Looking for Opportunities and Better F-Words

“You know what this is?” I asked my husband, and then answered. “This is an opportunity to trust.” We were talking about the curse spoken over me by my doctor: “If you don’t terminate the pregnancy you will die.”

When I refused he raised his voice. “You don’t understand!”

“No, you don’t understand,” I answered, and left.

Years later (that child is an astoundingly fabulous Jesus-loving 26-year-old now) I read well-meaning writers talking about abortion, and sometimes out of both sides of their mouths. Why and how can people say they’re pro-choice and pro-life? Because they care more about their own and others’ opinions than about the blood of Jesus, shed that we might have life, and life abundantly (John 10:10). Because they don’t have fear-destroying, mountain-moving, never-say-die faith. They know about Jesus, but they don’t know Him.

They don’t know that a death threat is an opportunity to trust, to obey the COMMAND, “Fear not.” They don’t know that when Satan offers his currency for doing business (fear) they can just say no. They have no idea who they are, and Who He is. Rather than taking their rightful authority as children of the Most High, they tune into their enemy’s lies. And if that’s not enough, they repeat what he says. Over and over and over. And we all know what happens when we hear a lie enough times . . . when we partner with the enemy by saying what he says . . .

When Satan shouts death and defeat (John 10:10 is where we see his stealing, killing and destroying discussed by Jesus) into our ears with a megaphone, we are to stand up and fight. It’s called the good fight of faith.

What makes it a good fight? First of all, because the faith side is the God side. It’s also because a good fight is one you can, and provided fear is strictly and absolutely forbidden, will win.

So, rather than cowering and hiding and hoping (but not really believing) you’ll somehow survive it all, TALK to it! “Fear, I know you’re Satan’s currency. I know you’re a lie. See, right here in Psalms what David said. See what He said about God. Now let’s go see what Jesus said. And did. You are a defeated foe, so get lost. Oh, but first, let’s feast a bit more on the Word of God with Ephesians, say Chapter 3. Or how about some more from Psalms? No? Oh, I’ll bet you’d like to read about Jesus’ victory over you at Calvary? That’s some seriously good Word Feasting!”

“What? You don’t want any more?”

Yes, Dear Reader, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus, but in fear you are Satan’s prey. Thanks for thinking and seeking–we all need to win. Victory in Jesus! Amen.

P.S. I have new and improved F-words for you today: Ferocious Fighting, Feasting, Fearless, and Faith. Forever.

What Would Smith Wigglesworth or a mom do?

The March 21 offering in Devotional by Smith Wigglesworth is the tale of a miracle healing, wherein before Smith came on the scene God prepared a woman’s heart to receive. This was a handy thing for me to be reading, as my son came to ask for healing prayer just after I finished. My heart was prepared to pray, and I wanted his heart prepared as well.

“First,” I answered, “Sit down and do me the honor of letting me read this to you.” Benjamin sat and I read Smith’s marvelous story, beginning with Matthew 8:17: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.

After finishing the devotion, I took Benjamin’s right hand and wrist (where the pain was) and began praying, during which action I was impressed to remind my son that his name means “Son of the Right Hand.” There was much more, and he received more than healing. He received encouragement.

I didn’t wake up encouraged today, and I was in no mood to encourage anyone else. But then there came that miracle thing called Quiet Time, and I was encouraged by the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John; then by Paul in I Corinthians with Love words, and David speaking straight to my heart in Psalms.

In Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest I was struck by the statement, “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Pondering this, I read from Smith Wigglesworth, focusing on the fifth verse of Isaiah 53: But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

I choose to identify myself with The Healer.

The final thought in this devotion is, “One bit of unbelief against the Word is poison.”

He IS the Healer. Amen.

Begging is not Praying

I turned 63 at midnight and have been praying ever since. I can’t stop. Each time I try and think I’ll go to sleep, I start again. But let us back up. I keep using that word, “praying” and I do not think it means what you (maybe) think it means. My friend said it’s time to stop praying and start declaring and decreeing according to the Word, according to the promises, of God.

I thought that was part of prayer. Well, so does she, but in response to the unbelieving begging done by her prayer group, she’s defining prayer as do they: a begging of an unpredictable God. This, my dearest reader, is a mixing of covenants.

Unless and until you believe and receive what Jesus gave/accomplished on the Cross, you will never walk in victory, you will never pray the fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous man. “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.”

Begging and hoping God might be in a good mood, that you might be “good enough” to get a good outcome, is not righteous behavior. Going around parrotting the evil report that “God is sovereign” as a cop-out, rather than standing fearlessly in faith come Hell or high water, is not righteous behavior. “Sovereign” is another one of those words you (maybe) keep using and which does not mean what you think it means.

Praying a paltry begging prayer from a heart full of pride and unforgiveness rather than from a confident heart–one cleansed via the childlike acceptance of the free gift of Jesus’ shed blood at Calvary–isn’t pious, it isn’t effectual, it isn’t righteous. It is selfish.

It is thinking that it’s so much all about you that you’re going to ignore the gift of the blood of Jesus. So, like my friend’s prayer group ladies, you can meet all day and all night and beg and beg and cry and cry for God to “do something” but until you receive and believe what He’s already done, you’re wasting your time.

Pathetic, paltry, lily-livered Christianity has got to go. It’s time to man-up, trust, and obey. And it’s time to stop believing lies of so-called “spiritual authorities” and just believe God. Jesus said to love and pray for our enemies; He said to trust and obey; over and over and over He said, “Fear not.” He said if we’d humble ourselves He’d heal our land. He said John 10:10. He said we have what we say. But He never said to beg.

