Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Day the Veil was Torn

 


This simple fact is often overlooked in the story of the resurrection of Jesus--the moment the veil was torn. Not only was it torn, but it was torn from the top to the bottom--which is significant. This was a simple, yet profound, event. That veil was 6-8 inches thick...and yet it was torn. No man could possibly have torn that veil--especially from top to bottom. GOD tore the veil!

What was behind the veil?  The ark of the covenant. The ark was where God met man. And not just any man could go behind the veil--only the high priest. He had to make sure his sins were confessed or he would die behind that veil in God's holy presence. There were bells on the bottom of his robe so the other priests would know he was still alive. If the bells stopped ringing, they would pull the priest out with the rope tied around his ankle--because they couldn't go behind the veil. 

Ripping the veil at the moment Jesus died was so significant. God was declaring that Jesus' death made a way for EVERY man (and woman) to come into the presence of God!  As man confesses his sin, he's been invited into a personal, intimate relationship with our holy God. We no longer need a priest to confess our sins or intercede on our behalf. In fact, at the point of salvation, we each become a priest--able to talk and listen to God ourselves--intimately. 

What a holy moment for us...that moment when the veil was torn!!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Joseph's Brothers

 

Joseph was a favored child--and his father set him apart with a special coat (of many colors). Not only did this create jealousy with his ten older brothers, but then Joseph shared a dream that his brothers and parents would bow down to him some day--insinuating he would have authority over them. Now his brothers hated him!  And they concocted a plan to kill him and throw his body into a well and return his colorful coat to dear-old-dad with a story he's been killed by a wild animal. Except his older brother wasn't keen on the idea and suggested they just throw him in a deep well and leave him there--with every intention of coming back later to get him out.

What struck me this morning as I thought on this story is that Joseph's brothers very nearly killed their own deliverance!! 

God had a plan to deliver these ten brothers and their father through Joseph--through the very brother they hated. God even used their hate-filled plan to redeem them. 

Joseph was their deliverer--and they almost killed him.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keys to the Kingdom

 

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19

Sunday, Andy used this scripture in his message. When he did, a different interpretation jumped into my mind. A key LOCKS or UNLOCKS. It helped me understand this verse a little better. God gave us keys to lock and unlock doors. And He's given us the authority, as His ambassadors, to use them.
As His ambassadors, we must understand the constitution of the kingdom (what's permitted) and the protocol of the kingdom (when it's permissible) and the will of the King. But when we do, we have the authority to lock and unlock doors. Jesus did nothing apart from what He saw His Father doing. We have to keep our eyes on the King and be ready to do what He's doing--working in agreement with Him. Then we get to lock and unlock doors in His kingdom--knowing we have the full weight (authority) of the King behind us! Which key do you get to turn today?



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Texas Strong

 

I live in Groom, Tx--within a few miles of the wildfires which took place this week. In our area, around 315,000 acres were burned and 4 precious lives were lost as these men and women raced to save cattle, homes, and family. Over 1500 head of cattle died--which is devastating to ranchers who depend on cattle for their livelihood. I've heard of tough farmers and ranchers having to take down cattle and wild animals who were suffering--while tears streaked down their own faces. 

If you don't live in our area, what you may not be hearing are all of the beautiful stories of sacrifice, help, and generosity which came immediately on the heels of the fires. Generous farmers loaded up truckloads of hay to deliver to the ranchers whose fields of grasses burned--grasses which feed their cattle. People donated trucks, gas money, drivers, and time to meet that immediate need. I know men who voluntarily fought the fires and turned right around to do this work--missing hours of sleep and rest because the need was immediate and severe. Talented and gifted western artisans began auctioning off their art, metal and leather wares to donate the proceeds to the families of the fire victims. Thousands of dollars have been raised. Two mothers will now be rearing children alone because of the fires. Funeral and living expenses are being raised on Go Fund Me pages for these families. Veterinarians offered their time and medicines for animals which were burned. 4-H clubs offered to board and feed calves whose mothers didn't survive the fire. Free meals were offered by restaurants in surrounding cities to the firemen.  Massage therapists offered free massages to weary firemen. People volunteered to fix fences which burned. Men and women from all around saddled up their horses to round up dazed cattle and then herded them to a safe place. During the fire, whole communities began bringing food, water, and Gatorade and other necessities for the firemen and volunteers. Women gathered in kitchens to pray for the safety of the firefighters, animals, and homes. People from all over Texas are offering hay if someone can come pick it up; others are offering trucks--and somehow, God is connecting all of these people to make these deliveries happen!  All of this...and so much more is taking place as our area begins the painstaking process of recovery. 

People in our area are tough--you almost have to be to survive what the panhandle of Texas throws at you. But underneath that tough cowboy exterior, you'll find gentle, big, giving hearts--hearts full of love for God and their neighbors--people who would rather help others than worry about their own needs. As men rolled onto charred fields with loads of hay, tears were rolling down the cheeks of these survivors as they completely understood the love and sacrifice which were being shared. And then, it appears these ranchers are taking as little hay as possible to make sure their other neighbors get what they need.  I'm so proud to live in a place where people have hearts as big as Texas!  God bless all who gave. 

