Matters of the Heart

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After reading from a devotional book today, I have a challenge for you.

The author’s main scripture was from Proverbs 4:23. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Many versions use the phrase “guard your heart”. Why? Because what is happening in the inside of us determines what will happen on the outside.

The author then used the Israelites’ wandering in the desert for 40 years as an example for his main scripture. Many Bible scholars say this “trip” should have taken a couple of weeks at most. How did they manage to make a relatively short trip like that last for 40 years?

The author then enters in the scripture from Hebrews 3:10,11. “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.”

Other translations say their hearts were looking for something else other than Me, or their hearts always turn away from Me, or their hearts go astray from Me. Go astray means to wander. And what did they do? They wandered away from the LORD in their hearts; the consequence was they wandered in the desert for 40 years and did not enter into His rest.

What is going on in our relationships? Work? Health? Ministry? Even just our outlook on life? Are we in hope or dread? Our lives are following where our hearts are leading. Do we like where we are going? Are we at rest in Jesus? Join me in taking the next few days and pray this scripture from Psalm 139:23-24 KJV:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wander. Anytime is a long time to miss out on what God has promised to us.

Love Lesson in a Box

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She had long, brunette hair, blue-green eyes looking off to the side, as if someone had called her name, and a sweet, inviting smile. She wore a cool purple outfit with silver accents and was decorated with jewelry and a purple flower in her hair. She was Rachel’s heart’s desire. She was also expensive.

It had been a big year for Rachel. She worked hard, combining two school years into one so that she could graduate early. I wanted to commemorate it in a special way. I knew, though, from prior conversations that I’ve had with Bob, that he would never go for spending so much on one single doll, collectible or not. I tucked away my own want to make that memory for her and concentrated on the party we were planning and the two gifts that I was personalizing for her.

Enter Miss Debbie: A slip of an energetic woman with the youthfulness and vitality of a 16 year old girl in a 60 year old body. What a woman! The girls and I commented numerous times on how Barbie-like her clothes, shoes, and jewelry are. She is one sharp dresser and sweet besides. The girls had her for a teacher at church and lasting friendships were born.

Miss Debbie has been a big blessing to us. I am tickled that she has accepted the girls as her own. Quite frankly, she has done things with them and given things to them that I cannot. She waves it all aside, saying there was a time when she was raising a family of her own, that she couldn’t do the things that she does now that she is retired. She is a giver, relishing in blessing people. She never brags on what she does for others but, boy do they brag on her!

It was inevitable, that text from Miss Debbie. “What does Rachel want for graduation?”

The collectible doll immediately came to mind . . . with a price to match. Torn, I secretly approached Rachel’s sisters. “What should I do? It is what Rachel wants but it seems exorbitant.”

“She asked, Mum, so tell her. Besides, the doll is around the same amount of cash that she gave us for our graduation. If Miss Debbie gives her cash she’ll probably save it, she won’t spend it on herself. If she gives her the doll then Rachel will have a memory and a lifelong gift from her. Let Miss Debbie decide.”

I took a deep breath and texted Miss Debbie. It felt presumptuous but the girls were right, Miss Debbie did ask so it was up to her. It wasn’t long before I got a reply back that she had ordered the doll.

The day of the party arrived. Miss Debbie was aglow, elated about the surprise gift she was about to give. When the time came, she presented a rather large box to Rachel. She was funny, oohing and aahing over the wrapping alone; it was pretty. She unwrapped the box, which opened to another box, and another and another. Excitement was mounting, just as our dear friend had hoped. At last, the great reveal, Rachel’s heart’s desire was in her hands. She stared, briefly seeming a little dazed, not quite comprehending that her beloved teacher/friend had given her so great a gift. Finally, as if coming to herself, there were smiles, thank yous, and hugs. It was a beautiful moment . . . and it came with a priceless lesson for my girl.

The truth is, although Rachel was thrilled with Opal, as she came to name her, she caused her grief. A week later, I found myself alone with my youngest, big crocodile tears swimming in her blue eyes. I couldn’t imagine what had caused her so much pain. I was shocked to discover that it was her newfound possession which had triggered these sorrowful emotions.

“I don’t deserve it,” she whimpered.

Like most parents, I’m biased, I prefer my children, so I wasn’t quite following her. I couldn’t imagine what she thought she had done that made her so undeserving.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“She doesn’t know how I am. She doesn’t know how I don’t do things that need to be done until you ask me to do them even when I see that they need done. She doesn’t know that I have a bad attitude sometimes and I don’t help like I should. I don’t notice when others are hurting. I’m selfish,” she cried.

