disdain, disapproval, censure, judgment, condemnation, and shaming.  Guilt, in other words.  Guilt, as we all know from experience, doesn’t lead to repentance, to a true turning in a new direction.

“Do not reproach your husband,” has been ringing through my mind for weeks now.  I am coming to see, in my forfeiting my “right” to even the slightest of complaints, that I am setting myself free.  I am placing myself in a right position to be in God’s blessing, and out of God’s way!

“No lace, Mrs. Bennett! No lace, I beg you!”  Mr. Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)vehemently commanded Mrs. Bennett to spare him, but she blithely ignored him.  “Respect, Mrs. Bennett,” was his heart’s cry, and silly and foolish woman that she was, she sought her own amusement at his expense.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her,” about the Proverbs 31 woman, is a verse of continuing revelation for me. “Lord,” I ask, “Can John safely trust me?” Usually, perhaps because of the following line, “He has no lack of gain,” my thoughts turn to money. “How can I do better in this area?”

But as we pass the years together, I see that more and more what John’s heart needs from mine is simply to love him as he is, even as he changes and grows right along with me, unhindered (I pray) by my interference in his relationship with God.

 

Oh, Father, I thank you for your patience with me, and for growing patience in me. And I thank you for this wonderful child of yours, John, whose heart you have entrusted to my care.  May I be ever more skillful in that sacred trust.  Amen.

 

Hooray!  Freedom!  Especially on the 4th of July.

 

Just to Get Your Blood Pressure Up, and Maybe a Little Rational Thinking as Well!

Satan always goes after the best and the brightest, such as powerful ministries who preach and teach and deliver the power of Jesus to heal.  Just this morning I saw yet another case of people testifying of God’s miraculous healing power, even as they political-corrected it by saying, “God healed completely and miraculously without chemo, but He might tell you to get chemo.”

God is no respecter of persons, the Word tells us.  So, as the old hymn says, “What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.”  The differences are in us, not in Him.   In some instances, “Jesus healed ALL.”  In others, such as when in His home town, “He could do no mighty works.”  So what did He do there?  He taught.  We must be teachable, searching and seeking out His ways, not man’s way.  And don’t try to mix up a faith/fear cocktail, hedging your bets just in case He’s a liar.

Sorry, Charlie, either Jesus heals or doesn’t.  Chemo isn’t miraculous healing, chemo is torture and torment.  Prayer for healing causes many people to survive chemo, but it is not God’s best.  The Bible says “Jesus” healed all, not “chemo” healed a few, sort of.  Scripture tells us to “let plants be for medicine” (herbs, essential oils, tisanes, juicing, mushrooms, etc.) not man-made chemical poisons.

There are many fine medical practitioners, both establishment and alternative, who do not agree with the use of chemo.  There are many books written suggesting we all have a bit of cancer in our bodies now and again, and that chemo is a part of the “cancer industry” and will one day be looked back on with amazed sorrow and disgust, as we now look at historical practices such as sticking leeches on people, giving babies laudanum, delivering babies with unwashed hands, and so forth.

“Well, I go to the doctor to see what’s wrong, so I’ll know how to pray,” is an oft-repeated Christian excuse for bowing to fear and choosing man’s way over God’s.  No, you go to the doctor because you don’t trust God, you aren’t willing to put down your flesh and start taking care of your body and your spirit (you fear the discomfort of change), and you care what other people think.  And in many cases, you go to the doctor because your spiritual antennae aren’t picking up God’s channel because you’re walking in unforgiveness.

And you get a curse pronounced over you.  Then you take ownership of it and repeat it to any and all.  Instead of introducing yourself as, “Hi, I’m Jane Doe and I have cancer,” you may as well say, “Hi, I’m Cancer and I have Jane Doe.”  As a man thinketh, so he is.  The Word of God admonishes us that there is life and death in the power of the tongue, that we will eat the fruit thereof, that we have what we say.  Don’t take my word for it.  Get in the Word and teach yourself some truth!  Arm yourself!  Or, do what most people do and bow to fear.

It’s all fear.  All of it.  As the Word says, “Fear hath torment.”  And fear brings death.  The very thing you’re trying so desperately to avoid is the outcome you are guaranteeing.

Just say “No!” to fear.  If you die, you die.  Newsflash:  You’re going to anyway, sooner or later.  Might as well go out with your hair on.

