Monday, January 9, 2017
I was reading about the instructions God gave Moses to set Aaron & his sons apart as priests in Exodus 29.
Can you imagine being one of the women who donated the beautiful fabric for Aaron's robe (fabric collected from the Egyptians before they fled) or being one of the women who sewed that garment by hand--and then seeing ram's blood flung on it? That's right. As part of the ceremony, blood was applied to Aaron's right ear lobe (to hear the Word of God), right thumb (to do the will of God), and right big toe (to go the way of God). The "right" symbolized strength. And then blood was sprinkled on his robe--that brand new, beautiful, sacred robe. A robe which set Aaron apart and distinguished him as priest. It had to seem offensive. I can't imagine how that seamstress felt!
But then again, I kind of do. I had to accept the blood sacrifice Jesus made when he died on the cross. His blood was shed as a sacrifice for my sin. I had to confess Jesus as the Lord of my life and bring my sin to him so it was covered by the blood.
Blood is still offensive to some. It's saving grace and life to me. I was saved from sin and the death it brings by the blood Jesus shed on the cross.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Years ago, Andy & I were celebrating our anniversary in Red River and I saw this primitive Noah's Ark in the Christmas Store and fell in love with it. That was in September.
It was the year I was learning to hear God's voice. By November, God told me HE wanted to give me a birthday gift. (My birthday is December 16). I began to get excited!! I'd never gotten a personal gift from God. Oh sure!! I know He gives me everything--but this was much more personal. God told me He wanted to give me a birthday gift. Andy had never been a great gift-giver up to that point--in fact it's my brothers' favorite thing to rib him about one Christmas when he was out shopping for me at 6 PM on Christmas Eve--at Albertsons. And I LOVE gifts!! Little did I know that not only did God want to give me a gift, but he wanted to heal me of my expectations.
On the day of my birthday, Andy told me not to cook--both of our parents were coming to celebrate. All day, I waited expectantly to see what GOD was going to give me!! After Andy got off work, he walked in with a cake and dainty plates and napkins. I was shocked--he'd never done that before! And we had a party!
When it came time to open my gifts, I honestly had no expectations. At the time, Andy's parents owned a Christian bookstore and two of the gifts were wrapped in their signature paper--so I thought I knew what was sure to be in them. Andy's was the last gift I opened--and it was this Noah's Ark I'd seen months before!! As I opened it, God whispered to me, "Happy Birthday, Becky!" I teared up. Not only had Andy gone to great pains to call the Christmas Store in Red River to order the gift and have it shipped, God had used him to give to me. That was a transformative year. God healed me of expectations, proved I was hearing His voice, and turned Andy into a great gift-giver!
I love my Noah's Ark and all that it represents.
Friday, January 6, 2017
I've been reading about God giving Moses the building plans for the first temple--the place where God met man and offered forgiveness and relationship. The people were fearful of God's presence and asked Moses to just tell them what God told him. They didn't like the experience--but they respected and were awestruck by the manifestation of God's presence. Moses was transformed by meeting with God and hearing Him--and it showed! The temple was God's solution to show Moses (and the people) that His presence would go with them everywhere.
Since all of this is a picture for us, I began examining my attitude toward myself--the new temple of God. He is ever-present in me. I carry the presence of God. Do I respect the temple God has given me (my body)? Am I awe-struck with His presence? Do I fear Him--in a good way by meeting with him--or an unhealthy way by letting someone else just tell me what He says? Does it show that I meet with God?
Receiving God's forgiveness started a life-long process of relationship with God and spiritual growth. The respect for this temple has been a process. But God put as much thought and design into my body (and yours!) as He did with the first temple filled with gold and intricate details. Let's celebrate--and honor all He has done! Be awestruck! After all...your temple is HOLY!
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
What is this? An acorn. (Ay-kern or Ay-korn) You might tell me it's the nut or fruit from an oak tree and you'd be right. But everything needed for an oak tree to grow is contained in this nut. So you could look at this acorn and say it's an oak tree and you'd be right.
It's the same with us. At the point of salvation, all of God is planted in our hearts. He lives in us!!! That's so hard to comprehend. But it's truth! All of Him. But I imagine He comes to us like this acorn--in full potential of an oak tree. But we must water and feed our own spirits to give room for Him to expand inside of us until we become mighty oaks of righteousness. (Isaiah 61)
That's my prayer for myself this year--that my heart, mind, and spirit will expand to receive the limitlessness of God. I want to be a mighty oak.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Tomorrow begins a new year, a new beginning, a clean slate. For so many, 2016 was a hard year. It was filled with difficult things and packed with intensity. How can we ensure 2017 is a better year? I can't promise there won't be difficulties, but I did tap into some things which helped me in my own eventful-compacted 2016. I hope they help you find amazing peace and also help you focus on the love of the Father every single day this year!