Oh. Then I understood. And everything she said was true about herself. Let’s be honest, it’s also been true of me. And it’s been true of you. If we don’t consciously resist, we are all prone to fall into the abyss of preferring ourselves above all others. To salt the wound, the lavish gift was given, not by a close family member as one might expect, but by someone with no family ties.

I gathered my girl in my arms, tears filling my own eyes. I did not capitalize on her failures for that would have been cruel. Nor did I disagree with her for that would have been a disservice to her. She was on the precipice of a new level of maturity and I needed to let her experience the pain that came with it. She also needed to fully experience the joy that comes of realizing that we are deeply loved even when we don’t deserve it.

Rachel learned a lesson and lives differently. She has been more helpful, doing tasks and chores more often without having to be asked and, I might add, she has traded the complaint of a slave for the heart of a servant. Her attitude has softened. She is more aware of the feelings of those around her. She is maturing and walking the challenging road of selflessness. Of course I love her no matter, but I admit that this unfolding has been beautiful to watch and the change in her has been welcome.

I think we don’t fully grasp unconditional love because we haven’t fully achieved it ourselves, but God does love us, and He loves us immeasurably more than what Miss Debbie demonstrated to Rachel on that beautiful day. His love isn’t contingent upon what we do but upon what Jesus has done. I hope you will join me in searching out how deep, how wide, how high, is the Father’s love toward us. He is a good, good Father.

Before closing with a video, I want to remind you that the greatest compliment you can pay to those whose work is web-based is to please share if you like. Someone you know might need to know how much they are loved today. Thank you.

In the Giving and Receiving

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In Zechariah 4:10 we are told not to despise the day of small things or small beginnings, depending on which translation you’re reading. Many a church leader or person in ministry has found the strength to continue to give in their work based on this Word. It was Mum’s and my own experience when we jointly led our Sunday evening group. Be it two people, twelve, or twenty, Holy Spirit showed up and it was enough. We were in the right place at the right time and what a blessing it was. What about the flip side of that?

Congregations often liberally take from church leaders. In the small, rural churches I’ve attended, it has been my experience that other than lead pastors and perhaps financial secretaries, there are no paid positions. I taught a girls’ class years ago and was not paid. As a matter of fact, I dug into my own pockets at various times because going to the board for restitution was a pain in the butt. For one, there was no guarantee of payback; for two, until they had their meeting and the need was met the time for it was past. Please understand, I am not complaining, I enjoyed that season of life. I am simply stating a fact that may go unnoticed by many church attendees.

It’s been a couple of years ago now that Laura was burdened to bless our then children’s church director. The lady weighed heavy on her. Laura’s heart was not to give her money, but a gift. We had a family shopping day coming up and added Miss Holly to our hunt list. We gleefully kept our eyes open for anything that looked Holly like and added it to our growing gift bag. Pleased at last with our purchases, Laura made a beautiful gift card and discretely gave it to her. Miss Holly did not keep it a secret because the gift encouraged her at just the time when she needed it most. She boasted to the pastor and others in his office of the gift she received and emphasized the fact that it came from someone who didn’t even have a child attending children’s church! She was so glad that her tireless efforts were recognized.

I recently had this happen to me. I was given money from two different people and when I inquired as to why, they said it was because of my ministry to them. Huh? I was baffled. They meant in part, God’s Word Girl. Ah.

In Matthew 14:17-21, Jesus feeds a crowd of over 5,000 people with a ridiculously small offering of five loaves of bread and two fish. Since it was a boy who had these with him, I’m inclined to believe that the “loaves” weren’t like we know them today but something more like buns. But little is much when God is in it.

So it goes both ways: no ministry is too small to receive from and there is no ministry too small to give to. I sometimes think that when people read about bringing all of the tithes into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10), they assume it is their church. Period. I, however, have brought my children up to give to those who give (spiritually, etc.) and as God leads. Let me tell you how that’s working for them — their obligations are paid and they have cash enough left to tithe, save, and spend. I just told you in a recent post how they were blessed with an unexpected amount of cash to buy Christmas gifts several years ago.

Truth be told, since we are camping, I do not regularly tithe to our church. Some of you have just gasped with hand to mouth in shock. Let me tell you how that’s working for me. On Monday I spent the last $20 in my purse on a food item. It emptied my wallet. On Tuesday morning, by 9 (?) a.m., I was surprised when someone who saw furniture sitting out for sale in front of our house days prior popped in to purchase it for $45. That is on top of the gifts that I received for ministry. I thanked and thanked God for His goodness.

My personal rule of thumb, give to those who are giving to me, be it a church, an established ministry, or someone like our dear Miss Holly who God simply laid on the heart. Pray and follow His leading. You will not be disappointed.

If you are, per se, a church leader, I encourage you today to keep on keeping on. Maybe you are not being noticed by those you are ministering to but know that God sees and rewards. Frankly, when we are born again, know that we are all ministers of sorts, it’s just that some receive a paycheck for being so.

If you are a receiver of sorts, which I hope we all are, then I hope that you will join me in the challenge of asking the LORD where we should give. Is there a Sunday school teacher, worship leader, technician, custodian, or someone giving tirelessly to a small group that may need encouraged? I dare you to think outside of the box. Would the LORD lead you to give a large tip to that extra-attentive waitress? You may not view that as a ministry, but consider the times when you’ve had an inattentive waitress. There’s a difference. Perhaps we may consider giving to the harried day care worker, the person who is available to pray or counsel with us at a moment’s notice, the law enforcement officer who keeps us safe, or the welcoming neighbor.

Also, join me in the challenge of thinking outside of the box for the actual gift. Cash is almost always appreciated, but it may not be what that person’s heart needs at that time. Maybe they’d appreciate an act of service. The girls organized and cleaned a church storage room for one of our pastor’s wives while she was away on vacation. She did a happy dance when she discovered that the eye sore had been transformed into a serviceable area and asked the church secretary who did it. Maybe your recipient would appreciate someone trustworthy watching their children so that they can decompress. Maybe they’d love an invitation to dinner. Maybe they may require something they can hold in their hand and look at and be reminded that someone took the time to love on them and bless them.

Remember, no gift is too small, whether we be the one giving or the one receiving.

Wrong Number Betty

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Years ago, we got a “wrong number” phone call. I answered it. The elderly lady and I had a rather lengthy and interesting conversation. Actually, we had several. It turns out our number was very similar to one of her children’s (?) numbers so she would dial me by accident. It got to be that we would talk for 20 minutes or so at a pop. I rather enjoyed our conversations. The first time she called, my family was blown away when, in answer to their inquiry as to who called, I said, “A wrong number.” It wouldn’t be long until she became endeared to us as Wrong Number Betty.

I remember one phone call that caused me to be alarmed for her. The way she talked she was at one of her children’s work places and she wanted to go home. They weren’t returning and she didn’t know how to contact them. I spoke calmly to her, sensing something drastically wrong, but felt kind of powerless to do anything but pray. I can’t remember the time frame, but I did call back and got a quizzical, “Hello?” from her son. When I explained our strange phone relationship and my concern for her he explained to me her condition. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, something like that. He said she’d be home but insisted that she was at one of their work places and they could not convince her otherwise until she came out of it. Heart breaking. Betty has since passed.

In this day and age of solicitors and scam, we usually screen our phone calls. Rarely ever do I answer a number that I don’t recognize and because of the phone plan that we have, I can’t return long distance phone calls. Uh-uh, ain’t happening. Gone are the days of the pleasantries of Wrong Number Bettys. Well, maybe not totally gone. Something happened recently that had Bob, especially, answering numbers he didn’t recognize. What happened is, when we returned from one of our camping trips we had over 20 messages on our answering machine saying they were returning our phone call. Did you catch the part where we returned? We weren’t home to call from our home phone and yet somebody was using our number like a hard hit slot machine.

When Bob called the phone company to report what was happening, (it is fraud), one of the — pardon me, I was about to type something unkind there — employees suggested that we needed to contact Panasonic, the maker of our phones. Yeah, right, ’cause Panasonic knows the numbers of every person who has ever bought a phone from them and is fraudulently using their numbers. When Bob told him we had gotten return calls from people in different states, of which we can’t call, he said, “Oh, I see you can’t call outside of your region with the phone plan that you have.” Du-u-u-h! I know, I know, you’re all shocked to discover that our phone provider did not rectify the situation and we’re still receiving “call backs” — of which we never called in the first place.

Today was the first day I answered an unknown caller. Actually, the answering machine kicked on and he was talking. My curiosity was piqued as to what kind of messages we were supposedly leaving that people felt compelled to return our call so I picked up the phone. The man was elderly and from the state of Washington. He did not receive a message from us but returned our call because he was concerned that someone in his community may have fallen and needed his assistance. Maybe it’s an elderly thing. That’s the second time I received a phone call from an elderly person that said they always return phone calls that look personal in nature. Like Wrong Number Betty, ours was an interesting conversation until he mentioned the state of the world and I said, “We need Jesus.”

“What?” he asked.

“The world needs Jesus.”

Suddenly we’re entrenched in conversation about how his mother was a devout catholic and he had to pray all day long and this displeased him. It’d displease me, too, if I felt as though I were being forced.

“That’s religion,” I said. “That’s not what Jesus is about.”

“That’s what all of you Christians say. I dumped everything and I have more peace now than I’ve ever had my entire life. I pray to whoever, and thank them for whatever, but I don’t know who I’m praying to. I just prayed that if God or Jesus is real then He’ll tell me before I die.”

Excuse me. A Christian, by his admission, not mine, answered his wrong phone call. He named me. And yet he didn’t see the irony in what he was telling me?

Somehow the conversation morphed into abortion. According to him he’s 100% pro-life and he’s 100% pro-choice. Uh, no. It doesn’t work like that. I didn’t follow him at first but I eventually realized he was trying to make it philosophical by bringing in when a soul is actually present according to different religions. Depending on when the soul enters, it’s a viable human being. This guy obviously did a lot of research and was obviously equally confused.

I’m going to explain something to you here: a soul is mind, will, and emotions. Cats have souls. Stroke one the wrong way and you’ll arouse some emotion. Dogs have a will. Give one their favorite treat and then try to take it away. They will have their treat. Many a variety of animals have been taught many a variety of tricks; they have minds.

But like I told this man, we have spirits. We are the only part of creation that is God-breathed and made in His image. And if you want to get technical, my research tells me that a baby’s heart begins to beat in approximately 22 days. Whether a woman chooses to deliver her baby or not does not change the fact that it is a baby. It was as if I wasn’t talking. He went on to tell me how so-n-so sent him a tract that looked like a million dollars and when you open it there’s a picture of a baby inside. Our phone connection was crackling worse and he seemed like he was shooting shotgun in the attempt something would hit.

“I’m not following you,” I said.

“They’re trying to say that a baby is worth a million dollars.”

“But it is. And more.”

I think that was actually the point when he brought up the soul thing.

“Have you ever seen a video of an abortion?” I asked him.

“Oh yes,” he sounded almost jovial.

“They feel pain,” I said. “They try to get away from the (doctor’s) instruments.”

He snickered.

My anger was aroused. “That’s not funny. That’s murder.”

He plead “lots of calls coming in” that he needed to return and hung up.

That strange conversation clung to me like a spider’s web.

The propensity for density in some people is mind blowing to me.

Believe it or not, as a stay at home mom, I used to look forward to these types of phone calls. Since I was not in the work place, I thought maybe I could somehow make a difference in those who entered my home via phone.

At one point in our conversation the man from Washington asked me if I knew what all of the various types of religions have in common. I did not. “You’re all right,” he said. “None of you are wrong about anything.”

That was an interesting concept. I’d like to interject that people can be wrong but God is always right.

I’m shaken because I feel like I was ineffectual. I’m shaken at wondering how many people think like him. But my faith is intact. I just talked with God this morning and received wonderful revelation that I am hoping to share with you soon in the form of a testimony. He walked with me throughout today and will be with me as I drift off to sleep tonight. Jesus, God, Holy Spirit — they’re all real, very real. I hope that man’s prayer is answered, that God does make Himself real to him. I also hope he realizes Him when He comes. Do you ever wonder how much of God we miss because we simply aren’t paying attention? I do.

I feel like closing with a prayer today.

Dear LORD,

There’s a lost and dying world out there. You alone are the answer they seek and You are in me. Make me aware of where You’re going so that I may go, too. Make me aware of what You’re saying so that I may speak it, too. Make me aware of what You’re doing so that I may do it, too. Oh God, help me to love like You love and not be so wrapped up in my own small and selfish world that I miss the opportunity to be Jesus to somebody who’s in need of You. Thank You. I love You. Amen.

I hope you joined me in this prayer. Let us consider that the “calls” that we initially interpret as “wrong numbers” may turn out to be opportunities to minister God’s grace. Dear God, help us to not miss a single call.

In the Little Things

school supplies office pens
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While contemplating what to post, I came across a draft that I had written nearly 3 years ago but it is relevant today.  I hope it encourages you . . . and that you don’t hyper-ventilate thinking about the holidays looming ahead 😉 .  

We were a very small prayer group that Sunday night, only 4 of us.  We began with testimonies.  I love hearing and sharing testimonies, they produce overcoming power (Revelation 12:11).  I was brimming with thanksgiving.

