Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Proverbs 7:14-23

14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
    and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
    I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
    with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
    with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
    let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
19 My husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
    and will not be home till full moon.”
21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
    she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[
a] stepping into a noose[b]
23     till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.
Here we see how seduction works. It is interesting to see these passages unfold and to know the schemes of the enemy.  Let’s look at what seduction looks like – and know this, this is speaking of sexual sin- but, I would offer that seduction looks the same no matter what our poison is. Satan is not that crafty to reinvent what works so well in our feeble stands against temptation.
She looked for HIM and found him, after preparing a feast meant for HIM.  Can you see self importance, flattery and pride entering into our busy square to entertain our simple boy?   She came out to meet Him. In that moment, there is no other, all of the attention is focused on our boy to ensnare him through her manipulative attention and flattery.
Promises of comfort, opulence and indulgence of all of the senses.  Sight, touch, smell all will be fulfilled and satiated.
She calls it “love” she makes it admirable, insinuating that he is her beloved.  Sin always comes disguised as palatable and justifiable. Call it lust and it looses the romance, the flowers and the lure. Disguise it, though our hearts know better, but….- disguise it in the moment as something that is honorable and true ----and we can lick our lips and entertain the thoughts of allowing seduction to continue.
She promises a good time, fun and intoxicating the senses with pleasure.  Our resolve begins to slip away  as temptation soothes our consciences with words that coat us with honey.  We can turn off our internal dialogue- after all, this is love, and a feast, and prepared just for us……what is your temptation?  What does your inner dialogue sound like?
She promises safety – that they wont get caught. What do we have to loose?  Each promises builds on itself, from vanity of self, to indulgence of the senses, to validation through honorable words, such as love – to the promise that you will not be caught.
…..and the deed is done……our simple boy falls like a house of cards. His goose is cooked.  He can not hold up to the persuasion that she presents and he is led astray. “All at once” he followed her..because the battle was in his mind.  We were watching his battle unfold as each decision was compromised, we saw his mind, his simple mind, open up to all the  possibilities. Once his mind gave in, his feet were quick to follow….
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[
a] stepping into a noose[b]
23     till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Proverbs 7: 8-10

He was going down the street near her corner,
    walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight, as the day was fading,
    as the dark of night set in.
10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
    dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.

If we think of the simple boy from yesterday, we will notice from our window, that he is going  down her street.  The thought has been laid and the feet are following. To keep every thought before Christ is to allow restrictions and discipline into our thinking and into our heart.  As we enter into sins street, I imagine the long moving sidewalks at the airport.  As we set our sights on the destination of our indulgence and sin – we enter onto this moving walkway that sweeps us to her front door----we need not move ---our thoughts have already taken us there.
The day is fading- the darkness settles around us as we are whisked ever closer to her door, through the thoughts of our imaginations and longings. The woman will come out to meet us. Sin longing for a home, will play with our thoughts and our minds and manipulate our emotions to keep us on that moving walkway, until we enter into her grasp.
BUT GOD…..but God came so that we might live fully .  But God, came so that we can have power over sin. But God, came so that we would house the power and authority within us. But God came to shatter every paradigm and give us a way off of the moving walkway.
We continue on with our reading:
11 (She is unruly and defiant,
    her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    at every corner she lurks.)

Remember that our enemy has a counterfeit for every good thing that comes from the Father.  Let us remember Wisdom:
“Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, in the markets she raises her voice at the head of the city gates she speaks, “ How long, o simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Proverbs 1:20-23

Wisdom does not lurk- she occupies the marketplace and stands by the city gates.  The adulteress is unruly and defiant, in the streets, in the squares at every corner she lurks.  Can you feel the counterfeit or our Lady Wisdom?  Both occupy our cities, but who has our attention?

He Set His Affections on You

12-13 So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.
14-18 Look around you: Everything you see is God’s—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that’s you!—out of all the other peoples. That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded.- Deuteronomy 10: The Message

I love the translation that says, " God SET HIS AFFECTIONS on your ancestors."   The wods "Set" here is: chashaq : to long for, delight in and deliver.

Sometimes it feels like what we do doesn't matter and our lives haven't amounted to much.  I want you to know that you were chosen before you were formed, and though the world has murdered every good thing in your life- He SETS HIS AFFECTION ON YOU.

