Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Three Sons

Three Great Men of God!
From left to right:  David (middle son who is a worship pastor), Matt (oldest son who is a builder), Zach (youngest son who is a youth/worship pastor)

Lest you think they're stuffy godly men, this is what goes on behind the scenes.  So typical...I even had mugs made with a similar photo.  

God is transforming my three sons--in fact, our entire family!  (*Disclaimer:  Jay & Amy have grasped worshiping God as King and practicing the awareness of Him much earlier than the rest of us!  We've come to the table a little more slowly.)  But the rest of us have been reading some of the same books and watching this video series and calling and keeping the phones hot with texts with one another (at all times of the day and night) about what God is doing in, through, and around us.  (In fact, I had put my phone on mute and had it on my bedside table one night and it began bouncing all over the table vibrating about midnight while the boys were texting back and forth.  I had to put it under my pillow to sleep! But it was the first thing I checked the next morning!!)  God has been hitting us with the teaching of the tabernacle everywhere we turn!!  It's been so much fun!!  For instance...

Matt called us to tell us about another encounter (he's had several!) he had recently. He's gotten to where he expects these encounters because he's aware he's carrying the presence of God and tabernacling with others to meet with God.  Matt went to IHOP for dinner and a young guy was waiting on him.  When he got ready to go, he was just going to leave a couple of dollars for the guy--because the twenty-something guy just looked like a thug and Matt didn't want to be a part of any bad habits.  But God stopped him.  He asked Matt to empty his pockets and bless the waiter.  Matt told me he never carries cash!!  But his business partner had repaid something that had been charged on Matt's credit card and he had $150 in his pocket.  Matt argued with God and even looked around the restaurant to choose someone else to whom he could give the money.  And God responded with, "Who are you to argue with how I use MY MONEY??"  So the waiter came by with more coffee and the ticket and Matt invited him to sit down.  He asked the guy if he had a bill hanging over his head that he couldn't pay for which he'd been asking God for help.  The young guy looked at him with big eyes and said, "Wow!"  And then he told Matt that he had a bill that if he didn't pay it by Monday, he'd go to jail.  Matt was then able to share how much God loved him, wanted to help him, and had moved Matt to pay that bill.  This young "thug" began to cry.  And then he told Matt he wished he could give him a hug.  And, of course, Matt obliged.

Zach got to participate in a healing service at his church where an 80-something woman was able to raise her arm in praise--an arm which had been "frozen" for years.  We also went to hear Zach preach last week on how God wants to ignite our hearts with fire--the fire of truth and His presence!  David is diligently leading us in a life group where we are practicing the awareness of God and opening our hearts to Him.  We've taken communion together and experienced intimacy with God which was unlike anything we've ever experienced before.  He's challenged us to tabernacle with others throughout the week.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am!!  These sons of mine are exciting me with their excitement!  God is pouring Himself out and I am in awe.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Change...are we honest with ourselves?

(Imagine this in turquoise)

Change.  I've been thinking on it a lot lately.  Things are changing in my life and in lives all around me.  Some people say they don't like change.  I even had someone tell me that today.  But is that really true?

I have to think back to when Andy & I married.  If nothing had changed in the past 38 years, we'd still be living in a 2 bedroom apartment which had a turquoise kitchen, cone fireplace, with gold velvet furniture--and making $200/month.

Is it really "change" we don't like?  Or is it we want to be in control of the change that takes place in our lives?  Or is it we just want to be comfortable?  If we're honest, we really like change.  We like buying new furniture, new clothes, new cars.  We like seeing new places.  We enjoy watching our children grow up.  And we really like promotions!  So what is it about change that frightens us?  Fear of the unknown?  Fear of losing control?  Fear of having to make new friends?  Fear of loss?  Fear of new situations?

I never want to quit changing and I want to embrace the changes facing me.  I admit...change can be hard and frightening.  But I refuse to live in fear or clinging tightly to what I know. I want to be teachable.  I want to grow.  If we refuse to change, the only option is to quit growing.  And when we quit growing, we die.  The same is true in individuals or in churches.

Change.  God created change with the intent we would hold on to Him...the only thing which never changes.

These are just some things I'm thinking on tonight.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Step Pain

Gus Dietz

This is my youngest grandchild, Gus.  ADORABLE!!  Gus is 14-months-old and not quite brave enough yet to let go of chairs to step out across the floor.  He walks around furniture with the best of them!  Why hasn't he let go?  Well, I haven't been around him 24/7, but I imagine there have been a few moments of letting go and spiraling out of control--even hurting himself.  Gus is a very cautious guy and has probably learned from his pain. 

