Sunday, December 6, 2009


“But the manifestation of the Spirit is GIVEN TO EACH ONE FOR THE PROFIT OF ALL: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another DISCERNING OF SPIRITS, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually AS HE WILLS.” – 1 Corintians 12:7-11

A few months ago I prayed and asked God to give me the gift of discernment. I didn’t make it an earnest prayer. I didn’t beg God for it, or even become broken wanting to receive it. I just asked, and God gave it. The Bible says that He gives these gifts as He wills, and it pleased Him to give it to me.

Has I known then what I know now, I would have never asked for discernment. The old cliché holds true, “Ignorance is bliss.”

The spiritual gift of discernment is one of seeing what God sees on a spiritual realm. It’s one of being able to tell the truth from lies, what is fake from what is genuine, and what is good from evil. This has opened my eyes to things around me that have broken my heart and changed the course of my life. Because these gifts are given to each of us “for the profit of all”, and because it is so powerful, I have to share what God has shown me.

There will be those that think I’m a lunatic…and that’s okay. At the end of the day, there will always be some that understand us and some that don’t. But at the very end, I only have to worry about what ONE judges me to be, and in Him I will be found faithful.

All around us there are forces at work that are evil. Some are small, and some are great. But just as it takes a tiny rock to start paving a road of detour, the tiny evils are just as important to understand as the great ones.

In case you don’t believe there are evil spirits around us, let me tell you what the Bible teaches. Ephesians 6:12 says that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The question usually arises as to where they come from, especially since God looked on all He created and said that it was “good” (Genesis 1:31). These evil spirits are the result of a revolt in Heaven. Lucifer (a.k.a. the Devil) was created as the angel of worship (Ezekiel 28:11-15). But when he decided to try to become higher than the “Most High” God, he was cast out of Heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15). He took with him one third of all the angels of Heaven with him (Revelations 12:3-9), and those are the evil spirits we war against.

If you have doubts about any of what you just read, don’t go further. Don’t take my word for it – look it up. It’s important you believe the enemy is real, or you won’t see the battle and you won’t fight.

What God has shown me is that there is a war going on here on Earth. It’s a great war, but one not seen by human eyes. It’s spiritual, and it’s deadly. Because of it we see many evils in our world that otherwise would not exist. We see children killing their parents, parents killing their children, same-sex relationships, false religions, addictions, spiritual possession and oppression, and I could continue till tomorrow. In short, if it were not for the evil that surrounds us, there would be no news but good news to report.

The problem is because the enemy is not seen we choose not to fight. We deny the power of the force that is rising up against us, and we sit comfortably and silently on our sofa’s. Like I’ve already said, ignorance is bliss. But ignorance is also dangerous!

The overwhelming thread of what God has shown me is this: anything worshipped or held higher than God in our lives is evil. It may have its very roots in Christianity, or be something completely non-Christian. If it takes your focus off God, it’s evil.

So you went to church today. That’s great. But why did you go? Did you go because it was expected of you by your friends? Did you go to prevent a post card from your Sunday school class saying they missed you, or a call from your pastor? Did you go because you didn’t want to disappoint your pastor? What is good can be made evil. When an archer pulls back the string on his bow and sights in his target, it only takes a glimpse of something else to cause him to miss his mark. Likewise, even when we have worship in our target, it only takes putting anything else in our sights as a goal to cause us to miss our mark.

I have seen worship that is not for God but for man. Raise your hands, pray loudly and long, shout out to God…but if you do it for man to hear and not for God…you’ve missed the mark. Sing beautifully of the works of our Lord…but if you do it to get the praise of men and not of God, you’ve missed the mark. What was your focus at church? Was it on what you were wearing? Was it on what someone else was wearing? Was it on anything other than putting your heart in the hands of God and hearing what He has to say to you?

Paul said in Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” We make ourselves a bondservant – a slave – to men by choosing to please them instead of God. When you choose to follow another, you oust God from the throne of your heart, and you place that other person or persons on that throne. Whoever sits on that throne rules over your circumstances. Do you really want to relinquish that throne to anyone other than God?

It may be you didn’t go to church today. Maybe you had a child that didn’t want to go, and you just gave in to not going yourself. Who sat on your throne today? Maybe you decided to go Christmas shopping instead of going to church. Who sat on your throne today? Maybe you were too tired from your Saturday night activities to give God your worship today. Who sat on your throne today?

