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John 15 1-11 (NASB)

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

 2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

 4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

 5I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

 6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

 7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

 9Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

 10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 11These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Choosing JOY this Monday because God’s Word is alive and TRUE. I sense the Lord pressing in me to simply abide in Him; to cease striving; to cease what I think is right in His eyes and to just BE. To just be in His presence, in His will; to remain in Him. There are so many things I can get caught up in―my service, the amount of time I spend studying my Bible, wondering if I’m grasping what God wants me to grasp, striving to hear from Him. And those things aren’t bad per say. But for now, for this very day, for this very week, I sense Him saying, just abide in me. Ask nothing, seek nothing. Just abide in Me, the One who created you, the One who loves you beyond reason, the One who will see My glory in you because I created you for that.

Finding JOY and receiving JOY today because His Word is alive and TRUE and He LOVES ME :-)

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just a little encouragement for today :-)

isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

choosing JOY for another evening of convicting beth moore Bible study. breaking free. amen. too late to write more tonight, but wanted to be sure to post.

umm, so on monday i blogged about choosing JOY because of how God speaks to us… yeah, okay, so monday night my good friend cicely and i began the breaking free Bible study by beth moore. guess what scripture she camped out on… yep, JUDGES 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i hear you Lord, loud and clear :-)

amen!

i don’t have much time to blog this morning… seems to be the story of my life when it comes to this blog these days :-( but, i had to post a little something for choosing JOY monday.

today i choose JOY because when we seek God, He answers and sometimes He repeats Himself so we don’t forget what He’s told us before. in august 2007 the Lord spoke to me loud and clear through the verse:

“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12)

well, this morning i came before Him in my quiet time and asked Him to speak to me. i’m facing some major decisions right now and i want nothing less than the Lord’s will in all areas. and wouldn’t you know, i have felt aimless in my walk through the Word these days yet in God’s providence i picked up my one year Bible and the old testament reading was judges 6:1-40. gideon has got to be one of my most favorite characters in the Bible and i think it’s because i can relate to Him. remember my post a few weeks ago when i quoted one of the bloggers i follow:

“I want to be faithful like David, but I’m a sign-seeking Gideon. I want signs for signs. What I really need is faith. More faith.”

i get it Lord. i will fight for what you have promised and i will not forget :-)

choosing JOY on this monday because the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega speaks. and speaks to me.

Wow, I’m actually following through with this post today. Must say, I’m kinda proud of myself. It has been quite a busy few weeks and it hasn’t stopped, but I find it therapeutic to blog. I choose joy today because of this:

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I’m studying James as my final assignment for this Spring semester and this verse is perfect for where I find myself. According to one of the commentaries I’m reading, “The Hebrew word behind the Greek word ‘trials’ is nasah, which means to prove the quality or worth of someone or something through adversity.”

adversity. faith. perseverance. mature. complete. that’s my desire.

Today I choose joy because of perspective and the fact that I got to share it my colleagues at work today during our devotions. Here’s a snipit, well it’s kind of a lot, of what I shared :-)

If you have your Bible, let’s turn to Joshua 2. We might remember, Joshua has sent two spies to check out the landscape ahead of them, in particular Jericho so they could take their promised land. 

They have come into Jericho and the king has found out. Rahab, the prostitute is hiding them and has just lied to the king’s officials about hiding the men and this is where we start in verse 8. 

8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.  11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.”

 14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land.”

I  want to take a look at the courage of Rahab. If we put ourselves in her place we need to imagine this massive city that is in terrible fear of this army of Israelites. They’ve heard what they’ve done in the past and how their God has delivered them. If Rahab was fixed on her circumstances, on what she could see in front of her, I wonder if she would have been so bold. Technically these men could have taken her out, she put her life on the line simply by bringing them into her home. She was sandwiched between death if you will, she could get caught by her king’s officials, and she’s technically the enemy of these spies as well.

But she saw beyond the physical presence of the Israelites and believed they served a mighty God. She even had the nerve to believe she could be spared from His wrath. I think that’s pretty incredible. Again, these spies could have killed her.

She made a decision that day to change the trajectory of an entire generation by stepping out in faith because of a God she feared but did not know.

Turn to Joshua 6:22-25

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

 24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

Now turn to Matthew 1:5-6

5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
         Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
         Obed the father of Jesse,
       6and Jesse the father of King David.

Holy cow!! She made one decision to believe in the power of a God she didn’t even know, could not see and had only HEARD of His miracles―she didn’t even witness the miracles!

