Monday, December 31, 2007


Because of a painful experience with some family members at Christmas this year, I find myself thinking of Jesus and how He was misunderstood. Most people around Him didn't see Him as He really was. They must have talked among themselves about Him and it hindered the reality of Who He was from being seen. It boxed Him in. I can picture His mother and brothers talking among themselves..."he must be crazy". I can picture the Pharisees talking about "this man who healed on the Sabbath"..."it must be by Beelzebub"..."He doesn't wash before he eats", They then applied the law to what Jesus was doing, warping the people's perception of what was truly happening when Jesus healed or ate or forgave. Obscuring Who He really was and what He was about. Imagine...they actually thought they had figured Him out, and it was absolute opposite of the Truth!! Their pride resulted in slander and malice toward Jesus. They were blinded to the Truth that could set them free. What a tragedy.

The enemy wanted to discourage Jesus, I am sure (if that were possible) and wear Him down...Jesus had to put up with this all through His ministry. He couldn't just minister and experience the joy of doing the work of His Father without the aggravating, wearying nagging of the Pharisees and the misunderstanding of His own earthly family.

We are called to fill up on the sufferings of Christ. If we are walking in the truth, we will be misunderstood just as Jesus was. We may be called homophobic. Judgmental. Hypocrites. Crazy.
How did Jesus endure? How did He respond?

I think first, He knew that it was Satan using the people to wear Him down. (It is Satan that blinds minds and our battle is not against flesh and blood) He was not afraid to rebuke them. Sometimes He even did it sharply, ie."You brood of vipers..." He kept in mind Who He was and Who He was pleasing. Never caving in to pleasing man. He endured by the Power of the Holy Spirit. By focusing all His affection on the Father. All His energy, all of His being was about the Kingdom that is to come. He faithfully continued in the Work He was called and anointed to do.

Father, give me grace to be able to stand in the face of accusation, misunderstanding, and opposition. To trust that you are at work. Help me respond with wisdom and grace, but not ever be afraid to state Your beautiful truth.
Thank you, Jesus, for walking this road before us. Amen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Psalm 33:1

Did you ever notice that everything that is growing and alive is reaching toward heaven? Maybe you never thought about it, but if you drive around the upper midwest in the winter, there isn't alot to see along the interstate except trees with no leaves and unending fields. When I looked at the trees, and then the dead weeds laying down and going back into the earth, it struck me that everything growing praises the Lord while everything dying goes back into the earth.

Seeing the trees reach toward the sky, I reflected on raised hands. Many times in scripture God's people raised their hands toward heaven as a gesture of dependence. "We need you, Daddy!!" When I was first saved, I asked my mom about raising hands, she said it is like a little child wanting to be picked up. I could relate to that. I was inhibited and afraid to do it until I saw a clip from a concert on TV and all the girls in the front rows were raising their hands. The Lord spoke to me and impressed upon me that if they could do that towards a mere man, how could I do any less for my Savior? I have been raising my hands ever since.

One of the Hebrew words for praise in the Psalms is Yadah, which is praising with hands raised.
Raising of hands is a universal sign of surrender. Gen 29:35 is the first time in scripture that Yadah is used. Leah began to extend and recieve all her love from the Lord at the time of Judah's birth. It is extravagant praise with all our emotions.

Intresting to note that when asked, a chiropractor stated the benefits of raising hands are opening of the diaphram to increase oxygen (freedom) and loosens up a stiff neck. Hmmm... Lets all Yadah the Lord!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who is Master?

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:6,7

My heart is heavy over the struggle with sin in people's lives. It is even heavier at the lack of struggle against it in more lives. It is understandable that the unbeliever still lost in darkness is mastered by sin. They have not the light of the knowledge of God so they do not discern their ways as being offensive to Him, nor do they care. But believers...have the light; His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 So why???? Why the rampant sin? People falling into alcohol, porn, unhealthy relationships, foul language, self-reliance etc. Idols we cling to instead of turning to and trusting in the Lord with all our hearts.

The cares of this life choke out the word of God. (Matthew 13)
Leaning on our own understanding. (Prov 3: 5,6)
Forsaking our cross that we are called to carry. (Luke 9:23)
Forsaking the fellowship (accountability) of other believers. (Hebrews 10:25)
Grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14)
Loving the world and the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17)
Failing to separate ourselves from the worldly influences. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Prayerlessness (Prov 3:5,6)

Dear Father in Heaven, call us out from our compromise, from our complacency, from our apathy, our perversion of your grace. Forgive us for failing to pursue you with vigor and forsake all other things that hinder our true devotion to you. Revive us, Lord, change us and make us more like you. Give us eyes that see in the Spirit, that we may have eternal perspective. All else fades in the light of your glory. Enable us to see you, Jesus! To know that you are HOLY!! Enable us to smash the idols we trust in. To throw them out and cling to you and the cross. Help us see your worth, and reverence you again. To master our flesh and submit to your Spirit. Help us to hold one another accountable. To bear fruit in keeping with repentance. In your sweet powerful Name. Amen

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shining Like Stars in the Universe

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-...Philippians 2:14-16a

Here is another contrast that enhances the truth: Blameless and pure contrasted with crooked and depraved. The Lord wants us (His called and chosen ones) to be sanctified, holy, set apart unto Him. To be distinctly His, different from the world around us. The stars that shine in the universe oppose and overcome the darkness. They are created and empowered by the Lord. That is His desire for us. His Spirit within us makes us able to be blameless and pure and shine for Him. (See 2 Corinthians chapter 4)

As I studied this for youth group tonight, and I was also meditating on Hebrews 2:18 which says (about Jesus) Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Jesus suffered himself in saying no to the things of this world. Choosing to do the will of the Father instead of doing the popular things. He was strained in His humanity just as we are. He suffered being despised and rejected, denying himself in all areas of lust or gluttony. This gives me the desire to walk uprightly and obediently and to overcome my aversion to suffering. Help me Lord to be willing to suffer when you call me to.

He must not have given thought to His pain, He must have seen it as an offering pleasing to His Father. And had that joy that James tells us to have in all kinds of trials. What wondrous love is this!! That He left His perfect home in heaven to be identified with the likes of me...of all of humanity. He chose suffering. Selah. Oh that all would open their hearts to this love, recieve this gift of eternity in exchange for the temporary life here on earth.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfiet his very self?
Luke 9:23-25

Father, help me to have a heart to surrender all, to endure the cross you have called me to carry. Some days, because I live here in the USA, my cross is barely noticable, but other days it is quite heavy. Thank you for always being here with me. For enabling me to carry whatever you call me to. Please be with my brothers and sisters in hostile nations as they carry crosses we cannot even begin to imagine. Hold them. Thank you that their reward will be great in heaven. Help us to keep our eyes on you, our prize.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Laying Down Your Life

I was just listening to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman about laying down your life so another may live. I believe he was writing about Jim Elliot who gave his life for the tribe in South America in the '50's. Jim Elliot said "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." It struck me how prophetic was his statement. How soon into the mission he gave his life. And I recall that most of the tribe came to embrace the Savior, that these barbaric men are now submitted to the Lord, gentle and free.

In God's "economy" our loss is gain for the kingdom. I read in Voice of the Martyrs magazine of the profound losses that our brothers and sisters in Christ endure in hostile countries and feel like I am sacrificing very little for the Lord. He has given me so much, born in the USA. Health, freedom, abundant provision, a whole family, a wonderful church family...And to think I have a hard time giving up chocolate. I struggle to fast. I indulge myself too much, my Christian CD collection is embarrassing when I have to go through it to find a certain song for someone. I give, but not like the widow Jesus highlighted who gave her all. I think I need an overhaul. Yes, I give my time to ministry (by the grace of God) and to my family. I give some money to causes that the Lord lays on my heart... I'm seeing that the Lord wants me to pray that I will get a greater vision, and desire to give more, to give all for Him.

I walked through Herbergers today, my daughter and I went to restock on our Clinique skin-care. I used to feel guilty buying it, now that I am over the guilt, I wonder, was it really a bad thing? Now I don't think a thing of it. I walked through the clothing department looking at price tags on things I would like to wear...$60.00 for a sweater (I already have a closet full of sweaters) That same $60.00 could purchase over 20 Bibles through the American Bible Society or sponsor 2 children with World Vision. I didn't buy a sweater today, but I did spend that much on one once. I wear it (my 60.00 one) 3-5 times a winter...hmm... Eternal value: zip.

