Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Psalm 119 Musings

While I was walking one day memorizing Scripture, which I sometimes do when I walk, I was memorizing Psalm 119:36-37. Psalm 119 is my favorite Psalm. It is obvious to the reader the Psalmist's absolute delight in God's Word. It is also the longest Psalm with 176 verses. Verses 36-37 encapsulate my heart. It says many things: "Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. Establish Your Word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You."

First, "Incline my heart to Your testimonies..." I know that in my flesh, I am more inclined to my own testimonies. My heart represents the deepest part of me, my motivations, my desires, my attitudes, my longings, my beliefs. That part of me that needs to be delighted in God's testimonies, His word.

Second, "and not to covetousness...". If I were honest, I would have to admit, I can so easily be distracted by people and things.

Third, "Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things," This goes along with covetousness. So much in the world can draw our hearts away from total devotion to God. Ps 86:11, "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." An undivided heart; that's what I want.

Fourth, "revive me in Your way." I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God's way is the right way and when all is said and done, the only way. If He will revive me, may it only be in His way, because my way hasn't worked out so good.(I know that's not good English).

Fifth, "Establish Your Word to Your servant..." God's Word is vital to our growth, change and healing.
John 17:17, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." God's means of sanctifying us (growing us in Christlikeness) is His truth. His word is truth. Although God uses other means to communicate His truth to us, His primary means is through His Word. Being in the Word is vital to the health of every believer. Don't let Satan win by fooling you into thinking you can get by. You may think, "I listen to Christian radio" or "I go to church," etc. You need to be ingesting the Word on your own.

You may say you have never done this. Well, it takes purpose, commitment, perseverance, and faith. Start small, with a 10 or 15 minute commitment a day. Everyone can squeeze 15 minutes out of their busy schedule, if it is important enough. If you see it as vital to your spiritual health, you will do it. If you don't, you won't.

Finally, "to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You." Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." I want to devote myself to fearing God.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Ahhhhh.......Rest 2

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Are you tired? Tired of carrying the burden of suffering? Tired of carrying the burden of anxiety, fear, depression? Tired of carrying the burden of trial? Jesus says, "Come to Me..."

Why can you rest in God? Really rest....

1. You can rest in His ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE; nothing escapes His notice or catches Him by surprize.
a. Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

2. You can rest in His almighty POWER.
a. Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
b. 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

3. You can rest in His TRUTH and His PROMISES.
a. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
b. 1 Kings 8:56 Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.
c. 2 Peter 1:3-4 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

4. You can rest in His FAITHFULNESS.
a. Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

5. You can rest in His PROVISION AND CARE for you.
a. 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
b. Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

Are you tired and weary? Come find rest in HIM.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Ahhhhh.......Rest 1

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Are you tired? Tired of carrying the burden of suffering? Tired of carrying the burden of anxiety, fear, and depression? Tired of carrying the burden of trial? Jesus says, "Come to Me..."

Why can you rest in God? Really rest....

1. You can rest in His SOVEREIGNTY. He is absolutely in control of every single molecule, person, ruler, event, and circumstance in the entire created universe.
a. Colossians 1:16-17 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

2. You can rest in God's GOODNESS. Not only is He sovereign - in control, He is good.
a. Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

3. You can rest in God's UNCHANGING CHARACTER.
a. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

4. You can rest in His PLAN AND PURPOSE for your life.
a. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
b. Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

5. You can rest in His LOVE for you.
a. Isaiah 54:8 "... with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer.


Thursday, June 25, 2009


"My Dad is stronger than your Dad."  Remember when we were kids bragging on our fathers or mothers and perhaps even embellishing the truth more than a little?  I remember trying to convince some kids that my father was a policeman and they should be afraid, very afraid.  My beloved dad was a machinist, but who would be afraid of a machinist?  

Have you ever noticed in conversations how subtly we "one-up" each other?  Just start talking about scars, and pretty soon people are rolling up their sleeves and pant legs to show off their scars.  How about conversations about harrowing experiences or difficulties with insurance companies?  Each has a bigger, better story to be told.  

Do you know that God actually tells us in His word to "one-up" each other?  Yup.  It was right there in black and white one morning when I was reading the Bible.  Romans 12:10:

Outdo one another...

...in showing honor. 

Imagine what our homes would be like, our marriages, our offices, our churches, our schools if we did just this one thing... 
If we intentionally, consistently, extravagantly, and earnestly sought to outdo one another in showing honor.