Just like Gus has learned pain from his first steps, we often learn pain from our first steps spiritually.  God may ask us to tell someone about Him and when we do, they reject the message.  It very much feels like they've rejected us and we just don't want to be put in that situation again, so we just walk around the furniture for the rest of our lives.  Or God may ask us to stand and speak truth in front of a large crowd of people and when we do, they emotionally stone us.  And we revert back to creeping.  We are constantly reminded of what that pain feels like and the enemy tells us to never put ourselves in that position again.

We're all going to fall as we learn to walk spiritually.  The problem is that the enemy wants us to think it's fatal--or to make it painful enough that we become overwhelmed with fear and never truly learn how to walk.  We have to remind ourselves that pain is a natural consequence of learning to walk--not a reminder to keep us walking around furniture--but a tool to guide us as we learn to put one foot in front of the other correctly.

I foresee a day in the very near future when Gus is going to let go and race across the room!  And when he does, we're going to cheer and clap--it will mean he has grown and overcome his fear.  (It will also mean his mom is going to become much busier!)  It's so much fun to watch a baby grow--whether it's physically or spiritually.  Don't be afraid to let go and do what God tells you to do!  You may fall...but don't let the fear cripple you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Emotional Healing with Truth

In 1991, the book Love Hunger Weight-Loss Book came out and Jamie Green suggested that I teach it.  I began reading the book and realized it was more about emotional healing than losing weight.  And I also realized I needed to work through some emotional healing because all kinds of feelings were bubbling up as I read it.  At the same time, Major Ian Thomas was at our church and I had an opportunity to ask him what he thought of emotional healing.  He said something like, "A bunch of nonsense!"  Ha!  But God wouldn't let go of me.  I knew I needed to address this subject.  So I approached Andy about it and told him I thought I needed to work through some emotional healing.  His words were to the effect, "Just please don't get bogged down in this!  I've seen too many people start the process and never leave the swamp of emotions."  So we agreed I'd give it about a month.  (In hindsight, I know God was laughing at us both!)

I used the book (which I can recommend to begin the process) but I also began praying, "God, lead me to Your Truth!" I knew this beginning truth: "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set  you free." John 8:32

Honestly, that first process didn't take long--probably a month.  I worked hard.  I wanted freedom in my life.  It was a very alone time for me as I met with God and allowed Him to do spiritual and emotional surgery on me. was painful.  Before God could reveal Truth to me, he had to uncover the lies I was believing.  That was hard.  Because most of those lies had come from spiritual leaders in my life.  Of course, the Bible was my measuring rod and anything that didn't line up with the Word of God had to go.  BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!!  The freedom that moved into my being was unbelievable and worth every pain I experienced along the way.  

I never finished the book and I didn't lose weight--except the weight of the emotional baggage I'd been carrying around.  But I also have to tell you it wasn't a one-time-thing.  God knows we can't handle too much at a time--it would be overwhelming to us.  So He's come to me at different times throughout my life with more healing in store.  The reason I'm even sharing this is because He's brought me to that place again.

I have some helps for you since I've been through this a few times:

  1. Before you begin, promise yourself you're not going to get bogged down in a cesspool of emotions.  Satan would like nothing better than to destroy you.  Find a spiritual partner you trust, can talk to openly, and who will hold you accountable.  Tell them what you plan on doing and ask them to make sure you don't get off-track or stay there too long.  If your emotions are overwhelming, find a godly counselor--it's OK!  
  2. Promise yourself you're going to forgive others as God reveals hurts.  Make up your mind ahead of time. And remember that God is a jealous God--He never allows people to meet all of our needs.  He wants to be the one to do that.  So if you become angry over a person not measuring up the way you expected or needed, realize God wanted you to find Him in that place.
  3. Let the Word of God be your standard.  If your thoughts or spiritual principles don't line up with the Word of God, toss them out!  Continually ask God for TRUTH that sets free!  Do this each time you meet with God.
  4. I can promise you that anger will emerge.  You may become angry at spiritual leaders, parents, siblings, a spouse, a boss, etc.  But don't sit down and write them a letter or call them at this point.  The only message they'll hear is that you are angry.  And they'll become defensive.  You may never need to talk to may just need to forgive them and move on.  (Forgiveness rule of thumb:  If it's been a public offense, it demands a public confession.  If it was a private offense between two people, it demands a private confession.  If it was an offense you only took up in your mind, the confession remains between you and God.)  And you have to remember...most of those people were probably doing their very best with the knowledge they had at the time.
  5. JOURNAL!!  Spill all of those emotions in your journal--just between you and God.  It is a catharsis to write it all out.  And later, you'll be able to go back and look at your spiritual journey.  In the book, Love Hunger, there's an exercise they give to write and write until your subconscious takes over.  I did that and learned a few things about myself of which I was totally unaware.
  6. I'm not sure how it's going to look for you.  But for me, once I became aware of lies, I was able to recognize them as lies, bring them to God and just confess, "these are lies!" And it's like He plucked them out and I turned my back on them.  I then asked Him to fill me with His Truth and I moved forward.  I'm sure it's not going to look like that for everyone.  But I see things as very black & white and that's the way it was for me.
  7. Forgive yourself.  You may feel a lot of guilt for not knowing these things were there--or for passing them on to your children!  But God's grace covers this.  And He's delighted that you have come in agreement with Him and are being set free!  Put yourself in the place of a parent.  If your child had been held hostage and had been released, wouldn't you be celebrating?? You will want to share the truth you've discovered with your kids if they're old enough to understand.  Otherwise, course correction in your own life will be effective with younger kids.  And it may involve you asking forgiveness of others if you've passed on emotional wounds or lies.
  8. Embrace the freedom!  It may be scary at first.  I liken it to a baby coming out of the womb.  That baby may flail because it's out of it's secure place and the lights are bright and it's cold!  It's totally unfamiliar.  But know that God has brought you into freedom.  And you are certainly going to warm up to it.  It becomes exhilarating!
  9. Prepare to go through these steps again and again throughout your life.  You will become more and more free!  And it's never as hard as that first time.  God wants you to know the Truth and be set free by it!  You won't have to plan those times...I promise God will be faithful to bring you to them. 
  10. Spend time praising God and getting to know Him and love Him on a new level.  Freedom affords that opportunity!  Stay in the Word and test everything you hear from now on before you receive it as truth!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Joshua Generation; Has God Anointed a New Generation?

Recently, I was having a conversation with my son, David, and was telling him that from my perspective I see that God is bypassing our generation (who have spent a great deal of time grumbling and complaining) and has anointed his generation to lead the Church.  He looked at me and said, "The Joshua Generation."  YES!  Exactly!  That's what I meant.  Later, I learned I wasn't the only one to think that.  All you have to do is google "Joshua Generation" to see what I mean.

If you remember the story of Joshua, Moses sent out 12 spies to scout out the Promised Land.  They all came home carrying huge burdens of produce and proclaiming how fruitful the land was.  But 10 of the men said, "There are GIANTS in the land!!"  Joshua & Caleb declared, "But God has promised the land to us and we can overtake them!"  God was fed up with the children of Israel's lack of faith and told them they would wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation had died off and He'd give the land to their children.  And they spent the next 40 years wandering and complaining.  They'd lost sight of the goal--to believe God for His promise.

I feel that is much like my generation and the one preceding me.  Our kids have gotten sick of the traditional church because all they've heard is the grumbling and complaining.  Those churches aren't going anywhere---they're wandering in their self-made circles of what they think worship should look like (since it's all about them) and complaining when they don't get their way.  They can't even remember what the goal is.  All they can think about is themselves...what they want and how they want "church" to look.  They certainly don't know how to get to the Promised Land.  Don't you think it's interesting that the next generation of Israel wasn't complaining...considering the example they'd seen and heard in their parents?  Nope.  They. were. sick. of. it.

I see our children striking out on their own.  They want to reach the Promised Land!!  They want to live an anointed life and walk in faith...believing God for what He's promised.  They want to hear God and learn deeper truths from His Word.  They're writing, teaching, writing songs, singing...they're believing and carrying the presence of God with them.

The rest of us have a choice.  We can choose our own way--walking in the circle of comfort in the wilderness we've known for years, grumbling and complaining--or be like Joshua & Caleb--the two left of their generation who got to enter the Promised Land because of their belief.  Yes!  There are still giants in the land but God has promised to go before us and to be our shield and defender.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be left behind!!  I believe...and I'm going in.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Unspoken by Dee Henderson

In my humble opinion, this is Dee Henderson's best book to date.  And I would name Dee Henderson among my top 5 favorite authors.  If you are looking for a good book to read, run buy this book!