It doesn't matter where you've been or what you've done, His love is relentless and reckless. Look up today and reach out your hand to the heavens- there is one that knows, that sees and that can usher HOPE into your heart again.  Look up, precious pne and see the God who never left you. <3

Monday, March 28, 2016

Proverbs 7:6-7

At the window of my house
    I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
    I noticed among the young men,
    a youth who had no sense.

These passages hit me on a number of my senses and sensibilities. From the protection of our hearts, and homes, do we watch as others approach dangerous intersections? We have talked of this before- the watching a life unfold- as we are compelled to watch a train wreck. We have our popcorn and our large drink…we look at our windows at the simple and- we watch and wait and have another bite of popcorn.  We watch the simple boy, the seducible, fool hardy open minded youth carve his path to destruction.  Do you want to yell out your window?  Get his “open-minded” attention and fill it with truths and wisdom?  Do you want to go and rush into the streets and offer his a bite of your popcorn to distract from the folly that awaits?
            AS Christians- we are called to a tightrope of love and grace.  To love the world recklessly, while offering the truth through the lens of grace and mercy.  Put away our pointing fingers and take up a heart of compassion.  Look at the young lad and know that he is someone’s son.  A baby that was raised with universes of potential planted within, as he begins to walk his path of destruction.  What would Jesus do? What would a mother do? What will you do?
            We were in Savannah last week and I saw a boy.  He was just a boy, a simple boy og 18 or so.  He was so dirty, so bedraggled and matted. Filth was his companion. We only passed him by in the car, a fleeting glance and a look through my window at a boy, in desperate need of an intervention.  He might not want an intervention, help or a bite of my popcorn----but, I can pray for a boy that got lost on the streets of Savannah, and forgot whose he is.  A boy that beat down the bath to destruction and lives in bondage now. A boy who has a mother, who bore him into a world of infinite possibilities, including sin and depravity. I can pray for this simple boy and I can pray miracles and hope would be found within him today.  I pray for divine appointments and angels that lead him towards wisdom. I pray for more than casting glances, I pray relationship and discipleship into this young man’s life.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cancer Does Not Define You

Last night's painting from the "Relay for Life" concert-

Cancer does not define us. All of the different colors of cancer (pink breast, orange leukemia, blue colon, etc...) are represented flying around this young boy - they can smudge us and make us falter, drop us to our knees and the brink of utter exhaustion - but they do not define who we are. As Children of the Most High, Hope is our inheritance,and through Jesus we find our identity.
There is a cloud of purple around Him, purple is the color of royalty- it is who we really are. Cancer may be swirling around you in this season, it may have taken a loved one from your arms too soon. This young boy is breathing out the HOPE that is housed within Him into His atmosphere, into the bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes that cancer has dealt. He breathes out the reality of our identity, conquering cancer- because it is not who we are, rather we focus on "WHOSE" we are.
My friend, sums it up best....cancer is a "little C", I am trusting in "The Big C", Christ.
Romans 15:13 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Blessed, beyond compare, that I got to paint at the event last night. I am still on a Karen Peck and Brian Free euphoria!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Praying in Color

A visual prayer for my family.  Each symbol is connected to a prayer that is being spoken at His Throne of Grace.  What a great idea to keep those we love front and center in our prayer lives!!!

Custom orders accepted!  Would make a great baby gift, bridal shower gift, graduation gift!  Email me for details!  <3

Friday, March 25, 2016

May I Wear The Wonder of the Cross Everyday

Bible Journaling
"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD." Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai his face shone because he had spoken to the Lord.  His face reflected the Glory of the Lord. The people were afraid to come near him, because of the visible transformation that had appeared on his face. Interaction brought transformation.

Do I reflect this glory in my face and in my attitude- or has my interaction with God become something that I take for granted? Would a cloud by day and a pillar by night grab my attention and get me to remember whose I am?  Probably not.  The Israelites had a tent in their camp, that housed the Lord, a mountain where He passed Moses by, a cloud and a pillar, physical manifestations and miracles became common plac.  We tend to get used to things. 

 I pray that we all, as the Bride of Christ, wear our God on our faces as Moses did. That our appearance is altered because of the Spirit of God that is housed within us.  I pray that I would never loose my wonder of God and the miracles He delivers to His children every day.  We serve a living God that fosters relationship.  May I wear the wonder of the cross everyday.