An aunt of mine gave the girls $20 at a Christmas party to take chances on the baskets (they do raffles to support the next year’s party).  Beth asked if it’d be all right if she also took a chance on the 50/50.

“Sure, but you better hurry.  They just announced the last call.”

The girls won the 50/50.  They had over $140 to divide among the 3 of them for Christmas shopping.  Laura told me later, “I just prayed this week and asked what we were going to do for money for Christmas.”

We had also volunteered at an annual church giveaway, one we’ve been helping with for years.  Laura came skipping over to me, “Mum, Mum, Mum!  You’re never going to believe what I found!  Shampoo!  We really need shampoo.”  Yes they did.  And Bob, too.  His bottle was upside down trying to catch what it could in the lid on a shelf in the shower.

And me, I was blessed silly with dresses, some of them brand new.  And a cute note pad.  And little post-its to mark pages in a book.  I’m a sucker for stationery type items.  And in the bottom of the bag a chain link bracelet with a C dangling from it–I didn’t put it in the bag.  I don’t know where it came from.

I told our little group, “This year (2019) has been very difficult for us in a lot of different ways, not just financially, but I’m so thankful.  God is so good.”  My voice broke with a sob.

In my quiet time Monday morning I had continued praising God for His blessings when along came that still small voice.  “I know you, Christi.  That’s why I sent you stationery items at the giveaway.  You were so happy.  And Laura was so happy with the shampoo.  I know you’re looking for the ‘big’ things, and they’re coming, but I’m also in the ‘little’ things.  That’s where it’s at.  Thanks for noticing.”

We are once again fast approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas. And although we may find much to worry or sorrow over (as I shared in my last post, “In a Funk”), gratitude and reflection on the gift that Jesus brings is timeless. More and more I am discovering that one of our greatest weapons in spiritual warfare is worship. God is present in powerful ways when we praise Him.

Join me today in putting aside what could so easily beset us and instead focus on how mighty, magnificent, and lovely is the LORD.

p.s. Thanks again for the feedback! I am discovering that one of the highest compliments that can be paid in the cyber world of work is sharing. So if you like, please share! Thank you!

In a Funk

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Before getting into today’s post, I want to give a special thanks to those of you who give feedback in the form of comments and likes. That includes those closest to me who tell me via phone or in person what God’s Word Girl means to them. It’s really encouraging to me to know that my prayers and time invested in the written word are making an impact of sorts in the lives of those who are taking time for me and what I have to share. That is called exhortation, it is a gift from God, and I greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!! Now, let’s see what we’ve got for today.

To be of a truth, I have been in a funk. Bet you didn’t know that from my lack of posts 😉 . Sometimes I feel like I’ve got a fire lit under me and I think I could write everyday, but I know myself how tiresome it can be to have a daily deluge of notices so I refrain. Then we have these periods of time where I drop off. Yes, this has been a monumental year; I’ve already shared that. But the past month or so, if I was to be honest with you, and I don’t want to be anything else, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Some of my laundry list of burdens are:

  • gas and food prices
  • the future for us
  • cares of this world
  • an upcoming mile-marker birthday complete with life changes
  • grieving as our homeschooling adventure has come to a close and anticipating what lies ahead
  • one more driver in the household to get licensed
  • what to write (so much to choose from!)
  • oddly enough, the impending reality of a dream come true. How does one stress over that?! I didn’t think there was a way but I found it.

It was a slow slide to neck-high deep worry. I thought I was handling it pretty well until I realized that I wasn’t 🙂 , mostly thanks to a conversation I had with Mum.

Mum called me early-ish one morning over a week ago. I could hear in her voice that she had been crying. She had something to say and required my undivided attention. Apparently, I had caused her to sin through worrying about me. It made sense then, when we were camping, that she made a point to ask me, “Are you having a good time?” I was. But the way she looked at me when she asked was odd, to the point that it stuck with me. When she explained, it made sense.

“You’ve been short-tempered lately and I’ve been concerned over what you’ve been going through physically. So I’ve been praying and crying for you. The LORD told me that you’re stressed and I believe a lot of the physical is related to it and will go away when you deal with it. I feel better now because He told me that He’s holding you in His hands.”

That was comforting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the LORD in distress for myself or a family member and He will tell me, show me, or both, that He’s holding me/them in His hands. If you’re His kid, He’s got you, too.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15 KJV

It was a bunch of little foxes invading my beautiful vineyard and plucking my ripened grapes of peace, joy, and hope. Ever been there? Our laundry list of worries may not look the same but something tells me that I’m not the only one who’s been self-absorbed with a bunch of junk. How do we get out of it?