Would you commit to intentionally and genuinely show AT LEAST one person honor today?  Go for it. Outdo each other in showing honor.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The "C" Word

Today, I find myself someplace I have never been before.  I am the mother of two adult children.  For some reason, I sort of figured parenting would be a whole lot easier at this stage of life.  I'm not a worrier or a fretter.  At least I didn't think I was until I got to this phase.  Many nights sleep is lost.  I can't seem to shut my brain down.  It wanders around, collecting more thoughts than I can handle.  An upset stomach is all I get for my aimless "what if" wandering, all those horrible life scenarios that my kids could wind up in...if.  What it basically amounts to is not trusting God...again.

When my children were in the phase referred to as "the terrible twos," I had a blast with them!  Two year olds are the funniest people on the planet.  They also don't yet know that you are not all wise and powerful.  Nor have they had years of exposure to all your mistakes and foibles.  You are the one with the limitless hugs, the holding lap, the boo-boo fixer and kisser.  You crack up at all their silly little jokes no matter how often they tell them.  They know and believe you love them.  You are "Mommy!" 

Today my children are 24 and 22 and I am no longer Mommy. I'm Mom to one and Ma to the other.  They've seen me mess up so often (sometimes at their expense) that they are convinced I need serious therapy. or I'm just crazy.  (The jury is still out on that one.)  My hugs are still given and received.  My lap is still available for holding.  I don't laugh at all their jokes anymore, because I don't get them.  It takes so long for them to explain their jokes that they've long since stopped telling them.  I think they still know and believe I love them...at least I hope so.  More important than that or anything else, I hope that my children know and believe that God loves them.

Anyway, today, I'm being refined by the Refiner's fire.  He is teaching me, ever so painfully, that I must let go; I must stop clinging and that other "C" word, controlling.  I must step back and let Him lead.  Over and over, Father is gently - sometimes not so gently - reminding me of the obvious.  There is a God... and it ain't me!  The other words He lovingly, repeatedly speaks to me are, "Step aside, My beloved one.  Let Me be the One who draws them and woos them.  After all, honey, it ain't about you, now is it?"


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Love is....

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails...And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."(1)  

The first several verses clearly state that if I do not love, or behave in a loving way, all the other things I do "for Christ" are basically worthless.  That is a pretty powerful statement.  I could fool myself into thinking I am loving until I look at the description God Himself gives.  I have to ask myself: Am I patient?  Am I kind?  Do I envy what others have or what they don't have, or how they look?  Do I boast or think more highly of myself that I ought?  Am I proud, or think I am better than others?  Am I ever rude?  Do I think more about my best interests or the interests of others?   Do I get frustrated or irritated (just other words for angry) easily?  Do I keep track of the wrongs done to me or hold grudges?  Do I delight in another's sin, or allow evil into my house via TV, internet, books, magazines, conversation, etc?  Do I rejoice in the Truth of God's Word?  Do I bear others' burdens?  Do I trust  God in spite of...?  Do I always continue to hope?  Do I choose to keep on, keeping on?  
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"(2) (Why is it that it seems easier to love our neighbor than it is to love our own family members?)

"In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteous is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother."(3) 

"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."(4)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, the we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but the He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."(5)

"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him; that he who loves God must love his brother also."(6)

1 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8,13
2 Matthew 22:37-40
3 1 John 3:10-11
4 1 John 3:18
5 1 John 4:7-11,
6 1 John 4:20-21

Monday, June 22, 2009

Love does...

We, as women, tend to think we have this "love" thing wrapped up.  God made us to love, right?  I hear many, many women say "In spite of all he has done, I really love him."  I want to consider for a bit what is God's description of love.  First of all, 10 or 15 years ago, I did a Scripture search on love and discovered that it was a verb.  Love is an action, not a feeling.  That is so foreign to our American way of thinking, especially us romantics.  Love is an action.  It is a choice of our will.  You can't will yourself to feel anything, but you can will to love.  
1 Corinthians 13: 1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.    4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.    8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.    11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.    13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I think the first thing we have to notice is that I can do a lot of wonderful things and look great, but if I lack Christ-love as described in 1 Corinthians 13, I AM NOTHING, NOTHING.  That is pretty strong language Paul uses.    Secondly,  I have to ask myself, am I patient? (long-suffering), am I kind? Am I envious? Am I proud? Am I rude? Am I self-seeking?  Do I get angry easily? Do I think the best or the worst?  Do I rejoice in the truth even when it hurts me?  Does my love come and go?  Does my love lose hope? 