Proverbs 7:1-5

My son, keep my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend
What a beautiful ending to this weeks lesson: Solomon urges us, once again that Wisdom is to be trusted- as a sister.  She is not alluring and “dangerous”. Not to be trusted.  She will not capture us with her eyelids and lead us into deception. Have you started thinking of “Wisdom” as a woman? I find that I do, I can see her guiding me and revealing higher ground as I go through my day.  I love that Solomon started us out with a concept that can become familiar and trusted, cozy and safe.
Keep these commandments and live. To live through Christ, is to know and operate, out of the fruits of the Spirit.  I would call this place LIFE.  To operate through the Gifts of the Spirit, to Glorify Him and to make disciples is “living”. To look our Savior in the eye, not paying attention to our circumstances to see if we are OK is to operate above the turmoils of the day. Faith and walking through Wisdom is not a destination, but a journey we will be on for the rest of our lives.  We do not reach the mountaintop and reside there.  We make one decision at a time, we commit to walking without fainting. In the process, we get to see the blue sky and hear the birds. We get to walk with those we love and laugh. We see babies take their first breath, and we see loved ones let out that breath- as they escape to eternity. We get to live this life through the wonder of the Lamb. Thank you Father for this day and all of the wonders You have wrapped into it!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Proverbs 6:30-35

30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
    he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
    he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy makes a man furious,
    and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
    he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
These passages seem to be speaking of the character of a man and the intentions of a man’s heart.  We are comparing a thief who steals to survive- to a man that commits adultery.  One is satisfying a human need, while the other satisfies the lusts of the flesh.  Need vs. want. Survival vs. desire. Solomon is very clear that there is no good that comes from walking this path.
The repercussions of the two getting caught are as different as night and day.  The thief will pay back sevenfold what he took, giving over even the goods of his house to payback the debt.  For him, the thievery was about survival not gluttony.The thievery that takes place in adultery is promised disgrace, wounds and dishonor. Jealousy is a formidable foe.
I am so grateful that we have a Savior that is always ready to forgive, through our repentant heart. Left to our own devices we are a mess waiting to get messier. We are in desperate need of a Savior to save us from ourselves.  There are some circumstances that we may get ourselves into where forgiveness is not readily available from those that we have hurt. No matter what we do, or how we approach them – the wedge between is too great to be crossed through the footsteps of one.  There was a time that I worked with women that were serving jail time.  Through addictions, prostitution and bad choices, their families had given up on them. I would offer them arms to hold and an ear to listen, with truth, grace and mercy sprinkled liberally through our bible studies. I told them that we can only be responsible for our own hearts and getting our own heart right with the Lord.  We have control over changing our behavior and making better choices. We can pray for those that we have hurt- but reconciliation may not be forthcoming.  Give it to the Lord- He is the one that works in hearts and raises dry bones to life.  He can resurrect relationships that are dead, through our repentant, prayerful hearts.  Take care of your heart and let Him take care of the rest.

My Colorful Bible: Luke 6

Are there things that offend you and render you easily angered and upset?  I think it's called "The Human Condition".  As His children, we are called to allow His Spirit to shine into our hearts and convict those places of carnality that demand justification and vindication.  When we stop blaming and resisting, festering and ruminating, we allow a breath of light into our past, where Holy Spirit offers to cleanse and repair our hurting hearts, through forgiveness.

We can't fix others, we cant demand apologies.  We aren't called to  force and confront.  Oswald Chambers says, " If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn't ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right."

Would you allow that to happen today, so that you can look back at your circumstances and say, "It is finished" while you enter into a season of prayer for those that hurt you- as the forgiveness takes root in your heart?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Salty Sidewalks Hits the newstands!!!

Praise the Lord and Thank You Father for this year of multiplication!!!