After Mum’s pep talk with me, I began reading Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-32 on a regular basis. She especially highlighted seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things shall be added unto you. Oddly enough, the teacher of the Bible study I attend threw that scripture out there the evening after Mum and I talked. It was as if it was in neon. I’m going to break all that down to two simple words: Seek God. “Simple”, we say. Is it?

Do you know, and what a terrible thing to confess here, where I tout the benefits of relationship with our Creator Father, that I have been avoiding God? Why? I don’t know. But Beth came to me a few days ago and asked, “Will you please talk to God and get a Word from Him?” Have you ever been there? When my brother and I still lived at home, he sometimes called Mum Read-a-Book. That’s what she did when she was “hiding” from God . . . or maybe mulling things over. She’d read books — lots of them. Here I was, avoiding my corner chair and my quiet time. What a nut! Life’s a lot better being in fellowship with God than without Him.

In my deepest recesses, I think I’ve been afraid of what God might tell me or ask me to do. To the mature believer, that sounds insane. Guess what? I’m not at the maturity level that I wish.

So, I did get quiet with God. Truth is, I missed Him. Part of what He told me is,

Daughter, do not be afraid of Me (or My words). I will never hurt you or mislead you. It is not My nature.

Not His nature. That leads me to believe that I’ve been battling some bad religion and some misconceptions about God. That makes me sad. I desire to know His nature and see Him for Who He truly is but I am influenced by forces without at times. It is true that I sometimes get sucked into the negativity/trauma of some peoples’ stories and fear sets in. How do we get out of the funk that we’re in?

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 KJV

We must renew our minds with the Word. What does the Word say?

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 KJV

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What is the kingdom of God? Everything that’s good. And it pleases God to give it to us. Does the devil attack? Sure. Do I do stupid things and sometimes suffer the consequences of those stupid things? Sure. But God doesn’t issue harm. It doesn’t change how He wants us to pray and what His hope is for us:

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Do you know what else was huge in pulling me out of my funk? Offering up the sacrifice of praise. You might be thinking to yourself: I can’t do that feeling the way that I am. That’d be lying. First of all, that’s why offering it when you don’t feel like it is called a sacrifice. Second, God doesn’t require feelings, only acknowledgment. Third, the more you do it the more you’ll feel like doing it.

Can we today, let God continue to transform us and comfort us through the Word by His Spirit? I know it takes effort, time, and sacrifice, but couldn’t we give a little bit more to the Savior Who gave us all?

If you’re in the funk I’ve been in or are tempted to be, join me in repenting and get quiet before our God. He’s waiting. He’s listening.

Pour it Out

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Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19 KJV

Basically, the Bible teacher said this, “It’s not that you need to know more about God, you need to release what you’ve learned.” Then he referred to the scripture above.

Please, please do not take this as an opt out of seeking God. I truly believe that our Father’s greatest desire is to be known and loved by us. However, something did connect in my mind when I heard this.

I’m going to bring this down to the natural level first. What I know of Bob is that he is excellent at fixing things. Does that mean we never need a repairman or a mechanic? No. But I know him, I’ve seen what he’s capable of. So, when the car’s making a mysterious noise or the washing machine ceases to spin out, I know to go to him first, not the phone book.

Here’s another illustration combining the natural and spiritual. My father-in-law recently had knee replacement surgery. Laura had an urge to call him before he went and ask him if he wanted prayer. This was a step out for her. My in-laws do not share the same faith that we do and especially not to the degree that we have. However, the girls were raised to believe that God hears and answers prayer. Because of that knowledge, she wanted to pass on what she believes to her grandpa in the way of praying for him. When she called to ask if he wanted her to for pray him he received her offer. The surgery went smoothly and quickly and I can’t say enough how proud I am that Laura moved out of her comfort zone to minister to her grandpa.

What I learned made me think of another scripture:

Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth in Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.  John 14:12 KJV

This is Jesus’ way of telling us that it’s not enough to know, we must also release, pour out what we learned. He’s in agreement with the Bible teacher I listened to. In light of that, what are we doing that shows our knowledge? It might not be as earth shattering as the miracles Jesus performed, at least not yet. But I believe that it will be if we continue to operate in the things that we know, and I might add, step out in faith to operate in things God knows and will do through us. It reminds me of that old adage, Use it or lose it. I think it’s safe to say that as we practice we will increase.

Join me today in pouring ourselves out in any way we can in honor of our magnificent, wonderful Savior and for the benefit of others.