Dastardly Distractions, Nuisance Noises!

We are here to do what only we can do–not to be going down every rabbit hole coming our way via media. We are here to pray and praise like never before, to seek Him FIRST. And last. And between times.

In reading the Word of God Himself this morning there was/is so much. For me. Realignment, repositioning, renewal, refreshing. We simply do not get those things from focusing on the nonsense and chaos available and in our faces from every direction. Rather, we become addled, confused, and diminished. Impotent.

Yes! Of course you agree and you’re going to tell all those other folks in your house all about it. Or not. Maybe it’s time to spend a good two or three hours with your Creator and see what He has to say. To me, He’s saying, “Stay in your lane. Go where I lead, and let me do the leading of those around you. When I need your verbal input (other than in prayer, which is always needed) I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, let patience possess your soul.”

Patience is not my strongest and most prolific Fruit of the Spirit. But I’m learning! And oh, the benefits of keeping still, being at peace, because I can. Why? Because I’ve been hanging out with the Lover of my soul. Focusing on what puts everything else in perspective, what makes life work. Amen!

Control or Contentment? Success or Selfishness?

I’m hearing lots about eliminating “toxic” people from my life–those who don’t contribute to my “success”–about walking away. I really like this idea, but does God?* In listening to and reading motivational “success” gurus I know I’ve gotta get up at 5:00 a.m. if I’m going to “be somebody.” But God says I am somebody. People always want to know what I “do” and the temptation is to say, “I’m a writer,” as this, unlike homemaking, is an approved occupation. But God approves of me. Just because.

Still, the messages are so compelling, as are the ideas of writing bestsellers and achieving other lauded goals, having an actually heeded day planner, and checking off my to-do lists each day. And the facts that vision boards don’t work for me, and my plans almost always are superceded by “life” doesn’t faze me. It can’t be that all those people are missing something–after all, they’re “successful”–I MUST TRY HARDER. FASTER, FASTER, WORK, WORK!

As I ponder all these things, and wonder why Christian motivational speakers consider non-Christians “successful” simply because they’re famous, I suddenly remember something I once heard, and now I am listening: If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry, a hen. Ah, now that sounds like success to me. My daughter recently roasted a fat chicken in the Hobbit way – bacon, butter, herbs, and those things under as well as atop the skin. The chicken was first rinsed and then patted dry, to be cooked on high heat, and all in pursuit of a very crispy and delicious skin. Roasted along this dear bird were root vegetables, and all hearts were made glad.

When Rebekah asked what I wanted done with the chicken I could have told her my plan. Rather, I asked for her suggestions and out came An Unexpected Cookbook–The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Not my plan, but better than. I’m liking the sound of that: Not my plan, but better than. My daughter is happy, my family enjoys an excellent meal, and I don’t have to cook. Success!

* In Andrew Murray’s classic book, Humility, he writes: “Look upon every fellow man who tries or vexes you as a means of grace to humble you.”

What Can I Create?

With this evening’s attitude, not much. Once I start thinking about what’s not perfect, I’m on the way to griping about it, and here it comes–the Biblical “spirit of heaviness.” And who needs more of that?

Well, no matter how many times I try sad, I never like it. It never works for me. And it’s always rooted in choosing doldrums over delight. As someone who, over 40 years ago, chose to join the revolution started 2000 years ago by a really great guy named Jesus, I simply have no business thinking it’s about me.

I know (this I’ve tried as often as I’ve tried sad) that when I start doing the selfish it’s not going to end well. Ah, but when I read the beautiful Word of Life, when I pray, when I repent of my disobedient self-absorption, the very atmosphere of my life begins to change. What a difference a moment makes.

What a difference a bit of good preaching (this evening it was Creflo Dollar talking about the “sin” of selfishness, the miserable life therein); last week it was Bill Johnson saying, “When at war, create.”

Create. I’d no sooner finished listening to Creflo, than John asked me to watch and listen to the story of a businessman turning Central Park into something marvelous for New Yorkers. Create. We’re all born for it, created for it.

Just in putting out the maple syrup and making plans for homemade waffles, scrambled eggs, brats, peaches and tea for a late breakfast tomorrow, I have begun creating something marvelous in the sight of my beloveds.

In writing my evening pages (I scribble my thoughts morning and night to see what’s in my brain) I create a list for tomorrow–assuring that it will begin as it should–first with thanks for the Author of all Beauty and Creativity, and then with the getting to it.

What can we create tomorrow? Why don’t we let it begin with smiling at ourselves in the mirror and remembering we’re created in the image of the The Creator. Who knows what we’ll get up to (I might start a book, or at least another blog post, do a YouTube thing. I might even clean the junk drawer!). Or maybe I’ll just create joy by giving smiles and good words to all.

Thanks for letting me share with you!

P.S. You can still get The Maker’s Marriage (on Amazon) before Christmas–if not for Christmas, by New Year’s Night.

Takin’ Out the Paper and the Trash

When we take out the kitchen trash at our house we get the bathroom trash, John’s office, and anything else that needs taking out. I was thinking of that this morning as I had my Quiet Time.

If I forget Who loves me I will live in contact with the one who hates me–in the dumpster with the trash. If I focus on what’s wrong I will be blind to what’s real and right and true. If I harbor (shelter and hold in my arms and heart) unforgiveness I will have no peace. When, through disobedience and ignorance (“my people perish for lack of knowledge”) I go my own way, I fail. Every single time.

It’s all trash and I choose to take it out, all day every day. It’s not going to be in my house.