Saturday, August 27, 2011

Marchin' In The Desert

Psalm 136:16(MSG)
The God who marched His people through the desert, His love never quits.

I've been thinking about the desert a lot today.  Largely due to the fact that it is so incredibly hot still and I'm soooooo ready for cool fall weather!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  I would have a difficult time taking up a permanent residence in an area that didn't have seasonal change....especially fall!  Walking outside in the 104 degree weather, even for a few minutes, is so completely oppressive.  I cannot imagine marching day after day after unending day in it!  I am afraid I would be complaining just like the Israelites!  Oh bother.

I reread the story of Ishmael and Hagar's forced trip out into the desert  this morning.  It's the one where Sarah insists that Abraham make the two of them leave and walk out into the wilderness to wander aimlessly until their food and water runs out, because she (Sarah) doesn't want Ishmael to share in the family inheritance. (Genesis 21)  Anyway, when the water was gone and Hagar realized that they were in some serious trouble, she leaves Ishmael under a bush and walks away, unable to watch what she is sure will be her son's demise. 

Genesis 21:15-17 (NLT)~When the water was gone, she left the boy in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away.  "I don't want to watch the boy die,"  she said, as she burst into tears.  Then God heard the boy's cries, and the angel of God called to Hagar from the sky, "Hagar, what's wrong?  Do not be afraid!  God has heard the boy's cries from the place where you laid him."

This whole story is such a mystery to me.  One of the most intriguing parts, is when the angel of God asks Hagar...."Hagar, what's wrong?"  That's so strange to me, cuz God knows and I would guess the angel would know as well, why she is crying...right?  So why did He ask her that?  It had to have been for her sake.  Maybe He wanted her to ask  herself that.  Sort of a "speak it out loud to clarify your feelings" sort of exercise.

It might make more sense to me if the angel of the Lord said something like...."Are you kidding me?  Hagar, seriously, what are you crying about?!  Don't you trust me?!  Don't you remember when you ran away from your mistress and I found you beside the desert spring on the road to Shur? (Genesis 16)  Remember that I promised you then that I would give you more descendants than you can count.  At that time you called me "the God who sees me".  Wow, you don't really think I would have told you that and then turn right around and let your son die, do you??!  Really....??  You sure do forget quickly!

Yep, that makes more sense to me.  I can soooo relate to Hagar.  I wish I couldn't, but it's and Hagar...we got a lot in common.  Walking in the desert....dropping our son off at a military school 200 miles away......err I mean under a bush....looking away because it's too painful to watch what might happen to him....and then crying our eyes out in desperation like he is going to die, instead of remembering that God promises that His love never quits!  He tells us that He will take care of us and our kids!!  

God is whispering to me tonight.  He's saying, "I am here and I've got this under control".  Just like "He marched His people through the desert", He might make you and I (and our kids) walk through a hot and dry land....tough times....but He says, "Do not be afraid!  I hear your cries and I am handling the situation!"

You are so amazing!  I am asking tonight for Your help in the "trust department".  I pray that Your word would light a burning path in our hearts so that we can trust You for what seems like the impossible.  Help us to trust You for physical healing, restored relationships, finances, our children, and the list goes on and on!
In Jesus Name,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: THE NOTICER by Andy Andrews

The NOTICER by Andy Andrews is an encouraging and thought provoking fiction book about perspective.  You don’t want to miss this read!!

The NOTICER by Andy Andrews centers upon the life of one man who has been given a special gift.  The gift bestowed upon him is the ability to “notice” things that other people dismiss or overlook.  He observes people in their circumstances and is able to give valuable insight as it relates to their specific struggles. 

The back drop for the book is Orange Beach, Alabama, where the author currently resides.  The narration and character development are exceptional.  Nearly every chapter reveals a timely interaction between the main character, “Jones” and his latest “haphazard” meetings with hurting individuals.  The book is filled with fresh tangible wisdom and hope for new beginnings.  The way the author flawlessly transitions from one person’s life and their challenges, to the next is seamless.        