Depantsed

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Yes, it has been a long while. Forgive me as this year is packed full of mile marker anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations. Perhaps the celebrations will slow a bit and we here at God’s Word Girl can return to a more regular schedule. Perhaps . . . Without further ado, let’s dive into today’s post.

We were at a picnic at the in-laws’ home. Bob was carrying a crock pot into the house for his mom when he stopped dead still and turned to me. I was maybe about 20 feet away from him. He had a peculiar look on his face, like a fawn found in the thicket without its mother. I paused my conversation with a niece-in-law and looked at him, not understanding what he wanted.

“What?” I asked.

He continued with that odd expression.

“What?”

His voice was low, so only those of us in close proximity could hear: “I’m not wearing a belt. My pants are falling down. I’m not going to make it (to the house).”

I got up from the bench, grinning, and went to his rescue, hiking up his jean shorts. He was wearing such nice, red, silky boxers. It seemed a pity to hide them but I understand his not wanting to put his underwear on display for the entire family. 😉

Bob’s experience made me think of several verses in the Bible that refer to “girding up the loins” (Proverbs 31:17, Job 38:3, 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Kings 18:46). People in Bible days wore long robes, down to their ankles. When in action, they reached between their legs, pulled the robe from the back to the front, and tucked it up into a girdle, in essence a belt, (which then probably looked like a baggy pair of shorts), so as not to restrict their movement.

Stay with me . . .

Mum saw the brightly colored field of flowers again, the one that has given us so much hope. It was nearly 3/4 of the way full. What she didn’t anticipate was seeing a black line under the green of the field. It alarmed her. Then she saw 2 ravens.

“What does this mean, LORD?” she asked.

“satan is trying to steal away the blessing. It is here, but he is trying to take it.”

Great, just what I wanted to hear.

I joined her vision with Bob’s near depantsing and considered all that we have been praying for as individuals and as a nation. We can’t quit. We can’t give up believing for and decreeing vocally what God wills until it is done. People, we must not be caught with our pants down! satan isn’t quitting, so neither should we.

There’s also a lesson to glean from the crock pot that Bob was carrying. I was attending a mid-week Bible study recently and the teacher was saying how we are a microwave generation, wanting things instantly, when food actually tastes better when slow cooked in a crock pot. I have heard her reference to this many times prior. But suddenly I had a new revelation that pertained not to our impatience, but how we behave while we’re waiting. When I assemble my meal I do not sit and watch it cook; that’d be pointless. Instead, I go about my day, attending to other things, and let the crock pot do the work. When we’ve committed our petitions to God, we must leave them with Him. He is capable. Continue in faith, trusting that it shall be done as He has said. Let’s give our prayers time to “cook” so we will taste and see how good the manifestations are. God will have His way.

After Mum saw the black, we returned to fortify our prayers concerning the original vision by reiterating our trust in His will and goodness toward us by praising Him. Guess what? Yellow flowers began popping up where Mum was seeing black. God is on the move. Let’s not doubt that. Join me in tucking our righteous robes into our belts, moving with God, and continuing in earnest to run for ourselves, our families, and our nations.

If we happen to see a brother or sister about to be depantsed, let’s not sit still and let them be humiliated. Go alongside and hike up their pants. Help is on the way. If you have it, offer it; if you need it, ask for it.

Let’s Sup

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Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20 KJV

There was a message given at our church recently and the “meat” of it referred to this verse. I am a very visual person so it was easy for me to imagine Jesus, standing at the door of people’s hearts, waiting for an invitation to come in. In my mind’s eye, it was a beautiful picture. It made me wonder how many people see the warmth in these words. Jesus is coming in tenderness, wanting to sup, to visit with us as we would any dear friend.

What I found interesting, while looking in one of my favorite commentaries, is that in this particular context, Jesus is speaking to Christians. Yes, it is a picture of an initial invitation, but it is also for those of us who have formerly let Jesus in. This was said to the pastor of the church at Laodicea who had become lukewarm.

Overall, this verse is for the unbeliever as well as the believer. What happened here, in this context? I guess the pastor forgot or got too busy to let Jesus know it was suppertime and therefore, did not invite Him in. Have you ever been in that position? I have.

