Thursday, March 29, 2007

Allow me to introduce Chloe

Chloe has been a part of our family for a couple of years now. She is loved equally by all three of us. She loves all three of us back just the same. She doesn't have a favorite.

Tuesday night I was reading in my room when I heard her make a strange bark near the back gate. I asked the guys if the back gate had been locked after the mowers had finished. They said it had. I ignored her and continued to read.

30 minutes went by and my son decided to figure out why she hadn't come back in. Yep, the gate was open. She was gone. We spread out through the neighborhood and looked for her for an hour or so.

As I was walking, calling her name and praying that the Lord would bring her back to us. God gave me a deep sense of peace about the whole thing. I was frustrated and I was concerned she might get hit by a car. She's not very street smart but yet peaceful. We left the gate open in the back. We prayed together as a family and went to sleep.

In the middle of a dream I heard a strange sound, "Am I dreaming about hearing Chloe or did I hear Chloe"? I jumped out of bed but she beat me to the door already scratching at it before I made it. She had returned home at 1:42 am, smelling like perfume and absent her collar and dog tags. We wish she could tell us that story.

My sense of thankfulness was so deep. I was thankful she was safe. I was thankful we had her back. I was thankful God had granted both a sense of peace and a quick answer to prayer. Quick does not seem to be on His agenda for me lately. :)

I am thankful God has created creatures that we get to enjoy as much as we enjoy our little dog. I am thankful I have further proof God cares about everything in our lives.

What has God used to show you how much He cares about everything in your life?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

God is a Fear Taker and a Mind Changer

Last week someone asked me, "What is God using to transform your heart?" "What is it that changes your mind and your heart and leads you to trust God's perspective more than the perspective of your flesh or the world around you?"

God has taken something that I have resisted since Jr. High and turned me from repulsion to real appreciation for it.

It started something like this. God I don't know what to do today during my time out with you. What should I do? I went through my typical list of choices. Everything seemed flat. Then I had a moment when I sensed the Lord wanted me to start to learn by heart a passage of scripture. What scripture? I was teaching out of Galatians at the time so it was where I began.

Wow! A couple of weeks into it I started to wonder why do I like this so much when I have hated it , and rebelled against it for so long. What was different?

This is what I believe happened. In the beginning of my walk with the Lord I had been told to memorize for a competition or to have to say out loud in a group setting of some kind. Both of those terrify me. So as I continued my journey with the Lord, every time the invitation came from a person to "memorize" a verse or passage all those past emotions came to the surface. So I avoided it or said I just don't seem to be able to "memorize."

Now that's just plain crazy. I knew it when I would use it as an excuse. It's crazy because as a professional I had to take one of those three day tests. That test requires you to memorize for six months to a year prior to the test. I was able to do that. My entire educational training, like it is for all of us, had been to memorize. We've all been trained to memorize. Certainly for some of us it is easier than for others but we are all capable of it.

The difference this time was that there was no agenda for how much I would learn or how long it would take. There was going to be no test at the end. As I started to learn the Word by heart, amazing things happened. One day a particular word would stick out over another. I would pray about questions I had or praise God for insights He gave me related to that word. It was absolutely not a chore it was an act of worship.

How did I memorize? I wrote the verses out. I walked around and memorized them. I said them out loud. I wrote the first letter of every word as I got to know the verses better. I did everything I could think of and best of all I asked God to help me. I believe with all my heart, God helped me.

Guess when I stopped being able to learn the Word by heart? When I started showing my husband how much I had memorized. I became proud. A proud heart is not a teachable heart. It took me some time to realize what had happened. I felt very bad about it when I did figure it out. I said I was sorry. God forgave me.

So why am I writing about this today, because I want you to know that the next time the Lord invites you to learn something by heart from His Word that it can be the most amazing and wonderful experience. God really does use it in your life to bless you in so many unexpected ways and in unanticipated circumstances.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for giving us Your Word. Help us to understand what you given us. Help us to be hungry for Your Word. Thank you that Your Word brings us into your presence in a way that nothing else does. Thank you for dealing with our fears so they can be taken away from us. Thank you for pursuing in us a change of mind and heart.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Andrew Murray

I have a new friend. His name is Andrew Murray. This friendship is different from other friendships. It is very one sided. I receive from this friend over and over again but I can't give back to him. He is at home with the Lord.

Andrew lived from 1828-1917. He served as a pastor and as an author in South Africa. He was raised in South Africa by parents who were missionaries to that country from Scotland. Some of his education took place in Scotland. South Africa was his homeland.

Andrew through his writings, which are many, has taught me so many things. Andrew is passionate about learning to abide in Christ, learning to pray and seeing revival come to his homeland.

It is uncanny to me how accurate his descriptions of his day and the believers of his day are of our own day. God has used Andrew's testimony of love for the whole church and love for the world to inspire me to want to pray for the "big picture" more than I have ever been inspired before.

