Uncategorized

A Time of Wandering

When I was a new sheep in your pin, I relished my new place. As you came near to me, your ways were contrary to my sinful ways so I fled from you. Although I was yours, I did not know you well and your ways prevented me from going my own way. You allowed me to wander. You kept a close eye on me always walking behind me. You saw all that I did and where I had gone. I wandered down dangerous paths and near cliff edges until the day I wandered too close. I wandered closely to a thorn bush it ensnared me with its thorns. I could not get loose. The more I struggled to free myself the more entangled my fleece became. I was stuck. I was helpless and I could not free myself from my inequities. I called out to you. My God, My God save me! Help me! Free me from what ensnares me! There you were, right behind me as you always had been. I had not seen you through my wandering but you were there. You laid your hand upon me and told me, “be still, know that I am your God. Do not struggle any longer.” As I stayed still, you patiently and gently freed me from the thorns. I drew close to you never afraid of your ways because I knew you loved me and your ways protected me. I turned from that place and I walked with you back to the flock. I had your peace knowing I was going your way. I was in your flock and I could rest in your presence.

Even though I have taken up your ways, occasionally I lose track of you. I will have had my head down busily working away at what was in front me and I begin to stray. In your mercy and grace, you throw the rod in front of me. Your warning of the path I am on. I quickly pick my head up and see your face and turn the other way. You are always watching me and I am always in your care. I look back from a distance at that thorn bush that had ensnared me, and I am thankful. It is now a place of repentance and deliverance. It is a place where I met you face to face and I began to know you.

When we are first brought into Christ’s flock it is a joyous time. We are thrilled to be there and have a new home and a new way, but as the shepherd draws close to us we begin to rebel. His ways conflict with our fleshly ways and our desires to do it our own way. During this time, many of us flee for a time. We run away from him because we want to do what we want to do. We do not understand why we must follow him in his exact ways. He allows us to wander. He is ever present during our wandering time but we have no recollection of him. He allows us to make foolish choices and walk dangerously close to edges but at all times He is there because nothing is done outside of his presence. He is walking behind us. It is when we come to a situation in life we cannot rescue ourselves from and we have become helpless that our heads and our hearts finally are opened. We see where our actions have led us. He is there to calm and to free us. In that rescue is where we go from knowing that he our new master to seeing him face to face. We are prodigal sons returning.

Even though we are following him and attentive to his voice, we are not immune to becoming too busy with this world and lose track of him. He gives us warnings with his rod of discipline and it is in our best interest to pick our heads up and turn the other way to meet with him.

Supporting Scripture

Luke 15:11-32

Matthew 18:10-14

Psalm 23

Lessons

A Dream Interpreted

Genesis 3:1-6

This morning I was woke up by a strange dream. I immediately went into prayer to understand it’s meaning.

In the dream, there was a husband and a wife. The wife had lost her husband in a crowd for a time and went to look for him. Once she found him, the husband began to confess that he had cheated on her. As they walked along a path to leave the place she found him, she realized that the situation was graver than merely being unfaithful. The husband had raped and murdered a woman.

The wife began to become panicky and saw someone burning the clothes of the murdered woman and she thought “yes, I can fix this for him.” As she watched the clothes burn, she knew she could not save him from this terrible sin. She walked over to her husband, who was beginning to hyperventilate because his eyes were opening to the truth of his sin and how devastating it was, and knelt down. She told him I forgive you because although you have hurt me you have hurt yourself far greater.

After praying about this crazy dream and reading my devotional , God gave me clarity. He used the account of Adam and Eve and the deception of Satan. Satan deceives Eve into sinning. He tempted her by using logic to sin against God. He downplayed the consequences of her actions and made the sin all that more appealing. Eve gave in and then gave the fruit to Adam. They sinned against God and it hurt God deeply but the true hurt was laid upon them. Their actions separated them from their loving creator, they lost their home and had to live in a harsh land. They were destined to die. Before they sinned, they did not understand its magnitude and what effect it would have.

As sinners, we are blind to our sin against God. It is when the Holy Spirit convicts us, that He begins to show us just how devastating our actions truly are. When we have been sinned against, it is painful and it hurts but the one who sinned against us is in worse shape. Their heart is not in the right place and they are deceived in believing what they did is justified.

At times, we may want to save those who we love from the consequences of their sin but we cannot. We are unable to make a heart right or make the blind see. We do however have the ability to forgive in Christ because Christ has forgiven us.

We are the murders. Our sin placed Christ on the cross and rather Him condemning us He saved us and forgave us. At a time, we too were blind to our own sin and it wasn’t until the Spirit opened our eyes to our ways that we began to see the truth.

Whether you are the one sinning, or the one being sinned against we must all go to Christ for forgiveness. Allow Him to wipe your slate clean through his redemptive blood or give you the strength to forgive so bitterness does not take root.