Because of this, Rahab was brought into the lineage of God’s chosen people, married one of them and raised Boaz, the kinsman redeemer. I think it’s probably safe to say that when Rahab made the decision to hide the Israelite spies and lie to the king’s officials, risk her neck to save her family, she wasn’t thinking she’d end up marrying into the chosen family let alone have children. And I’m sure she had no idea she’d be in the line of the Messiah, heck she probably didn’t even know there was a coming Savior. But that’s the story God had for her. She may or may not have realized she was fighting for a generation, but the fact of the matter is that she was.

This is incredible to me! And this is what the Lord has been reminding me of. No matter what I see in front of me, I am fighting for the next generation. It’s not about me in the sense of what I see in front of me. His word is true when it says:

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

We may never know this side of heaven how God has used us in His mighty plan, but we can be confident that He is!

today, well really this whole week I guess, I’ve been choosing JOY because God is in control of EVERYTHING. i tend to forget that quite a lot these days. i’ve found great comfort in the fact that His will is perfect and it is permissive. meaning, He allows certain things that might not seem so great to me, He allows them to happen. tough times, difficult situations, they don’t just happen. God in His perfect sovereignty allows them so that I might be made more like Him. and when I take my eyes off myself and fix them on my God, the truth of who He is, there is great peace and genuine JOY. circumstances don’t change, but my heart and view of them do. ugh, why do I find this so hard? thank you for your patience Lord, you’re AWESOME.

psalm 62 

1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
       my salvation comes from him.

 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
       he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

 3 How long will you assault a man?
       Would all of you throw him down—
       this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

 4 They fully intend to topple him
       from his lofty place;
       they take delight in lies.
       With their mouths they bless,
       but in their hearts they curse.

       Selah

 5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
       my hope comes from him.

 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
       he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
       he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

 8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
       pour out your hearts to him,
       for God is our refuge.
       Selah

 9 Lowborn men are but a breath,
       the highborn are but a lie;
       if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
       together they are only a breath.

 10 Do not trust in extortion
       or take pride in stolen goods;
       though your riches increase,
       do not set your heart on them.

 11 One thing God has spoken,
       two things have I heard:
       that you, O God, are strong,

 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
       Surely you will reward each person
       according to what he has done.

i choose joy today because i know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (romans 8:28)

it’s one of those days where only His promises will bring joy. thank you Lord.

from nancy leigh demoss:

One day, those of us who have placed our faith in Christ, who do belong to His family, will hear Him invite us into His heavenly dwelling place, His home, for all of eternity. We’ll hear Him say, “Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

Now, when you think about that future, how can you not smile? How can you not laugh? How can you not be a woman of joy, even if your eyes are filled with tears for the moment?

There’s a lot we don’t know about the future, but we need to cling to that which we do know. We can’t control the future, but we can trust the One who does control it. There is no need to fear.

God is so faithful.

i’ve found there is nothing more beautiful and profound than God’s word. and perhaps the byrds knew that when they used the Bible for their lyrics. i wonder how many have heard their song and felt the draw to the living God…

today this is what the Lord has washed me with. a beautiful passage of scripture that speaks for itself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

someone very dear to my heart wrote this to me today:

“i really believe that as we accept what He has in store for us in our lives, He can move mountains through us.  i know this well as i surrender more to Him each day.

do your best to walk and talk in the joy of the lord even as He works on you.  not covering up and hiding your feelings and battle but happy to be alive, your confidence will lift and others will know your grace as you battle.”

thank you Lord. that is my prayer :-)

I’ve been emailing with a sweet friend this week and besides hoping this keeps up (it is a HUGE blessing) I’m reminded how important it is to be in community and to dialogue about His Word and what the Lord reveals to us through it.

We are two women, in different seasons of life, yet both lovers of Jesus. And that, the love of the Lord, has made us fast friends.

I shared with her something the Lord showed me regarding Mary, the mother of Jesus, a year or so ago. And it went something like this:

In Luke 1 we read about Mary’s encounter with Gabriel:

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

What the Lord showed me here is that even Mary, who had great faith and instead of saying to the angel, “heck no, I can’t be the mother of the Savior” she essentially said, “ok, but how is this gonna work?” Even she needed to hear the testimony that her cousin, old in age and considered to be barren was with child. God knew she needed Gabriel to testify to His incredible power with a tangible story, a tangible miracle.