Andrew got to watch revival come to his land. It is well documented that in 1860 revival swept through South Africa. Talk about a blessing!! I can't even imagine what it must be like to live through an answer to prayer that is that big.

Andrew's books have been considered classics for a long time. They are available online for free. However much of what is available online is old enough English that it can be hard to really hear what Andrew is saying. I highly recommend a translation that has been done into modern English by the publisher Whitaker House. It is titled: Andrew Murray on Prayer by Andrew Murray.

If in your own journey you are craving to understand more about what it means to abide in Christ or you want to understand more about what it is to have a life-receiving and life-giving prayer life, please ask the Lord if He would like for Andrew Murray to be one of your friends too.

On my list of things I dream about for heaven I have added two things. I would love the opportunity to say thank you to Andrew Murray for how his obedience to the Lord made a difference for me. I would like the joy of sitting and listening to Andrew recount his hallelujah moments on earth.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Greater Trust, Straighter Paths

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart.
and lean not on your OWN understanding.
In ALL your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It seems I show up at these verses after I have tried to use all my own understanding and it hasn't worked out to well.

My paths are pretty curvy. And the funny thing is that, until just recently, I would have characterized myself as being someone who was pretty willing to acknowledge Him. It turns out that was a lie I was telling myself to often.

Lip service to God is not acknowledgement. Worship that brings you sincerely bowed down low is acknowledgement. Obedience from a heart of love is acknowledgement. Walking by faith and not by sight is acknowledgement.

I don't want to live in the lie of trusting myself and claiming that I am trusting God. God has so much work to do inside me on that one. But I've tasted that these words in Proverbs are true and so I look forward to the Lord continuing to work in my heart. To create in me a heart of faith, worship and obedience.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for being so patient with us. Thank you for convicting us not just when we're lying to to other people but also when we're lying to ourselves. Lord teach us what the words, "Trust in the Lord will all your heart" really mean. What would the world look like if a bunch of us really trusted you that way?

Forgive us for thinking we know so much. Its funny that we pick on teenagers for having that attitude and often can't see it in ourselves. We are so grateful for your correcting and life giving mercy in our lives. Give us hearts that truly love you and want to walk in obedience to you. May we live lives with straighter paths so we can have the opportunity to tell people about the Straight Path Giver.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Teresa of Avila - The Interior Castle

Something I was reading lately reminded me of a classic by a women named Teresa of Avila. Teresa lived in the 1500's. She wrote several books. One of her books is called The Interior Castle. In it she attempts to describe her understanding of the soul and its interaction with God.

As I began rereading it this week. I was struck by something she said in Chapter 2. She is recounting lessons that a friend of hers received from a vision. The second lesson was this, "Humility, for she saw that nothing good in us springs from ourselves but comes from the waters of grace near which the soul remains like a tree planted beside a river, and from that Sun which gives life to our works." She then goes onto make the observation that, "Generally she forgot all about herself and only thought of God when she did any meritorious action."

This turned out to be something I needed to read today. At the beginning of my day I was sensing that there was something I needed to confess but I just didn't know what exactly was wrong. I asked the Lord to show me what it was. When I read these words my heart started to pound. I was able to see a circumstance where I had acted obediently and united with Christ but as I replayed the moments in my mind I started to miss that I was only the tree and that God was the water and the Sun. There I was again experiencing being puffed up with pride rather then embracing humility and being thrilled to be a vessel.

Two things thrill me about what happened. I knew I had done something wrong. I needed the Lord to show me what it was and minutes later in a random reading its right there in black and white. And, God is increasing my sensitivity to when something is just not right. I do not feel in any way condemned in it but rather really really loved. Because I feel loved I am more willing to be corrected. God is so good!


May we learn to truly have no confidence in the flesh. May we thrill to be used by you for your purposes. May we stop taking credit for it apart from you when those moments only happen united with you.


Friday, March 02, 2007


I marvel at the body of Christ. I marvel at the life giving blessings that God has for us when we committ to being in relationship with one another.

One of our pastors recently did a message on how we need to have a mentor, a sister at a similar place and someone we are being called to mentor in our lives. I was blessed today to relflect on the mentors I have in my life right now and the mentors of younger days. I am blessed by amazing sisters in the Lord and a few great brothers too. I am blessed to be a mentor.

I am in awe of how the Lord has orchestrated bringing each of those relationships into my life. What an awesome God we serve!

Its something I don't ever want to take for granted.

I also love that in these different relationships that I move back and forth between being taught and being the teacher. There is nothing more precious to me in human relationships then the communion with another person over a shared awareness of the presence of God.

Dear Lord,

Thank you giving us what we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of you. Thank you for insisting that one of the things we need is realationship with each other. May we be willing to be used by you as you see fit. May we feel connected with other believers as we face a broken and hurting world who needs to find You. May our relationships with each other be a testimony to those who are lost and not yet found.