Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Naked and Unashamed....

Those are not two words that I would usually put together... naked and unashamed. But this morning, I found myself naked and unashamed... before God that is. Last night in our Bible Study we talked about Adam and Eve in the garden, but they were naked and ashamed. God in his mercy and love stepped in to cover them with animal skins so that they would no longer be ashamed. Now, of course an innocent animal had to die so that they could be covered. But... that has been God's plan from the beginning. The innocent sacrificed for the sin of the guilty. Wow! What a hard concept. But... because Jesus (the innocent) was sacrificed for the sin of Lynn... I can now stand before God, covered (in his blood) and be unashamed. And that is where I stood this morning.

You know, God knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts. He knows our motives. And, He knows when we are playing a game. So this morning, I let down the fig leaves that I was covering myself with and told Him everything that was on my mind... and most every bit of it was not pretty... as a matter of fact... it was down right ugly. When we allow our heart and feelings to take over... things usually do turn out kind of ugly. Jeremiah the prophet tells us that our heart is deceitful above all things. (17:9) God pleads with us over and over in His Word to give Him our WHOLE heart. So I did. I said out loud all of the ugly things that had been playing out in my head since last night... actually over the last couple months. God can take our honesty. He already knows it for Pete's sake. Why pretend before Him??

In my study this morning... after I poured out my ugly to God... I read Exodus 14:19-20. Please let me share it with you...

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

Now... by itself, that really didn't get me pumped up. BUT... when Beth asked the question, "What enemy are you battling today?" "First, invite God to come between you and your enemy. Second, invite Him to open "the eyes of your heart" so that you will recognize Him at work. And third, count on Jesus; he never fails." Well... that is exactly what I did. I invited God to come stand between me and my feelings, between me and my frustrations, between me and my ugly. To open my heart and eyes to recognize Him at work....

AND... there you have it. He did exactly that. He led me to Hebrews 13:5. Now, I knew the last part of this verse from somewhere in my past, but I read the whole thing this morning.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you"

Now, I would not call wanting to have enough money coming in to cover what needs to go out, a love of money. BUT... it has kept my mind captive for a while now. I sensed God telling me to be content where I am (not to like it or want to stay here forever) but be content to be in His will for me at this time. I remembered this verse saying, "I will never leave you." but it actually had the word "never" first... to me, that made such an impact. NEVER will I leave you.

So, there I stood naked and unashamed before God. Covered in the blood of His Son, Jesus. His cloud moved between me and my ugly... and shed His light on me. Took away the darkness in my heart and He will keep it from coming near to me again today. But you know what... He will want my WHOLE heart again tomorrow. He will want me to be naked and unashamed before Him again tomorrow. Thankfully... even though I am naked and unashamed before Him... I can keep my clothes on. I am sure that the other people in my family would prefer it that way.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Drawing a line in the sand

We have homeschooled for the last 6 years... but after much prayer... after much wrestling with God... and finally, with a submissive heart trusting in His plan... my girls will be going to public school next year. I could give God a thousand reasons why I don't think they need to go... but He doesn't want my opinion, He wants my obedience. So... with that said... we have started the necessary steps to put this plan into action. My oldest daughter will be going into the 8th grade at a brand new Middle School. She went last week to take the required placement tests. I must say that I was quite pleased with her results... and we met with the principal today to sign up for classes. Now... let me say that she hasn't been in public school since 2nd grade. So... she knows nothing about how things work in a school setting. He gave her an opportunity today to ask questions about things that she wanted to know... these are just a few...

What if I don't finish my homework?
What if I get sent to the principal's office?
What if I get into a fight? (Can't even imagine where that came from...)
What will happen if I get caught chewing gum?

I sat there thinking... why would she even think like that?? It was as if she were trying to see at what point they would draw the line. I explained to her that if she did what was right... she wouldn't even have to worry about the answers to those questions. Then I realized...

Sometimes I do that with God. It seems that I try to see at what point He will draw the line. I teeter on the very edge of obedience... maybe doing what is required, but with the wrong motive. Sometimes I even step over the line... just a little... with an attitude or a comment, and sometimes I just barrel over the line knowing that I am not doing what I should do, or even worse... doing something that I know that I shouldn't.

A line in the sand. This is right... and that is wrong.

Why would I do that? Am I trying to see at what point He will draw the line??

Deuteronomy 6:18 Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers, thrusting out all your enemies before you.

By choosing to do right... it puts us in the position to take over the good that the Lord has planned for us. Why would we choose anything else??

Now, I don't really think that my daughter was trying to see how far she could push... I really believe that she is fearful of the unknown. I think that she is trying to avoid the consequences of wrong actions.