Supporting Scripture

  • “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:” John 16:8
  • “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” Isaiah‬ ‭35:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
  • “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:3-4‬
  • “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Romans‬ ‭8:7-8‬ ‭
  • ““He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”” 1 Peter‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭
  • “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭
  • “And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ).”
  • Mark‬ ‭15:34‬
  • Uncategorized

    Building an Ark

    I started playing Minecraft with my son in attempt to enter into his world and minister to him. I decided it would be fun to go over a very common story of the Bible, Noah and ark, and rebuild the ark in Minecraft.

    As we went over the story and “labored” to build the ark, God pointed out that I am also building an ark in the minds and hearts of my children.

    Noah was credited as being a righteous man. God decided to save him and his family from the devastating flood waters that were to come over the whole earth. Through his mercy, He gave Noah specification on how to build this enormous ship that was house every living creature on the earth and Noah’s family. In the account of Noah, it was said that Noah did everything the Lord had commanded.

    Although in scripture it does not give details on how Noah felt about the task that was set before him, from my own life and from my experience trying to piece together the ark in Minecraft, times of being overwhelmed and frustrated had to be there.

    As I look ahead at the job that lays before me, teaching my children about God and demonstrating His love to them, I can easily get overwhelmed. Too many times, I feel as though I am barely surviving myself and barely holding on to my sanity so how can I put forth the intentional effort of teaching these children. God then in his mercy and grace reminds me that the ark was built one plank at a time.

    Noah, was given specific guidelines on how to construct the ark and we are given specific guidelines on how to raise our children through scripture. It took Noah time to build the ark and it will take time to build a firm foundation in our children. No doubt, there were days where the amount of tedious labors of sawing and hammering was overwhelming and all that shown forth was a small section of an enormous project. We too experience these days or weeks of tedious laboring to teach our children in the way they should go, being consistent in our discipline saying no for the thousandth time and our patience and our perseverance being tested at every point.

    Even in these times where we want to give up we must remember of the flood that is coming. One day that child will no longer be under our watchful eye and protection. They will leave the homes that cared for them and they will encounter the worlds disparaging ways and what we have spent building in the hearts and minds of our kids will be there to either guide them back to safety or encourage them towards the world. When we point our children to Christ daily, when we share our faith and our struggles, when we teach them his truths we are slowly but steadily building that ark inside our children. We are training them in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.

    Noah could not save himself or his family from the judgement that was to come over the world, but a mighty and merciful God provided a way and saved them. When we point our children to Christ daily we are building an ark inside their minds and hearts. It is not us who will save them but Christ who has given us the way of salvation, we are to just be steadily obedient in his commands.

    Lessons

    Brining Our Marriages and Families to the Threshing Floor

    Book of Ruth

    This morning while I was reading my devotional, the story of Ruth came to mind, specifically the phrase Kinsman Redeemer. I read the book of Ruth and asked God to teach me what he wanted me to learn.

    To quickly paraphrase the book, Ruth followed her mother in law, Naomi, back to her homeland after all the men of their family had passed away. They were left without children to carry the men’s name and land to pass down. They hoped for a Kinsmen Redeemer would take notice and redeem the family name and land. In the mean time, Ruth, who was a woman of nobel character, began to glean (pick up the left overs) the fields of a man named Boaz. Turns out, Boaz was a kinsmen redeemer. He saw Ruth’s hard work and had heard of her character. He showed favor to Ruth by allowing her to follow his servant girls so she would be under his protection. Ruth was able to bring back enough grain to Naomi from her hard work and his favor. Naomi, knowing that Boaz was a kinsmen redeemer, told Ruth to go to Boaz at the threshing floor (a place where wheat was separated from the plant) and wait until he fell asleep and then lie down at his feet and wait. Ruth did as she suggested. When Boaz awoke and saw her there he commended her for her noble character and that she did not chase after younger men poor or wealthy but chose him. He then bought Naomi’s and Ruth’s land and married Ruth redeeming both women and the family land and legacy.

    First, God showed me that we are Ruth. We may be married and have families but in time hurt might have been incurred or tragedy struck and they feel broken and dead. He showed me even though we may strive to know him and do what is right, sacrifice for our marriages and our family we do not have the ability to redeem them.

    We often times, find ourselves in the fields picking up the leftovers of these marriages and families to try to make it through. We work diligently to provide we sacrifice for them but it still only brings in barely enough. We end up never actually partaking in the true harvest of blessing God desires for us.

    It is when God calls us to lay at his feet on the threshing floor is when we will begin to experience the change. We must lay down all we have and allow him to do his work separating the good from the bad. In this stage, I find myself a little fearful. I, at times, am worried what would become of all that I have if he begins to pick it apart. What pain would I have to endure, while he does his work in me, my marriage and family so that we could benefit from the blessing. But that is the thing, all that I have is from His field. The threshing floor is a necessary place in order to experience the bounty of the harvest of blessing. On the threshing floor is where God does his work and redeems his people.