Anything and any one that comes between you and Christ becomes your god. Look back at the Israelites during the times of 1 Kings and 2 Kings when the nation of Israel was split between Judah and Israel. God split the Israelites into two nations in the first place because Solomon chose to follow the women in his life instead of God.

When he married women who were pagans he took on the worship of their gods. He didn’t stop worshipping God, but he asked God to “share” the throne of his heart with those other gods. He worshipped Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, and other gods. But that small stone that paved the way to his path of destruction was his love for his pagan wives. 1 Kings 11:4 says “his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God.” Are you not worshipping God because your wife or husband isn’t? Who’s sitting on the throne of your heart?

When the Israelites had worshipped their idols and gods for a time, God’s jealousy finally grew into anger. He destroyed thousands because of their sin and tore down their elaborate cities and temples of worship. The book of Jeremiah tells of what God told Jeremiah he would do to the Israelite people because of their sins of worshipping false Gods. God warned them, pronounced their punishment, and delivered it. Punishment from God always comes with a warning.

Another form of evil in our world today is completely non-Christian. Perhaps you don’t realize the pagan worships that surround us today. They still exist, but many times are not recognized because we’ve stopped preaching against them. Here are just a few.

One of the oldest pagan forms of worship is astrology – the worship of the stars and moon. Deuteronomy 4:19 says “And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.”

Do you read your horoscope, which is based on astrological signs and beliefs? In God’s eyes, this is evil. You may say “but I don’t believe the horoscope, I just do it for fun!” God has said in Ephesians 4:27 not to “give place to the devil.” If God has pronounced this as evil, and you take part in it, you take part in something evil – regardless of whether you believe the horoscope or not. You’ve given it an opening to your mind and heart by reading it.

Another ancient form of pagan worship is witchcraft – which is the worship of spiritual things in the evil realm (a.k.a. satanic). This one is one that is sneaky! Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians 11:14 that satan himself will disguise himself as an “angel of light”, which means a Godly apostle. Witchcraft has many names, and many forms. The best way to define witchcraft is that it is the worship of any supernatural power that is not God.

Witchcraft is centered on tonics, spells (a.k.a. “blessings” or “curses”), and belief in the “energy” of things. There are those that believe certain stones contain powers or energies that can benefit them, and carry stones that are to provide energy, harmony, peace, or prosperity. You can even buy these rocks on the web with instruction booklets of how to “charge” your rocks! This is witchcraft because it is the pursuit and belief of supernatural powers other than God. Do you own such a rock? How about a magnetic bracelet that’s suppose to heal you? How can expect God, who made all the rocks, to sit on the throne of your heart if you believe these rocks can bring you supernatural power?

Witchcraft has become a religion that is growing in our nation today and taking many by surprise that it is what it is because it has been renamed to Wicca. (Note: Not all who practice witchcraft are Wiccan’s, just like not all Christians are Baptist!)

There are also those that visit or call psychics in search for answer, which is called Divination. God even warned against these things when He was describing the promised land to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:10-12 when he said “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.” A psychic, hypnotist, fortune teller, voodoo practitioner, tarot card reader, bone reader, tea leaf reader, herbalist, or anyone that presents themselves as being able to supernaturally tell you things about yourself or your future – which is called divination - is evil in the sight of God.

Owning the devices that are used and believed to provide these supernatural connections and powers is also evil because it gives an opportunity for evil in your life. Some of these are Ouija boards, tarot cards, books of superstitions, books of tonics (which are sometimes referred to as herbal remedies), and so forth.

Likewise, watching movies that are violent, horror movies and those that take part in evil acts are also a doorway for evil to enter into your life. Paul said in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Giving your mind over to evil for even a few minutes of watching these things gives an opportunity for evil to grow in your life! Ever watch a horror movie and wake up in the night terrified? Who is reigning over your circumstances then? Certainly not God!

I am amazed at the number of people I’ve seen since God has given me discernment that are Christians and yet they play in these areas that are satan’s playground! It breaks my heart because some of them are people I hold dear to my heart. There is no place in any of these for a Christian. They are evil and will lead to the same destruction that God brought up on the children of Israel in the Old Testament. Yet we as Christians do not take a stand against it. I myself was watching Wife Swap on TV one day when a family that practice witchcraft was brought on and was to exchange mothers with a Christian family. Of course, as Hollywood always does, the Christian woman was not your average Christian, but one that in all respects seemed to be deranged and bent!