Proverbs 6:23-29

their corrective discipline
    is the way to life.
24 It will keep you from the immoral woman,
    from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
25 Don’t lust for her beauty.
    Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,[a]
    but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
    and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28 Can he walk on hot coals
    and not blister his feet?
29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
    He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
Corrective discipline is stated here as a way to life. I know that in raising my kids, discipline is a gift- not a curse.  Discipline, when used correctly, says, “I love you too much to allow that behavior- it will hurt you eventually”.  God loves us too much to leave us where we are. I am in awe of this book of Proverbs. My entire life I have used it as a quick reference to back up an argument.  The richness, and depth, that we are finding staggers my paradigms of God. He loved us this much that He laid out a manual for living! I love the imagery of Solomon and how He captures me with his visual word paintings. To “capture someone with her eyelashes” – beautiful, powerful images caress and tantalize our imaginations- evoking images that beg to be put on paper. I love that we are doing this study together and uncovering Wisdom in all of her beauty, and capturing the process through paint and pen.
We are back into the subject of adultery and sin.  Sin that is thought through and acted on- surely it will bring death. Sin festers within, holding us in bondage.  Christ came so that we might live abundant lives. When we turn from that abundant life, the wages of sin are death- physical, mental, spiritual death – where hope is gone and despair is a companion. When we play with sin- we think we can get away with it, control it – manipulate it to our will. We can’t.  Whatever it is, it will become bigger than we can handle and it will own us.  Play with fire and you get burned. Scoop heaping coals on your lap and you will get burned.  Walk on hot coals and you will get blisters. There may be something that you are playing with that is going to burn you.  I would ask you today to turn it over to Christ and allow His light into that darkness.  You  may feel the beginning of the blisters, and the heat of the burn…give it over to Him today and allow His grace and truth be your balm.  There is always life through Christ- there is always hope in the balm of repentance. You can never fall too far, or be out of sight of God.  He sits and waits on the front porch, waiting for His prodigal daughter to come home to Him. Perhaps today is the day you  will return to your first love?

My Colorful Bible: Psalm 66

Check out how I did this spread in my videos below:

 Be blessed in His word through color and revelation today!  <3

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Graphite and Baby Oil!

Do You Trust Him More than You Fear Your Circumstances?

Day Two
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
For His commandments ( A rule to observed as strictly as the 10 commandments) are a lamp, that offers us a light into the darkness.  A lamp offers a way and a comfort. Think of a nightlight, and the comfort that is drawn from being able to see what is around us.  His light offers us wisdom as well, so that we can discern where we are going as we follow her through the treacherous landscape of life.
His teachings ( Ideas or principles taught by an authority) are a light – and I love all of the implications that are wrapped up into this one word.  The word is: “OWR” meaning:  (The comments are my own holy imagination running with these concepts and what this for of “light” means to me)
1.     light
1.     light of day: Walking in full wisdom
2.     light of heavenly luminaries (moon, sun, stars) The Lord as a constant in our horizon- leading and shining
3.     day-break, dawn, morning light Wisdom begins with one decision at a time, one second at a time, like the dawn breaking over the dark horizon.
4.     Lightning  Flashes of Wisdom – those “aha-ha” moments
5.     light of lamp – breaking into the darkness, providing safety and a path
6.     light of life: Oh my word.  That His teachings are LIFE
7.     light of prosperity : His teachings do not offer me prosperity – they are, in and of themselves: prosperity.  Within these teachings full life can be found!
8.     light of instruction : In the light we can find instruction and discipline to keep us on track.  The Father disciplines those He loves.
9.     light of face (fig.) : Like Moses coming off of the mountain – we should be altered by our interactions with Wisdom
10.  Jehovah as Israel's light: He is Israel’s light and mine as well.
His teachings become more than a light- they are truly illumination into the mysteries of God and the way to a full life.
This past week I had to bring my dogs in for their shots.  I have a dog that is my dog, through and through.  We did agility together, dog shows, he was my constant companion when he was younger. The vet needed to get blood from him.  They put him in a stranglehold and dug into his leg, unable to find a vein. They took it out and dug and stuck and dug some more.  Simon did not look at what was going on around him.  He only looked at me. His big, brown eyes bore into me and only me.  He needed to know if he was ok.  The needle came out and was jabbed back in, searching under the skin for a vein.  I could feel the question, “Am I ok?” He never took his eyes off of me as I reassured him.  As long as I was ok with what was happening, he was ok----and he took whatever the world was throwing at him.  He trusted me more than he feared the circumstances. 
That’s Wisdom and that’s our Lord –if we can keep our eyes focused on Him.  If He says that we are OK, I can trust Him and not focus on the circumstances.  This is the peace of God that surpasses all understanding: Do you trust Him more than you fear the circumstances?  Keep your eyes focused on the one that makes everything Ok!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Are You Grieving The Leaving?