    We lay at his feet under his mercy and his grace as he does his work in our lives. We will find favor in Him, those who have chosen Him over the trappings of this world. He will recognize us and he will redeem our families and our marriages. Through his redemption, He doesn’t move backwards to make what was but he makes something new with him. He takes us, our marriages and families as His and allows us to share in His true harvest.

    Have you found yourself gleaning his fields? Working hard but barely having enough? Or has he called you to the threshing floor? To surrender it all so that He may separate what is good and what is bad. Allow Christ to be your Kinsman Redeemer for your family and marriage. Lay them at his feet on the threshing floor so he may do his work so you can share In His harvest.

    Lessons

    Marriage: Love, Sex and Kids

    In the early part of spring, God challenged me to pray and ask for something big in my life. For a while, I could not think of anything, but then my marriage came to mind. I asked the Lord to transform my mind on marriage. At the time, I was miserable to be honest. The stresses of life had taken hold and I felt farther away from my husband than I had ever felt. Frustration and roots of bitterness began to take hold as my ideas of happy marriage slipped away. I was mad all the time, I felt unloved and wanting and I hated it. I didn’t want to be like this so I knew asking God to transform my marriage was going to be a huge undertaking.

    Slowly, God began to transform my thinking. He taught me what it meant for him to be my husband.

    ““In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ’”

    ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    He taught me to find my desire to be loved fully in him. As a quality time person, our normal time together began to be transformed into a deeper more vulnerable way. He dug deep into my heart to mend old hurts. He peeled away wrong thinking and walls I had placed in order to “protect” myself. I had become raw and exposed. Nothing was hidden from Him, my husband or myself.

    He then began to teach me the meaning behind love making and truly being intimate with my husband. In the past, I had never understood the book Song of Songs. I could not see how what seemed like a bunch of lusting had anything to do with God. However, God revealed it is not lusting but desire and passion of love towards another. He first revealed that as Solomon describes the body parts of the individuals with such admiration and love that God and I do the same with attributes of character. I praise him in prayer of his faithfulness, kindness and loving ways. He reminds me I’m his beloved and knows me fully. As this revelation sunk in, He presented the idea that sex was as much meant for spiritual growth and out pouring of Love from the Lord as it was a physical act. I served God by serving my husband. This blew my mind. I have always felt like I had a third grade maturity level when it came to the three letter S word so to be so honest about the mysteries of sex and how I am to grow in my spiritual walk was and is a bit of a challenge.

    With these new revelations, actions were taken in obedience. I had not realized in all of my misery, I had placed my husband and my marriage on the back burner. Even more so, I had not realized I had the kids placed so highly. In order to obey God, I was confronted with habits I had with the kids that placed them above my husband. It revealed fears of leaving my kids with others so we could go on dates. I had convinced myself all these years that I was being a good mom by focusing on them and I felt guilt when I was away from them. What was really happening, was a deceitful snake in my marriage and in my family. Lies of guilt for taking time with my husband away from the kids flooded my mind and stunted my actions. LieS were told that hurts could not be forgiven. I was convinced that in order to grow in my marriage I was going to have to force Steve to grow with me and if not that we could never grow.

    The light was shed on all of it. My heart and my mind was transformed about my marriage and my husband. It was never more apparent I was on the right track as the events of last night. It was our anniversary. I had spent the day preparing Steve’s gifts and getting a special dinner. I told the kids it was a special day or us and the oldest decided to draw a heart note for his dad. The kids were fed an early dinner so that Steve and I could sit and eat at the table and have a conversation while the kids watched tv. We spent the evening close to one another focused on being together. Then as we got the kids to bed and tried to spend “alone” time. The oldest woke up and started some dramatic theatrics that were out of character. After finally getting him to talk, he revealed that he was upset that I had spent the day talking about dad and spending my time with dad. He was ultimately jealous. It was then I realized I truly had set them ahead of my husband. I explained that things were changing that I had placed his father below the kids and that it was not right. I told him in order for Steve and I to truly teach him and be a good parents we must also make sure we are spending time together. I assured him that we both loved him very much and that we would enjoy playing games and such in the morning.

    Making time for our marriage and loving each other well is tough business with young kids. Sleep schedules are crazy, stress levels are high and exhaustion is right around every corner. It is easy to say I’m too tired or when the kids get older everything will change. It is easy to set your spouse on the back burner and put the kids in the a spot light. It’s easy to turn your attention to what your spouse isn’t doing rather than what you can do for your spouse. It’s easy to forget to find your love in God when the tangible person in front of you is suppose to love you.

    However, make that time! In order to teach your children to be godly adults, you also have to teach them to be godly wives and husbands. If you want your kids to learn to serve others, first learn to serve your spouse even when you don’t feel like it. Find your love and fulfillment in God alone and allow his love to be an out pouring into your marriage. Serve your spouse in ways that they receive love. Show them God’s love for them and for you. Your children are watching. They will learn to love others by your example of how you love your spouse and how serious you take the commitment of marriage. Don’t wait for the other to start the actions of service and love in order to grow but ask God to transform your thinking and begin to love as He loves you.

    ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.””

    ‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