You may see these things as small and insignificant. So what if you read your horoscope in the Saturday paper! So what if you watch horror movies at Halloween! So what if you visit the palm reader at the fair! Be forewarned. The path of destruction is paved not with large boulders, but tiny little stones.

I think the greatest challenge facing Christians today is not in fighting the fight against evil, but in understanding – discerning - that it exists all around us. We cannot fight what we do not identify as the enemy, and far too often when we do see it, we choose to remain silent and be “politically correct.” Unfortunately, being politically correct is often being wrong in God’s eyes because He has commissioned us to proclaim the truth. Who is sitting on the throne of our hearts if we sit silently when God has asked us to speak?

Sunday, November 8, 2009


“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

A great part of being a Christian is having the Spirit of God within you. This, because God is love, gives you a great love for those around you. 1 John 4:8 tells us that “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” When you’re a child of God, loving others is inevitable.

That can be a wonderfully warm and beautiful thing, but it can also be a grevious burden.

There are times when we see those around us slipping into their past, forgetting that God has redeemed them and brought them out of the lifestyle they are returning to. It’s hard to see this happen because those of us that have lived with and without God understand that true joy only comes from living in His will.

It can be painful to watch those you love as God teaches them this very same lesson. You pray. You beg. You exhort and try to teach them because this is what God has instructed us to do (Hebrews 3:13). But nothing happens.

I was struggling with this a few months ago when God opened my eyes to HIS work. Philippians 1:6 says “He (God) who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” I had always read this verse and thought it was talking about me – God was going to complete what He’d started in me. But this time He showed me something more. This verse isn’t just a promise to me about me, it’s a promise to me about those I care for as well! He is telling us that we can rest and be confident in that if our loved ones are His – He is always at work, and He is always going to be at work.

When an apple tree is planted, it’s an apple tree. But sometimes it will take years before it bears fruit – even a single apple. Then after it’s had apples for year after year, you’ll sometimes see years of no apples. The tree hasn’t changed. It’s still an apple tree. But because of it’s environment, sometimes all that tree can do is hold onto life! But wait and rest assured. Apples will come again!

Thank you, Lord, that we can leave our loved ones in your hands, and be confident in your work in their lives. Thank you that we can rest assured that you are at work even when the fruit is not there. You will not stop the work you have begun in them – or us - until Christ returns!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We're Sorry Children

“I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” – 2 Kings 22:8

His Grandfather was Manasseh, one of the most evil of all Kings of Jerusalem. His evil was in the form of idolatry. He was an astrologer – one who worships the sun, moon, and stars. He practiced witchcraft. He got his answers for life’s decisions from mediums and spiritualist instead of God. He worshipped the carved images of the gods of those God had removed from the land of Israel before giving it to the Israelites. But he really can’t be blamed completely. Manasseh was one of a long line of kings who had turned their backs on God.

God is patient, but He is also just. He will always punish sin. The problem is sin is never personal – it always affects others.

Manasseh’s sin was so great that it caused God to declare in 2 Kings 21 that he would bring such calamity on the children if Israel that the ears of whoever heard it would “tingle”. He said he would “wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.” He would forsake the few of Israel that remained and deliver them into the hands of their enemies. Why? Because they had provoked him to anger with their continual sin.

But Manasseh dies, and still no calamity.

His son Amon reigns, and still no calamity.

Then Amon’s son Josiah reigns. He became king at just eight years old. It’s often said that the heart of a child is pure, and Josiah’s was. He ordered that the money being taken at the temple be used to restore it, which was a decree given years ago by another King that followed God’s commands. And in the clean-up of God’s house, something happened. The priest found a book.

It wasn’t just any book. It was “The Book of the Law”, which is most commonly known as the Pentateuch, the first 4 books of our Holy Bible. The fact that it was lost and even the priest didn’t know where it was when it was in the House of the Lord tells you how little respect they had for God at this time.

The priest sent it to King Josiah, and it was read to him. As it was read to him, his heart broke. He saw the evil of his forefathers. He saw their neglect for the very God that had brought them out of slavery and given them the land they now trashed. He saw God’s love for them. And he felt the shame that years of idolatry had brought on his people. He tore his clothes in anguish and cried because he knew they had broken the heart of our loving God.