Love does not mean covering your eyes in the light of sin.  It does not mean enabling a person to continue in their sin. I think too often we think by letting our loved one "off the hook" it is demonstrating our love. Not always.  Sometimes removing the consequences of a person's sin is more an evidence of your idolatry of that person than evidence of your Christ-love for that person.

Let me encourage you to take up the challenge.  Read 1 Corinthians 13 every day for 30 days.  If you're bold-memorize it.  Let it guide your love.  

Christ is at work in you making you more and more like Him.  


Friday, June 19, 2009

Doers of the Word

If we fail to practice what we know, we are not only disobedient, but Scripture says we deceive ourselves.  James also says it is the person that hears and does that is blessed or happy. Basically, many of us don't need to learn more, we just need to live what we already know. Philippians 3:16 " ...Only let us live up to what we have already attained..." Consider how different our lives would be and how great an impact we would have if we just lived what we already knew about obedience and faith.  Often times we don't progress in our walk because we have failed to be faithful with what God has already given us.  If we are truly to be Christ-followers, we must practice our faith, practice obedience, practice holiness, practice, practice, practice.  

I find James very clear on this principle.  James 1:21-27 "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer  of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless."  


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Visible Victory

Do you ever go through seasons when God seems to be working overtime on those touchy areas of your life?  You know the areas I'm talking about, the ones that don't scream for immediate attention.  Those areas that we limp along with day after day, week after week, year after year.  Perhaps it might be overspending the grocery budget or poor stewardship of your finances, or your resources or your body or maybe it's that barely tolerable relationship with your Mother-in-Law, or the time wasted on the internet or watching TV.  You get my gist.  

When I was thinking about this it raised the question,"Is the lack of active obedience-rebellion?"  I tend to see rebellion as defiance, shaking my fist at God, stomping my feet, standing my ground, refusing to budge...According to the on-line version of Merriam-Webster, rebellion is "opposition to one in authority or dominance."  

If I go through my life basically living out my own choices, being my own boss by making decisions to do what I want (within reason), am I not technically living in rebellion to God?  If I make my own choices, you know the quiet ones no one but God and I even notice, am I not living for myself rather than for God?

As I have taught about the concept of active obedience, it has raised a few questions and a few eyebrows.  What is the difference between obedience and active obedience?  What is the difference between respect and active respect?  What is the difference between kindness and active kindness?  Well, to me it is a matter of a conscious choice, a matter of visibility.  Active obedience is making the choice to obey, especially when you don't want to, when it's difficult.

If the Scriptures call me to respect my husband in Ephesians 5:33, "and let the wife see that she respects her husband" but my husband is not living in such a way as to make me WANT to be respectful, does it not require active respect so that I may be obedient to God?
Don't I have to choose to respect in spite of my feelings, or in spite of what I want?  Responding according to my feelings, my wants, is choosing to live as my own boss. 
If I am living as my own boss, I've just squeezed God out of the position as Lord of my life (or I have tried to).  "Bossing ourselves is a ticket to slavery." (Beth Moore - Breaking Free)

So I'm back to the question, "Is the lack of my active obedience rebellion?"  I believe it is, perhaps in it's more subtle form, almost imperceptible. Any time I am choosing to be my own boss rather than follow Jesus Christ as my Lord, then I am rebelling. Silently, perhaps, but still rebelling. 

Maybe, like me, you need to ask God the question, "What does active obedience look like in this area of my life?"  because we don't really know.  

1 Samuel 15:23, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." I don't know about you, but I don't want to be clumped with the rebellious, the witches, and the stubborn.  Let's choose to put on active obedience.  Let's live in visible victory!!!!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And do it...

The Lord has been impressing on me lately the importance of practicing what I know.  He has caused me to question how much does what I know impact what I do?  I realize that at every moment I have a choice to walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh.  If I do not take what I know and use it to change my behavior, what good is it?  

1 John 2:3-6 "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought  himself also to walk just as He walked."  

What evidence is there is your life or mine that we walk as Jesus walked?  I realized that my theology is worthless if I do not apply it to my everyday life.  I cannot be a woman of character or of wisdom if my knowledge does not somehow change me. 

Do you desire to be in God's family?  Luke 8:19-21 tells us who really are Christ's mother and brothers... "Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd.  And it was told Him by some, who said, 'Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.' But He answered and said to them, 'My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."  Having a head full of Bible knowledge in a life full of self is an affront to the character and reputation of Jesus Christ.  We represent Him in this world.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Piece Of My Mind

My husband and I were working through a video series called "War of Words" with 5 couples from our church.  As the title indicates it was about the heart of communication.  (There is a book by the same title by Paul Tripp).  During one of the lessons, Dr. Tripp was commenting about Romans 6:13, "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."   

