Worshipful Wednesday: Birthday Blessings

Psalm 90:4, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17

4 Yes, in your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday that quickly passes, or like one of the divisions of the nighttime. 10 The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty, if one is especially strong. But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away.  12 So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely. 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love! Then we will shout for joy and be happy all our days!  15 Make us happy in proportion to the days you have afflicted us, in proportion to the years we have experienced trouble!  17 May our sovereign God extend his favor to us! Make our endeavors successful! Yes, make them successful!

Psalm 92: 12-15

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” 

I love it when the LORD gives a Scripture that is so apt for the day.  As I cracked open my Bible today, the reading for today included the passage above.  Sweet time with Jesus on my birthday.

Even when days, months or years are hard, we can have complete joy in the love of God.  Every year we are given is a gift from God, invested for His glory.  We need to use our time wisely and not take it for granted.  Even when we are wasteful of opportunities in this life, none of it is wasted with Him and He uses it all.

As our years turn into yesterdays and we become aware of our aging, it is a great encouragement to me that God is never through with any of us.  In God’s economy, we are not less useful as we age, but moreso.  The wisdom we have attained over the years is just one aspect of our lives that becomes more valuable over time.  We can bear fruit for God’s kingdom and be used by God until the day we die.

Isn’t that amazing?  We do not have to dread another year – unlike the world system where people are not esteemed as much when they grow older, in Christ we are more valuable as we age.  And He will never be through with us, amen!

I love the traditions of honoring and remembering people on their birthday.  It is fun and a blessing to watch our Facebook account blow up with messages from people from different times in our lives who took a minute to greet us on the day God made us.

Today, I want to thank and honor God for giving me life.  My loving husband and each of my children, parents and friends are a treasure to me.  Of the many gifts God has given to me, healing from brokenness, physical healing, His provision, the best gift He ever gave me was rebirth – the knowledge of Him and His free gift of salvation.  Life is a precious gift and God longs to walk alongside us through the blessings and burdens of it all.

The expectations we have for this life can lead to gratitude or bitterness.  The twists and turns of each of our lives might not have been what we imagined they were going to be, but each of our life stories are ultimately His story as our lives are hidden in Christ.  God redeems every portion of our life and makes it a sweet offering when we place it all in His capable hands.  While some pages of our lives might be stained with tears, the lessons learned on those pages as we drew near to God are precious gifts, after all.

Lord, thank You so much for an abundant life in You!  I will be forever grateful for the greatest gift you continually give me each day – knowing You more.

Truthful Tuesday: Temporal Popularity

Jeremiah 20:7-13

7 LORD, you coerced me into being a prophet, and I allowed you to do it. You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. Now I have become a constant laughingstock. Everyone ridicules me. 8 For whenever I prophesy, I must cry out, “Violence and destruction are coming!” This message from the LORD has made me an object of continual insults and derision. 9 Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message. I will not speak as his messenger any more.” But then his message becomes like a fire locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. I grow weary of trying to hold it in; I cannot contain it. 10 I hear many whispering words of intrigue against me. Those who would cause me terror are everywhere! They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!” All my so-called friends are just watching for something that would lead to my downfall. They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up, so we can prevail over him and get our revenge on him. 11 But the LORD is with me to help me like an awe-inspiring warrior. Therefore those who persecute me will fail and will not prevail over me. They will be thoroughly disgraced because they did not succeed. Their disgrace will never be forgotten. 12 O LORD who rules over all, you test and prove the righteous. You see into people’s hearts and minds. Pay them back for what they have done because I trust you to vindicate my cause. 13 Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For he rescues the oppressed from the clutches of evildoers.”

Luke 4:22, 24, 28

“All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”  24 And he added, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown… 28  When they heard this, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage.”

They did not call Jeremiah the weeping prophet for no reason.  I have wasted too many tears myself lamenting (pun intended), the people who have rejected me.  The place we each hold in this society tells our story before we can.  Gender, occupation, financial status, appearance and our beliefs all speak volumes about us and are perceived differently by each person,as well.

