I Know That I Know

And my experience or fear doesn’t negate the Truth. I know Whom I have believed. Any fear is a revelation of the filth in my heart that says Satan is greater than God.

Any fear. Even if the worst I can imagine happens, I and all my loved ones end up together with Jesus. Even if my beloved country becomes yet another communist hellhole, He will provide.

But let us return now to the idea that my or anyone else’s beliefs or experience should be given more attention than the Word. I picked up a book at our local library (steam always coming out my ears when I visit public libraries lately) and it was, at least in the part I read, about people being harmed by someone in church, and thereby a denunciation of all Christianity.

Perhaps I should have read on, certainly I should not have lost my joy over yet another book written by someone who doesn’t know that they know. They don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior. They’ve never experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit. They don’t know Love.

Why then, should I expect anything else? Why should I be impatient, upset, or concerned? Because . . . (oh, I really hate that this can still be so), because there is that inevitable result of not believing, not really and truly trusting, that like every other evil or ill, God has got this.

If that’s so, you may be thinking, why are we here? Because of pride (not because of dishonest politicians or rigged voting machines or China). If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways . . . It’s in II Chronicles 7:14. Let’s look again–If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I repent of fear, anger, unbelief. I repent of the pride that says I can do anything apart from Him. I repent of the pride that makes me forget that there but by the grace of God, go I. And I remember: I know that I know. I know Whom I have believed. I know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and He is my all in all.

II Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Thanks for your time, and Merry Christmas!

P.S. Some scriptures for your perusal–either as a reminder of what God has done, or what He’d so love to do for you, His beloved:

Romans 3:23–For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23–For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.;

Romans 5:8–But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:8–For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; s, so that no one may boast.

Romans 10:9–that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

New Sound

Day in and day out I am reading scriptures about praising God, about shouting, singing, going into battle prefaced and protected by songs of praise. Last night as I went to sleep I began singing snatches of a forgotten song, and as it began to come together I sang it over and over, knowing my sleep would be sound, my dreams beautiful.

Phil Driscoll’s New Sound was, I believe, a gift to my heart from the Holy Spirit. There’s a new sound in the earth, there’s a new voice to be heard.

Listen. Be blessed. Praise Him.

Casual Won’t Cut It

I was searching for a good word on YouTube and Richard Roberts’ Santa Claus face caught my eye–aren’t we all looking for a smile and some cheer? He spoke two things I’ve been saying: “The time for casual Christianity is over” was the concluding statement; the admonition was to join him as a “watchman on the wall.”

As Richard Roberts suggested, I read Isaiah 62:6, which says, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent.”

I believe God is calling us all to “strengthen the hands that hang down” (Hebrews 12:12) via prayer for each other and against the darkness, and that we are to never hold our peace.

Distractions abound, especially against time in the Word of God, but we don’t have to be distracted from praying. We must simply pray then and there, here and now, coming in and going out.

When my beautiful friend Pam told me how to pray about a personal issue (something in my heart that needed changing and healing) I prayed right then and there as she listened on the phone. Don’t wait for a “good time” to pray. Right now is a good time to pray!

About anything and everything.

And by the way, don’t pray like a heathen trying to appease an angry god: “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, oh, oh.” Along with sacking casual Christianity, it’s time to sack pathetic and pitiful Christianity. Pray the Word!

What does the Word say? “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). You can’t do this when you’re listening to every other voice. Once again, the days when we could do that, when we could be casual about our Christianity, are over.

We’re it, Folks. God works through faith. I’ve heard it said that faith is God’s currency, and fear is Satan’s. So, let’s get faith via hearing the Word of God. Hearing. Romans 10:17 tells us how: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

After I heard Richard Roberts reading Isaiah 62 last night, I heard it again this morning as I read it aloud. Faith comes, the Bible tells us. By hearing. If ever in my lifetime I needed faith to come, enduring and steadfast faith, it is now, in “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

It’s time to roll up our sleeves, and get to it. Faith, I mean. So repeat after me (remember you need to hear): “No fear here.”

He’s the Prince of (my) Peace

The great gift of Christ to me when I was first a believer was peace.  “I still have all my problems,” I told my mom, “but I’m not afraid any more.”  The peace that passes understanding.  This is a peace that can’t be explained.  It can’t be understood apart from experience.

But today, I am not often seeing that peace in others who say they are believers.  This disturbs my peace!  But note I did say “disturbs” not “steals”.  I guard my peace and when I feel its pending absence (no longer a feeling I am willing to live with) it’s time to go to The Prince of Peace.

