Saturday, November 16, 2019

Depends on the Agent Being Applied

In the quiet of the morning, as I prepared my breakfast, the Holy Spirit began a conversation with me. He reminded me of a series of events I want to share with you now.

Some time ago there used to be frequent "discussions" by someone in my household who would get notably annoyed when the egg pan would go through the dishwasher and come out not entirely clean.

They would say, "I don't know why this keeps being tried.  It is NEVER going to come out clean."   They would proceed to scrub it with their effort and get it clean enough for reuse.

Well, one day, I was shopping and I had a coupon to try a dishwasher tablet I would never think to try without a coupon because it is rather costly, but with said coupon, those dishwasher tablets went home with me.

I recall the very first time I ran the infamous egg pan through the dishwasher with those particular tablets. That pan SPARKLED!  I mean it literally shined as if it were brand new. I remember taking that pan and rocking it back and forth - seeing it sparkle under the kitchen light.  Highly amused and delighted, I physically smiled as I put that pan directly into the cabinet!

Here's the thing, dear ones.  John records for us in 1 John: "...the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from ALL sin..."

We can be as my household member surveying our life (the egg pan), "It is never going to come out clean" - even as we try day after miserable day to scrub it with our own effort, trying to make it clean enough for reuse the next day and the next day and the next day thereafter.

OR

We can use the COSTLY Agent we in truth could never afford and be cleansed; made NEW. (2 Corin 5:17)

 I thrill each time God uses my 'every day' to reinforce His Word, His Way, His POWER.

On our best day, with our best effort, with our best "scrubbing" - we don't even begin to get our pan clean - much less sanitized.  But now Jesus... I'll take Him EVERY day, ALL day because He ALONE possess the ability to make me NEW.   

I love how He inhabits me, daily cleaning me up from the inside out, granting to me a supernatural partnership that enables me to walk out my days in HIS righteousness, giving me not only the ability to do right, but the JOY to do right! Thank you, God; thank You, thank You, thank You! Thank You to infinity!   

Who is YOUR cleansing agent?

Yourself; a woefully lacking agent of
"it's never going to get clean!"

OR

Jesus - the buck stops here Agent
who makes everyone He touches NEW!





Thursday, September 12, 2019

"What Version of God Are You Believing?"

Recently I posted a verse on social media that packed a punch. I knew it did because when I read it it hit me, taking a hard line our humanity is not comfortable taking. It's the kind of verse that makes us squirm and ask questions about God we, in truth, would rather avoid.

Not long after posting it an individual vocalized their offense towards me for posting it. That lead to an exchange. The net result was they went their way, remaining in their offense.

Among my initial thoughts after surveying the conversation was "They don't really know me. They don't know my heart is for them."

And then a very interesting thing happened.  My thoughts didn't progress to another thought.  They lingered over those two thoughts, and that's when I heard Him whisper:

"They don't really know ME
They don't know MY heart is for them."

To know God we must be willing to remove the comfortable confines we have built.  The most effective tool He uses is His Word, and when we come upon a passage that makes us squirm, we must learn to discipline our flesh, embracing what His Word says, liking it or not.... hovering on it until the flesh stops squirming and the knowledge of what He is trying to impart takes root.  Fruit will never come if roots do not come, and roots will not come if we are not actively tending our soil!

Growth in God must be deliberate, not passive, and it comes through God's Word.

It is often very uncomfortable because God's Word confronts our carnality which must die

As I told my offended reader, "God's Word is going to offend, convict, and possibly hurt the unbeliever, as it surely will the believer. It is, after all, a Sword, but I wholly believe the yield can be nothing but the most excellent since He is the Originator." 

If you simply stay with a few verses that bring you comfort, you will not grow as a believer. You'll enter heaven as a Kindergartener. 

I challenge you today to ask yourself: 

"What version of God am I believing?"  

But don't stop with that question. Go on to petition God to reveal an uncomfortable dynamic of Himself you have resisted embracing in the past. 

The more of Himself God has shown me through His Word, the more my love has increased towards Him, and I find I stand in ever increasing awe of Him with my passing days.

The benefits of knowing Him are endless, but in these upside down days we are currently living in, peace is a big one.  So many people want peace, but they don't want to know Him....or if they do, they want to go on believing their version of Him and not the real Him. 

To know Him is to trust Him.
To trust Him is to know Him.   

Determine to really know Him....not who you want Him to be or think Him to be based on emotion or a few comforting verses. 

You CAN trust Him deeply, but it does no good for me to simply tell you that you can. You must do the work yourself, digging into and accepting the full counsel of His Word.

Godspeed.... always.





Thursday, August 22, 2019

Without Apology, I Have My Boxing Gloves On

Let's give the enemy a black eye or two by speaking Truth today, shall we? 

Cutting right to the chase: there are NO perfect marriages, there are NO perfect parents, there are NO perfect families, and there are NO perfect people. Let's drop all the pretense that life is "peachy."  It isn't.... it is far, FAR from it! 

BUT what God expects it to be for His Christ-followers is a schoolhouse, a place where we study Kingdom law and apply It daily while still in this broken world.

*IF* we take our enrollment in this School seriously, what we will have are marriages being perfected, parents being perfected, families being perfected, and people being perfected.

In other words, movement in the RIGHT direction, and we sure could use more than a tad of that right now in our day with our cultural climate!

We, as Christ followers, are to be preparing on the daily for Christ's physical coming rule that will last forevermore.  This means that our success in this present "school" depends on the extent of our study and our knowledge of the Word, our Textbook.

Are you getting failing marks, just barely passing marks, average marks, or excellent marks these days? 

(Each time through out this reading, when you see red letters, click on them to see the Bible reference.)

The fact of the matter is, be it that you are a Christian or not, every relationship in life is a challenge. But those of us who are Christians, experience an increase in difficulty with regards to our relationships for two parallel, set-apart reasons: 

1) We belong to God's Kingdom, and our King said, "But I say to you...." -- over and again in the Gospels - He didn't LOWER the standards of relationships.... He RAISED them!

2) Once we enter God's Kingdom, we have a known enemy who has a plan of destruction set for us and will use every opportunity to bait us to follow his path....right over the cliff.  

There is no hard and fast "earthy" formula for success. However, I have GREAT news to the Christ-follower!

The Word of God is  to be THE  "lamp unto (our) feet and a light unto (our) path"  (from one of my favorite passages I read often, Psalm 119).  

I have shared this in the past, but I was raised Baptist, who are known for their "Sword drills" and strong memory work.  As a result, to this day, the Lord faithfully brings a Scripture to light my path when evil has, once again, moved in to (unsuccessfully) eclipse the Son.  

