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Second Feed Test

Please ignore this post. I’m working on a feed issue for Arabah Joy and need to test some changes I’ve made. In order to do that, I have to create a new post. And it has to be longer than a certain number of characters so that I can make sure it’s long enough to test whether or not it will be made into an excerpt. So I have to keep rambling on until I exceed the excerpt limit. I’m sure it’s very boring for you. Which is why I say to ignore this post. :)

When you’re running short on time {Why we need each other}

Update: Rikki, a sister in Christ and reader, sent me her Lies/Truth Chart and is willing to make it available for anyone interested. It is wonderfully helpful!  (And much prettier than mine!~ smile.) Please email me if you’d like me to forward you her chart.

 

They unfolded the Bibleland board game and asked me how to slide over the rainbow.

“Well, if you land on this green square here,” I pointed at the board, “then you can slide over the rainbow to the other side. You save a lot of time because you don’t have to travel all these spaces.” Fingers trace the path of color that meanders around the board.

Sometimes this mommy needs the shortcut.

I’m the last one in the race and I desperately need to hit the green square and slide over the rainbow if I’m going to stay in the game.

That’s when a family member comes along and shares their tip. They know how to land on the green square.

Someone who has taken the time to do the research; a pastor who has put in the hours of study, a mother who has waded through the hard issues and discovered a solution; a sister who has traveled through found the gem.  And they share in a sermon, a study, a book, a blog post.

In my journey to stay in the game, I stumble upon a 200 word book review…a brief summary of a book I will never have the time to read. And the words are apt, like apples of gold in settings of silver. I thank God for this sister in the family who has taken the hours of reading and meditating and has presented the gem of the material in a simple way that aids me in my journey.

Her few words are just what I need, the way over the rainbow. Thank You, Jesus!

And I give thanks to God who allows us to help others. We can take the gems of our journey and offer them as green squares to others, help them over the rainbow, keep them in the race.

We need each other, this family of Christ.

It is my privilege to now take the simple offering of my studies on the name Adonai, boiled down and presented in a little 5 day study for you and your children… Perhaps they will be apt words, like those apples of gold. Perhaps they will somehow serve you as a green square, the way to keep you in the game when you can’t keep up yourself.

Click here for Adonai: Adonai

Click here for past studies on the names of God Elohim and El Elyon

For those of you unable to download the Cheat sheet from this post, here is a pdf file for the Path of Life

May you slide over the rainbow today, dear friend.

Live Loved

It’s a hot Thursday afternoon in June when I take the kids to the mall because the back yard is off limits due to an invasion of bees.

I’ve got 5 dollars to spend and we go to the carousel, the one where 3 years and under can ride free. Except after I pay my $5 and we go to get on, I discover they’ve done away with that provision and I owe $2 more dollars for all of us to ride.

“You only paid for 3 kids and you have 4 riding.”

“I’ll skip,” I tell the lady with white hair, a grandmother no doubt.

“You can’t skip. You have to ride with the young ones,” she says.

“Okay, I’ll see if one of them doesn’t want to ride.” They all do.

“I don’t have any more money,” I tell her. “Don’t the young ones go free?”

“No.” She pauses then says, “Do you want to change your mind?” Her eyes are a cold hard blue as I look into her face.

I would normally say yes, get my money back and go my way, but something in me prompts and it is out before I can stop it: “Do you give grace?” I ask her softly and smile. The kids have already found their animals on the carousel and can’t wait to start.

“Not today,” she says and turns and walks away.

And I know this woman doesn’t owe me anything but it is funny how old feelings are so easily and oddly triggered. I suddenly feel anxious, a twinge of rejection, like my survival instinct button was pressed. The same I felt as a child when I was helpless and asked for rescue from the adults around me and was walked away from.

The grandma with white hair, walking away with her back to me, triggers old baggage. I can’t buy my kids a ride on the carousel. I feel like a loser. And the fact that a strange woman won’t have grace on us somehow really cuts. If I was prettier, she would have. If I was more suave and charming, she would have. If I was more gracious, had softer eyes, had better hair, had whatever it is I’m always deficient in, then we would be allowed on.

The lie hisses and targets my heart, then unfurls with a strike: Something is wrong with you to make her not let us on the carousel. Something is wrong with you.

“We’ve got to go, kids,” I call to them.

They don’t understand. I told them we could ride. My inner anxiety caused from the triggered lie makes me grow impatient with them. “I don’t have enough money for us to ride,” I tell youngest daughter, who is upset to have to get off her horse.