Some people think that means God’s all about peace in the usual sense of the word.  But I know the truth is that He’s about the peace that only comes via fighting the good fight of faith.  And He’s about giving me peace right in the middle of the battle.

That’s where we are – in the middle of the battle.  I don’t think anyone would argue about that.  But there is mental wackiness going on because of fear.  Fear must be fought!  Fear must be defeated.  Faith, which the Word tells us “works” through love, is what connects us to God.  Not fear.

People are afraid of their own shadows, and teaching their kids fear as well.  I saw a toddler the other day with a mask on and it was unbearable.  Kids are being programmed to fear, to “all their lifetimes be subject to bondage through fear of death.”  But the good news is that Jesus came to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” – Hebrews 2:15

I’ve been released from Fear’s tyranny more than once.  I didn’t hold on to that peace experienced when I was spirit-filled.  For years I struggled to walk in faith, and the biggest problem was that I was in unforgiveness.  Finally, I was finished with the torment of fear, but that’s another and lengthy story.

For now I urge you, I pray for you (for the entire world daily) to be free from the awful bondage of Fear.  Raise your head up and receive your freedom.  Remember Jesus came that we would be “free indeed.”

The physical mess we’re in is a result of the spiritual mess we’re in.  We will not have political freedom as long as we are spiritually bound.  So let’s look at the chaos in the world around us and see it as an opportunity to trust.  What else can we do?

 

Jesus the Homemaker

The Word of God tells us to “guard our hearts” and that sounds like a defensive posture, which sounds, well, defensive.  But it’s actually a preparation and strength posture.

I think of it in physical terms as the Keep of the Castle.  Guarding our hearts means keeping our hearts.  “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

The Keep is where the goods are, the sustenance, the abundance.  For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

What is spoken will be.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us that there is the power of life and death in the tongue.  Focus on the word “power” there, and let’s ask ourselves this question:  Who has the power here – are we going to speak for Satan, words that will destroy our own lives, or are we going to speak for the Lover of our souls, the author and finisher of our faith?

James 3:2 says, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body.”  The only thing more amazing to me than how little Christians know about the tongue’s power of life and death, is how often I speak as though I am a total tongue-power ignoramus.

I know and believe the Word’s admonitions regarding the tongue.  I have read and re-read Joyce Meyer’s Me and My Big Mouth. I know that I guard my heart, indeed my entire life, when my tongue is harnessed to the Holy Spirit via prayer and diligent attention to the Word.  I know and believe and have experienced the devastation wrought when I go ahead and wound my very own soul by speaking death words.

Death words are words of darkness and doom, of doubt and dismay.  Words with the power to open my heart right up to fear.  Then comes the physical manifestation – an actual poisoning of my entire system, also known as stress.

We guard our hearts with our tongues, and we guard our tongues when we guard our hearts.  A lovely life circle.  Or, we can go our own way . . . and say whatever the HELL (that’s where it’s from) we FEEL like saying.

What would Jesus have us say?  “Poor poor pitiful me?”  “Woe is me, I’m so misunderstood and unloved?”   “Why does this always happen to me?”

The answer is “none of the above.”  He would have us say, “God is my refuge, God is my strength, a very present help in trouble.”  He Himself would say, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” and “Where’s someone I can love and bless and heal and help?  Come unto me!” (John 7:37).

“Come unto me all ye who are weak and heavy laden.”  We weaken ourselves when we SPEAK the weakness.  Weakness is only a temporary fact, but it is not the truth of the matter.  The truth of the matter is what the Word of God says about it.  He is my shelter (Psalm 61:3), my strong tower, my very present help in trouble.  Sing the song I Will Arise (listen to Phil Driscoll do it first), “I will arise and go to Jesus.  He will embrace me in His arms.  In the arms of my dear Savior, oh there are 10,000 charms.”

What again, would Jesus say?  He would speak from a guarded heart, words of life.  His heart was guarded by his focus on and love for others.  He freed Himself to the beautiful life that is a life of caring for others.

Like, um, well, a Homemaker.

So Many Opportunities for Joy, Why Let Anything Steal Them?

We went to a Christmas ballet we’ve dubbed “Ballet Bizarre”.  We looked at the checking account and decided repurposing is indeed a wonderful thing.  It will be our first Christmas with our son overseas in the Middle East.  The world is a powder keg, and our child is in the smack dab middle of it.