Immediately, he wanted reconciliation with God. He wanted God to speak, and at this time that was only happening through prophets. He sent a messenger to the prophetess Huldah, who had heard from God. God in fact had decided to bring destruction on the children of Israel, and all because of their idolatry. He said “My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched”, which in our terms means God said “enough is enough…this time you’re going down!”.

But that isn’t all God had to say. God still is the God of love, the God of forgiveness. He spoke to the prophetess concerning Josiah. He said in verse 19, that because Josiah’s heart was tender, humbled, and broken when he learned of their sin, that he would let him live out his days before the destruction would come.

Can you imagine living as Josiah after that day? How would you look your children in the face knowing they would live on after you, and suffer God’s wrath. How would you look at the face of a newborn and feel anything but anguish and pain?

Today we live in a world much like Josiah’s. We read our horoscopes to see what the day will bring…and ignore God. We call up fortune tellers to see what mysteries of our life they can show us…and ignore God. We use tarot cards, have our own “spiritual journeys”, and meditate to find our inner energies…and ignore God.
We seek answers where they cannot be found… ignoring the one with all the answers. Sure, we may escape the wrath of God in our generation, but what about our children?

Parents…seek Him while He can be found. Look at the faces of your children and see the destruction that the lack of Christ in your lives is already bringing upon them. They don’t value life. They’re starving themselves to feel better about themselves, or eating themselves to an early grave. They’re cutting themselves out of the pain that’s in their hearts. They’re turning to drugs, to alcohol, to sex and perversions, and anything they can find to make it “better”. We’ve given them violent games, violent moves, and violent music and said “here, have fun!” We’ve dismissed proper discipline because it’s not politically correct. We’ve stopped teaching them the Bible and taking them to church because life is just too busy.

Is this really what we want for our children?

Are we so selfish that we won’t take time to help them find the God they need?

God have mercy on us all. We have become the people that were destroyed…again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Doubting God's Voice

“He said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (He was lying to him.)” – 1 Kings 13:18

I got up the other day expecting a phone call. I picked up my phone, unplugged it from the charger, and carried it into the bathroom with me. When I laid it down it lit up with the calculator application on the screen. It said ‘425’ in the display. The strange thing is I never use the calculator application, and there was no reason for it to come up at all…let alone with ‘425’ in the display.

As I stood there thinking about it an almost heavy feeling came over me that I should play that number in the lottery. I should tell you that I never play the lottery. In fact, I believe the lottery to be a method for making the poor even poorer by giving them false hope. But on that morning, I had to talk myself out of buying a lottery ticket!

The next day I felt I thought about that phone and ‘425’ again and felt compelled to go online and check the winning lottery numbers for that day. The pick three numbers on that day were ‘542’. I would have one $100. God was trying to bless me. But the blessing He wanted me to receive was for more than $100. It was an understanding of something much greater than $100. It was a lesson in understanding how important it is to not doubt the voice of God. It’s no mistake that he’d had me stuck on 1 Kings 13 for days when this happened.

In 1 Kings 13 we read about an unnamed “man of God”. He was told by God to go to the idolatrous King Jeroboam and deliver a message. The message was that the altars which he had built for worshipping his gods would be destroyed and the priests he had ordained would be sacrificed on them. The man of God courageously went before the King and delivered the message. But there were also three things God told the man of God NOT to do. He was not to eat in Bethel, drink in Bethel, and he was to leave a different way than he came into the city.

When King Jeroboam asked the man of God to stay with him and “refresh himself” and eat with him, the man of God boldly said he wouldn’t even for half of the King’s household! He was steadfast and confident in the words God had spoken to him. He was sure of God’s command even if he didn’t understand it.

But before he left the city of Bethel an old prophet from the city came to him and asked if he would come home and eat with him. The man of God again recited God’s orders that he was not to eat or drink in Bethel. He still believed God’s voice.

But the old prophet said to him in verse 18: “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” A conflicting message from what the man of God had received indeed! At this point the man of God could have asked God for confirmation. He could have prayed and asked God to speak to him about this matter. Instead, he chooses to believe a stranger over the voice of his God. The remaining 5 words in verse 18 tell us the man of God should not have been so quick to believe the old prophet: “He was lying to him.”