In Numbers 33:5-47 The verses start out with "They left" recounting the Israelites journey through the wilderness in preparation for the Promised Land. I love that Moses starts each verse with their beginnings being noted as they left a location.
10 They left Elim and camped by the Red Sea.[b]
11 They left the Red Sea and camped in the Desert of Sin.
12 They left the Desert of Sin and camped at Dophkah.
13 They left Dophkah and camped at Alush.

Have you ever felt like leaving was an ending, the end of a book, the closing of a relationship?  Walking away and closing a door- whether you want it to be closed or not?
Did you find yourself grieving the leaving?
What if the leaving was merely the introduction of your next chapter?
What if the leaving was actually your next beginning?
What if your recorded, like Moses, your beginnings as you left a place ?

The Lord had to have his children leave one place in order to get them where He wanted them.  He was leading them to their Promised Land. Maybe your "Goodbye" is really a disguised "Hello".

Proverbs 6:20-22

20 My son, keep your father's commandment,
    and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
    tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they[d] will lead you;
    when you lie down, they will watch over you;
    and when you awake, they will talk with you.

I just love the visual that Solomon continues to expound on as we speak of holding the commandments and teachings on our heart.  Here the visual is expanded to include an interaction with these precepts—they will lead us – but will we follow?  Are we happy where they lead us? They will lead us through righteousness and holiness….and, sometimes we want to walk a path that we devise ourselves.  But – the truth is staggering -that the precepts of the Lord GO BEFORE US. We are, truly, never alone. If we will remember WHOSE we are – Wisdom sets a path for us through the mine field of life.  Holy Obedience to the ordinary is laid out before us – we simply have to keep our eyes focused on the ways of Wisdom and walk the path that has ben laid out for us.  How wonderful is our God?
My son is getting ready to go to college next year.  My brother ws curious about his ideas on partying.  I told my brother that, “We raised up in our morals and values.  AS he flies, we can only pray that it took and that it is part of his character and moral fiber.”  We raised him in love and we release him to his tomorrows in love.  He will make mistakes- but I told him not to live in them. Get right with God and man and move on. Wisdom is his friend and guide as we release him into the world.
We are never too old to have this guide as a comrade and companion. When we lie down, these precepts will watch over us. Here the word is “Shamar” – to treasure up, to keep, retain and to restrain.  In sleep, Wisdom does not leave us, rather, she is treasured up within our hearts to prepare for another day.  She  preserves and protects us as we slumber. Wisdom restrains us, even while we sleep – IF- we keep her precepts on our heart and around our neck.
And here – the promises in the next part make my heart glad.   When we awake- Wisdom will talk to us, through  prayer, inmuse, as we meditate upon her precepts, through study, as we ponder, as we  talk, sing, speak
The word here is (Polel) to meditate, consider, put forth thoughts.
Wisdom is not a dead thing that we study and we try to remember.  Wisdom is living and breathing and she walks with us and talks with us, protects us and guides us.  Is that not amazing??  We aren’t studying a book here, we are becoming acquainted with God.
Is this a revelation for you – that Wisdom is a companion that we can choose to follow? What are the temptations that keep your eyes away from the path that Wisdom lays out?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Want To Learn More About Bible Journaling?

Join our FREE creative community, where we seek to glorify Him through paint and pen! Technique videos, different creative groups, constant encouragement and hel, prayer and outreach ministries-----all housed under one roof!  Check it out:

Friday, March 18, 2016

Proverbs 6 : 16 - 19

Proverbs 6 taken from The Message
16-19 Here are six things God hates,
    and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
Things that the Lord detests:

A heart that hatches evil plots: A heart, as the seat of our emotions, our moral character and passions----hatching evil plots.   This very same heart that we are writing the precepts of Wisdom on- is capable of such evil.  This human heart of ours has to take responsibility for concentration camps and wars of hate and discrimination.  This human heart is capable of violence and gross perversity.  This heart of ours is a battleground that needs to be guarded.
A heart committed to doing evil, hatching plans and schemes to divide the Body. 
Feet that race down a wicked track: Feet that are impetuous in embracing evil., trouble and mischief.
A mouth that lies under oath,  We are brought back to the lying tongue, and the importance of our word and our promises.
A troublemaker in the family, one that divides rather than encourages and unifies.
The body is meant to be unified and operate as one.  To walk out the Glory of the Lord on Earth, embracing His lost sheep and making disciples out of nations. When one comes into the body that is bent on division, havoc is wreaked.
We are responsible for our thoughts, our actions, our intent and our promises. All of these have to come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Operating this vessel of mine through the treachery of the World, truly, becomes possible only with Wisdom as my guide!