Peers who have chosen a similar path hold similar views.  As a woman, another woman perceives of me quite differently than a man would.  As a home educator, as a mother, and most importantly as a Christian, I represent each facet that I embody.  While this can mean kudos to us when we are surrounded by like-minded people, the tendency of mankind to judge those who are different will likely mean rejection for us at some point.

Popularity is a fruitless pursuit, however, in that it is superficial and evaporates about as fast as we bask in it.  Although no one enjoys being cast aside as different or odd, it is the glory and privilege of a Christian to be so, and our calling.  We will not be popular when we serve God in a godless society, but the eternal rewards we reap will be worth it.

Seeing how Christ, the perfect One, was treated one moment and then discarded the next is a comfort to us who are so treated.  Cliques and groups that exclude others may or may not have a motive of inflicting harm, but we who have accepted the gift of salvation never have to despair of losing our position in Christ, for in Him we always belong.  Amen!

Lord, thank You for choosing us and never letting us go!!!  Help us to rejoice in You and be grateful to be identified with You!

Mundane Monday: Opening the Door To Effectual Prayers



Colossians 1:9-12

9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects–bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.”

Happy Monday!  (Spoken in a nice, cheery voice).  Ugh.  Mondays are when my body informs me that the weekend was too busy, but grateful for another day!  As I was reading in the book of Colossians today, I was humbled to see such a fervent, selfless prayer spoken by Paul while imprisoned in chains.

Probably the prayer hot on my lips would be a selfish one about my quick exodus from behind the prison walls.  Maybe in a moment of thinking of others in the midst of my misery I would pray for their release or needs, as well.  Instead, Paul offers a beautiful example of how we are to pray for one another.  That’s what suffering does.  It causes us to focus on what really matters, unless we are too concerned with our comfort to see the spiritual reality all around us.

Paul knew the purpose of all prayer – that we would display in our lives the work of God all for His glory.  This fervent prayer spoken in accordance with God’s will is a model worth following, but it is not a mere repetition of the words that holds some mystical power.  It was the faith behind it and the Holy Spirit inspiring this godly prayer that made it so effectual, so holy.

First, we have to recognize the need for us to have wisdom and understanding.  Our motivation to pray is hindered by our own self-reliance.  We need to be filled with knowing His will and His understanding.  Spiritual wisdom is not mere knowledge of what we can see.  It is discerned by our spirit as we seek God.

The humility in the praying that we might live lives worthy of God and please Him in everything is simply put – beautiful.  Paul was not praying for material objects, provision, comfort, protection, popularity, health . . . just that we might bring glory to God so others might see Christ displayed in us.  He was also not mouthing rote prayers passed down.

Bearing fruit, continually growing in character in Christ – these are the essential items for prayer that Paul cried out for.  So often I have missed the deeper purpose in prayer and have mumbled – in my fatigue – prayers that my heart was not fully convinced of.  I wanted healing for others, for suffering to cease, but wondered if that was truly praying in accordance with God’s will.  Praying for friends who suffer physically, praying for courage, for faithfulness to the Gospel were all good prayers, but seeing the deeper purpose in the details of our lives directs my prayer toward God’s purposes and not mine.

That we would exemplify Christ in every aspect of our lives and live solely for Him – this is the prayer my spirit urges me to pray.  Paul concludes his prayer with thanks to God.  Not for giving us what we want, but for what we need and do not deserve.  How is it that we could be qualified to be saints?!  And inherit eternal life?!

Paul did not offer a casual nod of thanks, much like what is spoken at many dinner tables.  No, he recognized our depravity and the true miracle of a God Who loved us so much He paid our sin debt but then has a constant source of strength and enablement for those who are willing to ask for it.

So easy, just coming to Him and sincerely asking, and yet so very hard.  Self gets in the way and we do not want to have to ask; we also fail to recognize how very much we need to.  God meets us there at the well of our true need with living water.  He says, “Come drink and satisfy your souls.  I AM all that You need.”

Oh God, help us to see how very much we need to pray to You.  Burden our hearts with what burdens Yours and help us to see the deeper intent You desire in the outcry of our hearts.

Thoughtful Thursday: Whose Fault Is It?



Proverbs 11:5-6

“The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness.  The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires.”

Proverbs 12:12, 21

“The wicked person desires a stronghold, but the righteous root endures.  21 The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity.”

Genesis 4:7

“Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Romans 6:12-13

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.”

James 1:15

“Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

Jeremiah 19:5

“They have built places here for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind!”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”

Daily we bear the sins of one another as well as our own.  In vanity we scramble to attempt to cover our shortcomings, but underneath is the same intent and heart.  In all the stress of our messy lives, a sinless Lamb covered all of the sins of the world and yet our hearts somehow still can blame Him.

Every day sin captivates mankind and every day the consequences of those sins are born and the blame is cast.  Sin ravages our souls and is often permitted to do so by the very ones whose lives it wreaks havoc upon.

A sane mind would not seek to suffer purposely, yet that is exactly what we do when we give in to sin’s deception.  God’s laws still stand whether or not we pay heed to them.  Like gravity, our decisions will affect the course of our life and the weight of sin will be felt, much like the joy experienced from the fruit of obedience.

God hates sin.  He hates what it does to us.  Our flesh hates the rules and boundaries set, thinking we are being deprived. All the while God wants to spare us from the spreading cancer which threatens to steal our joy and imprison us.

Time and time again throughout history God’s people are lured away by sin’s promises deceitfully dressed up in an attractive array.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.  How is it we cannot recognize the same strategies of the enemy and refrain from indulging our flesh?  Especially when we have seen in history the effects of sin on this weary world?

Deception.  Lust of the flesh.  Distrust.  Rebellion.  Self-reliance.  If in the moment of temptation we cry out to God, He will provide the grace and strength we need to overcome.  But all too often we don’t.  He makes a way out and we rationalize that our way seems better.  Or maybe we doubt God’s goodness or His ways and choose to be our own God.

While the prevalence of sin in our culture can be discouraging, there is still hope.  We can stop blaming others or God and put no confidence in our flesh.  We can turn away from sin and ask God to help us recognize it for what it is.  We are left without an excuse, but God forgives us anyway.  What kind of grace would choose to bear our blame?  Selfless, Holy grace – from the Only One Who can grant it.

Lord, help us to recognize sin in our lives and to turn away from it, the enemy of our souls.  Thank You for Your gracious covering and for setting us free!

Worshipful Wednesday: The Impact of a Righteous Foundation

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Psalm 89:14

“Equity and justice are the foundation of Your throne.  Loyal love and faithfulness characterize Your rule.  15 How blessed are the people who worship You!  O Lord, they experience Your favor.  16 They rejoice in Your name all day long, and are vindicated by Your justice.”

Isaiah 16:5

“In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it– one from the house of David– one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.”

Proverbs 16:12

“Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.”

Psalm 9:7 

“The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.”

Proverbs 25:5

“Remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

A king or ruler in this world system is not often characterized by being gracious, loving and faithful.  In fact, their predominant traits are based more in pride, power and politics.  Godless leaders in our age seek to subjugate their people by both the laws they impose and the freedoms they allow.  But our King chooses instead to embrace and exhibit perfect humility, mercy and justice toward His people.  While we are ultimately His creation and slaves, He calls us His children and cares for us and grants us access to His throne room.

It seems that the key to success in this world is all wrapped around clawing our way to the top, usually by dishonest means or political ploys.  Yet any position on this earth is merely temporal and the influence of our rule will perish, unless righteousness is at its foundation.

Unlike the politicians of this world, our King keeps all of His promises and not one of His promises are evil.  A man might gain popularity for His promises to provide for the people’s flesh, giving them laws that permit a sinful lifestyle, but a righteous leader knows that laws based in unrighteousness will ultimately destroy his people and his nation.