But... it makes me wonder, How does God see my actions?? I don't want to be a "line pusher"... or a "chronic over the liner". I want to be obedient for the right reasons. God has loved me with an everlasting love. He is the lover of my soul. He is for me. He is faithful. He made a cross to bridge the gap between me and Him. If that is not enough to cause me to want to do right... then what is?? And there I stand... at the line... wanting to do right.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Power of the Word....

Okay, I have to tell you. I feel like a new women. There is nothing like a new Bible study with Beth Moore to get me pumped up. My little group just started A Women's Heart, God's Dwelling Place this past Tuesday night. I am about to burst with excitement.

Some of the things that really rocked me were...

Day One... I loved the connection between the thorns that came as part of the curse for our sin... and the thorns that pierced the brow of Christ. The curse for our sin fell onto the head of Another. (Beth's statement) The thorn that Paul had in his flesh stayed in his flesh because God wanted him to know the sufficiency of His Grace... The day that our Savior bore the thorns in His flesh was the day God perfected the ultimate sufficiency of His Grace. WOW! Does she have insight or what??

Day Two... In the perfect enviornment, Adam and Eve didn't make the right decision... and Noah, in a horribly wicked enviornment, where he was the only one that walked with God... made the right decision. What a challenge to me. No matter the situation that I find myself in... I can make the right choices when I am walking with the Lord.

I could go on and on. I am really pumped up. I cannot wait for Tuesday night. I am praying that the other ladies are getting a thrill from God's Word as well. I hope that I can refrain from giving you day to day updates in this study. I would hate to ruin it for any of you that want to do the study.

On another subject... remember my friend from this post, well her father has been in a motorcycle accident. He was flown from the scene to the closest trauma center in our area. Please say a little prayer for her and her family. She is still undergoing chemo... and their plates are full. BUT... God is always good.

His grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness.
2 Cor. 12:9

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Performance of a Lifetime...

Last night my youngest daughter danced in her first ballet... Peter Pan. She is only 7 years old. So of course... she played a very small part in the production... BUT, can I just tell you that she was awesome. It lasted over two hours... and her part was in the last 10 minutes. I can't tell you that it was the most fun that I have ever had... but the moment my Anna danced onto that stage... MY heart was melting inside of me. I don't think you could have wiped the grin off of my face even if you had promised me a lifetime of free Starbucks lattas... my gaze would have never even budged off of her. I cannot even express the thrill in my heart... the joy in my heart... the pride in my heart, that those few minutes brought to me. I couldn't wait to get my hands on her after that performance. I could not wait to congratulate her on her excellent job. I could not wait to see her smiling face as I went backstage to pick her up. Unbelievable.

This morning after my quiet time, as I thought back over last night, I sensed God saying, " I know just how you feel, My Son did an excellent job."

I thought about the Words in Matthew 3:17, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased". God spoke that from the portals of heaven when Christ was baptized.

I thought about the time that satan tempted Christ in the desert... and Christ stood up to him with scripture.

I thought about the wedding and the lack of wine... and Christ performed His first miracle.

I thought about the storm that tossed the disciples' boat to and fro... and Jesus stepped out and calmed the storm.

I thought about all those hungry people on that hillside and the little boy sharing his lunch of fish and bread... and Christ fed 5000 people with it.

I thought about Mary and Martha crying by the grave of their brother Lazarus... and Christ calling out "Lazarus come out!" and him coming out alive.

I thought about Jesus standing before Pilate and saying, "You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." (John 18:37).

I thought about Christ hanging on that cross asking for forgiveness for the very people that were putting him to death. The very people that He came to save... but they didn't realize it.

AND then I thought of the three days that God waited before He finally called out to Christ and called Him out of the grave.

Wow! I cannot imagine the thrill in God's heart, the joy in His heart, and the pride in His heart, as He watched His Son live out the life that He had planned for Him. A life of obedience. A life of submission. A life that brought us redemption. A life that reconciled all things to Himself. The anticipation of being able to get his hands on Him after the completion of the plan.

But that's not it... I then sensed Him saying, "I feel the same way about you, Lynn". To think that God watches every move I make... every thought that I think, every word I speak... and how He must just about bust with joy when I live out my life in a way that looks just like His Son. When I live a life that shows the world who He is. When I lead a life that leads others to Him.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

MommyFest Contest

I thought that this would be fun... and it enters me into a contest... So here goes..

5 Things about this Mom

1. Today is my 21 wedding anniversary. YEAH!! Go God... I have to give Him the credit. Many times it has been Him that held things together.

2. I work full-time as a X-Ray tech. Love my job. Only wish that I could do it from home so I wouldn't have to leave. I work third shift.... and many times I am up for 24-28 hours before I get to go back to sleep. More Yeah God!! Only by His power.