And so on.  There are reasons to lament during this Season.  There are reasons (but then aren’t reasons simply excuses?) to Bah Humbug it all.  But I am not one to say “Tis the season to be jolly!, or as I was singing (shouting) all morning, “Tis the season to be Jarry, fah, rah, rah, rah, rah!”, and leave it at that, fun as it may be.

I am here to dig and delve deeply into the Reason for the Season.  I am here to say the money (or lack thereof) in the checking account and the bizarrre-ness of “Art” and the locale of loved ones are simply opportunities to remember Jesus.  This is the season for the ultimate of all beauties – the Love of Christ.

And so the bizarre ballet is an opportunity to be thankful that I have yet another focus for prayer.  The repurposing is a reminder of all the treasures I own that will now grace the lives of others.  The son overseas reminds me that technology can be a wonderful thing – his Christmas package will arrive today or tomorrow most likely, and he will open it in our presence via Internet.

The powder keg world?  Still and as always, Jesus is our refuge and our strength, our high tower and deliverer. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Amen!

Sharing Him at Christmas can be done with or without cash.  We are opening our home on Christmas Day for the first time.  We will be sharing a Christmas brunch with people the Holy Spirit has put on our hearts to invite, and there will be much merry-making, joy and celebration.  We’re including the most important of guests via the special invitation of prayer, and as always, He will be right on time.

I have decided and decreed that I will not even think, for one moment, thoughts of lack this Christmas, much less speak words of lack.  What indeed, do I lack?  I serve a Risen Savior.

As for those pesky arguments about December 25 not actually being His birthday so what?  I was born December 28 and I would have no problem with people celebrating my birthday on July 28 or whatever day suited them.  What I would have a problem with would be people being upset because they didn’t have a gift for me, or feeling pressured because the day was a reminder of what they lacked in their lives, rather than a reminder that I loved them.

So, that’s it – the key to joy in this Season, no matter what your circumstances:  We must choose to worship and serve and receive His great gift to us all.

Mr. Bennett, in Pride and Prejudice says, “No lace, Mrs. Bennett!”  I say to myself, “No Lack, Mrs. Bev!  You have Jesus and it’s time to celebrate.  Each and every moment of each and every day.”  Jesus the Savior is Born.

You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.

Anyone Can Find Crappy Christians – They Advertise Quite Effectively, But . . .

The only Christian we need to be looking at is Jesus.  I am always meeting people who justify their faithless lives with their sob stories of mistreatment by Christians.

Consider this:  Just because someone calls themselves Christian does not mean they know Christ, and that His Spirit has shed abroad the love of Christ in their heart.

And consider this:  Even born-again, Spirit-filled (yes that’s a thing, and I do mean a THING) Christians can really miss it and really be deceived and deluded (they can spout the BLASPHEMY that God does horrible things to people to “teach them a a lesson.”   See John 10:10).

And consider this:  If you let any person be your lens for looking at Christianity, you’re looking through a clouded lens.  Look at Jesus Himself.

The Christianity of the Bible is about love, hope, and victory through a living Savior, and if anyone presents it as a religious set of rules, they look suspiciously like someone who does not know Him.  Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.  It brings life not death, conviction but not condemnation, victory rather than victimhood.  Again, real Christianity brings life, because it is alive.

Jesus is alive, and He lives in the hearts of those who will invite Him in.

What a deal.  Don’t let any poor specimen of Christianity steal the deal.

Amen!

Formative Years and Transformative Years

It’s Springtime in the Rockies and I have never been more excited than I am about Spring, 2018.  It’s been clean up, declutter, and cleanse time, and I don’t just mean closets and cupboards.

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God is at work in my heart and it’s astounding and marvelous.  Just as the water turkeys, ducks and geese on the almost-thawed local lakes are going ahead with their visiting, fishing, and welcoming Spring before it’s quite upon us, I too am welcoming, ready for Spring.  I am ready for newness, growth, surprises, adventure – transformation.

At the ripe young age of almost 60 (I love being older each year!) I have learned to embrace and give thanks for those things from my formative years which have stood me in good stead.  And I am learning that each year I live is more a transformative year than was the year before.

But there is something in the air, something special about 2018.  I believe the Love (God’s Agape) more than ever before and the Love is changing my heart, cleansing and decluttering my mind, transforming me.

It is, as I told my husband, John, as though God has me out in a river on a raft without sides or oars and He is taking me I know not where.  I only know that it is somewhere good.  And the price of the raft ticket was faith working through Love.