Any leader on the face of this earth who is worthy of esteem will bow his knee before God and seek to be His servant first. So, we, too, have that same responsibility.  Whatever our positions of leadership, we have an opportunity to embody a worldly philosophy, seeking popularity with man or to seek the favor of our God.

We might not be kings or queens, presidents or even administrators, but we can pray for those in positions of power.  God has placed us in an area of influence and leadership somewhere in our lives, too.  Perhaps the greatest role of leadership on this earth is not seen as that.  As parents, we set boundaries for our children that are based in righteousness or we allow the pressures of this world to dictate our leadership.

Parents are undermined by government and this culture, but not by God.  We need to rise up and be faithful, for God is seeking godly offspring to affect the next generation.  Much like a political figure who is watchful over his affairs, we need to constantly be on guard for wickedness and worldliness that seek to enter our home, but we also need to be demonstrating the right path daily.

The tricky thing about leadership is that is is not just telling people what to do, but showing them.  If my children see me seeking the face of God, that has a much more far reaching impact than just preaching at them.  Parenting is one of the toughest positions of leadership.  We must correct our children in love, knowing that they might not understand.  But if we are not faithful to discipline and watch over their souls, we are loving self more than them and not following the example of our Savior who led like a Shepherd.

Any position of leadership in this world is all about God and not us, all for His glory and purposes.  Every position will one day end, but the affects of how we lead can have an eternal impact.  Praise God that we have a sure foundation in Him.  He is holy, righteous and no uncertainty exists in His reign.  Wow.  May we apply His style of leadership to our lives and rest in the confidence that while the kingdoms in this world will all fall, we worship a God whose throne is established for all eternity.

Lord, thank You for showing us how to live, love and lead.  You are so Holy and we fall so very short, but please enable us to lead where You have called us to.  Help us to influence those in leadership above us in righteousness, by prayer and action.  Thank You, God, for the security we have in You, our Righteous King.

Mundane Monday: Striving for Rest

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Philippians 3:12-16

“Not that I have already attained this–that is, I have not already been perfected–but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 16 Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.”

Psalm 46:10

“He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!”

Hebrews 4:1, 11

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.  11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.”

Here it is a Monday again.  I missed blogging last week while recording in Nashville and although Mondays have a reputation for being daunting – back to work – here’s a promising blog of what striving is supposed to look like in the life of the believer.  So, happy Mundane Monday – with God’s grace our lives are anything but mundane and the ordinary becomes extraordinary in His hands!

Is God duplicitous when he says to strive in one passage, but then in another says we need to cease striving?  Paradoxical at first blush, the more we look into His perfect word we see that in His faithfulness he already attained perfection for us.

Positionally, we are right with the God of the universe, though presently we see how very far we fall short of His glory.  How is that?  Just as Abraham was reckoned as righteous before a Holy God, so it is with us who have believed in God and believed that He has the authority to declare righteous who He has ordained to be in His perfect plan.  My heart cannot contain the joy of knowing that God considers me righteous.  How can it be?  Because His Holy Son, Jesus Christ took our place!

While this bliss of being forgiven is incomparable to any other gift on this earth, on one hand it means we are called to rest in His righteousness and on the other, it is a call to cooperate with the sanctification process of pressing in to know God more.

So many times we see today people professing to be Christians and yet their mouths utter profanities or remain in sin and they lay hold of the expensive grace granted by Jesus’ precious blood and believe they are covered.  Paul’s words echo loudly within my being – “may it never be”!  God forgives our sins – and we receive this undeserved forgiveness, not so we can trample on His lavish grace.  No, it is so we can yield to His will and say no to our flesh.

Where does striving cease?  It is in trying to attain our own righteousness.  We can never make it on our own and we can never make ourselves more righteous than what God has achieved for us.  No amount of additional demands made by man can make us clean.  After receiving a covering for our sin, to strive to try to earn it is folly.  But the striving we are to do is to die to self and to seek fervently after God.

Life is hard.  It can be easy to get lazy in our pursuit of God when seemingly the sky is falling, or opposite of that, when all is well in our worlds, we can get very comfortable and forget how great our need is of God.  His salvation is priceless and precious and although it was already attained for us, as ambassadors for Christ our work is never done.