It struck me in a way it never had before, that there are only two options.  At any given moment, I am either offering my members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, or I am offering my members as instruments of righteousness to God.  There is no middle ground.  That is a sobering thought.  I was thinking mostly of my mouth.  I am either allowing God to use it to communicate His words or I am allowing Satan to use it for his purposes.  When I am choosing to speak my mind, I assure you it is rarely to communicate God's words.  Oh, sure I may think I'm just speaking the truth but because it is wrapped around the motives of my own heart, it ceases to be the truth and it becomes my slant on the truth.  I've had a tough week with my mouth.  I don't mean cursing or anything like that, I mean how I have attempted to use my words to either get my own way or to try to convict another of their sin, or to change them with my words.  How foolhardy!  Dr. Tripp said, "Since the King has come, change is possible."  I didn't hear him say, nor will I ever, "Since Diane came, change is possible." Although I know that, I regularly act as if that is exactly what I believe.    If I just say this, or say it this way, they are bound to see the problem.  So often, I only make the problem worse.  

I need to remember two verses that need to govern my speech. James 1:19, "let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." and Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  WOW!  Sure doesn't sound like "speaking my mind" now, does it?


Monday, June 15, 2009

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Do you have one?  Have you made a list in case of fire, flood, bad times, tornados, etc.?

Things like flashlights, rope, water, blankets, etc...  These are a few items that we see from time to time in magazine articles.  We really don't live in an area that would be affected by serious weather damage.  Fortunately we are in a pretty safe place.

Are you in a safe place, do you have your emergency kit prepared just in case.  Spiritually speaking are you in a safe place? Do you have an emergency kit prepared?

I remember a time when things were crazy and unsettled and I didn't know where to go or what to do.  A few years ago.... a good friend that I worked with in ministry reminded me it might be a time that the Lord has me under His wing (verse).  I know that because of my salvation I am in the palm of His hand.  Sometimes we need to feel that sense of security and we need to remind ourselves He might have us under His wing for a time of rest and to keep us out of harm's way.  

Psalm 91:4 (New King James Version)
He shall cover you with His feathers,
        And under His wings you shall take refuge; 
        His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Looking back at that time I didn't understand it completely but I trusted my friend's advice and kept claiming that verse.  After a while I could feel His wing lifting and allowing me to go back to a bigger place.  I was still in His palm but I did not need to be protected under His wing as much.  He needed me to fly on my own for a while in the area He made a way for me to embark out in.  

When times are insecure, fearful, crazy or feeling scary....just like if we could see the flood or tornado coming, it is nice to know we have our emergency kit prepared, too.    Just like we find shelter in a basement during bad weather, we can find shelter under His wing during bad times.  What have you done to prepare?  The Bible talks about doing things in orderliness and I'm sure this means to prepare ahead for uncertain times.

My kit that I carry is a small tote bag. It includes my Bible, a notebook, a few pens, a devotional, a Christian book to read and some note cards to send a note to someone,  as the Lord leads.  Whether I am at home or on the go I can take my bag with me and when I feel a spiritual emergency coming I can dig deep and I have the supplies I need with me.  Another thing to carry along with you is a heart always ready to pray and a mind full of Scripture that you can refer to when your bag is not in reach.

So many times we get caught off guard because we did not prepare ahead of time. Take a moment today and ask the Lord what he needs you to put in your emergency bag.  If you feel like you are under His wing, enjoy the security; if He is lifting His wing know that He will never leave you and if you need His wing just ask him.

  Lynn Wilson

Friday, June 12, 2009

God speaks to my heart...