Help me Lord to live by your economic priorities. It all belongs to you and I have taken it for granted. Change me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Contrast Enhances

Finally. A georgeous fall day here in western WI. It is peak week for color, however, most of the maples are leafless due to days on end of rain and wind. So the colors are browns and yellows with very little reds or oranges. What I have learned with all this rain and cloudy days is when the sun finally shines, I am more in awe of the effect it has on everything. The leaves are more intense-even the brown ones are pretty, the sky and the lakes are bluest blues. The sparkling water is awe-inspiring. My spirit soars. I love to be outside. People are more vibrant too.

I love the parallel (I am sure it is very intentional by the Lord) of the sun and the Son...
I think the sun's enhancement of creation on earth to be a shadow of heaven's glory, and it takes my breath away-what colors we have never imagined will be there? What will His radiance shining on heaven's waters be like? What will our eyes be like to take it in??? So...I think earth is the cloud and rain before heaven's splendor. What wondrous things we have to look forward to.

My daughter recently was appreciating a contrast that she has had after a very difficult relationship she was in more than a year ago. It was very painful for all of us. The Lord faithfully walked us through she has a new boyfriend with a very different personality and the contrast makes her appreciate the good things she is experiencing rather than taking them for granted. Talking with her about it made me able to see some of the good that the Lord is working out for her after that difficult time.

I love the Lord's ability to teach and show Himself in our everyday world!! His creation-wondrous. His glory revealed all around. Rejoice with me...Halleluiah

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Time To Tear Down

Today is a time to "tear down" Eccl 3:3 ...I need to tear down the old way of being a mom to my 18 year old daughter and build a new way...As a mother of middle-schoolers or highschoolers, much of our time is spent doing what Timothy was encouraged to do for his congregation in 2Tim 4:2. It says: "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction."

I think I leaned heavy on the correct and rebuke part and added encouragement when I would intentionally think of it. Now I need to listen more and let the Lord do the correcting and rebuking. I was confronted with this reality today, as my lovely and gifted daughter told me she didn't want to talk to me about some concerns because I would always tell her what to do and not just listen. I had to think about this...hmmm, is it possible? To just listen? As I drove around doing my errands, I found myself weeping at my wretchedness, asking the Lord to change me (thankfully, He promises that He will...He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus Phil 1:6) I have learned that His grace is sufficient and I am anticipating His work in me rebuilding this area of my life with more closed lips...leaning more heavily on the encouragement part. Please pray for me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Prayer Power

The Lord has been teaching me so much about prayer for the past hmmmm...19 years (since He became my Lord) but lately He is answering in such profound ways and so soon after I pray that my soul wells up with halleluiahs. I must proclaim His glorious goodness once again.

Sunday my sis called me with overwhelming circumstances happening in her family, in tears and in need of prayer. I prayed over her and with her, pouring over her the Word of God with the authority of Jesus, and (as reported to me over the next couple of days) the load was lifted, the light dawned and freedom from the oppression that threatens to overwhelm us in difficult circumstances was secured. What a blessing that God causes us to need each other to pray.These experiences not only free us, but they bond us together. They also build our faith-our greatest treasure.

Yesterday, as my husband was finishing a job that has been very trying (he supervised the building of a bank) He was under deadlines for inspections, and had already had a few setbacks, with pressure to finish timely closing in, he called me to pray. He had an hour job on the roof that needed to be done in 5 minutes. They had extra guys, but I know it was our Mighty God that I called upon that made it the next call came, I was informed of the success of the inspection..Ah-hah, Ah-hah. The Lord of hosts moved on our behalf once again.

Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Oh, how He cares.
PS...if you only knew how many exclaimation points I had to erase since they are not allowed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Battles for Building

Today...There are many battles raging around me...people hurting, and lives breaking with divorce, unfaithfulness, death, family friction. As we encounter these broken things, we are fighting with the weapon of prayer. Struggling to take thoughts captive. Speaking truth over their situations. We have seen God's hand move in mighty ways as we bring our needs to the throne of grace. One of my favorite authors: Francis Frangipane sent an email today that was full of encouragement. It ignited my heart, and made me feel priveleged to be in the battle and moved me to face them with more worship, faith and firmness.

He reminded me that victory in warfare comes from true worship. That our pain is a sweet fragrance to the One who loves us and blesses our surrender to Him with life and Christlikeness. Reminding me of the privelege of suffering for Christ. The fact that He uses our pain for gain, for His Kingdom and for our own good helps us to stick it out with faith. Keeping our eyes on the author and perfector of it, Jesus.

You can read the article at It is called "God's army of Worshipers"