I glare a threat at her whining face and tell her to “Come on already.”

Then I stop.

I fear rejection from a stranger because I somehow think it reflects on my value and worth? Don’t I know that we each bow down to what we fear and that is why we are to fear nothing and no one but God Himself? And I’m bowing to this fear of rejection and I’m offering children up on the altar of past pain?

I’m really going to bow down to this?

No, I will not. It is unacceptable. I know that a lie is behind all of this and I am only hurting those I love the most by not facing it head on. Even though it feels like the lie is true, that I am somehow deficient, not good enough, I must choose to believe that this in fact is not the truth.

“Don’t be a Saul,” I remind myself.

Hadn’t Saul been chosen by God? Hadn’t he been hand picked, set apart and Spirit filled for the task? Yet when they cast lots and Saul was shown to be the one selected by God, he was hiding out in the baggage. Instead of believing and receiving the position of honor God had given him, he was hiding in baggage.

“Stop hiding in your old baggage,” I counsel myself. “Old junk makes a poor cover-up. Accept your royal robe of righteousness.”

And didn’t Saul fail as a king because he shrunk back? He never did live up to the promises God had given him. He chose to be a coward.

It’s a temptation women face too, at the oddest of times.

I call to mind how Samuel hosted Saul at the very beginning:

“Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited… Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave you, concerning which I said to you ‘Set it aside.’” Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you…”" I Samuel 9:22-24

 

And I counsel myself with the words of a prophet. I have been reserved a portion. There’s a leg that’s been set aside just for me. I am loved and cherished and nourished and well tended. I am cared for. The Lord is my Shepherd and I will not be in want. It is against His nature to neglect His own.

“Live loved,” I tell myself, “Because you belong to Love Himself.”

And I know I will never be able to convince myself that I am worthy- for years I tried that- So instead I bring to mind the nature of my God. I’ve found the secret is in His worthiness, never mine…and He offers Himself to me, calls Himself “Yahweh, your God.”

I recount the ways in which He has expressed His tender care for me. The ways He has called me out, spoken tenderly to me in the desert, carried me in Shepherd’s arms.

And that old hissing lie that struck my heart is routed and I’m safe in the arms of my Yahweh, the One who teaches me to prosper and leads me to green pastures and beside still waters.

He restores my soul, and from a silly carousel incident!

I reach my arms out to crying little girl and say, “Hey! We’ve got 5 dollars! Let’s go see what we can spend it on!”

I’m determined we’re going to eat every bit of our portion. And it’s good. It’s good.

**A personal word for you? Live loved, my friend, not on the basis of your lovability but on the basis of His limitless love abundantly poured out. He choose to lavish His love on you! Take your portion with relish. Live loved.

The Path of Life (with Chart)

Computer crashed this weekend, so not able to do much online until I’m back up. However, A reader asked me to expand on my testimony, the one included in the Core Lies book. I include it here for anyone else it may benefit?

One day I realized that if I was to overcome the past and become the new me in practice, I had to get intentional.

God had shown me that the root of my issue was core lies. This is true of each one of us because a lie is the only tool the enemy has…but how to identify them and where to begin? I had no idea where to start, except with the junk that was coming out- my emotions and how I was feeling. All the turmoil and the expressions of anger, grief, fear, panic, etc were actually outflows of beliefs. And obviously, those beliefs were lies because they were not expressions of peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, kindness, self control, and the other Spirit fruits.

It took some time and hard work, but I began reflecting upon my emotional outflows. I began to identify why I would lash out (even if just internally, like someone cut me off in traffic I would feel angry. I asked myself why? Why is that such a big deal? The answer is that I felt my security threatened. I felt my safety and worth wasn’t valued by another.)

So I really got serious about deciphering my emotions and what they were telling me. Surprisingly enough (or not), they were telling me what I believed, and I was believing a whole slew of lies! About God and His nature, my worth, my abilities, my needs, etc.

I was off to a great start. Identifying the source of negative outflows was a huge accomplishment, but God and I weren’t done yet. I was going to have to start stemming the flow of gunk and tap into a different source, the River of life.

That always means war.

The enemy strikes hard and when it comes time to fight, who can win without a weapon?

“Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears. So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan…” I Samuel 13:19,22

Yet surely God has given us weapons of warfare, weapons for the tearing down of strongholds, even those inherited from the forefathers. The word of truth is our weapon! After identifying source lies, I was in a position to begin preparing very specific and thus very effective weapons.

This step was and is crucial to victory.

So I found some scriptures that applied very directly to my source lies, words of truth that counteracted the poison. However, I kept being defeated. I kept finding myself responding in anger or withdrawing from relationship or giving in to panic and fear.

I was at a stalemate. What to do?

I realized that the moment I became aware of negative internal emotions was the moment I needed to do battle…but that was not when I was strong. I was weak at the very moment I needed to be strongest! The best way to prepare for these times was to give myself a “cheat sheet.”

At the moment of battle, I was weak and confused and left floundering. But I wasn’t accepting that as final!

I sat down and wrote out a game plan, a cheat sheet, a strategy for victory for when the battle was on. I included a little pep talk for why this was so important, a reminder as to why it was worth the fight. My cheat sheet was called “The Path of Life.”

It was clear that I would have to machete my way through, but finally I had the tools to do it. God was working in me both to will and to work.

So when I became aware of one of my internal emotions, say a gnawing, irrational fear, I would immediately go to my chart, look up and name the lie I was up against, declare war, and would begin reciting the truth. I would thank God for the truths that counteracted the lie and praise Him for His good character.

I still do this, though thankfully, my cheat sheet came down many months ago from my cork board where I kept it. None of us will ever outgrow spiritual warfare and combating lies. But we will grow in our ability to discern them and defeat them quickly.

“The mature…because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14

Practice. It’s the key word.

Sometimes we give in to laziness because practice is hard work. It just seems easier to go with the flow and hope for the best. But once you understand the death and destruction your thoughts and inner beliefs are causing, you find the motivation to start practicing!

I am including my “cheat sheet” here for anyone who is interested. Your issues, lies, emotions, etc will be different, but this may provide you with an idea for making your own. If you do make your own, will you email me a copy? I would love to learn from you and perhaps I can share here with others?

God bless you, sisters (and brothers?) I am praying today for you who read these words to be strengthened and encouraged in your faith walk…

Path of Life Chart (Cheat Sheet)

Sincere Apology

A kind reader brought to my attention that the feed for this blog is only showing “snippets” of posts. I apologize for this and ask for help??! I have tried to fix on feedburner but (very sheepish smile) have no idea what I’m doing. Can anyone tell me how to fix the feed so that it is an “atom” feed that will show full content? Thanks so much, you are the best!

Thanks for bearing with a very homegrown, backwoods gal…

Loose Thoughts Doth a Loose Momma Make

There are days.
There are days when I’m on top of the ball. I’m in the God-groove and we live victoriously and the home reflects it and it’s good.

Then there are days. You know the kind.

Days when I’m a wrecking ball momma, loose in my game, and everything is spinning out of control and I am too and I just want everything to stop and let me get. a. grip. please.

Those are the days I’m not quite sure about. They spin so fast and happen so quick and things have gone to pieces before I can blink an eye and what’s to be done about it all?

It’s a May day when the Order comes down. I’m sitting in McDonald’s, the only one for miles around, and with the flies coming through the revolving door and the husband at home with the kids, I hear. “Completely eradicate it,” He tells me and when He pinpoints the enemy, why am I so surprised that it is a lie?

Then He names it. Just like the Israelites knew by name their enemies~ the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Amalekites, Canaanites~ so we need ours named.

When we know it’s name, we know how to recognize it.

And when we start to recognize it as it comes to devour and destroy, we can take it out. Eradicate it.

My enemy is the lie of the garden. The lie that says, “If-only…., then I would be happy.” The enemy of  “If Only.”
Except mine is the spiritualized version. My lie doesn’t say “If only (blank), I’d be happy” but “If only…. then I’d be spiritual. I’d live up to my full potential in Christ. I’d be more victorious. I’d live more of the abundant life.”

“If only I had some down time…then I could get my spiritual ducks in a row and take them out.”
“If only I could finish a thought, had some support, more quiet, a better night’s rest, the right Bible study plan, or …”

The “If Only” lie tells us we need just one more thing.

If the enemy can keep us believing this one, that there is an ever-changing, missing ingredient to a full life, then he will perpetually win.

If he can convince us that we need what so and so has; or we need to discover the missing ingredient; or we need a good quiet time without any interruptions; well It doesn’t take much imagining to see how this lie sprouts quickly and spreads even quicker.