Years ago, the Holy Spirit spoke, "Look at your shadow. It is as evil is. It always appears twice a big as what it is, but always remember from this day, it is cast down beneath your feet."   I have never forgotten those words... nor will I ever forget them.  It is a decree of placement.  It is a decree of power in the Spirit.  It is a decree of Kingdom citizenship.

Perhaps you have yet to open the Word.  Do you own a Bible?  Maybe that's your first step?  Buy one!  You can't pass your studies without the Textbook.  

Perhaps you have forsaken your studies, been held back a few years....or perhaps your entire life?  Being "held back" isn't punishment.... it's for your protection.  Just like in real life - it does the student a grave disservice to pass them on without mastering the work.  The deficit becomes all the more evident the longer it is overlooked. Perhaps you have lacked personal discipline, studying only when you "feel like it." But to be a successful student, you must master your will over your feelings....doing it even when you don't feel like it!

Accept where you are now. I remember watching a movie many years back where a grown man was found to be illiterate. He humbled himself, confessed he couldn't read, and got on to studying. In no time, he mastered what had previously kept him in defeat.  He could have stayed in pride, refusing to acknowledge he had a problem.... and he would have lived all his days defeated.... with Jesus grieving and the enemy smiling.

Which will it be for you?

Our King wants us to succeed, but we MUST do things His way!  To do things His way, we MUST know the Word.  We will NEVER walk successfully supposing God's ways.   "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways...."     

Much like a child who is just beginning school - they must lay aside what they thought they could do or what they thought they knew - and RENEW their minds with brand new, daily input, so too MUST we! 

We MUST come to God....laying aside our long-held presuppositions for the sake of inputting The Truth contained in His Word, thereby renewing our minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord

There will always be the proud, those who resist acknowledging their ways don't cut it in God's Kingdom.

But to truly become a Kingdom citizen, you have to first know the King (the point most often and perhaps a bit too quickly taken to heart without fully understanding what follows), then study the "laws of the land" (often forsaken for long periods of time, if opened at all), and then the most challenging, rarely fully achieved due to lack of study ... obey them.

Yes, there is God's grace.  There is always God's grace.  But God's grace was never to nullify Kingdom living.... but to EMPOWER it!  Learn the difference (by study)! Know the difference (by renewing your mind)!  Walk the difference (by obedience)! 

"....seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..."

No exceptions. No exclusions.  No addenda.


No way around it!
♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡




Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Inertia... A Real Enemy

Here's a little experiment for you: buy a helium balloon, put it in your car, press the accelerator, and watch it move BACK as the car moves forward.  It's an example of inertia.

Inertia can be defined as "a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged." 

In the example above, the balloon resists a change in position, despite the car advancing.

This evening I went for a run.  I was angry. I had just read an assortment of comments from individuals terribly affected by pornography.  I sensed the Lord say, "Run it off."  (Thankful for His ever present direction!)

While running, I heard, "The violent take it by force."  (Matt 11:12)  (I encourage you to go HERE and read up on the short explanation of that verse.)  

Certainly, everything and everyone associated with pornography is a part of "the violent".  It is one of a number of tactics used to hold people in a state of unholy inertia. 

One of my favorite books is "The Screwtape Letters".  A quote from the book is as follows: "You can make him (the human) do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room."

That's what porn is.  I think to myself how many people stare at one "dead fire" after another in a cold room indeed night after night. The true warmth of God and sanctified marital relationships chased off by the foolery of it all.

Screwtape goes on to say in the same chapter, "One of my own patients said on his arrival down here, 'I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.' ....'Nothing' is very strong; strong enough to steal away a man's best years....in a deary flickering of the mind over it knows not what...in gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them....once chance association has started then, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off."

Indeed, the enemy and his forces are constantly PLOTTING to keep you entangled in the many trappings of unholy inertia.... from self  to all manner of depravity. 

The second definition of inertia is "a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state UNLESS that state is changed by an EXTERNAL force." Glory; there is HOPE!

The external force that breaks the bondage of unholy inertia can only be one thing: GOD. 

NOTE:  the external force changes the state of  matter. You are no longer the same, but permanently altered; transformed!  (2 Corinthians 3:18)   There can be NO blending of the two! Your will and God's will cannot coexist within you!

But you've got to want it more than you want to stay as you are.  Are you too weak and fuddled?  Pray without ceasing until He breaks the yoke..... then put the pedal to the metal (transformation MUST have correlating ACTIONS supported by the Word) and floor it .... the "balloon" being contained in the car (God) WILL move WITH the car.   He is a Force unlike no other, but He will not go against your true desire/your will.  You've got to want Him more than anything this world offers!

Wake up out of your stupor!

Is inertia winning?  Or are you actively pursuing holiness, doing what you ought?

Heavy questions.  Heavier consequences.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things,
and revive me in Your ways."
Psalms 119:37











Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"Flag of Convenience"

Perhaps you have not ever heard of the 'flag of convenience'.  It's a fascinating term that defines a shady business practice among ship yards. Simply put, it is where a ship owner may register a ship in a ship register of a country other than the country of the owner.  These registers are called open registries.  This shady practice then allows a ship to fly a flag of a country that, let's say, upholds lesser values, lesser regulations, and demands less tariffs.  The practice is, as you imagined it, viewed as contentious. Typically substandard working conditions are present, as well as they pose environmental hazards due to rules and regulations being routinely skirted.

I want to challenge each of you today to look upon the relationships in your life.

How many of them are marked with a flag of convenience instead of a Kingdom of God flag?

I not only see, but have experienced, the damage when someone I trusted CHOSE to fly a flag of convenience, forsaking Kingdom values for the lesser substandard.

I get it. I truly do. I, like you, am human, and I know the challenge of seeking God's Kingdom and His ways as my solo path. But as difficult of a path as that often times is in this tempting, baiting world,  the fallout and utter pain when we choose to switch our flags even but for a moment is extensive and excruciating; particularly to families as the devastation most certainly extends far beyond just a moment.

For the sake of those around you, if you claim Kingdom of God citizenship, BURN every single last flag of convenience!

For the love of all that is holy and right, raise your Kingdom flag and make certain ....using ONLY God's Word as your navigator (ie: forsaking your emotions and what 'seems' right) .... set you conduct in all your relationships to God's high and holy standards.  It's the only correct choice for a true citizen of God's Kingdom!

Godspeed!







Sunday, July 14, 2019

Spitting is Always Willful

Curious occurrence this morning that reminded me of a lesson long since taught, but served as an excellent reminder to me, and so too I hope it will with you.

I have a fourteen and a half year old Shih Tzu.  Without a doubt, the older she gets the more willful she gets. Same can be said for mankind.

First thing this morning, she acted as if she has not eaten in days, jumping about in the kitchen, hoping for more than a morsel of what she was smelling.... bacon and eggs.

Being that she is half blind, when she gets as excited as she was this morning, she will snap at the empty air if she detects any motion whatsoever in front of her, desperately assuming that whatever she vaguely sees moving must be the delivery service, aka "mom".... and thus the coming goodies forthwith!