Consider yourself forewarned, however, I had a very difficult time putting this book down, so make sure to have a good chunk of time to feast on this great work, before you start reading it! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

He Really CAN Take Care Of This

Psalm 136:15(MSG)
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea, His love never quits.

So here's what I've been thinking this week.  How big is God?  Seriously?  Do I really believe that He is big enough to take care of my life?  Do I think He is strong enough; smart enough; loving enough that I can trust Him with my situation or don't I?  I "talk a good talk" about His love, but do I firmly believe that His love for me is great enough to part an ocean so that I can walk through on dry ground without getting wet?!  Further still, do I walk like I believe it?

My questions and tonight's verse have led me back to the story of the Israelites when they thought they were cornered between an endless sea of water and an unrelenting Egyptian army on the hunt to destroy them.  The story is found in Exodus chapter 14.  A few things stood out boldly as I read it. 

First of all, the Israelites were afraid.  Are you afraid?  I am.

Exodus 14:10-12(MSG): As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them--Egyptians!  Coming at them!  They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God.  (Italics mine.)

Secondly,  they were asking questions.  Are you asking questions about why you are in the situation you are in?  I most certainly am.

Exodus 14:12....Weren't the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die?  What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt?  Back in Egypt didn't we tell you this would happen?  Didn't we tell you 'Leave us alone here in Egypt--we're better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness?'"

Finally, they received their answer from a man who was in a very close relationship with God.  He had some very clear advice that helped them way back then and has helped me right where I'm at today, to believe that God is able to meet every need I have!  Here's what He told them:

Exodus 14:13(MSG) 
Moses spoke to the people:  "Don't be afraid.  Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today.  Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again.  God will fight the battle for you."  

The Israelites were in a pretty tough predicament.  They were as the saying goes, "Between a rock and a hard place".  Are you in a tight spot right now?  If it seems like there is absolutely no way to be rescued from the situation you are in, then it is the perfect scenario for God to show up in a magnificent way.  It is at these exact moments that our faith will grow abundantly strong!  It is out of these distinct trials that we DO learn that God really can take care of this for us! 

Exodus 14:30-31 God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians.  And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians.  The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses. (Italics mine.)

And guess what else happens, besides our faith growing in huge leaps and bounds, when He shows up in such a giant way to save the day?  You can read it....this is God speaking to Moses:

Exodus 14:4 And I'll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display.  Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God." 

My little dog....basking in the sun..resting for sure!

God's glory can be displayed in our situation if we allow Him to take over!  At that point, His glory is apparent to everyone....believers and nonbelievers alike.  Pretty amazing!

Thank you for allowing your Word to strengthen my faith and encourage my heart.  It is so good to know that you are with us and You will take care of the need we have right now!  Help us to rest in Your care.
In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 15, 2011

He Will Lead You Right Down The Middle

Psalm 136:14(MSG)
Led Israel right through the middle, His love never quits.

The crackling flames of the fire sent warmth jetting through my entire body as our family sat gathered around the brightly glowing pit.  We watched the luminous moon as it hung highlighted by the stars that danced in the sky over our heads.  We listened intently to the sounds of night.  The water from the lake gently lapped at the edge of the bank making a gentle whooshing sound against the back drop of the Circadian music.  Knowing that summer's end was fast approaching made this evening all the more special.  Suddenly, my daughter, looking off in the distance, pointed towards the dark.  She said she saw something moving and thought it was a dog.  We all strained our eyes to try to focus in the inky blackness that was night. 

Then, slowly, one by one we could see them coming "right down the middle" of the hill heading for the water's edge.  They moved silently...effortlessly across the grass until they met with the cool crisp water.  They stopped and drank before they began what was probably their nightly walk along the gently sloping bank of the lake.  We all sat motionless, understanding that this was a rare treat.  There were three deer that had meandered right in front of us, seemingly in their own little world, on this beautiful night. 