Transformation, cleansing, peace.  The Bible says He put eternity in our hearts, and like so many of  His marvelous mysteries, I don’t fully comprehend and understand this statement, and yet, how it speaks to me.

How He speaks to me – patiently, tirelessly, lovingly.  Come along with me and be transformed.  Faithless to fearless, touchy to tender, defensive to delighted, whiny to winner, grouchy to glad.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  Thank you, Dearest Lord, for renewal, for transformation.  Amen.

P.S.  I’ll be going more deeply into transformation and ever so much more (like surviving church!) tomorrow, Friday the 23rd, at 2:00 MTN on http://www.1360am.co so please join in and call a friend.  Thanks!

Proverbs 31 Truth or Consequences?

beautiful home

We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

I used the C.O.D. (Child of the Day) plan as a truth vehicle in raising our kids, and even today, as I am creating yet another variation of it, I marvel at its inherent genius.

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Born of necessity when each of the kids chimed in during breakfast prayers, the C.O.D. has become my good buddy through the years.  As we (John and I) repeatedly picked up and put our forks back down to the tune of yet another prayer request, I decided we would simply take turns praying.

“Thank you, Father for this beautiful day and for each other and for this delicious food.  Please bless it to our bodies and protect us from anything harmful in it.  In Jesus Name we pray.  Amen.”

That was the beginning.  Then came, “And please help me find my hungry lizard,” which sparked another creature-in-distress thought in another little mind.  “And pweez help Grandpa’s cow that’s sick.”  Now Grandpa thoughts.  “And please, Jesus, help Grandpa remember to bring gum next time.”  Fork up, fork down.

“And Lord, please . . . .”

“OK, that’s enough.  Let’s eat.”

I quickly wrote up a COD list:  The Child of the Day gets to ride in the front, stay up 15 minutes late in bed with Mom and Dad, pick the readaloud story at bedtime, and have other privileges as determined by Mom and Dad issue by issue, day by day.

pen and paper

Benjamin would be the C.O.D on Monday, Hannah Tuesday, Rebekah Wednesday, and Seth Thursday.  Rarely has an idea garnered such immediate support and enthusiasm.  Not only were they all about the day for themselves, but they staunchly supported the rights of their siblings.  “It’s your day.  You get to choose.”

And what a blessing for me.  “Mom, can you sew my doll’s arm back on?” went from being another unneeded interruption, to something I enjoyed doing because I said, “Tomorrow is your day.  Bring her to me tomorrow and we’ll have a sewing lesson.”  Meanwhile I could round up the sewing box, determine if I had acceptably colored thread, and simply prepare myself to do that thing that wasn’t on my “want-to-do” list.

The C.O.D. concept would have been a success if it had never evolved, and if it had simply solved who was praying at mealtimes.  I was thinking recently when we had guests over and got ready to pray, how nice it was to hear the kids ask, “Whose day is it?”  The guests were blessed and it blesses me that my kids are absolutely unfazed about leading prayer in front of anyone and everyone.

“Whose day is it?”  The C.O.D. program would have been a success simply for the memory of Seth climbing into his high chair with a big grin as he asked, “Whose days is its to pway?”

Seth’s questions lately are about yet another change in the program, which is now less a program of daily privileges and more of a weekly responsibility list.  Thursday is still Seth’s day to pray, or to say, “Hey, Mom.  There’s one piece of pie left and it’s my day.  Can I have it?”  That’s an easy “yes”.  But other questions of late, such as, “Hey, Mom, I think with Hannah gone and Benjamin working for Dad and Rebekah doing Mary Kay all the time, maybe we could take another look here.”

He didn’t actually say those words, and being Seth, he never actually complained that more and more of the load was coming his way, with little appreciation or remuneration to show for it.  (Aside:  Beware of piling more on that child who doesn’t complain and who will do a good job, just because that’s the easy road.  Not good.  Not fair.  And the biggest losers are the kids who are being taught irresponsibility and laziness).

Because the Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household” I know changes need to be made.  I’ve made a few preliminary steps:  asking other kids to do extra, doing extra myself, getting John’s input.  But this morning as I was reading Laurie Beth Jones’ Jesus, Enrepreneur , I realized that this is a matter of, for starters, two things:  1) making a list; and 2) stewardship.

Laurie Jones says, regarding a confused young man, “Doesn’t he realize that how we handle small matters will determine how and if we handle great ones?”  Stewardship.

I realize as I’m pondering how well things C.O.D. have worked in times past, that it was at least in part because everything was clearly understood, discussed, explained, illustrated, and written out.  Time for a new and improved chore list.

