a servant’s worship

I confess today that I have “writer’s block”, there is nothing, no words. Most likely because I am moving over the next few days and my head is full of details and lists and a heart full of crazy excitement!

Life is like shifty eyes, it never stays the same; each day offers different colors to paint life’s palette with… I wonder what will be on my canvas of life at the end of my day?

I read Proverbs 30, Psalm 122-123, Genesis 23-24 and I am encouraged to worship with every brush stroke. An example of such living is given to us through the historical story of Abraham’s servant, who was commissioned to find a wife for his son Isaac.

In Genesis 24:26-27 Abraham’s servant bowed his head and worshiped the Lord immediately after finding Rebekah. Rebekah’s family responded in favor of the servant taking her back to become Isaac’s wife. In 24:52 it is written, “When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the earth before the Lord.”

(I think perhaps the writer’s block found an opening!)

What I received from the Word of God this morning was a canvas of beauty from the worship of a servant on an errand for his master. I see his heart, and I see that it was instinctual for him to bow in worship immediately from following God’s given direction and from having received God’s. Reading between the lines this servant must also have been living with the eyes of his heart wide open, he was living with expectation of an answer.

He had prayed a very specific prayer for direction, (see Genesis 24;10-14), and God answered, and he worshiped.

That’s it for today…live in expectation of hearing from God, with a heart prepared for worship ALWAYS!

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The hills are beckoning

Psalm 121:

” I lift up my eyes to the hills.From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; He who KEEPS you will not slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your KEEPER; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will KEEP you from all evil; He will KEEP your life.

The LORD will KEEP your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more.”

One of the dictionary’s meanings of the word “KEEP-ER” is: “a person charged with responsibility for the preservation and conseveration of something valuable.”

WOW! This whole psalm breathes this truth to me this morning, and I draw great comfort from it!

Think upon this; in verse two it says that “the Maker of the heavens AND the earth” gives me help AS I lift my eyes to the hills.

Note that this psalm begins with action from the writer; and a given understanding of an action that God will not take for us.

 God is not going to descend upon me, take my head in His hands and force me to look up to the hills! The psalmist writes that AS HE LIFTS his own eyes, he SEES where his help comes from.

 Help is not just coming from anywhere, it is from my Creator God, my KEEPER! Five times in just eight verses this word is used to describe who God is to me when my flesh is crying out for help; Who is He? He is my KEEPER.

 Strong’s concordance tells me the Hebrew word for “KEEPER” is “shamar” (shaw-mar’), the prop. being, “to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; to protect, attend to……Shamar means to keep, tend, watch over, retain.”
 
In Verses 3, 5, 7 (twice “keeper” is used in verse 7)  and 8, this powerful word  KEEPER is used to tell me that my life is in the hands of  Almighty God; that my life is fully watched over and surrounded every day, ALL day. The Lover of my soul is ever guarding, protecting, attending
watching over, tending to, retaining and KEEPING  my life! 
 
 As I write this morning I am listening to Jesus Culture’s song “Holy”, and I am realizing AGAIN what a great and holy God I have as my Savior, that YOU have as YOUR Savior!!  This truth brings me to my knees in adoration, worship and overwhelming silence!! THIS God, THIS GOD  is my KEEPER ever and always; there is nothing to fear, there is nothing to dread!
 
Let Him “keep” you today. Bow your knee, surrender your life, and find LIFE in this profound truth this morning! NOTHING OR ANYONE can offer you what Jesus alone gives…..
 
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, KEEPER of my life….
 
“I lift UP my eyes to the hills. From WHERE does my help come from? My help comes from THE LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
 
Are the hills beckoning the eyes of your life today?
 
 

The Warrior Within

I share a little quote with you today, one that my sister shared with me a few weeks ago. It is a quote that stirs great passion within me and creates great desire to be a warrior for Jesus.

“BE the kind of woman (or man) that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, ‘O crap, she’s (he’s) up!’ ”

1 John 4:4 tells me, “He who is in you is GREATER than he who is in the world.”

1 John 5:4-5 tells me, “For everyone who has been born of God OVERCOMES the world. And this is the VICTORY that has overcome the world–OUR FAITH!  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who BELIEVES that JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?”

This truth brings tears to my eyes this morning.

It is so beautiful…………

Powerful……..

True…….