It's such an important part of family life to create memories of closeness.  Times like sharing the simplicity of a quiet hour in front of a warm fire in the middle of a dark night will be engraved forever in our hearts and minds.  It is so like God to show up right in the middle of it all and remind us of just how great and enormously creative and loving He is! 

Thank you for these quiet times that You bless us with.  Help us to to slow down and open our eyes and acknowledge the gifts You have placed before us.  I am so very thankful tonight for my family and the beauty of life.  Thank you for showing up and leading us right through the middle of our toughest battles!  Your love truly NEVER QUITS!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You Can Trust Him To Part Your Red Sea

Psalm 136:13(MSG)
Split the Red Sea right in half, His love never quits.

When I read this verse tonight, I see the Red Sea as a ginormous (is that a word?) barrier standing in the way of the Israelites getting where they needed to go.  Where did they need to go?  Away from the Egyptians and to the Promise Land.  They had something blocking their way, and were sure to die at the hands of their enemies if they didn't get through it!  What a predicament!

The Branson Belle after running aground in
subzero temperatures.  .
I've been fact.....I think I'm pretty much facing the sea right now.  You know, one of those places where you don't want to move.  You don't like the idea of moving forward, but you know you can't stand still.  What to do?!  The answer is found right in the middle of this verse, as it describes God's provision to His people by parting the Red Sea, so they could move through the water and safely reach the other side.  (By the way, I would have loved to have been walking through the  walls of water....what a sight that would have been, huh?)

The neatest thing about this story, starting in Exodus 13:17 is that the Israelites only did one thing~Exodus 14:10:  "They were terrified and cried out to the Lord."  That's it.  Plain and simple...they cried out to the Lord.  Even more comforting is the fact that they were honest in their cries, as they questioned Him about why in the world He even bothered to move them out of Egypt if this was going to be there fate.  Despite all of this lack of faith, Moses encourages them to: Exodus 14:13&14:  "Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.....The Lord will fight for you;  you need only to be still". 

Isn't that spectacular?  The Lord will fight for us!  We just need to keep calling on Him with a transparent heart and He will deliver us from whatever sea of trouble that we are in.  He will part the waters for just the right time...His time.  Why?  Cuz...His love for us never quits!

Thank you Lord for the oceans that you place in our paths, so that we can learn to be still and trust in You while You make a way!

P.S.~Ginormous is not in the Webster's Dictionary.........I think it should be though.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Women of Faith

Matthew 1:38(NIV)
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered.  "May it be to me as you have said."  Then the angel left her.

These words are the response by Mary after hearing the news that she, currently unmarried, would be giving birth to the "Son of the Most High".  This news was not delivered to her in a letter, or from a friend, but from the angel Gabriel, sent by God Himself to Nazareth!  This reaction was unexplainable to the casual observer and can only be attributed to a lifetime of reliance and ongoing relationship with her God!  Mary was truly a "woman of faith".

As you might know, if you have been reading this blog from day one, or if you know me personally, this writing was started in response to a health scare almost a year ago.  It all turned out ok, but it left me with one big question about my life.  The question was:  "If I only had a little while to live, what would I be doing differently?"  Through the course of penning this blog, I can now say that I have an answer to that burning question.  The solution is in the recognition that each individual is actually given "Only~A~Little~While" here on planet earth, even with the longest of life spans.  With that realization under my belt, the next thing to clarify in my mind was, "What would I be doing differently?"  My answer is summed up in the title of this post.  I want to be considered by God as a woman of faith!

