Thursday, October 29, 2009

Worship God and Idols???

They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. 2 Kings 17:40,41a

Have you ever wondered how? why? When we read they served the Lord but did not remove the high could they be worshiping God and those other things? As I pondered this, It occured to me that our "high places" are worldly or religious practices.

Have you noticed some things that "blend" Christianity with Eastern mystical practices? Like "Christian Yoga" (yoga is a hindu practice). Or how about a local Lutheran church that advertises their "labyrinth" (a maze-like path where as you walk and chant a word over and over as you move toward the center you are sudposed to be able to connect with God more). Or how about "contemplative prayer". A "system" of meeting God by repeating a phrase over and over in order to "center" on Him. (another eastern mystical practice).Other "high places" might be as simple as making success in business an idol (something you rely on) Or having a large home, or being popular. Having great vacations to boast about. A great body, a wonderful wardrobe, etc. Or what about movies that have garbage in them? Or books, music...

Why do we do the things we do? I must search my heart with Jesus.

In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. 2 Kings 18:1-4

What a refreshment God gave in sending Hezekiah as their leader. Quite amazing how much influence one leader has. I love how his mother's name is listed. I imaging she had much influence on Hezekiah's life. Perhaps that is one reason she is mentioned!Look what he did: Removed the high places. Smashed the sacred stones. Cut down the Ashera poles. Broke to pieces the bronze snake. In conclusion, he destroyed everything that hindered pure worship of the Lord.

The same is true for us. We need to destroy ties to things that take our affection off of the Lord. We need to sever our ties to things that pollute our lives. We need to weed out areas where we compromise.

By prayer, by "sword fighting" with the Word of God, by submitting, by obedience.

How refreshing to have leaders who walk in purity and holiness. I want to be a leader who walks in purity and holiness.

Lord, make me pure and holy as a leader of my family, and anyone else you give me influence over. Help me be self-controlled and alert. To be on guard against the enemy and his wicked schemes. Keep me close. Cleanse my heart. Purify my mind. Show me any areas that are displeasing to you and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who's Voice Are You Living For?

I was sitting in the chapel of Northwestern College with my mom beside me. We were attending the anual confrence called "A Day Set Apart For Women". I think it was something like my third or fourth year going...I was in the middle of my season of deliverance from the strongholds on my life...the chains that were wrapped around my neck spiritually. Literally choking Life out of me...

As the speaker talked about our conversation with God, and how to hear His voice, how He speaks to us, I was fervently taking notes, as is typical for me, when she said, "Some of you are listening to too many voices in your head and all you should be/ or need to be listening to is God."

Suddenly the revelation of this truth I had been unaware of came in like a flood...and I began to cry uncontrollably. It was as if the dam burst, and I was "let loose". I heard the Lord speaking to me in those moments, "Kathy, you have been living in the expectations of your husband and father (and other unknown voices came to mind)...what they might say underlies everything you do, or say fearing their disapproval. Honey, you CAN'T be perfect for anyone! You are making them your god by allowing this fear of their disapproval to have power over you!"

I left that day with less weight, with fewer links in the chains that had been holding me captive. As I returned home, I had to begin to walk free, to practice watching "who" was in my head "steering" my emotions, my decisions (or lack of) The healing was taking place. A promise that The Lord kept reminding me of was happening...

Psalm 18:19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

God Is Still In Control When You Are In A Pit

Have you ever felt like God is so far away that you are sure you must be "cut off" from Him? Have you experienced what some call "the dark night of the soul"? Have you been in a pit that you could not climb out of but by the grace of God. A strong and mighty hand was the only thing that would suffice to deliver you?

You are not alone. It is said by several speakers and authors (usually those who have gone on before us) that God's people will inevitably experience such a time.

I did. 1999...I "went in" to a pit of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. No matter what I tried, what I read, how much I tried to "Tell Myself the Truth", or quote scripture, I remained in such a state. For a year I struggled, and during the times when I had other women meeting with me, my head would stay above water, but when school started the fall of 2000, the women were too busy to meet, and I was once again alone in a darkness it would take me too long to describe. That fall was "the dark night of my soul".

I slept very little, the insomnia I had was beyond what I ever knew a human to be able to go through. And if you have experienced oppression, you understand and agree with me that it is in the most vulnerable dark place where the enemy comes in and hurls accusations at you and tells you what a loser you are, and attacks you with whatever works against you. I was in the deep shadows of unbelief, fear and condemnation. The hair literally stood up on the back of my neck a few times when I saw the filth of my soul...