The way she was acting you would have thought she would have gobbled up absolutely anything offered. However, as I dropped the first morsel in her mouth, she spat it out!  Oh, yes she did!

"Seriously?!" I thought.

Still, as she obviously remained excited and hopeful, I tried again.

And for the second time, she foolishly spat it out.

In God's company, I mused, "Are we not exactly like her, Lord? So very hungry, yet so often we spit out what You offer?"

I am sure God has grieved over us too as foolish when we spit out (with ungratefulness in our heart and blinded by selfish will) not once, not twice, but numerous times provision He has graciously provided - be it in the form of a relationship, food, clothing, transportation, lodging, but greater still... His Son, His Word, and His Holy Spirit.

Are we not all guilty of spitting out what He has brought into our lives; often times simply because we're not "feeling" it at the time?   We allow emotions to take over that lead to thoughts: "That's not what I was expecting."  "That's not what I wanted."

And you know what happens in our willful folly?  We continue to grow ever increasingly more hungry, while also growing weaker with each refusal of what He offers...which begins with His Son... God's first and foremost Offering.... literally.  Lord, forgive us!

Please get this! As a Holy God, He can offer us nothing but His best....which is exactly what we NEED, but is rarely.... if EVER...what our carnality wants.

If you truly want the reality of God, His holiness,
and His eternity for your life,
STOP spitting 
and learn to swallow! 


As Kevin Deyoung wrote in "The Hole in Our Holiness":.....







Godspeed.
♡♡♡♡♡♡♡


Saturday, July 6, 2019

What CPU Do You Have?

One day I sat with God, pondering the behavior of some individuals who claim an association with Him while witnessing that their behavior did not line up with Him. He broke into my thoughts with  "Deborah, they do not have My CPU."

I am sure my mouth gaped open in that moment.

(Before I get going, let me explain that in computer terms "CPU" stands for Central Processing Unit. The CPU is the brain; as one website states, "It is responsible for fetching, decoding, and executing program instructions.")

At the beginning of human life, God creates a human being with a free-will CPU.

In time, the human being is given a choice 1) follow Christ or 2) follow Self.   There are no other options. It is one of the two.  If they elect the first, God exchanges via the Holy Spirit their CPU, and from that moment forward their core, the epicenter from where they make all their decisions, changes.

Paul, who was Saul, CHOSE to be transformed; to answer the call on the road to Damascus. He was NEVER the same; calling himself a bond-servant of Christ: a willing, yet bound to, servant.... no longer ruled by free-will, but joyfully bound only to God's will.

Everyone post-Fall who is devoid of Christ operates under a carnal, degenerate CPU, and as a result, they do not have the ability to operate as God does because their CPU is inherently opposed to Him.

To expect a non-believer to love a believer as the believer desires to be loved is foolish because their CPU does not define love as God's CPU defines love.

To expect a non-believer to be kind to a believer as the believer desires to experience kindness is foolish because their CPU does not define kindness as God's CPU defines kindness.

Do you see?

The CORE is different, and if the core is different so too are ALL the definitions .... and as the definitions differ so too will the behaviors.

Believers are edified to not be yoked with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14)  because they do not have the same CPU therefore they will never see eye to eye on anything and their expectations will always oppose one another -- NO MATTER how much effort they apply.

Let's take a look at Paul.

Before his conversion, he was a religious leader, heavily influencing the "mainstream religion" of his day, but he did NOT have God's CPU. 

After his conversion, he lamented all the pre-conversion damage he caused as a religious-blind man still using his carnal, degenerate CPU.

What CPU you have matters!  It will utterly and completely define who you are as a person and all your expectations, perceptions, decisions, and behaviors.

Your CPU will determine if  1) you live for Christ and bear Godly fruit or  2) live for self and bear no fruit.

Again, those are the two choices. No middle ground.  No half-believer.  No half-lost.  You are either all in --  or all out.

Allow me to share a very interesting fact that might help explain why Jesus cursed the fig tree. (Mark 11: 12-25)  A fig tree when it leafs, also simultaneously yields immature, though eatable fruit called brebas.  IF a fig tree leafs without bearing brebas, it will neither yield figs.

Christ cursed the fig tree because when he saw it afar off with its leaves, He concluded it would have brebas.... but it did NOT.   It dared to leaf,  but had no fruit NOR the hope for figs later on in its season! Christ was angry at its deceit!  It should have, at the very least, had brebas!   The take-away: do NOT claim to be a Christian if you intend to live for self and bear no fruit!

"Abide in Me, and I in you. 
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, 
unless it abides in the vine, 
neither can you, unless you abide in Me."  
John 15:4

"If you do not remain in Me,
you are like a branch
that is thrown away and withers;
such branches are picked up,
thrown into the fire and burned."  
John 15:6

"This is to My Father's glory,
that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be My disciples." 
John 15:8

Allow me to boldly ask:

What is your CPU? 

Answer honestly because, 
just like the fig tree, you will not fool Him.


I implore you:

Exchange your CPU for His today,
and get on with RIGHT living!

Time is indeed short!





Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Resiliency of a Woman's Soul

For almost a half of a century I have belonged to a particular group. In my opinion (and I  believe God wholeheartedly agrees with me), a very special group
...a set apart group....  a God created group.

A profoundly hated group.

Within the most recent of years, my eyes have been opened.... painfully so, never to shut again, through my story and the many stories of others who belong to this group.... to just how vehemently hated we are.

Perhaps it is at the intersection of my giftings and the pain I see most clear; for understand, the hatred towards this group is nothing new.

Long I have known of the hatred, both personal and otherwise, but as of late, individual story after individual story floods my awareness.... and a force equal to,
NO - exceeding said hatred, arises within.

"ENOUGH," He declares.

Silence, resolution, peace, resolve follow.

Allow me to explain.

The level of assault globally upon women stays in the (comfortable) outer awareness of most people, until it comes home.  And it ALWAYS comes home.

If you are among women, you know this to be true. Be it physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually, we are accosted without mercy, relentlessly so.  We are vehemently hated, and the mission is simple: render us debilitated.

The attacks can come from outsiders, but the most vicious attacks often come from the human vehicles closest to her.

As I said, there is nothing new under the sun. A simple glance into human history leaves even the strongest stomachs sickened.

Ever since our creation our degradation and destruction has been aggressively sought at the hands of human pawns. BUT the heart of this writing is not to highlight Satan, his cronies, nor their intentions, but rather the wondrous...and I do mean WONDROUS .... resiliency of a woman's soul.

Too many times throughout my personal history to truly number I have found myself wondering if I would pull through yet another attack.  In my early adult years, I recollect crawling into bed whispering to my Father, "If You want to take me home tonight, I would welcome that" -- only to have my eyes open in the morning, declaring to Him, "Well, I'm still here; let's do this thing!"