- Live one day at a time. Don't focus on the whole year or even next week--focus on today and making it the best day possible!
- Plan ahead. While this seems contrary to the first statement, it isn't. Put important things on your calendar so that they become engraved in stone--so the important isn't crowded out of your life.
- Put family first. Trust me, the older you get, the more you realize what is truly important. While you'll look back and be so glad of the investment you've made in other people's lives, you'll find your greatest investment to be in YOUR family.
- Put your "YES" on the altar. Say "yes" to God every single day!! It doesn't matter what He's asking, the answer should always be yes! I found this to be one of the most important things I did this year. My heart was always in the mode of willingness. God helped me differentiate between the important and the urgent.
- Look for God every single day. God is always at work in our lives. It isn't always a huge miracle--many times it's a small thing which may lead to the next small thing. This is something I'm pursuing this coming year--to be aware of God and what He's doing. I want to live in a perpetual state of AWE!! (I'm using this calendar to write down what God does each day.) http://www.ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2016/12/04/best-of-my-days-2017/
- Don't do things out of duty but out of love. If you can't do it out of love, just don't do it.
- Love BIG in 2017!! Extend love to everyone but especially those hard to love. It will leave you feeling good. Love with actions and words.
- Forgive quickly!!
- Speak life and blessing into other people's lives. Encourage them; build them up.
- Give BIG!! I encourage you to tithe to your church. Malachi 3 says we can test God in this. Start small and test Him. You'll be BLESSED--because you're loving the Church--the bride of Jesus! But don't stop there--give sacrificially. Give to the poor, orphans and widows. Give to Israel, whom God loves. GIVE!!
- Fill your day with praise & prayer. I can promise this will be easy if you're doing everything else! Your heart will be filled with praise because you'll be seeing God at work in your life. Hard things may come...but you can trust an all-powerful God who is at work all around you. Make it a point to have an open, on-going dialogue with God all day long. He'll easily become your best friend!!
My prayer is that you expect God this year! I know I began this process in 2016 and found my own heart expanding in ways I never expected. Live each day in an utter awareness of God.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
What if you wanted to fulfill your purpose but lived in the boonies? What if you thought, "The only thing I can do is cook."?
Today, I drove 140 miles out of my way to observe the greatness of Ree Drummond. Of course, she doesn't just cook--she's an author and photographer, too. But the reason I make the point is because I hear many people say, "But I just _____." (Fill in the blank!) God has a purpose for each of us. And if we never accept the giftings He's given us, we'll never explore how to use them for the kingdom of God!
Ree is such a good example that it doesn't matter where you live!! Pawhuska, Oklahoma is a town boasting 3500 people--and Ree doesn't even actually live within the city limits. She lives on a ranch outside of town.
But today, her new Mercantile was very crowded with people from miles around!! People drove to Pawhuska to be near Ree, to celebrate who she is and what she's done. They hoped to see her. Why? Because she's become famous with her amazing recipes and her step-by-step photography and blogging of those recipes. How does that happen?
Because she didn't let her mind get in the way! She accepted her gifts and used them. I'm sure she had no idea in the beginning she'd become famous--she was just a city girl stuck on a ranch looking for an outlet. But she used what she had...and God expanded her!
What are your gifts?? Don't let your mind get in the way! Give them to God and let Him expand them for His kingdom!! You never know...
Thursday, November 17, 2016
We always think about getting to heaven and talking to Abraham, Moses, or Esther. But did you know they're waiting in anticipation to talk to you?? You have the opportunity to experience something constantly that they only got to experience a few times. As a believer, you have the Spirit of God living inside of you, helping, speaking, guiding, counseling, revealing to you perpetually. He inhabits you. The Spirit of God only visited the saints in the Old Testament...occasionally. They can't WAIT to find out from you what it was like to be inhabited by the Spirit of God! What was it like to have that kind of power available? What was it like to hear God speak to you every day? What was it like to be guided by Him every step you took? What was it like to be taught by the Spirit as you read the Bible? What was it like LIVING WITH THE SPIRIT?
I want to have some GOOD things to tell!!
I encourage you to watch this message by Graham Cooke: