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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Excuses, excuses…

Luke 14:18,  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

Matthew 22:4-5, Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

Nothing has changed.  Our excuses are still the same. The very thing that hinders us falls into one of three categories.

1. Things

2. Work

3. People

I’m deeply convicted today.  There is no thing, no job, no people that should keep me from doing what I know I must do for Christ.  And when I say this, I don’t mean that the thing, the job or the people are to blame.   It’s my own priority issue.

And here’s the revelation that settles in on me at the moment.  Come unto the marriage.  My life here on this earth is the ceremony.  If I  think that the “marriage” will take place later, in the end, I can put it off.  Not so.  Every act of obedience…every time I respond to His call…His purpose…His plan… I participate in the ceremony.

Later we celebrate!  Now we walk down the aisle, the straight and the narrow.  We must find the path that leads to where He is.

 

 

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Christian Living, Obedience

 

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How Can I?

Song of Solomon 5:2-3, I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to
me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with dew, My locks with the damp of the night.’ “I have taken off my dress, How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again?”

Last week in prayer, I was a few minutes late coming in and sat down quietly to listen as the others were praying.  In my spirit I began hearing, “Awake my love.  Awake.”  And then this scene began to unfold before me.  It was then that my heart became burdened over her response.

This seems to be the state of the church and when I say that, I’m not including everyone nor am I excluding anyone.  I just know that I am the church and this has been the question in my heart.

How can I?

I truly believe that God requires us to get dirty, after we are clean.

When I say dirty, I don’t mean participating in sin or living contrary to the Word of God.  What I mean is, our mantle, our attire is meant to get dirty.  It’s meant to come in contact with others who are dirty, just as we were before we heeded His voice to “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” 

Our feet that have been washed clean by our humble Master servant, are meant to return to the miry clay from which we have been pulled out.

Jesus is coming back for a church…a bride…without spot or wrinkle.

Ephesians 5:27, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any
such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

A spot or a wrinkle is not what we might think.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Word explains it with conviction:

…the church will then be free from all spots and blemishes; from all hypocrites
and formal professors…

Here’s the thing.  I am His darling, His dove, His love…His perfect one and I have been playing the hypocrite.  I sleep, but my heart is awake.  I hear His calling and yet I respond to Him with “How can I?”  and I go down the list.

1. We don’t fit the criteria for this.

2. No one will think we fit the criteria for this.

3. Finances.

4. Circumstances.

5.  I’m going to get dirty.

He is prophesying to me today…to you.

Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. Song of Solomon 4:7

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Christian Living, Prophecy

 

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The Voice of My Beloved

Song of Solomon 5:2, I sleep but my heart waketh, it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying open to Me my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled…

It is the voice, not the hand that knocks.

The closed doors of our life will be revealed to us by His voice.

Often we might consider that if we are hearing God, that we have allowed Him in.  I’m not certain.  Could it be that by hearing God, we are made aware of His willingness to be involved in areas that we have excluded Him from?

However, unless we yield to His voice, to His Word, He will remain outside of that particular parameter of our life.  He is not intrusive.  It all hinges on our repsonse to what He says.  I believe the knock of His voice is instruction.

The open door is not always a means of exit into something bigger and better. The door is not the threshold for our “arrival” but for His.  Maybe it’s the instrument for something far Greater to come in and to fill to capacity the places that have been empty until now and to open our eyes to the potential of where we are.

It seems that everyone is working so hard to get to their destiny. Tearing down walls and taking the ceiling off.  Lives constantly under reconstruction, building in vain.    I think I’m finally realizing that I don’t have to get to my place of destiny.  I’m in it.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to  open the door?

The door can either be a barrier or a breakthrough! It’s up to us.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Hearing, Jesus, Obedience

 

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Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I was at my nieces gymnastics event this weekend when I saw the doctor who had a hand in saving my life seven years ago this summer.  (Her daughter also is a gymnast.)