The man of God in that very instance doubted God’s voice. He probably though “maybe this prophet is closer to God than I am”, “maybe God changed His mind and hasn’t told me”, or “maybe I wasn’t hearing from God after all.” Regardless, he traded the words of a stranger for the words of God, and it ended up costing him his life.

While they sat there eating God again spoke. This time, instead of to the man of God, who had stopped listening to Him, He spoke to the old prophet which he was listening to! His message was: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, 22 but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the LORD said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’” The man of God saddled his donkey and rode out of town only to be attacked and killed by a lion. The lion guarded his body, not eating it or destroying it, until the old prophet rode out and picked it up and buried him in his own tomb.

Far too often we are willing to accept what someone has told us to be God’s will in our life over what God himself has told us. We doubt our relationship with God, or view ours as somewhat less than someone else’s and therefore assume they have heard what we have failed to hear. We assume that God isn’t communicating fully with us in our one-on-one conversations. We begin to doubt what God has said, and we give in to following the voice of others over the voice of God Himself.

Be assured that if God wants you to do something – the One that used His voice to speak into creation the entire world can surely speak to you! Pray and ask Him for guidance. He’s already said in John 16:24, “ask and you will receive”. He also said in James 4:2, “you do not have because you do not ask.” Following anyone’s voice other than God, even if it seems to be fulfilling a purpose in God’s work, is being out of God’s will if He didn’t lead you there. Listen for that “still small voice”. He will never fail you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reflecting the Son

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

I use to have this old t-shirt that I loved. It was black and had a moon on the front that glowed in the dark. Under it was one sentence…”Be the Moon….Reflect the Son”. The misspelling was intentional.

I think as Christians we sometimes lose sight of why we’re to do good things like feed the hungry, visit the lonely, clothe the poor, or teach a church class. We consider that we’re doing is a great favor for the people that we’re helping. They become our focus, and it’s then that we lose our focus.

As much as it’s never about us….it’s never about them either. It’s about Him. It’s about glorifying God. Matthew 5:16 says we are to do good things “that they may see your good works and glorify your Father”. They see us, and see the glory of God. They see us reflecting Him.

As a mom we keep a mental record of those times when we were just blessed to be our kids mom. Times like when I saw my son spend his own money to buy a homeless man a sandwich and wouldn’t let me pay him back because, as he told me, he wanted to get the blessing. Times like when I saw my daughter in the altar praying for her brother. Times like when my son was called “Lev the Rev” and lead prayer with his team before each middle school football game. Times like when my daughter prayed in her room with a dear friend of mine who was troubled. It’s moments like these that make us so darn proud that we could just stand on a ladder, point and scream “Hey! That’s my kid!”

I know there are times when God feels that same way, but it’s not every time we do a good work. Sometimes we do good for selfish reasons. We do it for recognition, to cover a guilty conscious, or even to be a part of a group of people. But God, who looks upon the heart, knows our reason. It’s only when He is reflected in our heart that glory comes to Him. It’s only when He sees Himself shining through that he steps up on the ladder and shouts “That one’s mine!”

Be the moon…reflect the Son!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gertrude Garmin

“Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” – Psalms 25:4-5

This past Christmas my “from-me-to-me” gift was a Garmin Nuvi GPS unit. After several trips to places in Nashville I never intended to go, and decided I needed a travel companion that knew the way and could tell me where I was. Once we heard the GPS’s somewhat pushy and controlling female voice, we decided to name her Gertrude.

Yesterday I took a trip with my best friend, my daughter, and her friend to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. That’s about a 3 hour drive…but Gertrude will tell you it is precisely 2 hours and 46 minutes! Along the way when we would pull over or miss a turn she would begin to whine at us “Recalculating directions!” We could miss a turn by 30 feet and she’d start in “Recalculating directions!” She’d then recite to us the left turn followed by another left turn to turn us around.

On the way home Gerty decided to take us home a different route. On the way up we’d travelled through Evansville, Indiana. That’s actually the most direct route in my opinion. But Gerty decided we would be best to travel to Owensboro and then to Beaver Dam and get on the West Kentucky Parkway. Once we figure out what she was telling us, we found out it really was a better route in that it was on major highways with less curves, less traffic, and yes, just a little bit faster.