Charlotte Graham shows up behind Bryce Bishop's coin dealer's store with an offer he couldn't refuse--buying rare coins from a private estate that would make him a wealthy man.  Bryce's friend from the FBI made the introduction to Charlotte and the more Bryce learns of her, the more mysterious she becomes and the more Bryce wants to know about her.  He eventually learns Charlotte is really Ruth Bazoni--the girl who'd made national news with her kidnapping when she was 16 and her subsequent four year captivity.  She'd actually been kidnapped with her twin sister, but had kicked her sister out of the van door which saved her sister from the same captivity.  Even though her captors had been killed, Charlotte now lived under constant security and enough secrecy that Bryce needed to uncover the layers so he could pursue her.  In the course of discovery, he learned that Charlotte was a very wealthy woman.  She was liquidating her grandfather's estate (which is where the coins came from) and looked to Bryce to find places to give some of her money.  Charlotte maintains she is single for life and Bryce learns it's because of things that happened during her four years of captivity.  This case has definitely not been completely resolved.

In this book, Dee Henderson deals with relationships of these characters in a masterful way.  She deals with emotions, pain, and past in her character's lives that show a depth that must come from her own experience.  
I give his book a high 5 out of 5 stars!
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, October 6, 2013

So glad my wisdom teeth are already out!

So glad my wisdom teeth are already out...and before they had cell phones and YouTube!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Couple of Young Bucks Teaching Me

I am absolutely loving how God is pouring out His Spirit with truth on a younger generation!  I am obsessed over two books I am reading.  They are changing my life.  Michael Kelley has written a new book called Boring; Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life.  And Zach Neese has written How to Worship a King.  Both of these young men are young enough to be my sons....or at least a nephew.  ;)  Let me see if I can do both books justice by describing them a bit. But please...don't take my word for it. RUN out and get them both!!  You'll be so glad you did.  Both guys have a great writing style and the truth they're teaching is very similar.  But don't read one without reading the other.  I promise you won't be disappointed!

In Boring, Michael convinced me early in the book that God is in the ordinary.  How many of us are always looking for that one big next thing--the one where God will use us or appear to us?  Or we may be looking for one emotional spiritual experience after another.  But instead, we feel stuck in the mundane things of life--changing diapers, going to work day after day, picking up kids from baseball, working on a car, or cleaning house.  It's easy for us to believe that God is holding out on us.  (Which is the same lie Satan told Eve:  "Did God really say that you can't eat from any tree in the garden?")  When, in fact, Michael says, "God is not a miser.  He's not holding out on us.  There isn't anything else if you have been given Jesus...He's given us everything He has to give in Christ.  In fact, the very idea that there might be something else is a direct challenge to the love of God, and ultimately the subtext behind Satan's words in the garden in Genesis 3."  God is in the ordinary.  Wherever you are, God is there.  You carry the presence of Christ, so He is in the ordinary.  And do you realize (as Michael so aptly points out with his many examples), that every time God did something extraordinary in the Bible, it started out as an ordinary day?  When God says he works all things for our good, it means ALL.  Not just the big things.  He's using our conversation in the break room, on the playground with the kids, while getting our car serviced---all these things for our good.  How many times have you had a very normal conversation that turned into something life changing?  God uses the normal, boring things in our lives and up in a big way.  

How to Worship a King isn't unlike Boring.  Zach Neese uses the tabernacle to explain the protocol of worshiping the King of kings.  And through his video series based on his book (which I'm watching with a small group), he explains how we are priests and carry the presence of God with us everywhere we go.  Knowing that we carry the presence of God transforms the ordinary into a meeting with us, God, and the people we meet.  God tabernacles with us. He explains how we must enter through the gate with thanksgiving and praise in order to meet with God.  I love how he said in the third video that every time God meets with us, it's through the same triumphal procession as when Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey with people praising and waving palm branches.  Jesus is the gate...and we must enter the gate through praise and thanksgiving.  He goes through each step of the tabernacle explaining what it means for our lives today.  It's an exceptional book.  It's like David Dietz said, "I started out highlighting the things I wanted to remember...and now my entire book is highlighted!"

What God has taught me personally through these two men:  Be content.  Quit looking for the spectacular and divine moments.  Instead, praise, worship, and believe you're carrying the presence of God.  That makes each moment divine.  Can I give you an example?  Yesterday, Andy & I went to Amarillo to visit two people in the hospital.  We went in total awareness that we were carrying the presence of God with us.  We didn't know what that was going to look like as we went to minister to two families. Both visits were very ordinary.  But we carried the presence of God with us--which made it divine.  Then we went to lunch at Olive Garden and out of my mouth popped something to our waiter I'd never done before.  It wasn't premeditated at all.  I told him Andy & I were going to pray for our food and asked if there was anything we could pray for  him.  He told us several things going on in his life and we kept our word and prayed for him.  (Of course, we left a nice tip and a note to encourage him.)  It was an ordinary lunch that became a tabernacle between the three of us and God.