Again, I was challenged in my walk with the Lord when I my back was against the wall.  I was told something I didn't particularly like and I became angry.  I am slowly learning, sometimes I am better off keeping my mouth shut and going to the Lord, so I went for a walk. It was a walk of determination with fiercely swinging arms, as I literally cried out to God.  Tears streamed down my face, hidden behind my sunglasses.  When the walk was over, I didn't feel any better, so I sequestered myself in my room.  I opened the Bible to where I was in my daily reading.  Here are some of my recorded thoughts from my journal that evening: "Part of me wants to speak my mind-but I am choosing to have God's voice be the louder voice.  'Call upon Me  in the day of trouble.  I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.'(1)  'Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright, I will show the salvation of God.'(2) ...I praise You that You waste nothing-I know you will redeem this for Your glory.  Cause me to know the way I should go for I lift up my soul to you.  Show me Your way, O Lord, teach me your path, guide me in Your truth and teach me for You are God, my savior and my hope is in You all day long.  
"Set a guard over my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips"...Lord, I fear if I don't speak this will pass unnoticed-please redeem this for your glory. 'When I am afraid I will trust in you...In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.'(3)  'And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed.'(4) ...Lord, cause me to remember to hide in the shadow of Your wings, to stand on the Rock which causes me to see life from Your perspective.  Lord, in You alone I trust......

I can't explain what God has done - He's been faithful and true to His word. As I sought to cling to the cross with both arms -die to myself- God has diffused my feelings of anger."

You may not have noticed but the verses I shared were progressive.  I simply went to the Bible and started reading right where I had left off and verse after verse spoke to me in my specific situation.  The verse that was impressed most upon my heart was Psalm 50:23 because when we don't know what to do, it makes it very simple.  1) offer praise and in so doing we glorify God and 2) I am to order my steps aright-do right for my part.

Regardless of what the other person does I can choose to do what's right.  That does not mean I will be perfect but when I do fall and sin, I need to be quick to repent before God and to seek forgiveness from those whom I have offended.  Keeping short accounts allows me to be blameless.  When I offer praise and order my steps aright, God says He will show me His salvation.  I believe God can redeem any mess we get ourselves into, for His honor and glory.

That is a pretty simple prescription for righteous living.  


1 Psalm 50:15
2 Psalm 50:23
3 Psalm 56:3 & 4
4 Psalm 57:1

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Letter to Me From Elizabeth*

 "Being married to Matthew* was like getting hit by a Mack truck almost every day. Even when I followed the instructions of God in His Word and was on His divine 'sidewalk,' I still got hit by Matthew's* Mack truck filled with anger, self-centeredness, mental abuse and neglect.

"Finally, my prayers started getting answered when a pastor jumped in my husband's Mack truck, and started teaching him how to drive like Jesus. This pastor directed my husband toward KESWICK where Matthew is emptying his truck and filling it with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love. I'm so happy and thankful for this. I forgive my husband for the hit and runs, and I love him. 

"But now, I lay on God's divine 'sidewalk' with a heart that's broken. I'm bleeding, weak and tired. Everyone wants to help me heal and asks me, 'What do you need?' All I can say is, 'I don't know.'

"So I prayed for help to heal me and God sent me DeEtta (a biblical counselor at America's KESWICK who is there to serve the woman whose husband, fiancÈ, etc., is a resident of the Colony of Mercy). Thank you Lord! You are mighty to save, heal and restore!"(1)

This beloved daughter of God shared the above with me verbally during an initial phone call to let her know that we are here for her. "Yes, the program is here for your husband. Yet our job is to encourage you to fully surrender 'the man' to the Lord. And yes, we are going to come along side you, to be the Lord's heart and ministering hands to help you stop bleeding and regain strength as you encounter your Savior through His Word and the Women of Character program. 

She was overjoyed to say the least and she said, "Finally! I've been lying in the road thinking 'what about me?' while my husband got help; and wondering, who was going to come and help me get up. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

I shared the above letter (written by Elizabeth*) to encourage you (whoever you are) to have hope, to stay close to God, to continue to pray to Him; draw near to Him and listen for the sound of His voice. He has not left you without hope of deliverance or healing or provision or any other thing. He is faithful to supply every need you have according to His riches in glory.(2) 

So, dear one, NO MATTER WHAT, remember that you are His treasure! Do not grow faint or lose heart for the Lord your God is with you.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;" 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

"...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2


1 Letter used with permission
*Names changed by request
2 Philippians 4:19 www.biblegateway.com 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dirty Feet

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself."(1) Now before I get into why Christ was able to wash the feet of the disciples, let's skip down to verses 5 and 11, "He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet...He knew who would betray Him;..."  For years it escaped me that Christ knew His betrayer yet willingly washed his feet in the same manner as He did the other disciples. Have you ever needed to respond to someone you felt betrayed you?  What was it about Christ that enabled Him to treat His betrayer in a humble and gentle way? I believe the answer lies in John 13:3-4., Jesus...knowing.  What does it say Jesus knew?  The text says Jesus knew 3 things: 1) Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands; 2) Jesus knew that He had come from God, and 3) Jesus knew that He was going to God. 