It is all my hope……

God is GREATER IN me than my strong enemy in the world, the victory has been won over my life. Nothing that comes at me or over me or against me shall prevail BECAUSE greater is my God who LIVES in me!!

The mountains this morning were covered in snow. They stood majestic against the blue morning sky, and as my eyes rested upon them I was overwhelmed by how powerful they looked, strong and unmoving. I was overwhelmed because they painted a tangible picture to me of who I know God is. The psalmist says, “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my MIGHTY ROCK, my refuge is God.” (Psalm 62:7). This God LIVES in me and because of this truth I can come against my strong enemy or even scale a wall, and walk away in victory.

This then is what makes us dangerous, this then is what makes hell tremble…..

We have been called, we have been commissioned to live in such a way; and I don’t know about you but I am on my horse and I am suited up for battle and ready to fight. It is time for the army of God to join together and start living like we say we believe we do.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus;  GREATER in me and in you and riding ahead of us all….there is nothing to fear….the battle has already been won!

Let’s ride together right into life and live from this truth today!

Karolyn and Nancy Drew

My children have a nick name for their mother, “Nancy Drew”. It made me laugh then, it makes me laugh now.

I suppose our inclinations as parents are clearly seen by our children. I think the appropriate tag line here is, “out of the mouth of babes”.

I was known to question the car that had driven by the house for the third time in ten minutes, or the person walking slowly down the road peering into each yard they passed, or better yet, strange  curious behavior; for example, ” why are their eyes so shifty when I am talking to them?”

The truth is I am charged by mystery! My favorite fictional reads are Agatha Christie novels! oooooh I LOVE her writing, she keeps me guessing and speculating and my curiosity spiked!

I am always on a quest for answers. My father taught me that there is no shame in asking questions, he encouraged me to ask questions. I have learned that with the right questions the right answers come.In my mind every question answered is another brush stroke of detail on the mental picture I am painting in my mind of every situation and of every individual life.

I can be a pain in the padded cheeks because I am relentless to find answers. It is like having an engine running non-stop with  desire to solve  problems. To bring  conclusions so that  beginnings can start.

In the book of Isaiah chapter 55 and verses 8-9 it is written: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as high as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

These words of truth tell me that Nancy Drew, no matter how much she may try, will NEVER be able to figure out the “why” behind God’s thoughts or ways with us. I so easily run on ahead with life details and find myself thinking thoughts like, “Well, this must be happening because God knows this, or that such and such is going to happen therefore He must be allowing this for this reason or season so that ………”( See this crazy, busy mind of mine? ).

God’s word, TRUTH tells me that His thoughts and ways are HIGHER than the heavens are above the earth! You and I both know that that distances no one will ever be able to measure! It is BEYOND our grasp, BEYOND our control!

There is a “but” coming here; In Genesis chapter 18, Abraham has an on going dialogue of questions with God over the destruction of  the city of Sodom. Abraham is relentless in his quest for an answer from God, in verses 22-33 this conversation is recorded; seven times in just eleven verses Abraham comes back to God.

What is interesting to me as I read this account is in verse 27 Abraham uses these words, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.” And in verses 30 and 32 Abraham says to God, “Oh let not the Lord be angry and I will speak.” I see here that Abraham knew he was just a man, and because of the frailty of his fleshly mind,  his dust like existence, he was a bit fearful of his repetitive and determined quests for a response. Even so he asked God over and over so that he might have assurance of God’s heart for the righteous.

As I pondered and studied this Hebrews 4:16 came to mind, “Let us then WITH CONFIDENCE draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” and I pondered Psalm 103:14, “For He KNOWS our frame, He REMEMBERS that we are DUST.” and THEN my eyes were drawn back to Genesis 18:22-23, “So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, BUT ABRAHAM STILL STOOD BEFORE THE LORD. Then Abraham DREW NEAR and said……”. Abraham’s questions started from this place of “nearness” (if there is such a word).

All our questions, all our seeking, all our longings, and desire for answers are meant to be brought before the throne of God. Each and every one of them!!