I smile now with Him at the resiliency He has built within me through the YEARS.

I have seen it time and again in many a sister-in-Christ.

Women in Christ do not quit....  
Women in Christ do not retreat....

The resiliency of  a woman's soul is NOT found apart from Him.  It simply isn't.
 
HE is Vision to those who seek and seek and seek yet again.

But greater still....

HE is Victory to those who rise and rise and rise yet again.

Glory!

Understand: I am not talking about circumstantial victories. To be frank, I have found those to be the lesser victories.  I am talking about the paramount core victory.... the victory deep within a woman's soul.... an unshakable victory ... the identity victory.

Song of Solomon 6:3 declares: 
"I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."

The enemy's numerous attacks upon my life have yielded a force to be reckoned with because through it all my vision and my giftings became crystal clear because my identity became crystal clear.  

THIS is the power we have through Christ.

We do not quit....because He does not quit.
We do not retreat....because He does not retreat.


I had an appointed conversation with someone earlier this year where I declared, from deep within my soul:
"I KNOW who I am in Christ, and I am going with Him." 

Dear  sisters-in-Christ, take whatever is going on in your life right now to God. Petition Him for greater vision, greater understanding that exceeds ...that goes beyond... life's circumstances.  Know your enemy is not human form. This is a tough one because often those we hoped would love us well are duped into hurling the sharpest of arrows, but again... look past the human vehicles... and take deadly aim at your one true enemy... the one who seeks to use life's circumstances to debilitate you. Allow God to rise up within...to bring confidence... to bring wisdom... to bring His supreme power to bear; He will -- I am nothing special that He would not do for you what He has done for me, as He declares, "Enough!"   

Glory!  I recall the first time I heard Him make such the decree.... blissful silence ensued.

I'm so very thankful God reigns supreme.
I am indeed my beloved's, and my beloved is mine! 


Celebrating the wondrous resiliency 
of a woman's soul because

HE IS.





If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior AND Lord, 
I pray you come to a saving knowledge of Him
and began a new way of walking today! 
A resilient walk... a victorious walk... in Him!


♡♡♡♡♡♡♡





Monday, June 17, 2019

To Africa...and Beyond; Part Two

As I sat in the airport, by my gate, my parents emailed, "How are you feeling?"

"Two words come to mind: surreal and peace. As I sit here, I am so aware of His presence."

Of the many lessons He has graciously taught me over the years, one of the most significant is that my intellect, that is my ability to reason and to think, is to be -  at best - complementary to my faith, never used to override my faith.

Too many times the temptation comes and the bait is taken such that our thoughts or the opinions of others override His whisper. For me, I knew I had heard Him; a journey to South Africa was the next step for me so much so I considered it a done deal the day I booked my ticket. Not going was never an option.

A little over thirty hours, and I landed. God's provision of grace and patience was with me with every passing minute, including ten and a half hours of the eleven hour flight from Paris to South Africa where I sat unable to get up (hello!?) because the fellow in the aisle seat was dead to the world!  Have mercy!  (And God did! I'm telling you my ability to sit in that seat for ten and a half hours was a test of the will, but greater still a miracle... and I don't use that word lightly!) Amazing and notable even to me, I was not anxious nor weary the whole of the trip there.... it still astounds me as I think back on it!  Though, I did welcome the gift of going horizontal in a comfy bed after those thirty one hours.

The first couple of days Valerie and I went around visiting various aspects of the topography.  Even now, I struggle to find the words concerning all that surrounded me.  Massive mountains met massive prairies and massive prairies met massive oceans, both the Atlantic and the Indian.

One particular day we were coming down out of the mountains and Valerie had mentioned we would be coming upon a huge beach. Sure enough, as we made our way,  my eyes were fixed on an expansive beach, more specifically though the tiny, yet discernible, specks that came into view.  Those specks were people!

In the scope of the massive landscape all around me, here were specks, almost imperceptible, and yet the Spirit, being so very alert within, highlighted the absolute fact that God not only sees us specks, but loves us AND chooses to inhabit those who are willing! That is a miracle of cosmic proportions!

I have never felt so small, yet so set apart, in my life. Awe struck.... completely awe struck!  Please take a moment and mediate on the Spirit's indwelling miracle that salvation bestows upon us. I am forever grateful.

Apart from Him, it is so easy to think too little or too highly of ourselves. With Him and under His tutelage, the proper perspective of "self"  is a lesson not easily grasped. But having been created in God's image, we are significant.... significant to the Most High to the extreme point that He sent His Son to die and then triumphantly rise again. But please understand: HE is the Element that brings justification to our significance.

Apart from Him we are dead unto sin and can do nothing..... absolutely nothing....of eternal value. (John 15:5)  The flip-side to 'nothing' however is Jesus' words (John 14: 12-14) that those who believe in Him would do even greater works than He. Clearly, in Him, we have significance.  Again, proper perspective of self is not a lesson easily grasped, but well worth embarking on the Spirit's education on the matter!

One of my greatest delights was attending a small gathering of believers at a home one evening.  The most notable observation to me was their radiant JOY in the midst of great trials.

Not a single one of them was exempt from traversing difficult terrain, and I do mean DIFFICULT.  The host and hostess had just picked up a newborn, not even a week old, abandon by the birth mother because she could not afford to keep her. Heart-breaking to hear the persistent cries of the baby girl wanting to hear the familiar heart beat and voice of her birth mama to no avail, but what blessed patience that couple displayed as they used every method at their disposal to communicate their love and care for her.

Then there was the precious sister in the Lord.... a nurse... who was awaiting news of a possible return of a tumor behind her eye, but all she could talk about was a pending transport of thirty something patients to a new hospital; her joy and excitement tangible as she talked about the need for road closures and police escorts to get it done over the coming weekend.  Clearly, she lived to serve, not be served.

Then there was the single mother... her story of God's faithfulness over the years should be put into book form for all to read, having lost husband (the "love of her life") and son in a horrible accident... yet answering the call to dedicate her life to counseling others through life's hardships with tangible JOY.

I could go on.  Three other stories come rushing to my remembrance, but the blanketing point remains with me as it did that night: God had indeed filled them to overflow by His Spirit with all hope and peace as they leaned into Him as their hope and their stay. (Romans 15:13)

Each of those siblings are forever imprinted into my heart and will serve as everlasting reminders of God's faithfulness in the midst of hardships!  What an incredible, sustaining Father we indeed do have!

You know, I was asked in the weeks leading up to my pilgrimage, "Why Africa?"   I had no concrete answer apart from "It's where He has asked me to go. Perhaps it's a simple matter of obedience."  And that was all I in fact had to go on until I arrived.

Do you all remember me sharing  my long walkabout when He asked me to walk to the airport?

Certainly He has in my past asked me to do things without reason, but remember what I said at the beginning of this post?  One of THE greatest hurdles man must master is to bridle, under the power and direction of the Spirit, our God-given ability to reason and to think.

Reasoning is a powerful gift, but a dangerous faith killer IF not harnessed and submitted under God's authority. 

I didn't need a reason to go to South Africa apart from His request.  But He did indeed journey with me there and met me every single day with life-confirming words and clarity of purpose.

I pray for each of you reading this right now.  No matter where you are on your life's journey with God commit to growing, commit to being stretched beyond what is comfortable, beyond what is known.  I have long since said, "A close walk with God is utterly hinged to our obedience to Him."

Be the child that obeys 
without asking, "Why?"

I can testify that the reward is indeed great!

If I walk off into the sunset with my Lord one day, it will be my greatest JOY! Sincerely....

Journey on, dear siblings; journey on! ♡



Thursday, June 6, 2019

To Africa....and Beyond; Part One

For me, but certainly not for God, this all began in January of this year, when I stood in my office at work with the compelling thought, "Put in for vacation. Make it the last week of May."   I remember even pulling out my Google calendar and thinking, "No, I always take vacation the second week of May, right after the kids are done with school/university."

"Not this year," I heard the Spirit say.

So, I put it in "ink" ---
"Deborah, vacation May 25th - June 1st"

And in truth, I didn't think anything more on it at the time.

Come February, my daughter was preparing to study abroad (summer) as part of her college education and had to apply for her passport.  Once again, the Spirit spoke up, "Get yours prepared."  What?  Graciously, He repeated, "Get yours prepared."  Somewhat stupefied, I did as He asked. Short of His request, I didn't have a reason, and He didn't give one.

All the while my mind was keen on knowing why.

My "vacation week", turned out being midway through my daughter's study abroad program, and I innocently thought, "Oh, You're going to let me go visit her!"  But every time I went online to check airfare, the Spirit clearly said, "No."  I stopped trying the doorknob after a few times.

At the end of February, the grace at work began to lift.  And I found a job listing I felt perfectly suited for (that included a good bit of travel.... ergo the need of the passport, right, Lord?), so I applied.  The short of that is the Spirit said, "No."  I stopped trying that doorknob, too. (Passport "mystery" still at hand.) However, He did make it clear I was to resign my position, effective date ....my birthday (beginning of June), as Director of Human Resources; a position I had succeeded in and a position my boss/owner was not wanting me to resign from.  The day I handed in my notice was surreal. "Care to share what You are doing, God?" Silence.  Keep in mind, I did this with the full knowledge we still have obligations....like kids in college!

In April, the Spirit said, "Africa."   Excuse me?  "Africa."   You want me to go to Africa?  "Africa," He said for the third time.  Mind officially blown.  It had been an exasperating four months to my humanity for numerous reasons, but THIS.   Curious tidbit between myself and God:  I have told Him since He first captivated my heart, "You can send me anywhere ...but Africa."  Yeah.... point taken.

I know distantly two people in two different countries on the continent of Africa.  As the Lord saw me weigh this, I heard Him say, "Valerie."

So on April 22nd, I wrote Valerie a private message through Facebook.  I knew Valerie because I had attended church with her some seventeen years back before she moved to Africa, but I didn't know-know her at all.  I can only imagine her thoughts as she read my note that started off, "Val, hold your breath while I try to lay out something not even I know in full...."    But that same afternoon, she called me, and we spoke for an hour.  The end conclusion:  I was heading to Africa at the end of May for reasons not known to either myself nor Valerie.   (Thankful for saints such as Valerie who also hear the Lord and obey without needing His reasons explained.)

I remember hanging up from talking with Valerie and bracing as I looked up airfare AFTER committing to Him, "Africa it is".  At this point, I knew there was no point of reason I could offer that would dissuade what He was so clearly laying out.

The airfare, that I secured that afternoon, turned out to be completely covered by my vacation pay. Gobsmacked. Valerie reports that in her seventeen years of travels to and from the States, she has NEVER heard nor seen airfare for the price I paid, stating the lowest she had ever managed was $500 OVER what I paid.  One could say it was another sign in the right direction, but at this point, the need for 'signs' had long since passed. (There is a song near to my heart I think on even now as I write, "Don't ever let me lose my wonder..."   And thus far, He hasn't. ♡ )

On one weekend in May, I sent my daughter off on a plane for her study abroad.  The following Friday, May 24th, I worked my last day as Director of Human Resources for Chick-fil-A. And on May 25th, I boarded a plane... to Africa.


(To be continued.....)



Psalm 40
"God Sustains His Servant"

I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in Him.
Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders You have done,
the things You planned for us.
NONE can compare with You;
were I to speak and tell of Your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
*but my ears You have opened*;
burnt offerings and in offerings you did not require.
Then I said, "Here I am, I have come - 
it is written in the scroll.
*I desire to do Your will, my God;*
Your law is within my heart."
I proclaim your savings acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord, as You know.
I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and Your saving help.
I do not conceal Your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
Do not withhold Your mercy from me, Lord;
may Your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin 
be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
be appalled at their own shame.
But may all who seek You
rejoice and be glad in You;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
"The LORD is GREAT!"
For me, I am poor and needy;
think on me, Lord.
You are my Help and my Deliverer;
You are my God, do not delay.

Glory!

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡







Thursday, May 16, 2019

Your Thought Life Will Either Make You OR Break You

This morning I opened the refrigerator to get my fourteen year old pup's "snack" out of the refrigerator; a package of lunch meat I had bought.  Problem was it was not where I last placed it.  I looked and discovered it in my husband's stash in the bottom bin of the refrigerator. It was sitting right there on top of other lunch meat he had bought that was identical to the package I had bought Angel. I knew it was Angel's because the top, from the moment I opened it, would not seal back up. Clearly he was under the impression that "someone" was dipping into his stash, seeing the package NOT where he last placed it. All evidence seemed to point that direction, did it not?  But fact was things were not as they appeared to be. And let's be honest, in life, they usually aren't!

There is that timeless, I believe birthed in middle school, saying, "If you assume, you make an ___ out of u and me."   You would be the exception to the rule if you had not heard that expression until now or tasted its bitter fruit of truth.  The point is we have ALL been there; thinking something we just knew to be true turning out to be false.

God has spent the last decade endlessly, tirelessly tutoring me in the "process of thought".  Please note I did not say simply say thought life. I intentionally used the phrase process of thought because He has indeed shown me in painful, yet effective, detail how one's thoughts become reality ....listen up!....EVEN WHEN THOSE THOUGHTS ARE FALSE!  Please reread that and take a moment to really stare down those last six words.  

The natural man operates from a paradigm that if he thinks a thing, that thing is automatically fact and therefore true.