God has been in the process for years to bring me to this new understanding...taught to me by two young bucks!  I'm so grateful God is using a new generation to bring truth to me.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Feeding our soul

Lindsey's front porch

Gus on Shanna's front porch beside the Cinderella pumpkin.  (Isn't my youngest grandbaby adorable?  Look at those cheeks!)

We took Dax & Gus to a sunflower field one afternoon for fall photos.

I got my hands involved in helping my daughters-in-law decorate their porches for fall.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE fall???  It's my very favorite time of the year.  In fact, Andy & I got married in the fall and went to Red River for our honeymoon.  We try to go see the changing of the leaves in Red River every year to celebrate our anniversary.  But...I digress.  I couldn't help myself.  The girls were wanting color on their porches and I got to be involved in the project.  Lindsey's front porch got a splash of color with mums.  Shanna's front porch started with a pumpkin and some gourds.  We later had to make a run to Dumas to find mums (and I didn't get a picture of the finished project).  

After it was all said and done, I had to admit this fed my soul.  There's something about adding beauty to your life, to your home...that is refreshing, renewing and restorative.  Because I don't have a house this fall, it would have been easy to skip the fall decorations.  But I'm so glad I didn't.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A World Out of Control...and a God Who Isn't

I rarely watch the news.  I honestly can't handle it--it's too overwhelming to me.  If I could, I would probably be the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand.  But I can't go that far.  I've chosen resources I trust and read their updates on what's going on in the world.  But I also get a bellyful of information on Facebook.  The problem with that is you can't trust everything that's put out there.  But...really?  Can we trust the info we're hearing from anyone?  For those people around my age, we had Walter Cronkite as a news anchor and we all trusted him (and really probably shouldn't have).  But it was a kinder and gentler generation and we were full of trust--and they told us they were unbiased reporters.  Do I believe in conspiracy theories?  Absolutely!  Satan has a conspiracy to kill us all.  Will he use people?  No doubt.

I've probably said this before on my blog, but I'll never forget going to Tibet and hearing a voice come over the loudspeakers all over Lhasa.  I asked Marcy what they were saying and her reply was, "Oh, it's just their propaganda!"  I went home thinking on that and asking myself if we were hearing propaganda in the U.S.A.--but just in a different way.  Of course we do!  Everyone has an agenda today.  No one is unbiased.  (In my humble opinion...)

Honesty, I feel like our world is spinning out of control.  And it probably is.  If you agree with the Bible, you know it doesn't get better!  There are going to be some cataclysmic things take place in the future.   But I cling to what The Word says, "I charge you in the sight of God who gives us life...
God, who is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters, the only source of immortality, the one who lives in unapproachable light, the one whom no mortal eye has ever seen or ever can see. To him be acknowledged all honour and power for ever, amen!"  
I Timothy 6:13-16 J.B.Phillips Translation (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Some people would never believe how much you love them--or even think that you love them at all.  In fact, some people have faced so much rejection in their lives, they don't know how to open up to love.   They just don't feel lovable and can't accept love.

And maybe we don't even realize how deeply we love them until they walk out of our lives.  That's happened...and I'm sad.  Very sad.

I went to God and told Him that I knew what it must feel like--on a small scale--when someone doesn't choose Him.

And He said, "No small scale to it.  This is how it feels for someone to be confronted with My love and choose to walk away."

And I cried with Him.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Comfort Zone

I've become very familiar lately with my comfort zone.  Basically, by being moved out of it!  Most of us don't like change.  Or maybe we tolerate some change...until it starts making us hurt or stretching us in ways we don't want to be stretched.

Of course, today we're reminded about bigger comfort zones--with a government shutdown.  Maybe it really hasn't affected you, depending on whether you work for the government.  I certainly saw in my own life how easy it is to "eat, drink and be merry" while other people are devastated by this turn of events.

I have a nephew and niece who have moved out of their comfort zone to reach people for Christ.  I'd love for you to watch their video here.  They're not alone....I know lots of people who have made a similar choice.

Being forced out of your comfort zone can be big or small.  I have a friend today who is being moved out of her comfort zone as she hosts people she doesn't know in her home.  That's a big deal in a small way.

Comfort zones are a funny thing.  We create this imaginary force field around us thinking we are exempt from invasion.  I think God deliberately invades our comfort make us uncomfortable.  It's then that we're reminded that He is God....and it's all His.