Please pray for the families of Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace, Cade Koch, & Sloan Everett.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Count it All Joy


I have a friend who is new to cancer and she was asking another friend, who's walked that path awhile, for tips. Now I know she was thinking of tips for battling things like mouth sores...but she got so much more!  In a long list of responses from others, this gem stood out:  "Count it all joy!"  I read that and stopped. 

You see, my friend, Laura Dill, has walked this cancer road for a good, long time. She's had chemo treatments, pet scans galore, hair falling out--the works!  But she has walked like a champion!  Her motto is "Keep Calm & Eat Cupcakes!"  She dresses up for her chemo treatments and treats them like the opportunity of a lifetime. She thanks God for them. She prays for divine appointments before she goes. When she fears, she rallies the troops to pray for her--and apologizes for her fear. Her goal is to be a chemo conqueror, not a chemo survivor. She's faced death square in the face and admitted she may go there some day...but not today. She loves and verbally appreciates beautiful things and fills her facebook page with encouragement. Laura is living...not dying. And she's filling the hearts of others with courage and offering them her own strength in the midst of her suffering. 

So some, who don't know her, may have seen her response to our friend as flippant or trite. But to those of us who know her, that response gave us all pause. Wow!  Count it all joy...when your hair falls out. Count it all joy...when you are nauseated. Count it all joy...when you're having chemo. Count it all joy...when you don't have the energy to enjoy your grandchildren. 

Count it all joy...when you have more month than money. Count it all joy...when you've lost a job. Count it all joy...when your friends talk behind your back. Count it all joy...when you've missed a golden opportunity. Count it all joy...when you've lost everything. Count it ALL joy!

Laura, thank you for loving Jesus so well in front of the rest of us. Thank you for your beautiful example. Thank you for teaching us how to count it all joy. Those words were profound to me this week--and they will be ringing in my ears and rolling around in my heart for quite some time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Does Love Look Like?

 


Does true love make your heart go pitter patter all day long?  Is it poetic words every evening?  Is it a feeling?  God commanded us to love one another. So I'm pretty sure He wasn't commanding us to have a feeling--because some of us are feelers and some are not. In my opinion, this is what love looks like...

❤ Going to work every morning--whether you feel like it or not. 
❤ Washing one load of laundry after another. 
❤ Taking your family on a vacation. 
❤ Mowing the yard all summer long. Shoveling snow all winter long. 
❤ Getting up with the babies at night.
❤ Cooking dinner for your family--even when you've run out of new ideas. 
❤ Suggesting we order pizza. 
❤ Laughing hysterically together. 
❤ Taking care of sick children. 
❤ Going to Taco Bell at midnight for your pregnant wife. 
❤ Being quiet when you're irritated. 
❤ Challenging your spouse to "go for it!"
❤ Cleaning house.
❤ Watching TV together. 
❤ Praying. 
❤ Preparing meals for a month and freezing them. 
❤ Defending each other
❤ Throwing dirty clothes in the dirty clothes basket. 
❤ Appreciating small gestures. 
❤ Hiring a babysitter. 
❤ A cup of coffee just the way you like it. 
❤ Closing cabinet doors. 
❤ Sharing the last few dollars in your wallet for what the other wants. 
❤ Taking care of the kids so your spouse can spend the evening with friends. 
❤ Using coupons at the grocery store to save money. 
❤ Words of encouragement. 
❤ Not being a backseat driver. 
❤ Asking forgiveness. 
❤ Keeping your house at the temperature your spouse likes. 
❤ Going to the movies together. 
❤ Ironing. 
❤ Holding hands. 

These are just a few ways love has been expressed in our home. It's all the little things. The fairy tales would have us believe it's being swept off our feet, a beautiful damsel, a knight in shining armor, and happily ever after. But it's better than that. It's pajamas at 6 PM and eating leftovers. It's a knowing look you share or speaking in code that makes your spouse break out in hysterical laughter! It's teaching your children shared values and emphasizing them over and over. It's rising up like a lion when the other has been attacked. It's the little things. It may be big things. It's the every day--not just the special days.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Rent-a-Kid?



We moms might joke about renting out our kids when we're overwhelmed or fed up...but losing our kids is actually one of our greatest fears!  When we hear of a kidnapping, child trafficking, or lost child we tend to hug our kids a little tighter. It's also the reason we so quickly share the posts of a lost child on Facebook--we can't imagine the heartache those parents are walking through. And then we warn our kids all over again that there are bad people out there and that they need to know what to do if they're ever afraid or in a bad situation. 

God said over and over, "Be Holy as I am holy."  He wasn't telling us to be perfect. He was telling us to keep ourselves set apart from the world--the bad, mean world that can kidnap our hearts. In reality, He was saying, "Stay close to Me!!  Don't stray away from My side where I can watch you and take care of you. You belong to me."  He was acting like any good parent wanting to protect His kids!  He knows there are evil things in this world which will corrupt us, damage us, hurt us, and take us places we don't really want to go!  His admonition is meant to protect us--not burden us down with unrealistic expectations. 

Be holy. Be set apart from the world. Stay close to God's side--for your own welfare, safety & protection.