The rebirthed-in-Christ-man knows just how far from true that paradigm is and sets a daily course to guard absolutely every thought.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Is it exhausting?  Absolutely!  But I can tell you that as you do it, you do build up a stamina for it.

Understand this: EVERY Christian has a call on their life the enemy absolutely does not want to see come to be, and he sets OUT DAILY to derail that call and the ONLY WAY he can do that is in your MIND.

Zig Ziglar was an amazingly optimistic man, who by default of that optimism coupled to his unabashed faith in God became very successful.  However, I am of the strong opinion it is his character ...his thought life... that is the main thing most remembered and revered today.  He clearly vigilantly guarded his mind-field.

I saw one of his quotes this morning that began with "Today be thankful and remember how rich you are...." and he was not talking materialistically!

In math, ANY number times zero equals ZERO.  Think on this: if you were to list let's say twenty five blessings, but just couldn't restrain yourself and listed even one "don't have", listing the "zero" effectually multiplies its presence and thus effectually yields a ZERO in the psyche; a complete feeling of lack.

It was said of Ronald Reagan's father:

"Jack had a dark side. He tended to be cynical, and his cynicism pained his son, who flinched at the sourness of it. The boy wanted a father who was idealistic, in part because it would have made it easier for him to be what he was, which was hopeful.(...) Ronald Reagan never developed an affinity for pessimists, and the defeats they seemed to summon."   (From "When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan" / underlying is mine)

Today, I want to challenge you: Be ever vigilant concerning your mind-field.  The enemy will absolutely be about his business, planting all manner of pessimistic seeds among your field.  He has bags and bags of those nasty seeds! But you MUST NOT permit them to take root in your field!

Exercise --- with great effort if needs be, particularly if you are just beginning to literally workout your thoughts --- a heart of gratitude and a resting in God, His ability, His plan, and His timing.   ♡




Saturday, May 11, 2019

Introspection Transforms Through the Power of Christ Alone

A great shift is taking place.  I feel it deep within.  There is no stopping it.  There is no influencing its speed nor its trajectory.

I don't know exactly when, but at some point in my past I dropped the fear of introspection in the presence of Christ; and adopted it as a part of my regular repertoire.

Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, and Jason Ingram collectively penned "Here's My Heart".

It's a cry of each believer's heart to courage up and acknowledge what's really there, from the center to the crevasses, KNOWING God can and WANTS to take it all and transform it to something remarkable.  But understand divine transformation can only take place in an environment of COMPLETE HONESTY before God. Light does not fellowship with the dark.  All things must be confessed.  He already knows what is there.  Can I encourage you to courage up and confess it all?  Life is fleeting.  I ponder to myself how much time the enemy has successfully caused us to waste hiding behind our individual, woefully inadequate, bushes as God calls out to us, "Where are you?"  (Gen3:9)

I went to see the new movie, "Tolkien". One of the standouts to me was how Providence is seen looking backward in time.  That's not a challenge for most. We could, for example, take the biography of George Washington, and most would agree the Hand of Providence rested upon him.  But, if one were to go back in time and take a front row seat beside George, would we SEE the hand of Providence?  I conjecture to say, "No, no we would not."  I suspect a good many of us would be tempted to think, "Just who does he think is?"  Certainly those in the British camp thought this!

How about the disciples who walked with Jesus for three years; seeing, talking, walking, eating, sleeping by His side?  All evidence leads us to understand their immense struggle to wrap their beings around, IN THEIR PRESENT TIME, the Cross, yet were compelled to defend the testament of their Christ, the risen King, POST-Cross, UNTO DEATH themselves.

The present, for reasons known only to God, cannot illumine Providence's Hand as clearly as a future retrospect gifts to us.

I recently read a query: are you living in present-past or present-future?

Certainly, no one could argue to the contrary that the past has brought each of us individually to our present, but I am utterly convinced that it is the lens we SELECT in viewing our present-past that determines our present-future.

Do we take up the courage to face.... really face... the one in the mirror ...with a deeply-rooted belief system that God not only desires to take our past and make our future remarkable, but that He is ABLE to do so?

Elisabeth Elliot said, "Of one thing I am perfectly sure, God's story never ends with ashes."

I love to read, particularly the stories of those who made their mark on this world.  Do you know the one thing that seems to stand out in common amongst them?   That against the odds of their beginnings, they DETERMINED to fix their being immovably upon A POWER....a Divine Power.... that COURAGEOUSLY called them to inspect themselves first and foremost .... A POWER that COURAGEOUSLY called them to face doubt YET move forward despite it..... A POWER that COURAGEOUSLY called them to defend what is right, not by their own standards, but God's.

There was a scene in the movie where the four main characters were together, when one of the characters declares, "I have the power to determine HOW I live."   That line sent a shock-wave through my spirit.

Think on that for a moment.

The truth is we ALL do possess the POWER to determine HOW we live. God gave us a beautiful gift when He gave us free-will.  But how many are rightly exercising said free-will?  That is the paramount question we ALL must answer whether we want to or not.  We will most certainly give an account for our stewardship of this life He gave to you and to me.

I would dare say many are going through their days in a slumber-like state, otherwise known as "going with flow".  True Christians, however, do not... dare I say CAN NOT.... live life in such a careless, thoughtless, reckless manner, for the Spirit within compels us to take the path LEAST taken....





Understand, opposition in this life will ALWAYS be PRESENT, both from within and without!

There are a number of war scenes in the Tolkien movie, and one thing was clearly depicted: war is indiscriminate.  It cares not what casualties are taken, only that vast numbers are taken.  In the movie, the blow torches, the gas, the bombs, the guns.... they all had one purpose.  Decrease the soldiers in number.

The world remains at war.  It does not need a grand title such as World War I or World War II.  It has been on-going since the Garden, and it will remain until Christ plants His feet back upon the world.

The question is will you WAKE UP?  Will you boldly face the one in the mirror, and despite all the reasons not to.... take YOUR place in history?

Or will you be among the masses who sleep through this life, duped into the enemy's plethora of lies, inevitably becoming disenfranchised by the chasm that lays between what the world promised and what it actually delivered?

It is recorded that Jay Gould, an American millionaire, upon his deathbed, said, "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."   Duped.   One among millions.  Are you among the millions?

This world is not my home, but while I am here, I do, by way of Christ's blood, possess His mark and His power, and with Providential courage, I am determined to take my place, my appointed place, for such a time as this, BY Him, Through Him, and In Him.

 What about YOU?


(PS: Make all efforts to ensure your aim is on-point "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12)









Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Walkabout Wonder

Before sharing, I want to preface what I share by a timely quote from Joyce Meyer:

"Don't compare yourself with anyone in any way, especially not spiritually.  We can see other people's good examples and be encouraged by them, but they must never become our standard."