And yet... a thread of faith was ever present. It was in the moments of deep despair and near hopelessness when the Lord would whisper a truth that I could stand"when we are faithless, He will be faithful for He cannot disown Himself." I knew I had no faith. My husband had shouted it at me one morning in his frustration with my lack of sleep. BUT then...the Lord whispered, "I have given you a measure of faith." Always coming through for me ever so quietly, and sometimes very rare it seemed, but just when I needed it most...The Lord's voice. When I felt crazy, I heard "but we have the mind of Christ." When I felt I had no place going to church, I was too pathetic, I heard, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."~always a whisper.

It was in the darkness where I died to my self. I learned that the things I expected of myself, and the things others expected from me could not be fulfilled by me. I am powerless. Without the Lord and His power, I am a clay pot. Without His power, His life in me, I am an empty vessel. Barren. Dead.

It was in this darkness where I found life. True life. Not life by human power...for all flesh fails. But Holy Spirit power. The ability to let go of what I could not hold on to...responsibility, creating, or sustaining anything on my own, to the freedom to exist with the life of the Spirit of God in me, and the power of God to work through me, to give Him the responsibility...the credit...the glory for anything good in my life, and to release the disappointments to Him to make into something for His purposes.

I began to see a counselor at some point in the initial year of my anxiety, and after several times seeing him, cried to the Lord, "God, this is going to take 100 years!!!!!! Your word says that You are the Wonderful Counselor, please help me!" ...So I sat with the Lord for one to three hours every day for... well, it has been 10 years. Reading His word, talking to Him, listening to Him. He took me back to things in the past, he brought me to places of pain, and challenge in the years that followed, and gradually He has set me free. I am totally free today. His truth has and continues set me free.

What brings me great joy today is to tell you that God had a purpose in allowing me in the pit. When I was there I struggled with all the same issues you probably do/did...Was it something I did? Do I need to do something? Is there something I am missing? Does God love me still? I mean, I know in my head, but my heart just cannot seem to believe it or receive it...

But now...the ability to understand the pit, to encourage and love people through it, to know that God is doing something in the darkness that could never be done in the light. Like the seed that goes into the ground and dies before it becomes a plant. You, child of God, will experience a death that the life of Christ might be made manifest in you. You see, we limit God with our striving, and we strive naturally, only by a work of God in our lives will we be able to lay down our striving in order for Him to rise up in us.

The Bible says we need to take up our cross daily. It is not a one time death. It is a daily choice, but there is a time, a season of pruning that God will take you through to get you ready for the ministry He wants to do through your life. Some might go through a couple of pits, some might be darker than others...but all of us must experience a measure of darkness in order for the jar of clay to be broken (our flesh) and the light of Jesus to shine out and bring true life into this world...

Look up, sister, for your redemption draws near!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Big Blessings at WOF St Paul, MN 2009

Two days ago, I received an invitation via facebook from a customer I met in my
shop to go to Women of Faith. There was an extra ticket. I have not been able to go to the confrence since the year before I opened my shop (2003) since it always comes to our area in the fall and fall is usually my busy season.

As you would guess, the shop has slowed along with the economy over the past year. I have made adjustments in my inventory purchases, and advertising budget, etc. The Lord is graciously keeping things moving in a way that I can continue. I am grateful for that...and having a slower economy has a few having the freedom to go to the confrence!

Kayla was able to work in the shop for me, so I joined Wendy and her daycare provider, Jen. I only know Wendy from her times in the shop, and I had never met Jen, so I was excited to spend time making new girlfriends!

I have to say that Friday night's highlight for me was...not a woman, but Steven Curtis Chapman!! With his beautiful testimony of God carrying them through their loss, he brought tears to my eyes with his songs...Cinderella, and the new one about Heaven... It will bless your heart.

Saturday morning, I picked up Jen, since she is on my way to Wendy's. When we arrived, we found out Wendy's baby was running a fever, and she wasn't going. So Jen and I set out on our own. As usual, God was up to merging the lives of His was delightful to get to know her.

God had two other blessings for me today. My neice entered Teen Challenge back in May. She is only allowed a few visitors on Saturday between 11-2pm. I have only been able to get away from the shop one day to visit. So imagine bumping in to her today. I was three rows down from the main level of the arena, and during break, went up to get a the top of the steps, my heart leapt as I saw her! I called her name, and we hugged big!! What a wonderful, joyful surprise. To think that in an arena of over 12,000 women, I would see her there! ONLY GOD!!

Besides all the inspiration of the day with Nicole C. Mullen and her dancers, the WOF worship team, Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Lisa Welchel, and Rita Renfroe, and Marilyn Meberg...I was able to see one of my all time favorites, Susie Larson at the local radio station booth. What a gracious woman of God. She looked up and recognized me (from facebook!) and ran out to embrace me! We chatted a bit about life, I shared a story about a friend of mine...she grabbed my hands and prayed with me for her. Check out her blog and get one of her books! Her heart if full of wisdom; you will feast on rich spiritual meat. My favorite so far is "The Uncommon Woman".