I want the relationship with Christ that produces as it's fruit, the admirable character traits that I see lived out in so many of the women in the Bible.  Here are just a few:

  • The obedience of Mrs. Noah.  Her "official name" is never actually mentioned in the Bible, but to faithfully farm for several hundred years; help build a boat for one hundred and twenty years in preparation for a flood when they had never even heard of rain; working a complete year on a boat living as a zookeeper; followed by more farming, would have required much obedience!
  • The loyalty of Ruth as she followed her mother-in-law to a foreign country in the middle of a famine.
  • The resolute courage of Esther as she approached a king, who could quite easily take her life, in a desperate attempt to save her people.
  • The grace of Anna as she lived in the temple of God, after becoming widowed, to fulfill her gift of prophecy.
  • The prudence of Abigal as she "lost no time" making a decision that would be credited in saving David's life.
  • The compassion of Abishag as she cared for David in his old age.
  • The leadership of Deborah as she led the Israelites to victory over the Canaanites.
  • The righteousness of Elizabeth as she was chosen to be the mother of John the Baptist.
  • The parenting of Eunice as she trained her son, Timothy in the knowledge of scripture.
  • The laborer found in Euodias as she worked tirelessly with Paul.
  • The favor of Hannah as the Lord blessed her persistence when he gave her a child by the name of Samuel.
  • The constancy of Lois as she supported her grandson Timothy.
  • The embracing quality of Lydia as she was credited as being the first to proclaim Christianity in Europe.
These are just some of the "Women of Faith" that I find in the Bible!  Even more amazing is the fact that there are many others found behind the cover of His word, who have led extremely faithful lives as well. 

It is quite a gift to have such incredible examples of  "Women of Faith" in the Bible, throughout history, and in our current day!  It is out of a desire to be a part of a group of women who are believing God for the same direction in their lives, that moved me to make plans to attend the "Women of Faith" conference on September 23rd and 24th in Phoenix, Arizona.  This is a two day conference from morning until night filled with worship and testimonies of God's faithfulness in the lives of people just like you and me!  The conference is being held on other dates and in other cities throughout the year.  You can check out the video on the right hand sidebar of my blog, or go to to for more details. 

I plan on blogging about the event and sharing with you any new revelations, insight, and encouragements that I receive during this conference.  I am delighted to be able to take part in such a great celebration!  As an added blessing....I will be attending with my "northern and western" sisters.  We are pumped up and ready for a fun girls weekend basking in the presence of God!

Thank you, once again, for your Word that reveals real struggling women just like me, who relied on You and found grace, mercy, and love as they fulfilled the purposes that You set out in advance for them to complete!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

He's Holding Your Hand

Psalm 136:12(MSG)
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand, His love never quits.

There is certainly something incredibly reassuring about holding hands isn't there?  I can remember from a very young age holding my Daddy's hand and sensing that as long as I had a firm grip on him, nothing could go wrong.  I wouldn't get lost as long as I was connected to him.  No one could hurt me, because I was attached to him and he wouldn't let them!  I would have everything I needed in the way of food and shelter, because he would make sure of that. 

Yeap, I can even remember holding hands with my girl friends when I was younger.  It gave me a strong sense of confidence knowing that I wasn't alone in whatever we were doing or wherever we were going.  Even to this day, I often reach over for my husband's hand when we are together and slide my fingers between his for that feeling of comfort and security. 

This verse has brought a smile to my face....once I recognize that my Father in heaven, although I can't physically feel him or see Him, is holding my hand every step of the way through this life.  What a comfort!

Thank you Lord, for Your hand that powerfully protects and directs my life. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Rescuer

Psalm 136:11(MSG)
And rescued Israel from Egypt's oppression, His love never quits.

As I was walking along the beach this summer, I came across this area of roped off sand.  It said, "Please do not remove...Sea Turtle Nest".  I learned that the island is  a conservation island and thus their mission is to rescue and protect wildlife.  Apparently, the sea turtles will bury their eggs in shallow nests along the soft area of sand close to the dunes.  If left unprotected, predators will come along and dig them up.  Often times people will unknowingly shove their umbrella poles down into the middle of the nest and damage or kill the eggs as well.  Sounds like they definitely need this protective rescuing action from a caring community!

Do you ever feel like you need ropes around your life?  I sure do!  And the Israelites sure did.  God provides that yellow tape.  He is my mighty rescuer!  Our God  is full of mercy and grace and He pours it into our lives everyday.  I am so thankful for His love that never quits!