I didn’t actually speak with her.  I don’t know if she would recognize me, even if I presented myself as “Hey, I’m the girl who almost died!”  If I did talk to her, it would be my inclination to hug her because thankfulness fleshes itself out in me like that but that might not go over very well either.

Anyway, I have testified of God’s hand on my life at that time but it’s been years ago and I have never written about it here. So, I thought today I would memorialize His faithfulness and miracle-working power!

It was May of 2005 and I was at home with my little ones who were seven and six years old at the time.  I was standing in the doorway between my kitchen and living room when I distinctly heard God say, “You’re going to have another baby.”  I was not pregnant (or at least didn’t know it yet and wasn’t even trying to be).  But true to His word, I missed my next cycle and was completely thrilled at the prospect of another little one to love!

I couldn’t wait for the round belly, flutters and tumbles of pregnancy and even more than that, the moment when the waiting was over and I could meet this one God had given me.

Everything was going well that first month and I had a new doctor because my previous doctor had retired. You know how you have a gut feeling when you meet someone?  That can’t explain it, don’t feel right about this feeling?  Well, I had that but I thought, Dr. V put this guy in charge, so he must be capable.  And, bonus, Sheri, was still the nurse and I loved her. (Still do!)

At the end of July, I was at my in-laws house and began to have some spotting.  I called the doctor and they brought me in for a ultrasound.  The baby was still intact and they sent me home to rest.  I was the perfect patient.  I did everything I was supposed to do.

A few days passed and it was still spots here and there but one night, the bleeding just wouldn’t quit.  I remember laying on the couch and calling Sheri in the middle of the night and she was the voice of calm.  I prayed with all my might that the baby would be OK but it wasn’t and when I had gone to the doctor, it was confirmed that my little Kate Marie had gone.  (That’s also that name that God gave me, so I’ll take His Word on that too.)

In the days that followed, the pain continued and the bleeding did not slow down.  Several calls to the doctor were to no avail.

I was standing in my kitchen and was listening to Focus on the Family and they just happened to be talking about ectopic pregnancies and I heard it in my spirit.  Again, the gut feeling but because it was a “bad” report, I ignored it, disregarding it as God.

A few days later, on a Friday, I had gotten out of bed and got right into cleaning. There was chili in the crock pot and I was climbing up on the chair to get some dishes down when the most revolting pain I have ever experienced hit me so hard, I knew I was going to die.  I seriously could not stand on my feet, nor could I sit down, it was devastatingly bad.  I called my mom, who lived nearby but got no answer. I tried my grandparents.  Nothing.  I called my husbands work and he left to come home immediately but he had about a 40 minute drive home.

I lay on my bed weeping, the kids coming to me with fear in their eyes.  I sent them back to the living room to put in a movie and I closed my eyes.  That’s when I saw her, my baby and I felt it… the pull to go to her and hold her and the thought came.  “I can just go to heaven and be with my baby.”  And that’s when it hit like a jolt of lightning!  The voice of a protective, jealous God who would not allow my life to be snuffed out.  He said, “Life and death are in the power of your tongue.  Say it! I will live and not die!”  At the same time, He took me to the living room (while I was still laying on my bed) and I saw my sweet little faces there, gazing at the television and I felt angry. Like momma bear angry! “How dare he come and try to take me from them?  They need me!!”

I screamed it! “I WILL LIVE AND NOT DIE TO DECLARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD!”

Moments later it seemed, John came through the back door and into the bedroom and almost simultaneously my mother came through the front door, into my little ones.  John put me in the car, laying down because I could not sit and drove me to the doctor’s office.

While examining me, and after hearing my screams, the doctor rudely said, “I am leaving today to go out-of-town, golfing.  I’m going to be late because you must have a DNC.”

Again, the pain was so repulsive, I was relieved to hear he would do something. Anything, please.

They did the procedure and I remember when I was coming out of it and still very groggy, I could still feel the immense pain and asked the nurse, “Why does it still hurt?”  And she said, “You’ll feel better soon.”

The doctor came in and patted me and said, “There was nothing.  Everything looks fine but I am suspicious.”

He left to go golfing.  The end.

On Monday, I got a call from the nurse who called to see how I was doing.  She told me that my pregnancy hormone levels were still very high after the DNC, indicating that I still had a pregnancy.  She said that those numbers would need to be monitored and that they would like me to come in next Monday to have blood work done to see if there were any changes.

I went and had the blood work. The numbers were a little lower but still too high. I was still bleeding.  Shouldn’t have been so.

And then, the niggling feeling. Something isn’t right.  Again, the voice of Dr. James Dobson was ringing in my ears, ectopic pregnancy.

My dear friend Robbin had called to pray with  me one day about mid-August and said, “Stacey, I really think you should find another doctor.” So, I did.

This time, Dr. C came on the scene and she was my knight in shining armor.  She did some blood work, but no ultrasound.  She asked where my pain was during the miscarriage and helped me understand that any pain on the right or the left is dangerous when miscarrying.   She was the first doctor to say, “You had an ectopic pregnancy.” But she also assured me that my numbers were coming down nicely and she felt my body was taking care of itself.

Weeks passed and I was still bleeding but finally nearing the end of August, I was feeling almost myself. We had taken the kids to an amusement park before school started and while there, I felt some very sharp pains from my womb to my chest. I also had to stop on several occasions because I wasn’t feeling right.

The next day, my husband and I visited his aunt and when we left, I had a terrible pain again. I remember saying to him, this isn’t right.  So I called to make an appointment and the mid-wife saw me that day and reported that my numbers were nearly normal but that we should have an ultrasound just to be safe.  My mom had given me a ride and I didn’t want to make her late so I scheduled for the next morning.

When I got out of bed, I hesitated to go and almost cancelled but thankfully didn’t.

When I had the ultrasound done, the screen showed black on my entire left side.  The technician did not know what she was looking at. She called for the doctor who also did not know what he was looking at but he made me wait in the waiting room so that he could personally hand me my films and results and urged me to go straight to my doctor immediately. He even called Dr. C’s office for me.

My legs were jelly.  I don’t know how I even made it to the office.  I was alone and scared.  I called the church and someone prayed for me and after that, there was strength and peace.

The doctor didn’t know what to make of it but she knew she needed to go in there. It was near the end of her day and she said, ‘How about tomorrow morning?”  I said, “Ok.” but inside it wasn’t ok.   All this time, I was walking around with this but the fear came that one more night was all it would take and I’d be gone.

So, I prayed, “God, please.  If you want to wait for tomorrow, I will but right now I feel like death is coming for me.  Can you make it sooner?”

Almost right away, there was a knock at my door and the doctor said, “How about let’s do it tonight?  How’s 5 PM?  Meet me at the hospital with an overnight bag.  I’m going to keep you probably for one night.”

Talk about elated!!  Faith was living so big in me that I was beaming! I could literally feel the light of God in my being. There is no other way to describe it.  My pastor came before the surgery to pray for me but I didn’t need her.  That is not pride speaking either. She could probably tell you that herself.  I was at such peace.

I remember coming out of anesthesia and hearing the nurse saying, “Just look at that.  I don’t know how she was walking around.  She should have been dead. It’s a miracle.”

When the doctor came in, she told me that my tube measured 9 cm.  That didn’t mean a thing to me but then she explained that a fallopian tube will rupture at between 4-5 cm and mine measured 9!!?!!?  It had begun to rupture and then somehow twisted on itself, not releasing the full throttle gush that would have caused me to bleed to death.  It was like a balloon with a tear in it and then twisted to keep the flow, slow and steady.  My entire stomach cavity was filled with blood (which would be the cause for pain in my stomach every time I took a step.) and they had to scrape everything and remove the tube.

It was a small price to pay in return for my life.  It was a miracle.  My miracle and only one of many in my life.  This I know.

I know my God had His hand on me. I know my God is faithful and today, I choose to take this time to just  remember and be thankful and to tell all the world how I love Him!!  I am blessed beyond measure!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Memorial to God

 

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Sifted thoughts….

For years, I’ve been going through a sifting.  Who hasn’t?  Whether we recongize it or not, God still sifts today.

Just this week, an evangelist named Jonathan Garlock came to our church and shared on this subject.  I would write what he shared here but truly, I wouldn’t do it justice!  You can get the CD of the service if you like.  Just leave your name and email in the comments below and I will contact you to get your information and get it sent out to you via the World Lighthouse Worship Center!

One scripture that he shared that is still resounding in my spirit is Isaiah 30:28 and I thought, THAT’S IT!!

And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck,
to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity…

God’s breath is what sifts us.  You cannot feel one’s breath unless they are near to you. Very near.  The very fact that God sifts us is because He is near and desires to be nearer still.  Which leads me to my next thought.

I’ve misinterpreted sifting.  There is more than one instance of sifting in the Word.

Satan will sift us, trying to take us out, as he did Peter. (Luke 22)  But just as Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail…He has done the same for us!  Pausing here for a moment just to thank Him!  You should too!

Secondly, God sifts us and when He does, He has no intention of letting us fall from His grasp!  When He uses the sieve of vanity, it’s to shake loose the things that we have been clinging to other than Him and the things that have been clinging to us.  Sometimes it will look like people are being shook loose from us, because they are.  Other times ministries (yikes), dreams, money, possessions, extracurricular activities, habits, ownership mentalities, pride, self-centeredness and self-dependence are sifted from us. Sin.  Anything that’s keeping us from being near to Him. Anything that creates a distance.

Sifting reveals nothing less than His desire and great love for us.  When something is removed, He is that much closer.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Character, Faith, God's Breath, Sifting

 

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The Camel’s Back Is Broken

I was traveling this afternoon on my way home from a funeral and drove by a church billboard.  For the most part, the messages that I’ve encountered are at the very least entertaining.  Every once in while though, I come across one that just irks me.  Like, really?  This is going to pack ’em in?

It could be that maybe I’ve had billboard overload and have squelched any underlying issues and suddenly this was the straw that broke the camels back. The fly in my soup. The pebble in my shoe.  (I’m prepping you because I know you’re going to be saying, “What?”)

Here it is.

THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING IN HELL.

You see now…that doesn’t seem so bad. Right?

Wrong.

If our argument is that it’s gonna be hot, we’ve got it all wrong.

Yes, the fires of hell will be hot and unquenchable.  Nothing will distinguish it.  Nothing.

Yes, there will be torment that surpasses any oppression or depression that one would encounter here on this earth.  The degree of pain and suffering known to us is not even comparable to what would be endured there…endlessly.  Fears will not be eased. Grief and sadness will ensue. Tears will not cease.  Pain will not be relieved.

Even with my finite mind, I am certain I cannot comprehend it and truly, don’t want to.

But here it is.  This is what makes my heart hurt about the billboard pitch.

The most important thing of all has not been stated.

God will not be there.

Day in day out, we can have as much or as little of God as we wish. Whether we embrace Him or deny Him, He is still here.  Even in our greatest sin, in our deepest rebellion and utmost rejection of Jesus, He is still here.  He knows our rising up and our laying down.  There is nothing concerning us that escapes His sight.

And each and every day…the sun shines and the rain falls, even for those whose hearts are far from Him. Even on the hottest of days, a breeze will blow, we can find a lake or have a drink. This world He created and all of its beauty avails Him to us and reveals His love for us.

Even with what one would deem a God-less existance…atheist at it’s best, there is air conditioning.  The frills of living. Amenities available to all of us.  There are homes to live in. Beds to sleep in. Provisions for our lives.  Medicines for our ailments.  Food in our bellies.