I think we take our relationship with the LORD for granted at times. And what I’ve been hearing so often as of late is that people are peddling away at works but their hearts have remained unchanged. Case in point, Bob had been having some pretty intense conversations with Catholics concerning lent. I’ve participated in this sacred practice at various times though I am not of the Catholic church because I feel it helps me focus on the gift that God gave us through Jesus. Bob’s conversations have kind of been in the vein of why bother practicing if the heart remains far from the LORD? Why indeed? What is anyone accomplishing by giving up beer, or chocolate, or cursing for 40 days when the heart remains as far away from the LORD at the end as it was at the beginning? To make matters worse, one of these conversations was with someone who was pontificating about the merit of eating fish on Fridays while living with his girlfriend as his wife. That is called fornication. It is sin. As Bob has asked people repetitively as of late,

“Do you think God is going to say, ‘Good! You ate fish on Fridays. Marvelous! You gave up beer for 40 days. You continued in sin, with your heart remaining far from Me, but that’s okay. You did your just dues concerning lent and that’s good enough for Me.’ Do you think that’s what’s going to happen? No!”

If you think I’m going to go into a laundry list of dos and do nots then you haven’t read me very well or for very long. It’s the point of this knocking on the door. Relationships take effort.

I have a friend who is a great gifter. Over the years I have enjoyed the items, some quite unique, that she has brought to me and to my family. But her gifts pale in comparison to spending quality time with her. Without that quality time, there is no relationship. That’s what’s missing.

Many of us are so religious. We are conditioned so much in our beliefs and in our practices that I shudder to think how any of us would respond if we should meet Jesus face to face as the disciples did. How many of us would be named among the hypocritical religious leaders of His day?

It is my personal belief that part of the fallout from covid will be the ruin of religious institutions as we know them. To that I say, Hallelujah! and Good riddance! I’m fed up with the practices and beliefs and attitudes that have lured me away from the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ. In John 14 Jesus says, “These things will you do and more.” But are we doing them? Are we seeing people saved from hell, healed from sickness and disease, delivered from demons? Not often enough for my liking. I don’t resemble the Jesus that I serve to the extent that I desire. Guess what? It isn’t Him who is the problem.

So I go back to that invitation. I love spending time with my family. And I have a couple of friends that I can talk and laugh with for hours and those hours pass as if they were minutes. That’s our Jesus invitation. “Let Me in. I’ll sit and eat with you and we’ll talk for hours. What would you like to talk about? Is there something particular you’d like to know? Do you need direction?”

There are days when I sit at my Savior’s feet and worship Him. There are days when I pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 and repent on behalf of the wicked who know no better and for my own wayward self. There are times when I simply love on Him. It’s so difficult for me to imagine why anyone would intentionally hurt Him. Lest you think our Creator feels no pain from mankind, you are mistaken. We are, at times, no better than those who nailed Him to the tree. And yet . . .

“Do you hear Me knock? I wish to come in. It’s been a while. I want to catch up with you, hear your voice. And I have something wonderful that I wish to share with you.”

It is true. God made us because He wanted family. Jesus paved the way with His very Blood. Holy Spirit is ever present and longing to comfort us. It’s a great, mysterious gift that I desire to unwrap everyday for the rest of my life. Will you join me?

Work It

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In 2017, I began the year with prayer and fasting and seeking God in earnest. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the LORD and sought to please Him in anyway I could. But suddenly, where I was, wasn’t enough. The cry of my heart was, “There has to be more — and I want it!”

God was faithful to answer my heart’s cry. I began a journey from which I have no intention of departing. In fact, I am past wanting “revival”. To me, revival is an event. What I believe we’re more in need of no longer warrants visitation; now, at this late hour, I believe the Church is in need of habitation. Getting to that place requires a consistent discipline to willingly examine motives and beliefs coupled with the fortification to cleanse what is necessary and receive fresh revelation.

Back to my topic of this now 5 year long journey. I’ve discovered some things I absorbed as truth but were mere religiosity and some things I haven’t given much conscious thought to but wished I would have. It’s been interesting indeed.

One of the things I want to share today wasn’t a stretch for me. Subconsciously I guess I always believed that God is all-powerful but He isn’t all-controlling. If that were the case the world wouldn’t be in the mess that it’s in. If you don’t have the stomach for thinking outside of the box that’s maybe built around you, then you will probably hate what I’m sharing today. If the current state of our world doesn’t make sense to you, but you can’t reconcile it because you’ve clung to “God is sovereign and if He wanted to He’d take care of it”, then today’s video will most likely offend you. OR, it just might cut a big slash in your box so you can escape. It’ll at least give you something think about. If you’re brave, you won’t immediately dispose it. You’ll ask God if there’s some truth to it and ask for assistance to see and receive it, just as I did.

If you’re feeling courageous, join me in killing a religious “sacred cow”. Hope you like beef ’cause it’s a lot to chew on.

Have a blessed day 🙂 !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KybB3UECmM