But the problem with Gerty is that she doesn’t show her hand! When she tells you “continue travelling 23 miles” she doesn’t tell you why. She doesn’t show you the next turn. She doesn’t tell you the full course. You’re given information on a need-to-know basis. You get what you need to know right then…and you have to trust her for the rest.

It dawned on me this morning that my path in life is very much like that. God hasn’t shown me the whole path – just what He wants me to do next. Once I reach that destination, then He proceeds to tell me the next step. I have yet to see the full path, although, by God’s grace, I do know that one day I will reach the destination!

Not long ago I became involved with a client that is part of Africa Inland Missions called Rift Valley Academy. They run a school for the children of Africa and children of Missionaries. When I originally heard they were in Kenya, my heart almost stopped because I remembered my pastor’s prophecy that someone from our church would go to Africa this year on a mission.

When he’d given the prophecy I’d immediately prayed “Please Lord, not me!” I felt God telling me, this is your mission, but I waited on God.

Then the invitation came to travel to Africa – with RVA paying the travel. But as a single Mom, I couldn’t go and leave my kids. Then God opened another door when they offered to provide travel for my kids…and a safari trip too.

The next obstacle was vacation time, which I don’t have much of being new to my company. But while having dinner one night with one of my company’s owners, I was informed that this wasn’t a problem because they had only weeks ago discussed RVA and doing some pro-bono for the client. They would offer 40 hours of my time to RVA as pro-bono work, which meant I didn’t have to take any vacation time to go.

My heart literally flipped! I almost cried just sitting there at the dinner table! I could see God charting my path to Africa as clearly as I could see it if Gerty Garmin had it on the little purple highway on her screen! I got the passport application filled out, checked on the immunizations I’d need, and was looking for the kinds of needs RVA had for me and my children to fulfill while we were there.

Then a funny thing happened. God said “Recalculating directions”, and I wasn’t supposed to go.
I still don’t know why because God has yet to show me the path I’m on and why this is not my time to go to Africa. Maybe it was a test of obedience, and God just wanted to see if He sent me, would I go.

What I do know is that right now I’m on the path He has designed for me. Right now, I’m to stay put, be an active mother to my children, a friend to my friends, write what He gives me, and wait for the next instruction.

This is a matter of trust, just like we had to trust Gerty yesterday to give us the right path home. For about an hour and a half we were wondering what she’d gotten us into! Then she showed us West Kentucky Parkway, and we knew she was right.

I know God’s plans for me are the best plans. He seeks to prosper me, and to provide the best possible future for me. Sometimes I wish He would show me His ways, but perhaps if He did, I’d be less likely to follow. So in His infinite wisdom, He just says “continue travelling 23 miles” and I have to hold His hand and follow where He leads me.

The minute I let go and decide to chart my own path, He’s quick to “recalculate directions” as well. That’s called grace. Sometimes it’s a rocky path to teach me to stay on course, and sometimes it’s just a detour that leads to nothing and He gives me a contrite heart of repentance to realize I was wrong and turn around. But He never leaves me without direction.

Thank you, Father God, for being my life travel companion. Thank you for charting the best course for me. Thank you for keeping the path hidden to shield me from the fear of its hills and valleys. Help me to wait for your directions. Amen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Lame and The Blind

“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,” thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).” – 2 Samuel 5:6-7

When I was either a junior or senior in high school I went to visit my grandmother one day. She was out on her back porch breaking string beans. I sat down with her to help and we began to talk and somewhere during the conversation I told her I was going to college.

Now you have to understand that no one in my family at that time had been to college. In fact, only one had graduated high school. Her immediate response was, “You’ll never go to college. That’s just a dream.”

It cut through my heart. She’d shown me one thing – she had no confidence in my ability to succeed. I took it all in and then just as quickly replied, “Oh yes I will! You just watch me.”

I could just have easily let her ideals of my future become my own. I could have taken on the discouragement and lost focus of what I wanted in life. But praise God on high, He didn’t make me that way!

David encountered something similar at the beginning of his reign over all of Israel. After reigning in Hebron over the tribe of Judah for seven years, King Isbosheth, Saul’s son, died. David was then anointed King of all Israel. When he went to Jerusalem to reign he found the Jebusites had occupied the land.

The Jebusites cried out a taunt to David, telling him that he would not be able to come in there because if he did, it would take nothing more than their lame and their blind to kick him out. Jerusalem was on a hill, and the grounds around it rocky and rough. They thought they were safe from David.