Psalm 62:8 says, “TRUST in Him AT ALL times, O people; POUR OUT your heart BEFORE HIM; God IS a REFUGE for us.” In other-words, like water cascading from a steep rock face, let the questions fall, let them come before Him, He is not surprised by them, or angered by them, He desires us to “draw near”, BECAUSE in the LACK of answers He becomes our refuge, our safe place, our fort! TRUST in God grows in this heart soil.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Nancy Drew can be at peace, I DON”T HAVE TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS!!  ahhh!! What a relief! She KNOWS God does! AND they are beyond even my imagination, so I think I will just climb in the roller coaster and enjoy the ride! What a GREAT God we have! He has it ALL under control. Perhaps the shortened tag line to these thoughts from my red canoe today should be…….ASK, DROP, TRUST AND ROLL….

Have a good day you amazing God-created people!!

suicide

I have been afforded the luxury of having much time to think the last two months.

Again, after only two years, my life is in major transistion. I do not type from a computer in my own home, I type from my sister’s home where I have been living with my hubby for almost two months now.

I have had little to put my hands to. I have learned to surrender to this strange season of stillness;  the eyes and ears of my heart being heightened with sensitivity to the world of the strange, dark town I now call home.

Suicide, crime, drugs, prostitution walk these tired streets.

My thoughts are around suicide today. Just a few weeks ago, on a bridge not too far from where we are living, a 50 year old woman parked her car off to the side of the highway lane and stepped out in front of a semi truck.  A dear mid-life woman had had it with life.

I have heard of other such “stories” since moving here.

My heart is broken as questions invade my mind concerning this particular story, did she have a husband? Children? Did she have friends? Did she know Jesus? What was her relationship like with her parents? How long had her heart been torn? WHAT and WHY?

I have thought also of the scenario of being in a passing car and watching this unfold. And what about the driver of the truck? I wonder how he’s doing?

I suppose one of the reasons this tugs so deeply upon my heart is that I remember having this same contemplation as a teenager: I had no friends, I had been falsely accused, I felt entirely abandoned and helpless. I remember running and hiding, and from that place of hiding wanting to slit my wrists with a rock. I wanted to end the deep pain of rejection I felt, I wanted out of life period! I could have cranked it off, no one knew where I was;  it would have taken them a while to even find my body.

I was raw, worn, sad, confused, angry.

I remember sitting there under the porch of a summer cottage, the season was fall, literally. I was sitting on rocks, and I was cold. It was the cold that kept me processing ( I hate being cold), the rocks were cold under my behind, and cold air was chilling my bones; it is odd that from this place I discovered a desire for more from life, a thirst for LIFE, and a hunger to LIVE; strange that cold would have this effect on me, and that the cold would keep me alive and with it a growing awareness of an unseen Presence sitting there with me in the middle of my darkness.

I had allowed people to rob me of what was mine; I had allowed cruel words to crush my will and spirit, I had become convinced that their words were truth! The enemy of my soul was creating a path of chains and magnets that held me captive to lies, yes LIES!! And like a stupid fish falling for bait on a hook, I bit into the bait of Satan and was hooked!! I was hooked because I didn’t know enough TRUTH to hold onto, nor had I learned the secrets of its life-giving power to my body, soul and mind.

In the book of John chapter 8  verses 31-32, Jesus is telling His disciples that if they would abide in HIS WORD, they would KNOW the TRUTH, and that the TRUTH would set them FREE.

To be free is to live with joy. To be free is to live in knowledge of truth…to KNOW truth, to walk in it, to live in it, to CHOOSE it when life screams the opposite.

Truth sounds and “feels” cold.

Cold because it lives apart from emotion. It starts in the mind not the heart. It is the heart that sketches life’s pictures to us, how we see it, feel it, touch it, and express it.  Naturally we want to live from the heart and yet the Word of God says the heart is deceitful. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS, and DESPERATELY SICK; who can understand it?” As a dear pastor said to me many years ago, truth must be the engine that controls the entire train, emotions are the cars that follow the engine.  BUT  if emotion is the engine, truth falls behind, and the train will be driven by emotion.

Truth IS God’s Word. Freedom comes as truth is believed and life is lived from THAT place. The enemy of my soul comes to “steal, kill and destroy” coming up against truth, but Jesus said He came SO THAT we would have LIFE and have LIFE to the FULL.” (John 10:10),  “He is the way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE”(John 14:6).

God’s Word tells me that His love is steadfast, consistent and that His love for me “is as high as the heavens are above the earth”, (psalm 103:11). God’s Word tells me that there is NO WHERE I can go to flee His presence. No where. God’s Word tells me that His thoughts towards me OUTNUMBER the grains of sand, (read psalm 139). God’s word tells me that I am NEVER alone, that He will never forsake  me (Heb.13:5).