There are family and friends.  Children.  Work for our hands. Power to make wealth.  Vacations. Holidays. Experiences. Etc.

We can do all of the above and SO much more and exclude God.  Negate Him.  But that doesn’t change anything.  Every good thing is available to us because He is present.  He is near.  He is long-suffering.  He is ready.

In an instant.  With one thought, one word, one mention of His name, immediately He comes.  He saves.  Jesus is Lord.

In hell?  Forget it.  Once we cross the threshold of death, it all ends.  He can and will not come near to us, not because He has forsaken us but because we have forsaken Him.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Eternity, Heaven, Jesus

 

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Spiritual Smog?

Earlier this week, my eyes fell on this passage, not with an open bible in hand but rather just happenstance.  I know with God, nothing just happens.  James 1:27 was meant for me.  It was the Word I needed but wasn’t looking for, that would produce a needed change.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

There was one word that caught my eye and cleared the air for me.

Polluted.

Immediately, I knew in my spirit that this was the diagnosis.  God spoke, ever so lovingly.

Stacey, you’ve been polluted. 

Pollution is subtle.

You can’t always detect it.  Not with your natural senses.

We know it to be true.  There can be carbon monoxide in a home but you can’t smell it.  Impurities in the water, undetected by the eye and the taste bud.  Often, it takes being exposed again and again before we feel the effects of it.

Just as in the natural, there are detectors, filters and tests to keep things within normal range.  Spiritually, the Word of God is the same for us. It is the only set standard.

Pollution is defined as

1. defilement:  made ceremonially or morally impure

Spiritually speaking, pollution comes with a breach in character, integrity or faithfulness.

2. debase: using language to deceive or mislead pollutes language

Pollution can enter by what we hear and what we say, taking many avenues.  We must govern our mouth and our ears.

3. to make physically impure or unclean : be foul, dirty

Daniel 1:8 , But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Daniel refused to have communion with the world.

Luke 22:19-20, And he took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

This is our communion.  We can do this as often as we like, remembering Him and keeping Him first and foremost.

4. to contaminate (an environment) especially with man-made waste

This speaks of idolatry.  That can come in many forms.  Anything that draws us away from God is idolatry, even our own mindsets.  (I’ve made up my mind. Sound familiar?)

Ezekiel 20:39, As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.

Dare I say it?  Gifts and idols equally pollute His holy name.  Not the gift in its purest form.  But the gift when it’s no longer His but ours.  Selah.

Or is it perhaps, when monetary giving becomes the idol…boasting in our contributions and judging oneself to be more acceptable than another?  Money is not our “in” with God. We cannot buy an outcome. We cannot pay enough. Jesus paid the only acceptable price! Our gift is simply thanksgiving.

5. deviation from truth

Pollution comes when we in any way deviate from our covenant with God.

Numbers 30:2, When a man voweth a vow to Jehovah, or hath sworn an oath to bind a bond on his soul, he doth not pollute his word; according to all that is going out from his mouth he doth.

Adding our own “take” on God’s Word will most definitely pollute it.  Another words, this is what the Word says but this is what it means for me.  There is no way to “get around” doing what is exactly right.  We cannot ingest or obey God’s word with our own agenda.

Psalm 89:30-33, If his sons forsake My law, And in My judgments do not walk; If My statutes they pollute, And My commands do not keep, I have looked after with a rod their transgression, And with strokes their iniquity, but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.

God has cannot let our error go uncorrected.  He will never withdraw from loving us and will never betray His faithfulness.  Has Jesus not already taken the rod and the strokes? Thankfully, God will always lead us back to this!

When our lives are polluted, He reminds us again that His breath is enough.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

His word is always pure oxygen…a breath of fresh air for us that will drive out pollution.  Don’t allow the smog to form over your head, looming over your life, keeping the light from shining and hindering your vision before you do something about it!  Breath Him in today!

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Christian Living, Jesus

 

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