When the Lord showed this to me I was like WOW!! Lord, You are AMAZING!! How you know our every need and desire and how you lead us just as we need to be led because You created us. I was and still am just mystified by this and so grateful. So grateful that the Creator of the universe would testify to us about His greatness. Like we deserve that? Thank you Lord.

Praise God this ministered to her and then she responded to me about how this passage ministered to her, and essentially this is what she shared with me (I’m paraphrasing and taking the liberty to explain how what she told me ministered to me as our conversation is private :-)

She explained how she was Mary and had to accept that the Lord was asking to grow in her. To accept that no one would be able to see him right away and no one would know that she had Jesus in her until she started to grow! And then came Joseph, he had to take Mary at her word and believe her that the Christ was in her. And then the vision came to Joseph and he believed. Mary and Joseph together were amidst others who may or may not believe their story. All they could do was tell the truth and remind each other.

I went on to add: and it was nine months until the Messiah was born and 30 years until He performed His first miracle. And yet Joseph believed Mary, not without struggle I’m sure, but he believed.

This challenged me greatly. Will I believe God that He is birthing something in me? Even if I can’t see it right away? Will I believe God that He is birthing something in the people around me like Joseph believed Mary? Will I believe God at His word, the scripture promises He has given me even if I don’t see the fulfillment of them for what seems to be a long time to this small human mind? Will I believe God to change my focus from being all about me and my struggles to being all about Him and the work He has created me to accomplish for Him?

i don’t have anything profound to share today just soemthing simple and basic: every new year’s eve for the past three or four years i have read oswald chamber’s devotional for this day from his book my utmost for His highest. it ministers to me each time i read it and truly charges me up for the next year. 2009 has been an incredible year of miraculous blessings, unexpected change and intense challenges and i know these challenges will bleed into 2010 as well as new challenges. but i also know the blessings will continue and in order to walk in the fullness of these blessings i must embrace the challenges and trust my God to continue the work He has promised to complete. i’m excited for 2010 and can’t wait to see what the Lord does :-)

Yesterday

You shall not go out with haste, . . . for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard —Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. “. . . God requires an account of what is past” ( Ecclesiastes 3:15 ). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “. . . the Lord will go before you . . . .” This is a gracious revelation— that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.

Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste . . . .” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.

Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.

psalm 37:

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

and this is what happens when seminary students go awry :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFF8Mt7B8UM

39784_1_ftc_dp A Bondservant of Jesus

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me . . . —Galatians 2:20

These words mean the breaking and collapse of my independence brought about by my own hands, and the surrendering of my life to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to this point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot push me through it. It means breaking the hard outer layer of my individual independence from God, and the liberating of myself and my nature into oneness with Him; not following my own ideas, but choosing absolute loyalty to Jesus. Once I am at that point, there is no possibility of misunderstanding. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ or understand what He meant when He said, “. . . for My sake” ( Matthew 5:11 ). That is what makes a strong saint.

Has that breaking of my independence come? All the rest is religious fraud. The one point to decide is— will I give up? Will I surrender to Jesus Christ, placing no conditions whatsoever as to how the brokenness will come? I must be broken from my own understanding of myself. When I reach that point, immediately the reality of the supernatural identification with Jesus Christ takes place. And the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable— “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .”

The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away my own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I will not begin to be a saint.

One student a year who hears God’s call would be sufficient for God to have called the Bible Training College into existence. This college has no value as an organization, not even academically. Its sole value for existence is for God to help Himself to lives. Will we allow Him to help Himself to us, or are we more concerned with our own ideas of what we are going to be?

For all of you who read this blog please accept my apology for how long it has been since I updated it… life around me has been changing quite a bit and last week I was in the mountains of Wyoming with no access to Internet or cell phones (it was a HUGE blessing and I’ll blog about that soon).

But now I am back and I am watching this life of mine move forward in many unanticipated directions. Well, let me rephrase that, I am watching various circumstances of this life of mine change quite dramatically but I know all this change is moving me forward on the path the Lord has chosen for me.

I know vagueness is no fun, but I’m not at liberty to discuss some of this change, but it’s basically on all fronts―personal, professional and ministry-related.  And how I am going to manage all this I’m not quite sure. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord would not lead me into this season if He wasn’t going to lead me out – and lead me out victoriously.