We are called to imitate God. "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children."(2)  Looking back to John 13, how could we possibly imitate God even in these circumstances?  How can we possibly be humble and gentle with one who has in the past or even continues to betray us?  I believe those three things Jesus knew empowered Him to humbly and gently wash the feet of His betrayer. Those very things are also true in your life, if you are a genuine follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

FIRST, "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands," (vs. 3).  2 Peter 1:3-4 says, about you, "...His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." God has given everything you need into your hands.  

SECOND, Jesus knew that He had come from God (vs. 3).  You also come from God.  "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."(3) 

THIRD, Jesus knew that He was going to God (vs. 3).  YOU TOO!  "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."(4)

There is nothing magical or mystical to Christ's obedience in washing the feet of His betrayer. He did it because He knew who He was and to Whom He belonged.

When we lose sight of who we really are, (who God says we are) and who we belong to, we fight tenaciously for our rights out of fear of losing ourselves.  In reality, it is in losing ourselves that we truly find ourselves in Christ.  


1 John 13:3-4
2 Ephesians 5:1
3 John 1:12-13
4 John 14:1-3

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I'm Only Hurting Myself

How many times have we heard that statement? "I'm only hurting myself." I've heard it again and again. A friend, a family member, or a brother or sister in the Lord who has fallen into sin and believes their own lie that what they are doing hurts no one but themselves and has no effect on others. I also have to confess there was a time in my life that I believed this lie myself. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Every time we sin or someone else sins it has a ripple effect that hurts many. Any choice we make - either good or bad - affects all those around us. There are always consequences to our bad choices and it always has a way of spilling over onto others.

      I used to have a very difficult time with the passage of Scripture from Exodus 34:6-7.  "And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.'" 

      Reading this always had me crying out to the Lord, "Why...how God, would you 'punish' the children for the sins their parents committed?" It just didn't seem to fit with the character of God. I thought of my children and the sins I had committed. I thought of my parents and their sins, ones I knew of and those I didn't. Was I being punished for my parent's sins? Were my sons being punished for my sins? If I just stopped here with this verse I might conclude that this is the case. But I would be very wrong.

2 Chronicles 25:4
"Yet he did not put their sons to death, but acted in accordance with what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the LORD commanded: 'Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.'"

Ezekiel 18:20
"The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."

John 9:1
"As He [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'"

Even the disciples were having a difficult time with the Old Testament Scripture...so I don't feel so bad! Children don't suffer the wrath of God for their parents' sins, however....there are those consequences of sin that can't be avoided and this is what I believe the Exodus 37 passage is talking about.

The character, habits, and sins of a parent can't help but influence his or her children and grandchildren. The bad choices a parent makes greatly affects his children and the consequences of sin spill over to other generations. The children of the Israelites who were born to them while they were in exile in Babylon were suffering the consequences of their parents' sin. The children were suffering in exile because their parents had turned their backs on the One True God and worshiped other gods. However God does NOT hold the children responsible for the sin of their parents.

This should make each of us think very carefully about the choices we make. I know I want to have a positive affect on the generations of my family to come. This isn't a one time only choice for me to make but one I need to make daily.

Mary Ann

MaryAnn and John Kiernan have been married for 35 years, have 2 grown/married sons and are the proud grandparents of two grandsons. She serves at America's Keswick as a Biblical Counselor and also as Intake Coordinator for the Colony of Mercy. Her life verse is Romans 8:28.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Judging Others

Matthew 7:1 says, Judge not, that you be not judged.  That's how it reads in the ESV of God's Word.  In The Message, which is the Eugene Peterson paraphrase, it reads like this, "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment."

I love to read "My Utmost For His Highest," a devotional book by Oswald Chambers, compiled by his wife after his death and in continuous print since 1935.  As I sat reading it a few years ago (and once again very recently), the message for the day was about being critical of others. He wrote, "The average Christian is one of the most piercingly critical individuals known."  He went on to say, "Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others." My Utmost For His Highest June 17 (1)

The first time I read those words I cried and cried.  My conscence was pricked by those stinging words and it hurt a lot.  At that time I was being especially critical and judgmental towards certain people in my life and God used those famously penned words to bring rebuke, correction, conviction, confession, repentance and change - change that is in constant ebb and flow as I grow in the knowledge of Him.

Please don't think this task was or is by any means easy, because it wasn't and isn't.  If we don't draw near and press in to God, our natural bent will be toward being critical of self and others.  As a Christian, this simply will not do.

