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To live Fearless

In a world that says, “Have it your way, serve yourself, look out for your own best interests, spend your life…your resources…your talents…on yourself…,” there are the rare voices that say something different: live counter-culturally. Give your life away.

It’s true. We can live for something greater than ourselves.

The question is,   Will we?

 

Here’s the storyof one man who did.

 

 

 

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When you need some victory in your day

It was junior high.  I was “brace face” and she was “the fat girl.”

She was a year older than me, and quite pretty with her bold red curls, except no one allowed her an identity beyond her weight.

And I learned certain things can mark us for life.

I know she had to go home every day in tears, the way she was treated. But she came to school and smiled again and did it all over.

Again and again.

And I learned defeat can be like that, beating us down day after day.

Again and again.

I wonder if defeat most often comes the Exodus 17 way? When the Amalekites came up behind the traveling Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the promised land? They were just minding their own business. Oh, those Amalekites were vicious. They had no compassion, showed no mercy. They attacked the weak, the young, the ones who were struggling and lagging.

We have an enemy who attacks us at our weak places. He doesn’t come head on, he slithers up from behind and gets us where we struggle the most.

Again and again.

The fat girl’s name was Pam and I liked her. When she came back for tenth grade, she was different. She wasn’t fat. She was a striking red headed beauty. I would have been intimidated to talk to her, except I knew she was kindhearted.

“Pam, what happened? How did you change so drastically? Your appearance is amazing! What in the world did you do?”

She smiled, beamed really. “Over the summer break, I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”

“I prayed to Jesus and asked Him to help me. Then I got up in the morning~ every morning~ and went for a walk. Each day I prayed and asked Him for help and walked out my front doors and He helped me!”

I should have learned it fro her then, but I didn’t, that Christ is our victory. That Christ is the only victory. That there is no hope apart from Him but that with Him, there is all the hope in the world.

Scholars say that in the Bible, “Amalekite ” refers to our flesh, that old self that trips us up and weighs us down time after time. It attacks us from behind, it devours us when we’re weak and it sabatoges all our plans for living in the Promised Land. We talk much about being Moses and keeping our hands up in the air, but do we focus in on the real part of import?

The part where Yahweh God said, “Write this as a memorial in a book, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And it says it right there in that memorial record that HE Himself wages war against Amalek from generation to generation.

He’s waging it in mine.

He’s waging it in my children’s.

He is waging war against our Amalek, against enemies that sneak in unsuspecting and bring us low and in His name, we can have victory.

“And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, “The LORD is my Banner (Victory).”

It’s something Pam learned in between ninth and tenth grade. She learned the LORD was her victory and every day she flew the banner of the victorious and under the safety of that banner, she opened her door and stepped out and walked. The girl walked.

The first day she walked around the block, huffing and puffing. The next day she did it again. By the end of the week, she could walk a block and a half; by the end of the summer, she was walking several miles.

Pam, she taught me some things. Even now, I recall her words and I learn at her feet.

I learn to raise the Banner and step out into the fray. The Banner flaps victorious overhead.

“We will sing for joy over Your victory, and in the Name of our God we will set up our banners.” Psalm 20:5

 

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*Repost from the archives

When You Are Your Mother’s Daughter

Five kids, one dirty dog, one messy house, and one demanding husband into life, she lost it.

I remember sitting in the van as a child while we drove her and her daughter to the ER. After seeing the doctor, she up and walked out of that ER loony.

She went missing and even after they found her and her frightened daughter on a dark street in Tampa, it took a while for us to really “find” her.

It was just like her mom before her…my grandmother…and her mom before her. Just like generations of moms past as far back as I can trace. I come from a long line of women who’ve up and gone crazy, lost their minds, gone stark mad.

It can be terrifying to realize that we, after all our tea parties and ironed dresses and Sunday smiles, we are still children of Eve. We are our mother’s daughters. The blood of ancestors pulses through us, with all its genetic disorder. We are daughters of Alcoholic mothers. Abusive mothers. Unstable mothers. Unavailable mothers.

And sometimes, despite our best attempts at being good moms, when we get quiet we hear the fallen human blood pumping through the veins, reminding us of who we are, threatening to destroy us.

We need the hope of redemption.