Woah God. He wowz me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This is a fire we had to get rid of some old decking this summer. The second photo is taken with the fire behind me of our barns to show how much light the fire was giving off. It really was dark at the time of the fire...

When God lead Israel out of Egypt, at night His Presence with them was fire to give them light

We don't like to talk often about God's judgement, we like to talk about His love, His protection, His gifts, His help, etc...and we should, but the "other side" of His Goodness (if I can use the image of Him having a "side") is His wrath...

In my daily reading, I keep seeing the word "fire". Jeremiah is warning of the coming judgement on the sin of God's people. God uses fire for punishment, in order to bring destruction on Israel. At the same time, in Thesselonians, Paul is talking about the last days...the judgement coming on the whole earth. Look at these passages: (all bold and italicized~by me)

Jeremiah 21:14 I will punish you as your deeds deserve, declares the LORD. I will kindle a fire in your forests that will consume everything around you.' "
Leviticus 10:2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

2 Thess 1:6-10 This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

2 Peter 3:10-12.But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[a]That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:27-29 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."

Last Wednesday, we watched Louis Giglio's "Indescribable" dvd. In it, he described creation by God as an incredible fiery force coming from His mouth as He spoke the light into existence, based on the speed of light...Louis said he laughs when people say they wish they were there!

What exists that cannot be destroyed or consumed by fire? The things that come to mind are...
1. Fire. (light)
2. Treasure. (ie gold, silver, precious metals...)

2 Corinthians 4:6,7 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

The above passage reminds me of Gideon's army. God gave them victory when they broke their clay jars that had torches inside. The enemy fell at the sound of the trumpet and the breaking of jars to reveal the fire...We believers have the victory over our enemy!

The Lord makes it clear that He is coming back in all of His Glory (which I imagine to be fiery!). For those of us who have made Christ our treasure, who have received His gift of salvation, and live holy lives (lives set apart to Him, lived for His glory in obedience and purity...walking in repentance, who have their treasure in heaven and not on this earth) to those who have this eternal fiery treasure in our clay bodies...we will not be consumed:

Lamentations 3:21-23
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Children of God have His fire inside and will not be consumed when the fire from God falls...Glory Glory! This should humble us and give us a renewed awe at the love of Christ in His enduring the cross (absorbing the fiery wrath of God) on our behalf. Halleluiah!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Safe In His Arms of Love

"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure. Isaiah 66:22

What a wonderful promise from the Lord for His people. I don't know about you, but seeing the world saturated with information overload, blaring opinions, seven envelopes filled with solicitations for surveys and money arriving in my mailbox daily...
It is refreshing to look to the Lord, and in doing so...find rest.
To gaze on His beauty and majesty, to read His living word and be refreshed in knowledge that He is in control. That it isn't up to me to fill out every survey or give to every good cause that I have come to love...but to sit at His feet and be reminded
that He is the Ark.
The shelter we can enter and find rest for our souls.
It is He that seals the door over us so that the flood wont sweep us away; it wont overtake us.
He is faithful to get us and our children to the Promised Land.
He is our Ever Present Help in trouble.
He is the Rock of our Salvation.
He is the Light that will guide us safely home.
He is our Prince of Peace when war is on the horizon, or raging around us.
He is our Shield and Defender when the enemy attacks us...
through words,
or doubts,
or troubles,
or illness,
or loss.....
What a Mighty God we serve! How glorious that whatever happens here, we are kept safe in the tabernacle of the Living God. That our arrival is already set. We will not be deterred from our destination. We will arrive safely on the shores of our Heavenly home...we and our descendants.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Facebook, Blogging, or Twitter? OH MY!

Here I am~I'm back!...I feel so far out of the blogging loop and I MISS YOU!! Part of my absence was indeed the wedding prep...but admittedly another part is my love of Facebook...Fellow blogger Angie invited me probably a year ago...I sheepishly went on there thinking it was "kids" mostly, but then...............woah~!

I have reconnected with high school friends, a customer from my hair styling days (which was the big stuff of the 80's!!), my cousins and their kids that moved over 25 years ago away from kid's friends, my customers, and now our church is using it for announcements.

But I have also been convicted of the time I have spent on there. Some days too much. To the neglect of tasks I would rather not do, paying bills and cleaning the bathroom. So I have had to do some disciplining of myself...No facebook until...AND go a day without it here and there. HONESTLY, Facebook has replaced the evening news in my world! Much more intresting is news about people I know...unfortunately I didn't find out it was going to freeze the other night, so when I woke up and my flowers were dead from frost, I realized I might need to catch the evening news once again... :(

Needless to say, attentiveness to balance in life is a constant necessity.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:17

I think I need to close the computer and go get me some wisdom in THE WORD. G'nite y'all!