3. I am a grocery gamer... that means that I cut coupons and save at the very least 50% on my grocery bill. If you want to know how to do this too... visit here. My last grocery day I bought $268.00 worth of groceries for $135.00 Yeah God!! Thank you for leading me to do this.

4. I am addicted to Starbucks lattas. I have teased them before about putting "crack" in them. There is absolutely no other reason that I could be that addicted to them.

5. Okay... this is probably something that most of you that read my blog regularly already know... I am a Beth Moore freak. I can hardly go a day or two without either listening to her on a CD, TV (Life Today), DVD, or at the very least reading something from one of her studies or her books. Love to do her studies. Can't get enough of her. I do enjoy doing other studies too... but she is my favorite, hands down.

Thanks for reading about all of my little quirks. Have a great day.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It is all in the attitude

This past week I have been studying the book of Esther. I had read her story before. The great one liner, "maybe you were put into this position for such a time as this" is the thing that stuck with me way back then. (Esther 4:14) When I started this study last week... I really didn't think that there were any "new" nuggets to take with me. To be perfectly honest... I was just killing time until I start my next Bible study. ( and yes... it is a Beth Moore study) And gee... that was maybe too honest. but anyway...

As I skimmed over Chapter 2, the author of the study pointed out that Esther knew what it was like to be put into situations and circumstances that were beyond her control. I thought, "what circumstances beyond her control?", "She seemed to be in control in the story that I remember". Well... as I looked back and searched out things that happened to Esther that were out of her control... I found several.

Her parents both passed away leaving her an orphan.
She was placed into the Kings harem (without her consent) making her a captive.
She won the Kings favor and had to be moved to a new place above the others in the harem...
causing even more displacement in life and probably resentment from others.
She was forced to hide who she really was in obedience to what her uncle asked her to do.
She was subjected to 12 months of beauty treatments before she could go into the King's
presence. (okay... well maybe the thought of 12 months of beauty treatments isn't all that
bad... but I imagine that they were if they involved exercise for all that time.) Yuck!
She was sent to spend the night with the King (again without her consent).
Even after she won his favor and he made her queen... verse 19 tells us that they
assembled more virgins for the King. Now... she would have to share her husband.

Esther did find herself in numerous situations that she did not ask for, nor would she have wanted. Sounds a lot like us, huh? At least it sounds a lot like me. I don't always like the situation that I am in. I don't like the fact that my husband has lost even more income. I don't want to have to work so much extra. I don't want to send my children back to school next year. I don't want to have to give up some of the luxuries that we have. But...

I looked at the way that Esther handled herself in these situations. I learned about her character by the choices that she made. Esther chose to have a good attitude, to be submissive to her uncle's request, to do what was required of her... and when the time came to make decisions, she choose to fast and seek God's empowerment. Then... she submitted to God's will. She even said, "If I perish, I perish".

I want to be like that. Knowing that God sees the end of the story... knowing that God has a purpose in all that we go through... knowing that my attitude can make all the difference in the world... I want to be like Esther. Put into circumstances that I would not have chosen... I want to be God's girl... I want to allow God to work through my obedience to Him. I want to be a part of God's plan... working with Him, not against Him. In the end... I will look in triumph over my foes.

Psalm 112:7-8
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear:
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

We all have to go through things that we don't ask for... we all have to make decisions as to how we will respond. I think that I can learn a lot from Esther... it is all in the attitude.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

My Jehovah-Jireh... My Lord, He Provides

I cannot imagine what Abraham was feeling as he walked up the mountain that early morning. Just the night before, God had told Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, the one that he loved, up the mountain and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering. I wonder if Abraham got a wink of sleep that night?? I wonder if he dreded seeing the first signs of daybreak?? I wonder if he complained to Sarah about what God was putting them through?? I wonder if Sarah cried herself to sleep that night?? No matter what the night brought... the morning found Abraham up early, packing up his donkey. He cut the firewood that he would need for the fire. He even took some servants with him. Scripture tells us that early the next morning, Abraham set out to obey God.

Abraham tells the servants to stay back while he and the boy go to worship. Then he said, "WE will come back to you". He said WE. Knowing that God had told him to sacrifice the only one that he was taking over there with him... he still said "we". When his sweet boy asked "where is the lamb for the sacrifice?"... Abraham answered, "God HIMSELF will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son". Now that is faith!!

Jehovah-Jireh... means the Lord will provide.

After a tough week last week... we continued to trust and wait on God ... My Jehovah-Jireh, My Lord that Provides... provided. It may have been in small ways... But God provided.