 {Click to continue reading}

When you’re wondering about God’s heart for wretched sinners

Some days you wonder if there is any hope for you…the chief of sinners.

For you… for us… there is today. There is Jesus on the cross, telling us God’s heart for sinners, even the chiefest.

 

Look to Him and live, all peoples of the earth.

 

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
“Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
“Woman, behold your son; behold your mother.”
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
“I am thirsty.”
“It is finished.”
“Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“This is a trustworthy statement and worthy of all acceptance:

Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

I Timothy 1:15

When your day isn’t holy, look for the Glory

I go get her up from nap.

I’m all smiles, she is not.

I ask her to go use the bathroom before coming to kitchen and she does… she goes into the bathroom and urinates in her pants.

When I find her in there, standing in front of the toilet… wet… insolent… I am immediately irritated.

She’s done it to spite me, this child resistant to grace.

“Why did you do that?” I ask her, running on my irritation, leaving the Spirit behind.

She stares at me dark, hard, hostile. Silent.

I step out, overwhelmed by a sudden sense of my own foundations. I grew up in a home where religious parents were never pleased. I believed God was like that too. And I’m suddenly aware of the false god I just might be representing to her.

Of late, my prayer has increasingly become, “Lord, show me how to parent this moment in a manner keeping with Your character.”

All my life I reckon I’ve struggled with understanding God. Perhaps I always will… at least now I’m aware of the struggle. In a world of jarred chords and evil strains, I’m letting the CROSS be my middle C.

I leave her in the bathroom to finish while I go outside, pick up toys before I mow. I hear from my Father. “Do you understand Me now?” He asks. “Do you know why I’ve forgiven, not according to your acts of righteousness? Do you understand it’s because of My name’s sake?”

There it is, a beam, and I follow it. Harsh judgment is deserved by us all…but judgment never reflects the true nature and disposition of our God.

Words of displeasure, shame, condemnation, punishment…all of these we deserve for sinning against a Holy God. And He can and should dish them out, teach us a lesson we won’t forget….

Except that those things don’t reflect who He is at His core…gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness.

These things are His glory.

And He is pleased to reveal it to us.

It is in such stark contrast to the punitive version of God I was raised with. Yet for all His right and reason, He desired not to act in a way that our insolent rebellion begged for…but in a way that makes known His glory. So He “demonstrated His own love for us” and acted in a manner in keeping with His own glorious nature.

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:9-10

And in so doing, the true nature and character of God was revealed.

Could this be the root of our parenting questions, our consumption of resource after resource, our apathy for the lost, our search for “the something that’s missing?” This deep confusion regarding the true nature of God?

He is good. He is grace. He is love.

He invites me to bask in it, believe it, drink it, take it and live. Live!

And then He tells me something strong and clear. He tells me to reflect it.

“I’ve chosen you for this purpose,” He says, “and you are to honor Me as I am, as I reveal Myself to you.”

I cannot live the way I always have. With each flash of divine revelation into His true nature and character, I am to make lifestyle changes that are in keeping with His revealed nature. This is what it means to “hallow” His name.

I bend the knees to such a high and noble calling in life. To sanctify His name? To reflect His glory? To be His witness? Me??

I go back in to little girl sitting on toilet.

I hug her close. I look deep into her eyes, I stroke damp hair away from her face. I ignore the odor of urine and the wet stickiness against my legs.

With a heart full of the Glory, I show her God.

 

“Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

“And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you…

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.” Exodus 33:18-19, 34:6

This, His glory.

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 Repost from the archives

 

Your Energy Plan

Welcome to Day Seven of Challenge Week!

 

You all have worked so hard this week and you’ve greatly encouraged me! Thank you for being a part of this week’s challenge.

Today I’d like to give you time to process and compile.

Based on all your “ah-ha” moments, scriptures, tips, etc this week, take a few minutes and compile a personalized “statement of strength.” Make sure you stock it full of scriptures!

Keep this statement near your bed and for the next few weeks, review it first thing in the morning until it becomes a habit. Use your statement to practice dressing yourself with God’s strength and power.

{And share your statement with us! We would love to hear your statement or your story on how God has worked in your life this week! Share in the comments or on our facebook page.}

Much love to each one of you. I’ll see you very soon!

AJ

 

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