 

FOR MORE ON LIVING BY THE WORD JOIN ME TODAY, FRIDAY THE 23RD, ON THE HOMEFRONT SHOW BY GOING TO 1360am.co and then clicking on “Live Radio”.

THANKS!

 

Blessed Hospitality from Two Texans to Me

“You have the gift of hospitality,” said one of my two houseguests.  I thanked her, pleased with her response to my efforts, and immediately began mulling over those words, on one of my mind’s back burners, as we walked into the church.

It was our monthly women’s fellowship, where we were taught about being God’s gardens, and onto another back burner went the words, “We are God’s beautiful gardens.”  Ought I not to have a garden, as gardening is so great a thing, such a picture of God, such a living example of His bounty and beauty?”  Ought I not?  Shouldn’t I?  Or was this constant and yet-again thinking of where I’m probably missing something, only OK if done in a spirit of seeking a yet-higher place in Him, a further childish delight in discovery?

After the meeting one of the women, a farmer’s wife, talked to me about how she was expected in the early years of her marriage to have a big garden, and how she did so for years, but without any joy.

So perhaps that’s it.  Remove the expectations, the shoulds and the oughts, and recover the joy.  Make a garden less like an inlaw-pleasing truck farm, and do what this lady does now, plant what brings her joy – flowers, flowers, flowers.  Oh, and tomatoes.  More joy.

Joy.  This morning I found a guest out in the early morning birdsong on my balcony.  There she sat wrapped in blankets and writing in her journal (a gift the Holy Spirit spoke strongly and repeatedly to me about making sure to provide, complete with pens, pencils and beautiful highlighters).

I asked if I could bring her some hot herbal tea with honey, which she gladly accepted as she asked me if I would like to join her.  But I wanted her to capture her rapture on paper.  She said the air was “divine” and trying to describe the clarity of the golden morning light was something I hoped she could get into her journal, and better done alone.

I told her I might join her in a while, but first I was going to have my Quiet Time.  My “divine” time, and my time to capture some Light – the very light of God, shining in my heart when I put Him first, and minister to His beloved garden next.

“You have the Gift of Hospitality.”  A compliment, and so much more.  During the women’s meeting we all were instructed to give the person to our right compliments.  The woman to my left (who just so happened to be my other houseguest) said I was a woman of great faith.  I simply said, “Thank you.”  But I thought so much more.

What happens when we receive a Holy Spirit-inspired compliment?  In my case, inspiration.  I receive that.  I am a woman of faith.  This is no small response.  In the space of one hour I was told I have the gift of hospitality and that I am a woman of faith.

In two small moments I was humbled by God taking the care and time to speak to my heart through His daughters, and to thereby bind our hearts.  I am grateful to Him and to His messengers.

All gifts.  To me.  The gift of hospitality is one we give ourselves when we do it not as a duty to gain God’s and our own approval, but when and as led by Him, so that He is the author and the finisher of the entire process.

My two guests are now also my friends, and they have brought their blooms and beauties to my garden, as I invited them in by His goodness and grace.

“You have the gift of hospitality.”  Indeed I do.  And I receive the gift.

HEAR MORE ABOUT HOSPITALITY, FREEDOM FROM FEAR, HOW A FEARLESS SIBLING SAVED A PRESIDENT, HARRIET BEECHER STOWE’S THOUGHTS ON HOMEMAKING, WHAT FEMINISM AND MAO HAVE IN COMMON, AND MUCH, MUCH, MUCH MORE TODAY , FRIDAY THE 23RD ON THE HOMEFRONT SHOW AT 2:00 PM MOUNTAIN TIME.

GO HERE:  1360am.co

THEN:  Click on “Live Radio” and be blessed!

 

Pentecost, and all Things Richly to Enjoy

 

creek 2

Taking a walk in the cool not-quite-summer breezes the other morning an old question popped into my mind:  Which of the senses would you miss the most, were you to lose it?

Loss of sight would mean no more color, no more iridescent, translucent, sparkling, proof-of- God color.  No more looking into the eyes of my beloveds, no more laughing at a child’s guileless smile.

Not good.

Loss of smell would mean I couldn’t smell this sage I’m crushing in my fingers and thereby being lifted, transported.  Same for the juniper, pine, spruce, fir and cedar on the heavenly breeze.