Through the years we’ve gone from one day a week on dish duty, to a week on dish duty, to rotating per month, and then back to weekly stints.  The division of labor went as follows for several fairly harmonious years:  Dishes, Floors, Laundry, Miscellaneous.  Four kids, four categories, continually rotating, per a list on the fridge.

John has always been on board, especially if he sees something that will interfere with my peace, i.e. dirty dishes in the sink right before I’m about to start cooking.  “Who’s on dishes?” he’ll call on a Monday, when everything switches.  If there’s any confusion, we simply look at the list.  “Let’s see.  Benjamin was on dishes last week, so it’s Hannah.”

But then Benjamin went away to college and we consolidated things.  Then Hannah went away to Fort Collins and we came to two categories:  1) /Laundry and Floors; and 2) Dishes and Miscellaneous.

“Dishes” (or Kitchen) has always meant you do the dishes as soon as the meal is over, with each diner bringing their dishes to the sink.  Also included is occasional fridge cleaning, and a weekly checklist (which has somehow been misplaced) including clearing and wiping down all counters, the fridge, cabinet doors, baseboards and walls, and putting every single thing in its place, on the last day of the week (to be modified per interfering events).

“Miscellaneous” includes taking out the trash, building fires and bringing in firewood, running errands, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, straightening, and whatever else needs doing.

“Floors” means sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and once per week cleaning all baseboards.

It’s all pretty straightforward, and except for laundry, everyone seems to clearly understand.  Well, there is that one little thing which in the minds of all parties except myself, seems quite difficult.  And that one thing is this so very often repeated instruction:  Don’t take the trash out before you put a new trash sack in the can.  This is particularly important when I am cooking and you’re off to get on your coat and boots and traipse to the dumpster and leave me trashcan-less for a good ten minutes.  It’s the little things, it surely is.  But I don’t and won’t give up on this one.  Don’t leave me trashcan-less!

Back to laundry.  It’s my favorite job.  I won’t call it a chore because I simply love throwing nasty whites into a lovely machine, filling it with wonder ingredients, pushing buttons, and then walking away while its wonders are performed.  Now it’s time to throw bright and lovely-smelling whites into the dryer with a lavender sachet, and again, to walk away!

And then for the putting away.  I only do my and John’s laundry, and when I hear the beep I make every effort, especially now that it’s chilly weather, to get in there and snuggle my face into the towels and get them folded and put away while they’re still warm.  I would happily do all the laundry, time permitting, but time does not permit, and it’s important that everyone contributes.  People need to know they’re needed (those helping) and people need to know they’re appreciated (those being helped).

Kids, such as Seth, who are getting plenty of chances to help, need to know they’re appreciated, both by parents who see and take action, and by siblings who step up to the plate.

This is all truth.  If I don’t teach the truth- it’s important to know how to do basic life tasks; it’s important to do your part and then some; it’s important to live in a nice, clean, orderly home – then I’m teaching lies, and I’m leaving them to a life of unpleasant consequences.

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I have to get off here and make a new C.O.D. list.  Benjamin (Lt. Parker) is here for a very short while, as he changes from the Montana National Guard to the Kansas Guard and then deployment in March.  So, for that time, I must make changes.

Maybe I’ll combine Dishes with more cooking (I don’t need any cooking lessons and they do!); put Miscellaneous with Floors, and let Laundry stand alone.  We’ll have a family meeting tonight to discuss all these things.  I’ll make the most coveted and begged-for of cookies:  chocolate peanut butter no-bakes (make with heavy whipping cream and half-n-half and salt as well as vanilla and almond flavorings).  I’ll encourage input after I set out some reminder truths:  We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

 

Lifting Burdens via Intercessory Prayer

 

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I was asked to pray for someone last night and I just couldn’t do it, not with any faith and fervor.  I awoke at 2:00 a.m. burdened for this person, but not in a good way.  It might be more accurate to say I was aggravated with them.

As I prayed about it I realized that intercessory prayer is not to be undertaken before there is personal heart maintenance.  Otherwise, the intercessor simply takes on the burden of the other person, rather than assisting them in giving that burden to Jesus, who can not only take it, but do away with it!

So, practically what does that mean?  It means seeing what the Word says about love, and about every single person.  It means asking God for His take, how He sees it, what He wants done in this person’s life.

Then come the revelations, the prayers of faith that build more faith, and the return to where we start:  apart from Him, I can do (pray) nothing, and with Him all things (prayers) are possible.

He’s the only Way to go.