It is a fine strategy for our defeat.

The truth is that there will always be some forbidden fruit in our lives. While the enemy would have us believe that God has withheld something we need to be fulfilled, the truth is that there will always be something God says “no” to and He asks us to believe that it isn’t the forbidden or the unavailable that we need in order to be complete in Him.

The truth is that we are already complete in Him. Colossians 2:10

And that May day in McDonald’s, I can see how the loose cannon ball days of my life thrive on this one little lie.

“Completely eradicate it,” He says.

The strategy is simple: Guard against loose thoughts that make for loose cannons. Recognize “if only” thoughts when they creep in (having “overwhelmed” or frustrated feelings is a good indicator of loose thoughts). Then replace the loose, wrong thoughts with truth.

So I make some “Truth Targets:” scripture cards directly in opposition to the “If Only” enemy, scriptures that say, “I already have everything I need.” WHAT AN IMPORTANT TRUTH to keep before us!

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13

“And in Him, you have been made complete.” Colossians 2:10

“Seeing that His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” II Peter 1:3

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” II Corinthians 9:8

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

“And who is adequate for these things? Not that we are adequate in ourselves…but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant…” II Corinthians 2:16b,3:5-6

Right here, right now, I am complete in Christ and I have everything I need to live full and abundant. I am fully equipped for every good deed, fully adequate for the task at hand, fully sufficient and backed with all grace. God has made me adequate, whether I feel it or not, whether I understand it or not, whether I believe it or not.

Right now, this moment, is not outside the parameters of “everything,” “always,” and “all.”  Sure, it would be nice to have a full night’s rest, but I already have all I need to live godly and I am complete in Him.

There. That’ll put some loose thoughts in their place and put a loose momma back on track.

A Little Note…

…slipped into my inbox this week. A little word of encouragement, rain from heaven.

A smile and a thanks and I wonder who you are on the other side of this screen. I don’t know who all is reading this quiet little place. What a wonder you are! He has astonished me with your presence!

May I direct those of you who are looking for the Summer study on God’s character to these links? We’ve done two weeks so far (more to come). You can find the downloads by clicking below:

Elohim (Sovereign, Creator)

El Elyon (Most High God, Possessor of Heaven and Earth)

 

May I also suggest a website? I came across this in  my study a couple months ago and it has been such a source of blessing in my life! I especially appreciate the musical reflections for each of the characteristics of God. The site also includes a free download of Dr. Bill Bright’s book “God: Discover His Character” for you to read through as you study along.

{Also links to Discover God 4 Kids as well, a great place to browse around.}  This site will be one you return to again and again!

It’s a privilege to walk this journey with you… because knowing God really is the issue.

“Let him who boasts, boast of this: that he knows and understands Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, on earth; for I delight in these things, says the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:24

The Making of a Mother {How to Overcome Failure}

I’m not so good at sewing a button and my bread baking is sporadic, but one thing I do pretty well is mess up.

I’m not sure there are any words more frequently bounced around the heart of a mom than some version of “I’m a failure.”

Click here to find out how to become fail-proof…

The Witness in the Sky

Summer arrives, bringing with it the 5am song of the bird. Busy schedules and bored children and a tired momma means just one thing: I get up with the sun and keep course with it all day long.

I wake with the birds and watch as the sun lays low on the horizon, a big orange ball, full of glory. He’s like the bridegroom throwing off his covers, coming from his chambers.

I begin the day with the sun, the witness in the sky who ever gives witness to the Lord’s faithfulness. I cling to its course. I hope in it’s message.

It’s after the day is done and the kids are in bed that I step outside again. I haul a chair out to the middle of the backyard and just sit. That’s when I see it, the orange ball of flame again, this time lowering himself on the west side, climbing back into bed.

“From the rising to the setting of the sun, the Name of the Lord is to be praised.” His voice is clear, like the stillness around me.

I started the day with the witness rising in the east and I’m ending the day with him settling in the west and I do pretty well at praising at those two bookends…but how about the in between?

It’s the in between where I can get lost. The voices, the pressures, the distractions, they steer hard. A weak woman can lose course.

But that sun never does. It’s set by God to stay it’s course and keep it’s boundary, day after day after day.

It strikes me: Can the great witness in the sky be a guide? For me?

Each time I see it’s rays, each time I feel it’s heat, each time I’m aware of it’s presence, I can praise the Name of the Lord. And praise is the gateway to His courts.