Loss of smell would mean roast beef and vegetables and gravy and hot buttered homemade bread would be irrelevant.  Also not good.

Loss of smell would mean I wouldn’t notice the clove on John’s breath when he kissed me.

A kiss.  A touch.  Not being able to feel the kissing face, or hugged neck, or the touch of a hand of another of God’s children.

marmot

Hearing.  A marmot is sounding the alarm because the dogs are busy sniffing out his rock pile, and the spring snowmelt has made the creek practically roar as it rushes out of its banks, but not above my favorite creekside blessing rock.

And I couldn’t hear His praises sung from the depths of the hearts of His children in church this morning, on Pentecost Sunday.  This thought makes me catch my breath from the sudden glitch of alarm, the actual physical ache, in my spirit.  But, on this day of all days, I am choosing not to think about “what ifs” and possible losses.  I am thinking of my utter inability to even begin to grasp the magnitude of the Love of God.  This is the sense I want to exercise, increase, develop.  This is the realm into which I want to delve more deeply.  More richly.

He has given us all things richly to enjoy.  I call the dogs off and they happily dash off to the next thrill, all senses alert.  He has given us all things richly to enjoy.  This thought again wafts into my mind and I think of how all the senses will be alive and blessing me at once if I simply take this walk with a loved one, sit by the creek eating roast beef on homemade bread with also homemade mayo, and watch steam swirl up out of a thermos of tea as we sip and smile at each other.  And as we see on each others’ faces peace.  How beautiful, how marvelous.  Oh, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.

In all the earth.  He has given us so much to enjoy.  Let us not, in pursuits of manmade enjoyments and entertainments, forgo, forget, become blind to, the wonderful world He has made.  In all of our seeking, with all of our senses, let us tune into Him.  Let us daily live a life of Pentecost.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Paul said, “Pray for us.”

“”Pray for us,” Paul asked believers.  “Pray for us,” I saw not once, not twice, but three times in a row this morning in my Bible study.

I open my eyes each morning and give Him thanks (not only if I feel like it) and then as I begin my Bible reading I ask for a word. So, I may not have the exercise habits and the writing habits I wish for, but this one thing I do. I begin my day with Jesus.

I commune with Him and I expect and receive responses. So often it goes like this morning.  He tells me more than once and more than twice so I can’t miss it.

I got the message, or the message’s beginning:  There are some people on the front lines in ministry who need prayer, who need strength for the arms that hang down.

The joy of the Lord is our strength, the Word tells us.  So, I pray for joy for them, and so forth.  A few people come to mind and I press in for them, then go to John and we pray in agreement.

Then comes more revelation and more word, such as the word “refreshment”, which also stood up and waved at me three times.  As John and I discussed this, as well as the negative reactions of two special people to something we said, we see they are the ones who REALLY need our prayers, and whatever else God leads us to say and do for them.  “I think,” I said to John, “they misunderstood us because they see and look at everything through the lenses of hurt and discouragement,  Through woundedness, grief, and oh, such fatigue.

So we pray and beseech God for wisdom, for the right words and the deeds, and He answers us both.  To me He imparts that oft-forgotten truth:  lead with the love example.  To John he says send an e-mail, or a card – one so full of grace and love and appreciation and thanks that our hearts cannot be misunderstood.

“Pray for us.”  Pray with us.  God never intended any of us to walk these paths alone, and one of the enemy’s biggest pressures is the pressure to make us feel we are alone, forgotten, unloved.

Prayer is love.  Prayer in person is love on steroids.  I try to emulate a famous minister lady who says when she sees someone in the grocery store and they ask for prayer she stops right then and there and prays with them.  “Let’s pray!” is much more comforting than, “I’ll pray for you . . . (someday, sometime, maybe, probably not).”

Yesterday, knowing my dad was in a place he detests being, doing a hard and difficult thing, I said to my daughter, “Call your grandpa and tell him we just prayed for him (we had just prayed for him) and that we love him.”

Every time, any  time anyone is on your heart, take it as an unction to pray.

Pray for you, for me, for people in high places and people in low places.  Pray for the Body of Christ.

“Pray for us.”

P.S.  Don’t miss Friday’s Home Front Show – at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time go to 1360am.co, wait for it to load, then click on “LIVE RADIO” and be blessed!