Are You Missing Your Blessings?

Anna: A Story of Hopeful Expectation 

The Prophecy of Anna

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.[a] She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.  Luke 2:36-38 (NLT)

Anna lived in the temple, after her husband passed away, worshipping God, day and night through fasting and prayer.  I can not begin to imagine the many prayers that she sent to God's throne through the sweet aroma of prayer in the decades that she lived in the Temple. But, I can imagine that she was praying for The Messiah.  
I  dont know about you, but a lot of times my prayers enter the throne room with my wishes and expectations attached.  The "How I would Like To See This Prayer Answered" for God's benefit.  When prayers aren't answered according to my specifications, I get angry at God and can deny His existence.
Enter the story of Anna, who met her Savior is swaddling clothes. I wonder, in the 84 years of prayer, if she began to imagine what the Messiah would look like. Did she begin to anticipate a knight in shining armor....or at least, a man? Who could have foreseen the Savior of the world as a baby? Anna was so in tune with God, she met her world through holy expectation and hopeful anticipation, allowing the unimaginable to become tangible.

Do we reject God's answers to prayer because it is not what we thought it would look like? Do we miss our blessings because we are only watching and waiting for things as we think they should look? Ephesians 3:20 says that God will do MORE than we can fathom or imagine - why put Him in a box? With prayerful heart and faith,  allow Him to explode your paradigms today and show up in the unexpected!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Proverbs 6:16-19

A 20 week old fetus, as seen at the Body Works Exhibit
Taken from The Message
16-19 Here are six things God hates,
    and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
These six things are enemies to God, in fact these seven things are detestable, an abomination, to the Lord.  Let’s look at them:
Arrogant eyes: Here the word for arrogant means “exalted , lifting up”. As we lift ourselves up through our own ideas and ideology,  imagine interacting with the world from your self imposed high places.  Imagine that you HAVE TO look down on everyone else when you have raised yourself up above them.  
Arrogant: having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or ability.  We can see that this would stop the Body of Christ from working together…you can’t join hands and hearts when others are lifted out of reach.  Arrogant hearts seem to come at life through the lens that they are always right, and don’t seem to have a teachable spirit.  It is hard to learn, and have fellowship,  with one that has elevated self .  They are always out of reach and looking down their noses upon the masses at their feet.. Arrogance is not unifying, but dividing. Arrogance stakes one sheep against the herd- isolated, alone and easy pickin’s for the enemy.
Jesus came and donned human sandals, walking through the dust of earth to interact and save His Bride.  What right, under what circumstances could we feel justified to elevate ourselves?  It seems that the second we think we “have arrived” we are really just getting started. 
Arrogance divides it does not unify the Body.
A Tongue that lies: I always tell my kids that as long as they tell the truth, I will back them and be behind them.  The second that they lie, I can’t trust what comes out of their mouth. I don’t think that white lies are ok, or lies that get us out of sticky situations.  Lying is lying and once there is a  step over that line – nothing can be trusted that comes from these lips.
You know, this call of holy obedience to the ordinary is not the easy path.  But easy doesn’t change the world or transform the heart. It is easy to call in “Sick” to work when you are exhausted and just need a day off.  But, that is really a little white lie.  There is no such thing- a lie is a lie. Start walking towards the door of seduction that is labelled “Acceptable lying” and soon truth and lies become so intertwined they are intangible as separate entities.  The house of cards is fragile when it is built through a liars tongue.
A liar can never be trusted and will divide the Body of Christ.
Hands that murder the innocent.  I have to take you back a few weeks to a day that I took my art students to a museum exhibit called “Body Works”.  There were bodies there that went through process of plastination after their death.  There were babies, starting at week old embryos. They had babies there that were 12 weeks old – still a legal age for abortion. I wept over the cases as I thought of these little babies being torn limb from limb as they are extracted from the safety of their mother’s womb.  I wept at the 20 week old human forms that I looked at that would not be considered a viable life. Perfectly formed, beautiful little, innocent babies are being dismembered and discarded in medical waste. I wish everyone that is going into a clinic would see these little bodies and know what the little miracle looks like that is growing inside.  Would that change the mind of a mother’s heart for her unborn child? Would adoption be an alternative?
What if you had an abortion when you were younger?  If a family member had an abortion? A friend?  There is grace and healing and forgiveness through the blood of the Lamb.   There is always forgiveness offered when we enter into His courts through a repentant, contrite heart.
To see these, actual babies that have died, and how perfectly formed they are, one has to question what we are allowing as a nation, and the Dr’s that are performing these “operations”.  Murdering the innocent.  Solomon’s words take on a whole new meaning for me today as I ponder the little lives that helped educate others through the birth process, from3 week old embryo to a precious little full term baby.  There little bodies were donated to science to educate us. I wept and wept as I was “educated” to the medical practice that is allowed in our world.