So as I rest in His peace and seek Him during this season I ask anyone who reads this blog to please keep me in your prayers. The Lord’s purposes are greater than my understanding and I am eager to see what He is doing. I know full well that He will reveal His purposes in His perfect timing and I have nothing to be anxious about. Praise God for His loving hand and gentle leading. I am blessed to know my God.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.

proverbs 13:4

the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

my pastor is currently in the midst of a series on the sovereignty of God. it has been a pretty incredible series, convicting, compelling, encouraging and definitely thought-provoking. the title of this past sunday’s sermon was the demand of sovereignty. what is the demand of sovereignty? reverence. our pastor is preaching from the book of daniel (see what i mean, there is nothing light about this series) but i was reading in acts the other day and found something very interesting on this very subject.

acts 5:29-39

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

the irony of this passage is the pharisee gamaliel. he, a teacher of the law, not a follower of Christ. clearly had a reverence for the Lord. a pharisee! that is mind blowing to me considering the way the other pharisees were determined to handle this situation.

this really convicted me of my lack of reverence. i know who Jesus Christ is, i know what He was sent here to do, i know who sent Him and i know i am nothing without Him, yet, do i approach life this way? when i am faced with something in front of me do i understand that if i don’t walk in faith i am fighting against God? do i understand that anything of my own nature will fail, but if it is of Him, it will succeed?

if a pharisee could see this in the apostles, without knowing Jesus, how much more should i understand this?

i’ve been reading through the book of hebrews for a little while now and it has been such a blessing. one of the many things i love about the Bible is you can read the same passage over and over again, set it down and even not come back to it for a year or so, and when you pick it back up, the Lord exposes new truths and ministers to you in new ways.

this week He opened my eyes to the following verses:

hebrews 10:36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (emphasis mine)

and then hebrews 11:17-19 – By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (emphasis mine)

and even still hebrews 11:32-33 – And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions… (emphasis mine)

these verses jumped out at me because of the word PROMISE. God NEVER takes back His promise. when we step out in faith, when we push through, when we fight for an undivided heart, when we believe Him for what might seem impossible, He WILL give us what He has promised.

this was such a sweet word for me this week and i hope for anyone that might read this post, it might encourage you as well. our God is a God that will not hold back from His people.

romans 8:28 – and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

He is faithful and as we delight in Him, He delights in us and He does give us the desires of our hearts. the Lord is taking me down an unfamiliar road right now, yet all to familiar at the same time… it’s as if He’s saying, look, i made promises to you, you have forgotten, but I have not. Whoa!

if you feel you are in a similar boat, take heart. He is faithful, we must persevere and when we have done His will we will receive what He has promised!

psalm 20

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
Selah

May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

O LORD, save the king!
Answer us when we call!

illuminate

we had our very first women’s ministry illuminate summer challenge meeting this past weekend and it was wonderful! what is illuminate you might ask?

this summer the women’s ministry of my church is challenging each woman to be a part of a team that will memorize portions of psalm 119 together. we are gathering in homes memorizing the Word of God, sharing what the Lord is teaching us through memorizing and building some life-changing relationships.

to say that i am excited to see what the Lord is going to do in us and through us is an understatement!

this past week i prepared and shared a small devotional with the women to kick-off our meetings and in a sense lay the foundation. here’s the short version:

in january 2008 we had an unexpected loss in my family. my uncle, who was in his 60s passed away from a massive heart attack. it was one of those incidents in life that left you with your jaw down, almost emotionless because it just couldn’t be true. but unfortunately it was. it was in this time that through a rather supernatural occurrence, psalm 119:89 came to surface in the midst of our mourning.

the scripture reads: Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

the first time i read and heard this verse i figured if God’s Word is eternal and stands firm in the heavens, then what the Bible tells us about heaven is true. and if what the Bible tells us about heaven is true, i should be jealous of my uncle as he would be in the presence of glory, rejoicing, singing and dancing at the feet of our Savior, never to experience any kind of pain again.

and while i think that is true, while preparing for our first illuminate meeting, the Lord revealed a few more things.

psalm 119 is all about God’s Word, His law, His precepts, His statutes. virtually every verse refers back to God’s Word, declaring what it does – it purifies, it testifies, it stands firm in the heavens, it directs – i could go on…

when we look at john 1:1-5 we see:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

many of us know, the Word became flesh and it was Jesus! this is the beauty of psalm 119, it is such a reflection of our Lord. He ws there before creation, He is eternal. we learn so much about our Savior and His character and who He is from reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on His Word, for He is the Word.

oh how powerful that is! so this summer we are challenged to revere this Holy Word in such a way that we never have before. to soak it in, to believe it with an unwavering faith, to anticipate a purification like we’ve never known, to have an understanding of our God that only comes from knowing His Word.

this will be a powerful summer and none of us will end it as we started.

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