My mind embraces this truth, I choose to believe it because I know it is just that…..TRUTH.

My story is much to long to blog; my life did not get easier or rosy, or stained glassed. My life became a journey towards what God’s Word tells me truth is, it is found only in Jesus. Again the Word (who is Jesus by the way, see John 1:1)  says,  “I AM the way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE..” (John 14:6). The enemy of my soul would have had me end my life all those years ago, he would have stolen, killed and destroyed me completely on that day, but Jesus, who I had given my life to as a little girl, rescued me with truth.

In the book, “Captivating” by Stasi Elridge it is suggested that the enemy has a theme to the lies he presents to us  over and over and over again; events, circumstances and people being the mode of delivery of  the chosen theme.

What lies are you believing about yourself? Are you free? Do you have joy? Peace? What monkey sits on your shoulder taunting you, nagging you, stirring negative thought and emotion?

For me, the theme, the lies that I believed were that I was not worth loving, I was a stupid girl with no brains,  and that I should trust no one. This led me to a life of isolation and constant struggle for victory. The oddest part of all this was that since the age of four when I gave my life to Jesus, I had never turned my back to Him. All through this pain I sought Him,cried out to Him, and asking for freedom; I LOVED Him, wanted Him, wanted to KNOW Him; He was my pursuit…..BUT I did not understand or even believe that I was “so loved” by Him (John3:16); I struggled to EARN acceptance by perfect behavior and when perfect behavior eluded me I battled fear that God would somehow reject me, leading me into a life of constant work and effort try all the harder to please Him; emotion drove my life train…..truth was always there beside me, out there, waiting quietly for me to grasp and take hold of and believe, but I remained in a constant spin cycle of unbelief; I just kept giving in to whatever life dished me, believing what the tangible gave me instead of trusting  an unseen, but ever-present God.

How I could live for so long without this discovery is another blog yet to come, for today what I want to finish with is that “life to the full” began when I had a literal encounter with God high up in the Rockies in Colorado, at a “Captivating” conference. Jesus came to me robed in royal blue and purple with golden threads, extending His hand to me for me to STAND and “dance with Him”;  He WANTED ME, HE LOVED ME.

Something literally fell off my soul and mind and body that day, you could almost hear the chains hitting the floor around me.

As I stood there before Him I was given a new name, HIS name for me. The meaning of my name? “My delight is in her.” Yes, I cried and cried and cried, my body purging itself from years of  pain and lies; I finally believed that I was loved, I was wanted and that I was  a woman of great value to the Creator of the universe, my Creator. My name unseated every lie I believed about myself.

Something ended that day, and something began; a new life and a journey to understanding and believing truth that I had heard all my life but hadn’t trusted.

Life will always present opportunities to believe what is not true; till the day the Lord takes me home this will be so. But regardless, regardless, I KNOW that I can FULLY trust the One my soul loves and Who loves me and I CAN trust His words to me.

This….. this is life to the FULL, this then is truth.

I know there are many who are in such a place right now even as I type this, O where are you dear souls? Will God lead you to this blog today to give you hope? And if so will you be brave enough to call out for help?

I am not a trained professional to deal with such paths of brokenness; all I have in my hands is what God has given to me; His Word, His truth, His great steadfast love.

Doesn’t it make sense that if we have an enemy we must then also have a Savior? You have seen enough movies and lived enough life to know that life has an enemy, but life has a Savior too and His name is Jesus…..His name is Jesus,  He,  HE IS the way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE!! Will you trust Him today? Will you believe what He says? Will you stand once more and believe that you were created to LIVE ?

comes the dawn

“If ANYONE is in Christ, he (she) is a NEW creation. The OLD has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2Cor. 5:17)

O the glory of the morning! I am always amazed at the beauty of dawn, when and if I see it! Usually the comfort of my pillow and cozy covers keep me soundly sleeping! But this morning I awoke to take it all in!

Shades of pink splashed across pale blue sky were the backdrop behind  a bouquet of  trees, my eyes feasted like a child lost in new discovery.