He Gives You What You Need

In reading the story of David and Goliath today - it hit me, just like the rock that struck Goliath-  David battled with what he knew, and who he was trained to be.  We can't approach our battles in anything other than a prayerful stance and the 5 stones that the Lord has trained us with. The battle is the Lord's. David fought a giant that was taunting His God with the weapons that the Lord had given Him.
David's trust was in the Lord, not in the 5 stones.
What does your battle look like today? Are you concentrating more on your weapons, than on trusting God in all circumstances?
Stop, drop and pray- and let the victory be His, as you launch your first stone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Inspiration: Springtime!

Proverbs 6:12-15

12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
13 Who winks with his eyes, who [f]signals with his feet,
Who [g]points with his fingers;
14 Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who [h]spreads strife.
15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.
These four verses are speaking of a malicious man- one that plots evil and intends to do harm.   I am remembering a job I had in which the owner of the company was extremely dishonest.   So much so, that I did not go back after we had our first child.  I remember thinking that right always wins, and the light always extinguished the dark.  In short, I watched and waited for him to “get his” – to get what was coming to him.  To this day to the best of my knowledge – the company is thriving under his, continued, leadership. Calamity doesn’t always “come suddenly”, it seems.
I don’t know that he was wicked, but greedy and manipulative would seem to fit his character.  These passages refer to one who is godless and wicked. I think a lot of character issues aren’t, necessarily, evil.  They do fall short of the glory of God, as we all do.  It is a balancing act of my heart, that I am always being called to.  It is so easy to judge and to condemn and to plot evil against others in my own heart…and now who is the one with character deficiencies?
So what do we do with those that we are not in character agreement with? Those that make bad choices, but are not staked against God….I think we can not compromise our standing with the Lord and must keep our feet on the right path.  Then, I think we pray for those that are struggling with bad decisions, keeping judgement out of our prayers. I also think we are called to hold each other accountable if we are all believers. How many times do we shake our heads in disbelief and judgement, but not confront the person, in love and with the spirit of Truth and grace?   Prayers and accountability are HUGE responsibilities within the Bride of Christ!!
What about those that are wicked, truly, that have staked themselves against God and His church?  It is interesting that the word “calamity” here is : Ad, meaning the “burden of the righteous”.  The burden of the righteous will come quickly and he will be broken with no healing. This pains my heart, because I know that our God wishes to welcome all of His children home –but,....... the wages of sin are death.
As our world slips into more wicked ways by the moment, second by second, it seems that decisions are being cast that are simply – ungodly.  We must gather togeteher as the Bride and unite in the Spirit of truth, grace and mercy. The wicked will plot and scheme for the lambs that are scattered outside of the fold. It is our job to make disciples of nations. It is our job to get out of our churches and out of our comfort zones and reach His lambs.
What does that look like for you?  How do you get out of your comfort zone to reach the lost, confused and poor in spirit? Our world is in dire need of truth and the reckless love of our Savior.  I issue a challenge today…will you share with all of us how you loved the world today? Love does…it doenst think and ponder and dream and wait – it JUST DOES> How have you loved on someone today?

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