Jesus' words to the people ready to stone the woman caught in adultery are words that come often to my mind in the midst of being critical.  "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." John 8:7.  While I pursue blameless living I am far from sinless.  Who am I to look at the faults and failures of others and be critical?  "Search me O God and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24 (2)

My Challenge For You:
If you find you can relate in anyway to what I've shared today, go to God now, confess and allow His spirit to transform your heart in this area.  You'll be so glad you did!


1 http://www.rbc.org/utmost/index.php 
2 www.biblegateway.com 

Friday, June 05, 2009

Fight for Life

I remember it as if it was yesterday.  I was less than a second from inhaling a deep breath under water. I was out of air in my lungs.  The girl on top of me was clawing, digging, punching, and flailing about all the while she held me underwater. Oh, it was not intentional; she was simply trying to keep her own head above water.  Panic swept through my heart; I was going to die! In one split second, I would have to inhale.  I was out of options.  Energy surged through me - I had to get to the surface, now!  I overpowered my friend (that's what I tell myself). I fought to get air. I fought for my life, literally.  If I had not popped to the surface when I did, my family would have mourned my demise more than 30 years ago, and I would not be here sharing this experience with you today.  

You may be scratching your head asking why I share this.  Simply this, I fought for my life with every ounce of energy I could muster, I wanted to live.  

When I consider the all-too-casual approach I often take towards the Scriptures, I wonder where the fight went.  The flesh is just as real a deterrent to my spiritual life and growth as that friend was to my physical life that day. Why do I not overpower it and fight to tarry at my Savior's feet each day?  Why do I acquiesce to the sleepiness, the hunger, the busyness, the phone, the email?   When they interfere with my time with Jesus and His word why do I fail to see them as a threat to my spiritual health in much the same way as I saw the threat my friend posed that day in the pool?  

I may be slow, but I'm beginning to realize I need to fight my flesh with the same tenacity as I did that day 30+ years ago as if my very life depends on it, because it does. My spiritual life.  

How about you?  Do you roll over and hit the snooze?  Do you get distracted by the phone or the news or the washing machine?  Do you wander into your devotional room to realize that you haven't dusted in there for 2 weeks (2 months) and decide it's time to dust rather than sit at Jesus' feet?  What is it that tempts you away? We need to do battle daily with our flesh because it will hold us under water until we either fight for the surface or give up.  Which will you choose?


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Who do you see?

Each day each of us sees and interacts with so many people. There are family members, co-workers, church families, and friends that we see along with scores of strangers we may never meet again. Hundreds of people cross our paths daily. Some we know and love dearly, some we don't know at all. Some we meet for the first time and perhaps a friendship develops. Some of those we meet are the so-called "beautiful" people and we seem attracted them. Some we meet may have an illness, a deformity or perhaps we know something unpleasant about their lives. Who do you see as you go through your day? Each one of us sees another and then observations and opinions begin to form....good and bad.

My momma raised us to never make fun of or taunt others for any reason. This helped to instill in me a love for those who are hurting, the underdogs, those different from me. Even so, I confess, there are times I have pre-judged another by what my eyes have seen or my ears have heard. What if we truly followed the example of Jesus? Who did He see as He looked out on the masses?

Jesus called out to Levi to follow Him. He even had dinner in Levi's home. (Mark 2:12-17) Who did He see? Everyone else saw a vile tax collector. No one wanted anything to do with him. Was he a sinner? Yes. But who did Jesus see?

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Jesus seeking healing. (Matthew 8:1-4) This was an unclean man, an outcast, a man no one wanted to touch or even look at. Who did Jesus see?

A woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus. (John 8:1-11) This woman deserved death for her sin. Who did Jesus see?

This is just a tiny example of the many that came across the path of Jesus while He walked on earth. Jesus saw something with His eyes that you and I need to see as well. Jesus looked beyond the flesh of man to the soul within. We may not be able to see exactly what Jesus sees but we need to begin to put on our "biblical glasses," begin to see others through the eyes of our Lord. Even those we think are beyond grace and mercy because that isn't what the Lord sees. He sees beyond the beauty, the illness, the sin, the ugliness and says "just wait and see what I can do with this life."

Can you imagine if each of us put on those "biblical glasses" and took the time to really see those who cross our paths??? What if we took the time to look beyond the outer shell and saw a man, woman or child in need of God's grace and mercy? 
Who do you see when you look at me?