As I sat there with my morning coffee in hand, I noticed movement in the trees. I thought at first it was squirrels fooling around like a bunch of dopey monkeys, but a closer look brought truth and an even greater wonder! The leaves were falling off the trees even as the trees stood perfectly still. One by one they were letting go of the trees and free falling to the ground. Gone forever from their life source, to wither up and die on the ground.I can’t even describe what this sight stirred up within me as I thought of the lesson from nature, from Creation.

In stillness, the Master does His finest work. Stillness is a form of dormancy; of life ending in one particular way in preparation for new life in a different way. The trees reveal this truth, in fact all creation does. The trees before me are preparing for winter; a season of no obvious life externally.There will be no grand production of leaves, only an obvious barrenness; BUT, underneath the bark the Creator is preparing them for a new season of growth, of NEW leaves, leaves that are not last year’s leaves, they will be THIS YEAR’S leaves.

From my “red canoe” I ponder this this morning and find myself in awe of such a creative God, a kind God, and a loving God!

Think about it, He is the One who has pre-planned that Creation would have a season of stillness and surface death, and the One who pre plans my season of stillness and stripping away of “leaves”  to fall and die; It is not until the leaves are gone and the barrenness begins and winter settles in like a fog that the DEEPEST work BEGINS.

But just as I know that spring ALWAYS comes, and that spring gives birth to summer, so I know that the Creator of the universe will bring spring and summer to my wintering soul again( and again and again). I choose to let Him have His full way with me and  I choose to dance with no “leaves”, and I will choose to dance in the rain and the snow and when the harsh winds blow (hey, that sounded kinda lyrical, like it should have music to it or something!   Grin!)

The music of “GUNGOR” plays in my ear as I sign off today, the words they sing are poetic; “All praises to the One who made it all, and finds it beautiful……fearfully and wonderfully and beautifully made.”

The Word of God says that “He has made ALL things BEAUTIFUL in HIS time.” (Ecc. 3:11)

” O Father, YOU are beautiful!! THANK YOU that I can trust You in every season, trust You to teach me, lead me and create NEW from deep within my soul! O the dance I have in the intimate embrace of this truth, this embrace of Your unbelievable STEADFAST love!”

O comes the dawn quiet and beautiful…………….

TRUST!!

“Great peace have those who love your law; and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).

“You keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he (she) trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

“…in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” (Psalm 90:14).

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice! (Phil.4:4)

“Rejoice always!” (1 Thess. 5:16)

Peace…strength….joy …..trust!

Trust …peace…strength….joy!

To rejoice ALWAYS is NOT impossible IF we love the Lord……Deut.6:5 says: “love
the Lord your God with ALL your heart with ALL your soul and with ALL your might.”

As the Word of God maps itself out to me this morning, I am seeing more clearly the mysterious heart place of complete stillness and the heart place of complete peace. I understand from the Word of God that if I love the Lord with all my heart, soul and might then I WILL trust Him, and I WILL have peace.

If my heart, mind, and soul are steadfast IN the steadfast love of God then I can and must rejoice ALWAYS!  Even as I type these words I am thinking of how they ring of repetitive teaching that I have received all my life. I am reminded of how many times I have walked as though these divine truths held no power for me, for my situations or circumstance! O so many times I have lived with worry or anxiety and no rejoicing….sadly I realize again today how little I have tasted of the transforming TRUTH of scripture….WAKE UP O MY SOUL!!!

To love God in this way means that my life must spend many seconds, minutes and hours walking to Him to be with Him; simply choosing to be still long enough for the Word of God to take root; and the Holy Spirit being given complete freedom and time to teach me; and during this time I will also shut my trap long enough to listen to His soul whispers; TRUST IN GOD DOES NOT GROW IN ANY OTHER WAY, THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS!!

Trust in God IS the rock upon which I stand,in fact the Word calls Him the Rock…it is from this place that rejoicing is made possible! My strength is renewed like the youths, and I will mount up on wings like that of an eagle FROM THIS PLACE. (read Isaiah 40:31)

I believe that a rejoicing joy is ever-present when we embrace these truths with the faith of a child! I CAN and I WILL trust in God because I LOVE HIM!!!

“O God hound me ever and always to sit long enough to know You so that I can love You! Invade my life Holy Spirit so that I may hear Your teaching and be led to full assurance of a sovereign God.
Empower my life to be a rejoicing life! set me free from every fear and worry as my heart becomes transformed into a heart of complete trust in You and You alone….amen..!”

Dance, sing and play today….for “THIS is the day the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and BE glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)