Thanking God for His constant love and never ending mercy in my life today.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Even A Dog Shall Growl Against You

Psalm 136:9(MSG)
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn, His love never quits.

This verse speaks of a just God, whom after listening to a king deny release of his children over and over again; after watching those same people be abused and enslaved by this dictator, made a decision to send down the ten plagues to work His plan throughout the land.  That tenth plague, "The Plague Of Death" seemed harsh, but in response to such horrible treatment of His people, it paled in comparison. 


When I read the story behind this verse's reference in Exodus chapter 11, I am reminded  that God does draw lines in the sand.  He will indeed protect those who have called on His Son's name.  Exodus 11:7 (ESV)~But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 

Tonight, while I am listening to the thunder rumble outside and as I catch glimpses of the lightening darting across the sky, I am
reminded of His love for me in that He does hear our cries for help and He will make a distinction between good and evil....because we are His children.

Thank you for a protection that goes beyond anything that we can comprehend in our finite minds.  On first inspection of this verse, I was confused, but after I read further in Your word, the beauty of Your protective loving hand was once again revealed!
In Christ's name,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guardians Of The Night

Psalm 136:9(MSG)
Moon and stars as guardians of the night, His love never quits.

Pretty incredible to think about the moon and the stars.  I always thought it would be cool to study astronomy in depth, but I never have.  When I begin to ponder the way everything in the universe is aligned and the way the stars all just sort of "hang out" up there without falling down, I get more than a little awe struck!

But tonight, for some reason, (maybe because the last two verses were on light), I am drawn to the spiritual side of this statement.....not just the physical presence of light in the darkness.  This verse has me thinking about His phenomenal love for us in that He provided protection in the darkness....."guardians of the night" it states.  I can stand on this in the darkest hours of my life, knowing that I have armor bearers watching out for me....spiritual warriors shielding me from the darts of the enemy.

Psalm 91:4,11(NIV)~He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  

I am gaining so much strength as I focus on His love for me.  I am praying that as you read this, you are sensing His enormous love for you as well!   

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

His Powerful Love

Psalm 136:8(MSG)
The sun to watch over the day, His love never quits.

As I sit writing this, it is late into the night and the temperature is hovering around 90 degrees!  The sun stood fixed in the sky, unmoving all day, beating down onto a dried up land.  It's so hot that even the pavement is buckling under the blazing rays.  There are "fire warnings" being issued as the fields have turned into a matches delight.  Hiding indoors today seemed like the only logical thing to do. 

It's easier for me to think about God's love in the sunshine on a cool autumn morning when stepping into it's path provides just the right amount of needed warmth to take the chill from my bones.  In contrast, thinking about the sun on a day like today reminds me just how powerful it is!  Maybe that is a good way to think of it....His powerful love is watching over my day....every day! 

Tomorrow, as I am walking around under the sun, I will be reminded that my God is a strong and mighty God who loves me so very intensely!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Skies Of Light

Psalm 136:7(MSG)
The God who filled the skies with light, His love never quits.

I love the way the light is reflecting off of the water in this picture.  If you study it closely, you can even see the clouds in the sky mirrored in the gentle ripples.  In order for our path to be illuminated we must have light's presence.  I can't see anything in the dark!  Light is a gift from the Lord that He knew we would need and a daily reminder of His love for us!

I frequently repeat His word, literally out loud, and often in my mind when I am struggling with any number of things.  The following verse has given me courage (not the absence of fear, but the ability to proceed) in many times of trouble.  In a particularly difficult season of my young daughter's life, she was experiencing a great deal of fear, so we memorized this verse together.  The strength she received was extremely faith building for both of us.  His Word is so powerful!

Psalm 27:1(NIV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? (Italics mine.)

Thank you for the physical light that You provide for us every day.  Thank you also for the light of Your word to guide my steps and give me a sure foundation of hope to stand on in all circumstances.