Mary Ann

MaryAnn and John Kiernan have been married for 35 years, have 2 grown/married sons and are the proud grandparents of two grandsons. She serves at America's KESWICK as a Biblical Counselor and also as Intake Coordinator for the Colony of Mercy. Her life verse is Romans 8:28.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

An attitude of entitlement

Young people today are often characterized by having an attitude of entitlement.  They seem to think we and/or the world owes them something, they deserve what they get. I have heard many parents share how it grieves their heart that their children presume it is their responsibility to provide above and beyond the necessities - with little or no gratitude.  Anger runs high because others don't necessarily cooperate with their self-centered agenda.  Many, not all, but many of our young people live as if the world revolves around them.  


Who am I kidding?  These statements are just as true about me.  I am often characterized by having an attitude of entitlement. I, too, fail to return thanks for the many, many, many blessings God rains upon me.  I get angry sometimes when others don't live or respond according to my self-centered agenda (also known as idolatry).  I admit, there are times I want the world to revolve around me.  Youth?  NO... ME.  But it's even worse than that. I presume upon God every time I choose sin rather than repentance and obedience.  

Attitudes of entitlement are not new with today's youth. As far back as the Garden of Eden people have presumed upon God and His grace. Rather than looking around perhaps we need to look in.  

Father, I am guilty of exactly what I accuse youth of, presumption.  Thank you that the blood of Jesus covers even this sin.  Thank you for grace.  Change me, Lord.  

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Worn out shoes to Hope and encouragement ...

How many of us buy cheap shoes and feel it is better to replace them with another cheap pair than to have them fixed at a cobbler shop.  We think that the cost to repair a cheaper pair is not worth it.  

Recently I read an article in the "Daily Cheapskate" and she was talking about this same thing.  She goes on to say shoe repairs are on the rise. People are thinking about getting what they already have repaired or maintained instead of buying new.  They say the rule of thumb is that the same materials they used to repair a pair of $10 shoes are the same for a $500 pair. Think about that....I buy a pair for $10 at a cheaper store and get them fixed up at a later time when they are old and worn out and probably come home with a better pair than I started out with in the first place.  Better heels, better stitching, better "soles."

Some days do you feel like an old pair shoes?  I do...there are days that my heels are worn out and my stitching is coming apart and my "soul" feels beat up.

How is your day going today?  Yesterday I had a bad day, so when I started writing this devotional, as simple and as corny as it is.....I figured someone out there like me might be having a bad day, too, when you read this.  Walk with me and be encouraged by the next few thoughts.

We might feel like an old pair of shoes but let me remind both of us that we are worth more than an old pair of shoes even if we purchased them for $500 and got a repair job on them.  Once we are saved by His grace, it is better than going to a cobbler for a makeover.  Take some encouragement in knowing that you are a daughter of the King of kings, that the God of all eternity wants to spend the rest of it with you, that we have a direct line to Him anytime and anywhere when we need someone to talk to.  We are able to ask or discuss anything with Him, no matter how strange, simple or involved the question is.  He is preparing a mansion for me with streets of gold to walk on. He has promised me that He will take care of all my needs daily, and He told me that if I need something He wants to give me the desires of my heart.  Are you feeling encouraged yet?  I hope so.  

Sometimes we need to stop and take a moment to realize what we are really worth to Him.  The days that people treat you wrong, give you a look, or discourage you.....STOP and remember you belong to Him.  The Lord will not always remove the situation or the people from our lives that make us feel like an old pair of shoes, but He does leave us with lots of encouragement in the Bible to reflect on and to encourage us in our daily walk.  

Join me today and be encouraged and know that He loves you and me.  He always gives us hope for a better day.  Walk with Him today and He will give you a new pep in your step. 

Lynn W

Monday, June 01, 2009

Just dust

"He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it. When our virtues become more mature, we shall not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms." 
- C.H. Spurgeon

I read the above quote today, immediately after entering my office in a huff over the glaring fault of another Christian. Their flesh and my flesh had collided and I found myself angrier than I have been in a long time.

It's just like Father God to use that occasion to teach me something about me and to remind me - once again- that IT AIN'T ABOUT ME! Now surely we all agree that is a no-brainer. Of course it's not about me. Yet, here I am, annoyed, irritated and hindered by policies and/or procedures that don't make sense.  Top that off with here is Father reminding me that I am but dust, dust in need of a spiritual, Holy Spirit vacuum.

So what is today's encouragement toward living in visible victory? Simple this:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
~~ Philippians 2:1-13

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
~~James 4:6-10