God provided the faith to continue to trust him.
God provided the peace that rested on my soul.
God provided some extra work for my husband for the next six weeks.
God provided some overtime at my job.
God provided a "promising word" about something that we have been waiting on for nearly 2 years.
God provided an extra $40 today so that my daughter could finally get some shoes that she wanted. (that she doesn't like now... but that will be another story)
God provided a hunger in my husbands heart for His word this week.

Abraham trusted his Jehovah-Jireh to provide a lamb for the sacrifice after he had been told that the sacrifice would be his son... I will continue to trust my Jehovah-Jireh to work our situation to our good and to His glory.

Psalm 89:1-2
"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself."

God is faithful. God... Jehovah-Jireh.... God will provide.
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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Taking the Test... will I pass or fail?

Last night as I graded one of my children's math test... I began to get a little frustrated. It seems that something that we learned over a month ago was still causing trouble. There were two problems on there that went back a few lessons... and my child blew them both. It was something that we struggled through then... and it seems, that what I thought we learned just didn't stick. Now, math has always been a problem for this child. AND... I know that. But it didn't change the fact that I was frustrated at the thoughts of having to reteach this same lesson over and over. And to be perfectly honest.... it is simple stuff. There is no reason that my sweet one should have this much trouble with this... it is easy. So as I went into my little temper tantrum in my head... I sensed something totally different in my spirit.

My spirit sensed the Lord saying, "I know Lynn, I have tried to teach you the same lessons over and over too. Why is that??" I thought about the things that I just seem very slow to learn. I can trust Him in something... and then when something else hits... I have to be taught about trusting Him again. I can put Him first in my life for a period of time... then I allow "self" or other things to creep in... and I have to be taught that He is to be in first position all over again. I can rest in Him and His strength for a while... only to find myself trying to do everything again in my own strength... and I have to learn to do things in His strength all over again. Why is that ?? Does this happen to anyone else but me??

My heart suddenly soften for my sweet child. Of course... I have her best interest at heart. I want her to KNOW how to do this. I want her to have understanding. I want her to succeed with this. So yes, I will take the time today to reteach this to her. It will make it easier on her in the future. I guess that is why God is so gracious and merciful to me... He wants me to know the best way to "do" life. He wants me to know and understand Him. He wants me to learn the lessons that will make my walk with Him more successful. So over and over... we go through the same lessons. I hope that I can have the ears to hear and the eyes to see clearly what God is teaching me right now. Just like I hope that my child will have the ears to hear and the eyes to see what I am going to reteach her today.

Many times God uses my children to teach me about Himself. I long to be a parent like He is. He has such love and compassion for me. He is gracious and merciful to me. He wants what is best for me. That is what I want for my children... the best that God has for them. May I learn from Him to be loving, compassionate, gracious, and merciful, not just to my children... but all of His children as well.

So today... will I pass the test?? or will I fail the test?? It is up to me.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

In a Holding Pattern

Have you ever been in a holding pattern?? You know, where you just have to hover above the airport waiting on your turn to land?? Knowing that what is on the other end of that runway is what you are longing for... but for the time being... you just can't get there... you are in a holding pattern. Waiting. Waiting. Wanting something else.... but just waiting.

Well, that is a little what my life feels like right now. I have mentioned before about some circumstances in my life that tend to get me down every once in a while.... well... just when I thought that they couldn't possibly get worse... and still be in God's will... they did. So... now what??

I long to know that God is doing something for me in this. And the thing is.... I know He is. It may not be the "something" that I want.... but it is definitely for me. God loves me beyond measure. He wants me to be just like His Son. I know that my job is to walk by faith.... allow His pruning.... cooperate... and wait. So.... here I am, in a holding pattern. Seeking His face. Praying that we don't miss the "point". This is not a class that I want to take again. I need for us to pass this one this time. This is not a trip I want to take again. I think that if I ever get off this plane... I will probably not get back on one.

I love the fact that I can be real. I don't want anyone to ever get the wrong impression that christians have it easy. We go through the same things that others do... the only difference is that we wear different glasses. The glasses of faith and hope. We know that God is working... on His plan... not ours. His plan is always better than ours. Maybe not by the world's standards... but by His.

In honesty... I ultimately want to be right where He wants me. And this is it for now. So I choose to give thanks and praise to Him for His perfect plan.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I will admit... I am still working on the joyful... but the prayer and thanks come easier. I will continue to hover and wait.... praying and thanking Him for His will for me in Christ Jesus. The "in Christ Jesus" is the best part. In Christ.... that is where I am. AND, for me... it is the only place I would want to be. Even if I am in a holding pattern. Wait... especially if I am in a holding pattern.

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