This work in Christ is done only by His grace and He again accomplishes the work of sanctification and character in us as we are faithful to live for Him and not ourselves.  This is truly rest for our souls.  Resting and trusting in Him to complete the work He began in us.  Amen!

Lord, thank You for calling me to know You.  I was an enemy and You chose me, anyway.  I falter and stumble, and you pick me up, clean me up and use me again.  I am dumbfounded by Your mercy and grace.  Be glorified, LORD!  Please help all who are reading this to truly understand this rest You have called us to and to never allow comfort to be our goal, but knowing You more and making You known!

Worshipful Wednesday: The Living Spring



Psalm 84:1-2, 4-7, 10-12

1 How lovely is the place where you live, O Lord who rules over all!  2 I desperately want to be in the courts of the Lord’s temple.  My heart and my entire being shout for joy to the living God. 4  How blessed are those who live in your temple and praise you continually! (Selah)  5 How blessed are those who find their strength in you, and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple!  6 As they pass through the Baca Valley, he provides a spring for them.  The rain even covers it with pools of water.  7 They are sustained as they travel along; each one appears before God in Zion.  10 Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better than spending a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather stand at the entrance to the temple of my God than live in the tents of the wicked.  11 For the Lord God is our sovereign protector.  The Lord bestows favor and honorhe withholds no good thing from those who have integrity.  12 O Lord who rules over all, how blessed are those who trust in you!

What a beautiful picture of devotion to God.  The Psalmist’s entire being is caught up with the thought of just being in God’s presence.  It is enough for him to just stand at the door, rather than to live with the wicked.  He is fully aware of the price to get to God’s temple (Heaven) but fully trusting in God to provide during the bitter moments of life in this journey with God. He is willing to pay the price and recognizes that many are not.

Reminiscent of Paul Bunyan’s novel, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, this Psalm shows the blessings of walking with God.  He is faithful.  We all will have different troubles to bear in this life, but God makes a spring in the midst of them all.  Do we perceive it?  Or are we focused on the difficulties instead?

It is easy to focus on the uncomfortable thorns which pierce our flesh and dissipate temporal happiness.  Our attention is upon that thing which distracts us from joy, but looking toward the reward of the temple of God is the most beautiful spring in the middle of every valley.  He is our living joy and those who long for Him are satisfied in His presence.

Lord, I worship You for providing nourishment and refreshment along every path in our walk with You.  Help us to recognize your springs in the midst of the desert and on the mountain tops.  You are enough.