That said, take what you will read below as a mere example, but at the end of the day....

DO YOU as God instructs!

******************************

I have been going on walkabouts with God for years. A walkabout is where I set off with no clear destination and no time frame.... just my listening ears wide open and my mouth shut. I believe He has chosen to stick with this method with me to share some of His richest treasures because in 2000 I was so hungry for something far exceeding religion I made a promise to Him that I kept.

Looking back I know that promise originated with Him. I went on a walk one morning and poured out my starving and thirsty heart to the invisible God I knew from the Bible and all my many years attending church. I boldly told Him, "I am going to show up each and every day, same time, and walk until I HEAR You. I want to know Your voice." So I did.  Days passed, until one day as I was about to enter my apartment, as my hand touched the door knob, I heard Him crystal clear speak to me as I had never heard Him speak. And since that day, I am PROFOUNDLY grateful He hasn't stopped communicating.... and I haven't stopped listening.

So, yesterday, April 30th  (Tuesdays are my day off from work.), I awoke and immediately felt His call.  I had my list of "must dos", but have learned ....oh, I have learned.... the wisdom of  Matthew 6:33: "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  When I forsake my "must do" list at His call, I know I can emphatically trust Him with that "must do" list.  Can I tell you I have never once regretted answering His beckoning!

I arose out of the bed, knowing my plans for the day had been replaced.  I put my walking clothes on, prepared my backpack, went downstairs for our prelude (ie: Quiet time), and set out through the front door.

I'm going to relay my exact conversation with God as I began my walkabout.  I do believe some of it or all of it will speak to you wherever you are along your life's journey with Him.

As I walked out my front door, I suggested (We love to make our suggestions to Him, don't we?!), "How about a casual walk, a bit of lunch, and a walk back?"

This would have amounted to about four miles; all the while my feet are in motion, heading out of the neighborhood.

He said, "The airport."
"Excuse me?!"
Again, "The airport."
"That's a LONG walk, Lord, even for me!"
Gently He said, "I know."

My feet in still in motion even as my comprehension all but flat-lined.

"Hum, you know there's that really long incline that I'll have to walk back up?"

"You mean the one WE will walk back up? Yes, I know the one."

"Then there's that really sketchy part down by the asphalt plant.  There aren't any sidewalks along that way, but big trucks, lots of big trucks. That's just not rational nor safe!"

"Like walking on water?"

"Well, what about that highway crossing? You know how crazy that is even for a car!"

"I WILL make safe passage for you."

Silence set in, but my feet stayed in motion.  After a few moments, confidence had risen.

"Okay, Lord, the airport it is!"

He did EXACTLY as He said He would, and with each step there was a lesson, a rejoicing, a laugh to share.

Curious observations:  As I arrived at the entrance to the airport, I declared to myself, "I made it!" But then it occurred to me, no, I need to make my way all the way in... all the way to the destination He set.  And a mile and a half later (Hello, is that speaking to anyone else besides me?!), I did arrive.

Can I tell you that last mile and a half was the longest stretch of perseverance. And can I also tell you He didn't say word one to me at the beginning of my consent about the STEEP hill at the VERY end of my destination; His prerogative as LORD, you know.  (Funny what you don't pay any attention to behind the wheel of a car that speaks volumes from the vantage point of walking!)

On my many walkabouts He has indeed imparted many valuable lessons, but I want to both challenge and encourage each of you: a walk with Him is *always* beyond the scope of the rational and the safe, but if we, through even rational, *valid* reasons, render ourselves unable to walk with Him in our "now sphere", don't bother asking Him for grander walks!  Be bold in your obedience, *especially* when it takes you outside ....perhaps even WAY outside... your comfort zone, because that's where you will discover facets of Him that simply cannot be revealed nor experienced from inside your comfort zone.

On my way back home, I had to tackle all the hurdles I had tackled on my way there, BUT by then it was much hotter, and I was getting tired.

Do you think He knew of these coming conditions when we set out?  Of course He did!

Remember that point of silence I mentioned before I consented?  During that point of silence, I too thought through the return trip without the exact knowledge, but certainly speculating it wasn't going to be a "walk in the park"..... but the material point is I CHOSE to go all in.  Dear ones, let me strongly encourage you when He asks something of you.... just do it.  He covers... he makes up for our lack.

And lack did happen.  I was almost at the peak of that LONG incline when I felt my entire being start to crash.  I looked ahead and told myself, "It's only about 40 paces. You can rest then."  I knew if I sat down where I wanted to sit down, I would have alarmed traffic.  "Press on," I told myself.  I barely made it. My body was crashing to the point I gagged.  I thought, "Don't you dare toss your cookies here!"   Ever been at such a place metaphorically?   Where you thought you just could not hang on one more second?  Where your soul was wrenched and convulsing to the core? Live long enough and everyone crosses such conditions.  Question is what do you do?

Well, providentially (You do know Father permits testing, correct?!), in my case... my son had just texted me (probably very close in time to the point where I begin crashing... 70 paces or so from the apex).

"Home now."

Simple text.  MASSIVE temptation!

I saw the text just after sitting down, trying not to toss my cookies.

"Can you come get me?"  I texted back.

Then God spoke, "Deborah, RISE!"

Immediately I texted my son, "No, nevermind....I'll finish."

I got up, and not 50 paces later, "God of Resurrection" began to play.  I'm posting it here for your listening pleasure:



I was so overcome by the song coupled to my Walking Company I sincerely felt I would take flight at any moment. Above all.... God is faithful!  Oh, dear ones... HE IS FAITHFUL.

I have long since said and walked, "What God calls us to do, He equips us to do!"

Such a memorable walk with Him... valuable treasured lessons I will put in my life-vault...not to be taken for granted, forgotten, or devalued!

All my love from one sojourner-in-Christ to all my fellow sojourners-in-Christ...walk on confident in HIM!

Deborah


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

"You'll Never Walk Alone"

Yesterday, I took a huge step into the unknown.  I resigned my post as Director of Human Resources for Chick-fil-A, a post I have held for five years.

For a brief moment this morning, my humanity screamed, "Have you lost your mind?"

Quickly, I grounded my thoughts in not the "what I know" -- but the WHO I know.

Peace came. I continued to sit with Him, and I began to unpack some additional thoughts as He shared.

I have such a heart for Him, but what occurred to me... having been raised in church with one concept drilled utterly through in through into the deepest corners of my soul to "share Him with everyone I come in contact with".... is I do NOT have that has my dominant goal, my dominant drive.  And for years, I let this somewhat beat me into a sense of condemnation that I wasn't doing "my best."

Can I share what I have now come to know as absolute truth?

HIS predominant care is not that I share Him, but that I KNOW HIM... and HE ME.

It is out of this strong relationship that others have and will continue to come to a saving knowledge of Him.