David could have easily said to himself, “Look at this place! It’s occupied by those
who hate me, it’s rough to travel into the town, I’ve already lost several of my men in wars, and really, I could settle for Hebron. I could go back and reign there over all Israel.” He could have backed down.

Instead, I imagine David’s thoughts were on where God had taken him so far. God had allowed him to kill a bear and a lion while just a shepherd boy. He’d allowed him to kill Goliath, the Phillistine and become a hero to his people. He’d allowed him to escape the death hunt of King Saul, and twice given him opportunity to kill Saul himself. He’d protected him in war after war, allowed him to gain back a wife that was stolen from him, and made him ruler over all of Israel by not only his being Jewish and being chosen by God, but by the love of his own people. David knew one thing that brought him success. He knew from who’s hand he had received it.

God’s faithfulness to us should never be forgotten. The greatest encouragement we can know is to understand that without God, we would be nothing, and as Christians we will never be without Him.

Not only did David take the city of Jerusalem, which was also called Zion, but he renamed it. He called it the City of David, and it is called that to this very day. He made their taunt of “the lame and the blind” a victory cry and even sang about it. When God is on your side, nothing and no one that can stand against you.
Verse 10 of this passage tells the rest of the story so simply. It says “So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”

Friends, as sure as God lives in you, he desires to prosper you. Don’t accept the discouragement of the world. Accept the future God has designed for you. Accept it and know that it comes from His Hands.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


“Now the children of Israel heard someone say, “Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan—on the children of Israel’s side.” – Joshua 22:11

A lady from my hometown recently moved back with her young son. For a long time we went to church together and I didn’t even recognize who she was. We sat only feet away from each other every service and I never recognized her. Over the years, life had changed her. Growing up, not only was she my neighbor, but this lady had been my best friend and a daily playmate.

This past week she was arrested on charges relating to custody of her young son. My heart breaks for her. First it breaks because I know from her own words and her son’s words the mistreatment her son endured at the hands of his father, whom she took him from. Secondly, it burns because I know what is being said about her.

“She’s been arrest?”
“A felony charge?”
“What was she doing in Oak Grove anyway?”
“She wasn’t using her real name?”

Is it so hard to just be silent when something like this happens? Why must we gossip and throw stones at her character? Why do we speak without knowing the truth?

Right after the tribes of Israel had entered the Promised Land Joshua divided the land up and gave each tribe their individual kingdoms. The tribes of Gad, Rueben, and half the tribe of Manasseh had asked to be allowed to stay on the West bank of the Jordan. Moses had promised it to them, and it was given to them. They moved back to the West bank after helping the other tribes win their freedom on the East bank. Things were going well and God was blessing His people.

Then ”someone” said. “Someone”. We don’t know whom because we never know who starts gossip. But “someone” almost started a war! “Someone” almost divided God’s people!

This someone began a rumor that the tribes on the West of the Jordan were building an altar of their own -–disregarding the sanctity of the Altar of the Lord that was on the East side of the Jordan. They gathered heads of all the tribes, elders, and priests to go to them. They rebuked them by asking “what treachery” they were doing against the Lord God. This was based solely on what “someone” said. They were willing to begin a war against their own people, split the family right down the middle – all because of what “someone” said.

Instead of “treachery”, what the 2½ tribes East of the Jordan had done was to erect an altar as a memorial. In fear of being cut off from the eastern side of the Jordan, they wanted to be sure their children would know their heritage, and that they sacrificed to God as they were told and worshipped as God had directed. It was to be a witness to the God that had saved them from so much. There was no treachery! The altar was created out of love for a God that they never wanted to forget.

My friend’s act may have been a felony in the state of Texas, but it was out of love for her son. The acts of those who have taken her name through the dirt were not out of love, but complete ignorance.

Often in the Bible the tongue is referred to as a sword, and rightly so. It can slice and dice a person’s character faster than any other tool. It can cut you to the heart. It can break relationships, tear families apart, and divide churches.

There’s also an old idiom that comes from the words of Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 26:52, “Put your sword back in its place, for all those who take up the sword perish by the sword.” The idiom is “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

Consider the sword in your own mouth, and whom you may kill with it today.

Consider that tomorrow, it may be you that the same sword comes after.