Personal Testimony: Weak, Needful Vessel – Here Am I

Isaiah 6:8

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!””
The last time I prayed the words above to God, I was laying in a hospital bed with severe Pneumonia.  Puzzled doctors scrambled around, trying multiple different medications while I became more sick.  Kidney failure and worsening symptoms threatened to squash any hope of leaving the hospital in short order.  The illness had come upon me so quickly and the rapidity with which I was worsening astounded the physicians . . . but God.
In that dark place, I cried out to God.  I saw a vision of me praying the prayer that Isaiah had spoken thousands of years before and heard the gentle response, “even here?”  As is often the case, when the LORD speaks to me I am humbled and amazed at His wisdom.  Would I let Him use me in this place, encroached in fear and uncertainty, unable to eat, barely able to walk?
It was all I could do to muster up my strength to get up and write a Scripture on the board.  How was God going to use me when I had no voice?  “Rise, get up and walk.  I will enable you.”  Dizzy and straining for breath, I staggered out of the bed carefully, dragging all the hospital paraphernalia with me.  From my devotion time, I wrote a verse on the board then crawled back to bed.
The response was almost immediate.  Hospital staff started to ask questions and I shared as best as I could my testimony with them.  For the remainder of my stay (9 days), I would get up, write a Scripture on the board and worship Him in that place.
“Now, rise and bless those around you.”  “How, Lord?”  “Give what You have been given.”  As flowers were brought in, the LORD told me to give them away to others who needed encouragement.  So, pitiful as I was, I realized the LORD was trying to get me to walk to clear my lungs, and I walked, slow as a turtle up and down the hospital ward, delivering flowers (with companions by my side, helping me to walk).
Sometimes we do not understand why we must walk through difficult seasons or hardships, but God is always using our blessings and trials for our good, His glory, and others around us.  A nurse in that hospital recommitted her life to Christ. She will never be the same, nor will I.  I could have laid there feeling sorry for myself.  I could have given up.  Instead, the LORD, Who is rich in mercy, showed me another way.  He wanted to use an incapacitating illness to reveal His enablement and grace to a disillusioned child of God.
So now I stand as a living testimony to be used again, praying the same prayer, “Here am I. Send me!””  After my heart was broken into a million pieces and functioning was so difficult when my family was torn apart, I was content to take a back seat and did not know if I would ever write music again . . . but God.
As I prepare to record music again after a long break it is an extremely humbling adventure and my heart’s desire is to serve others and glorify God with every lyric, every note, every instrument, every track.  I long to somehow give hope to those who are in a seemingly hopeless situation, to see that God is and always has been enough.
If you are in a tough spot now and your sorrows are overwhelming you, please know that He loves you and is not through with you yet.  He delights and is glorified even in our weakness and able to transform us and those around us through what we deem to be ugly and worthless.  While we tend to try to muddle through suffering, yielding to Him and accepting all He sends our way is worshiping Him in the fire and it is beautiful.  Funny thing is, once the focus is off of us, we become freer and stronger than before.
Lord, thank You for never giving up on us and for using us to bring glory to Your Holy Name.  We stand in awe of You!

Worshipful Wednesday: Owner of the Nations

Psalm 82:8

Rise up, O God, and execute judgment on the earth! For you own all the nations.


Psalm 83:4-6

4 They say, “Come on, let’s annihilate them so they are no longer a nation! Then the name of Israel will be remembered no more.” 5 Yes, they devise a unified strategy; they form an alliance against you. 6 It includes the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,”

Psalm 83:16-18

16 “Cover their faces with shame, so they might seek you, O LORD. 17 May they be humiliated and continually terrified! May they die in shame! 18 Then they will know that you alone are the LORD, the sovereign king over all the earth.”

As I read from my Bible plan this morning, I could not help but see the Scriptures above as being fulfilled right now during our time.  Upon examination, looking into the history of each people group mentioned as enemies of God’s people, it is amazing to see how small choices can impact families, people groups, nations, the world and all eternity.

Esau and Ham were both cursed for a moment of weakness indulging their flesh.  Esau was the favored son of Issac, but he was lazy and and took for granted his position… all over Lentil soup.  I am thinking it would have taken some more prized food than that to tempt him away from leaving behind his identity in Christ.  Tricked out of his birthright, he ended up an enemy of God’s people.  It hardly seems fair, and yet God knows the heart and His choice was Jacob.

Noah knew his son’s heart, and though it was a moment of indiscretion and mockery, Ham was foolish and not who God’s promise would be through.  His descendants apparently did not learn a lesson from their ancestor regarding walking in wisdom and restraining the curious sins of the flesh.

Lot just dumbfounds me.  He was spared by God because of the faithfulness of Lot’s uncle, Abraham, and his prayers on his behalf.  Yet his descendants became enemies of God’s people.  He surrounded himself by a godless people and grew comfortable there.  Given a choice as to where he would live, he inched closer and closer to Sodom and Gomorrah until he was smack dab in the middle of a fleshly, lustful environment.  He even offered his own daughters up to wicked men as potential sex slaves when the wicked men of his city wanted to molest the angels who were visiting Lot.  No wonder his daughters did not know right and wrong and opted to inebriate their father and bear his children.  Moab and Ammon resulted from their sin and are also modern day enemies of God’s people.  Keeping ourselves unpolluted is not enough. Our children need to be taught what it means to fear the LORD.