For years, I had my thinking inverted; that if I shared Him with others, I would come to know Him in a way I craved.  But that's like meeting someone a few times and then trying to encapsulate who they are to others you barely know.  I don't know about you, but you will not find me trying to do such a thing!

Is this not why Jesus called the disciples to walk with Him for three years BEFORE He commissioned them to "now go and tell"?

Ultimately, looking back, it has long since been my insatiable hunger and thirst to KNOW the God of the Universe that drives me to run to "our hill" or rise early in the morning... experiencing a quiet... no, a presence... His presence ... found only when all else is instantly dropped when I hear Him: "Come."

He catches me unaware.  Always.
The clamor of this world, even when we dedicate time for Him, often drowns out the best of our intentions.
And though intention is the first among our steps, it is not our intentions that ultimately honor Him and matures us.... it is our prompt obedience.

I think on the disciples, and in hearing His beckon, "Come and follow me", they did just that.  Some have said that they didn't really drop everything at that moment.  I wasn't there to know; neither were those who speculate. But one thing I know for certain: He has interrupted my activities numerous times with one word... "Come"...and promptly I did GO!  It is either stupidity or grave ignorance that ignores such a call.

Now, I find He is not just shifting my circumstances, but all out shaking them. The kind of shaking that invokes deep breathes as one's humanity cries out, "Is this really happening?"  Something so far out of the ordinary.

But to know Him is to know "so far out of the ordinary".... though our humanity will never cease its struggle to keep up in both action and comprehension this side of Glory!  But to exert great, focused effort... and run the race set before us... is to live... to TRULY LIVE!

To those He elects to come to Him because of our relationship, I smile. To their affirmation regarding His beautiful words, "Come and follow Me,"  my heart affectionately swells, "Welcome."   For I know what they will come to know: "You'll never walk alone".... but into the deep with the Great I Am one must go!  For the deep is His habitation..... way, way beyond the ordinary.

With awe struck wonder.



Easter Sunday





Friday, March 8, 2019

Discoveries of Old

Last night, as I was looking for a particular book, I discovered a letter I had written in 2003, outlining the beginning conception of Joy In The Morning.  It was an ordained discovery of extended proportions.

Still I persisted to find the book I sought, and once found, I opened it.  Psalm 31:15 was a part of the text that leapt off the page:  "My times are in Your hands."

The two items now divinely coupled together were more than my finite mind could absorb.

Glory!  So thankful for the lifeline of His Word and His Spirit!

I, like many of you, wrestle with the manner of how days, weeks, months, and perhaps even years unfold. None of the elements are under any one individual's control, but I find deep resounding solace that they are all under God's sovereignty.

Life's righteous challenge is persistently seeking God's pleasure through personal responsibility and obedience while entering into His rest through the gateway of His sovereignty and His character.

It's a high bar to be certain; and one that unfortunately many won't even attempt to hit once; much less dedicate an entire lifetime to mastering.

Fifteen years may seem like a long time, and without argument, a lot of life has indeed been lived.  But even now, I answer His call to look under the surface at the many seeds He has asked me to mindfully place into the ground He bestowed unto me.  I don't know when, but according to who HE is and what HE has spoken a beautiful harvest IS coming.

I encourage those who have faithfully planted.  God has not and will not forget the seeds you have sown, and though we, the sower, do not determine the yield, a yield will come!

"Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."  Ecc 11:6

I encourage those who have yet to begin sowing righteous seeds of personal responsibility and obedience. Get on with it! Man up; woman up! Time is short!

"Whatever you do, do it with all your might. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom."  Ecc 9:10

Aim for the highest bar;
for He is and forever will be The Great I Am!

I will betroth you to Me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.
Hosea 2:19-20


Your sister in Christ,
Deborah


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Where's Your Construction Site?

There is a song with the following lyrics:

"There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way."

How many dear souls I personally know in the here and now holding out for the "one more day"!

Some are desperately wondering, "Can I even hold on for one more day, Lord??"

People are going through some STUFF.
There's a shaking going on.
Surely you sense, feel, and see it!
From personal to national to global.

I am convinced that:
- the shaking is necessary
- the shaking is divinely appointed
- the shaking will reveal exactly what ground each of us is building upon.

"Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and DOES THEM will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did NOT fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does NOT do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and GREAT was the fall of it." Matthew 7: 24-27

The storm is greatly upon us.

Question: where has YOUR house been built?

Upon obedience.... (the rock)?
Upon disobedience... (the sand)?

Upon submission.... (the rock)?
Upon rebellion.... (the sand)?

Upon self-control.... (the rock)?
Upon indulgence ..... (the sand)?

And the list goes on.

This morning in church the congregation acknowledged and thanked the senior pastor for twenty years of service. What an incredible legacy God has and continues to build on the life of a humble man sold out to God's Word, the Church, and keeping Christ at the center of his personal walk.  I admire him, and I don't say that about many.

But that said, I found myself pondering before the Lord, "What have I accomplished for You in twenty years, Lord?" Oof.

That's a bold question, but one every single one of us has to find the courage to ask.  Honest assessment.

One day, each of us WILL stand before God and face His assessment, so we might as well courage-up, and, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, listen to Him with both ears and heart wide open NOW.

If needs be, let Him change your construction site.  His blue-print is the only one that counts.

Getting on with it,
Deborah



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Transition Season Underway

This summer...a mere three months away...will mark five years.  Five very demanding years in corporate America as the Director of Human Resources at a highly successful, nationally known business.  Who saw that coming six years ago?  Not I, I assure you!

I am very proud of what has been accomplished during my tenure, but greater still, I stand in awe at what God graciously poured out.  I'm not hardwired to give anything less than my best to whatever I put my hands to... and this season has been no exception.... it was no exception for God either; always His best... always.

He demonstrated, yet again, good things come when we co-labor in obedience with Him.  That said, God has made it clear, much to my CEO's chagrin, that a transition season is underway.

I have selected my successor, though I have not determined exactly when I will officially hand the baton over.  I will determine the "when" as God brings that aspect into focus. Until that appointed time, my successor will be a huge, huge asset as I begin reassessing and redirecting my time and attention.

For the immediate, He is leading me into a season of recovery and reflection, a different kind of "R&R".  It will be structured and cocooned; insulated and divinely protected from the clamor of the outside world. I do have a solid sense that on the other side of this recovery and reflection season awaits energy and purpose as I have yet to know. That knowledge alone gives needed oxygen to this mere flicker of The Flame.

Who knows.... maybe you'll actually see more of me here, including trite and trivial entries from every day living.  I haven't taken the time to do that since 2013!  So here's to sharing ... to whatever degree.  Perhaps I'll even find YOU here on the pages.... leave a comment...even if it's a brief hello!

Here's to serving our grand God as He directs! So very, very thankful for Him... AND His family!

In Him, For Him, and By Him always....

Deborah