I pick up the devotional and read:

“Thankfulness opens the door to My presence. Though I am always with you, I have gone to great measures to preserve your freedom of choice. I have placed a door between you and Me, and I have empowered you to open or close that door. There are many ways to open it, but a grateful attitude is one of the most effective.”

“I want you to learn the art of giving thanks in all circumstances. See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings. Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness.” (40 Days With Jesus: Celebrating His Presence by Sarah Young )

Studying the names of God with the children is giving me loads of fuel for praise. It is stoking fires and igniting new flames. It’s allowing me a fighting chance to keep up with the ball of fire overhead, both of us with a course to run.

Praise is the fuel for life, and this busy momma needs fuel.

By studying His names and pondering His nature, I’m gassing up. I’m reminding myself of What ~Who~ is right in this world.

Together, we are learning how to practice the discipline of praise. We are learning how to fuel a life. We are keeping course with the sun.

{Want some help gassing up? This week’s study on the name El Elyon can be downloaded here:El Elyon

To view last week’s, click here: Elohim }

 

When You Need a Hug

 

It came in the mail yesterday, a green box from a woman I’ve never met, filled with grits and peanut butter cups…and a card.

I go to the pantry and count the bags of grits I have there: nine! And the bags of peanut butter cups: ten. I can’t keep up with all this precious woman sends me. She made it her mission to keep me stocked on two things I can’t get overseas while I am on furlough. My cup truly does run over.

Words can’t express what a blessing this faithful woman has been in my life, how God has used her little notes and gifts and years of cards overseas to encourage me.

Her name is Pam and I’ve never met her. She got my name at a mission’s conference and committed to pray for and encourage me. Through the years, this one woman has faithfully done just that.

Sheer Grace.

So yesterday, when I posted from my past, revisited the ruins, remembered exactly what I’m fighting, God knew I needed grits and peanut butter cups.

He knew I needed a green box from a woman I’ve never met and a silly little card that I put up to my face twice yesterday and that I’ve tucked away for another day…maybe for today and tomorrow and every day after that.

Remembering your roots can be dangerous. The past holds powerful cords that try to entangle you all over again if you get too close. Best to revisit the past only when tethered to the Anchor. Only then can we lower ourselves into the dark ravine, the pit from which we were dug, gather the treasure of remembrance needed, and ascend back up to walk by faith.

“Since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…” Col 3:9-10

Sometimes a green box can help us practice “dead reckoning.”

“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin…even so, reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:6,11

When the past presses into your present and tries to tell you who you really are and he comes with proof, even has photos and yes, it sure looks like you…that’s when you need to reckon yourself dead.

Because it’s not you who walks in that skin anymore. It’s not you living and breathing and moving. It’s not your blood pumping, it’s not your mind thinking, it’s not.

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

And the only way for Christ to live in me is through faith, through reckoning it as true, banking on His very presence in me.Because His love not only gave Himself up for me but takes up residence within me and I am no longer me.

The mystery of “in Christ.”

I tear the envelope open, rip the paper getting to the card inside. “This card contains an actual HUG!” It reads. At the bottom, an asterick says “Instructions enclosed.”

Inside are the instructions:

1. Press card on face.

2. Apply pressure on left and right cheeks.

3. Think about how special you are to so many people!

Reminder: Repeat hugging process as often as needed.

It seems silly, a little card you’d chuckle at and keep for a day or two, then toss. Never really take seriously.

Sort of like the instructions to reckon the old man dead? Do we rush past the “dead reckoning”, thinking it too impossible or too vague? Do we search for something more or something different or something more suitable to our thinking?

Will we press in and learn the discipline of dead reckoning? Will I?

There it is, like instructions on a card, the way to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land.

I breathe deep, shaky. Excited. In wonder.

I pick up the “Hug” card and follow the instructions, except when I get to step 3, I do some substitution. I reckon the old me dead, the past gone. I reckon me alive unto God, the life in me is Christ.

“Look at Mommy!” one of the children says. It looks silly, mommy with a card stretched across her face…but I have a feeling it may just become a regular sight around our house.

A part of “dead reckoning.”

Yes, I’m tethered to that Anchor and all is well and I’ve received the treasure I came for and I’m moving forward in faith.

How about you? Are you moving forward in faith? What are your tools for “dead reckoning?”

Linking up with “Walk with Him Wednesday” where this week the focus is on living Christ-centric lives. Join in?

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