Enter the Hagites and Ishmaelites, who come from Hagar, who was Sarah’s backup plan when it seemed like God was taking too long to fulfill His promise.  The root from Sarah’s and Lot’s daughters’ decisions was impatience and a lack of trust in God.  What if they had not acted on their desires and just waited on God?  We will never know.

What a mess.  Oh how the heart of God grieves over the sinful choices man makes in His attempt to rule himself.  The consequences for decisions made outside of God’s will are painful and long lasting.  Distrust in God and impatience for the unfolding of His plan will not produce blessings, only hardship and pain for those who come behind us.  The motivation for acting outside of God’s will is idolatry – our desires become our god.

But what intrigues me the most are the Assyrians -they were not who I expected to be the enemies of God.  Surrounded by lands who worship false gods, the modern-day Assyrians are Christians in a land we are familiar with, that was once Ninevah.  Jonah’s obedience still paying off, perhaps?  How is it that Christians, who were grafted in to God’s promise to Israel, could ever be an enemy of Israel’s?

Ultimately, all of the enemies of God’s people are enemies of God.  They do not remember that He is the Father of all nations, the One Who made us all.  They want the favor of God their way and the fruit of their deeds goes before them and will be judged by the God of our universe.

Be ready.  The pieces are moving into place and the nations surrounding Israel think their plan is firm, but the One Who owns it all has a plan and it will stand.  Isn’t He amazing?  He gave us free will and we made a mess of things, but in the end He will work everything for good, because He can!

Lord, I am amazed at You.  Our hearts can fear when we see the circumstances in the world today, but to know that You are sovereign and in complete control is our source of everlasting comfort.  Have Your way, LORD, and defeat the enemies, as David prayed, that they might seek You and know You as the One true King who rules over all.

True Freedom – Happy 4th of July!!

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.”

Isaiah 61:1

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;” 

Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

Many images come to mind when I contemplate what freedom means.  Imagery of a soldier, willingly choosing to fight to keep our land free from danger; thoughts of our founding fathers, tirelessly making sure our constitution protected our rights and freedoms; and an innocent God-man, choosing to lay down His life to purchase our freedom.

Freedom is not cheap.  It is the most expensive gift someone can give and receive.  Yet after it has been received it is often quickly forgotten what sacrifice was given to provide such a gift.  We can begin to deviate from what that freedom really was intended for if we are not mindful.  Freedom FROM sin, not freedom FOR sin.  Freedom to live in freedom, but not to use that freedom to infringe on other people’s freedoms.

As we remember the hard fought for freedom in the United States of America – won on the backs of those who laid down their lives so we could become a new nation, may we never forget the chief purpose – to be able to worship freely.  They saw a bigger purpose for our nation than just the American Dream of living lavishly.  We can still be a lamp to the world if we will remember the true freedom we were meant to have in this land – freedom to worship our living God.  We cannot let this hard-fought-for freedom die so easily.

Political correctness threatens to stifle our consciences and silence true Christianity, replacing it with dead religion that offers no hope nor true freedom.  In the name of freedom we are told people should have freedom of speech, yet Christians are told they cannot pray, the ten commandments are removed and a marine is disciplined for not removing her Scripture from her desk.  In the name of freedom, people demand offensive cakes be made and sue the ones who will not make it, denying the freedom of choice and conscience that the bakers have.  In the name of freedom, people proclaim their right to murder the unborn for their convenience, while the voices of those who cannot speak for themselves are silenced forever.

Our freedom is being taken from us little by little.  Do we perceive it?

We can still be a source of light to the nations if we do not forget our heritage.  Christ is the hope of all the nations and the only One Who really sets us free.

The ultimate freedom is the freedom from sin.  Freedom from bitterness.  Freedom to choose righteousness.  Freedom to love your enemies.  Unlike the freedom this world affords, the freedom Christ purchased is forever.  May true freedom reign in our hearts and our land.  To God be the glory!

Lord, thank You for setting my heart free twenty-seven years ago – I will never be the same.  Heal our land, LORD! Capture our hearts again and revive our hearts for you, Jesus.  Have mercy on our sins and make this nation Yours!