Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Love and Trees and Choices and Things

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 

A great verse indeed! Our nation knows this verse well and we love to proclaim it to others. "Jesus love you!" For most of us it's easy to believe that someone loves us. "Of course I'm loved," we think, "I'm a nice person with a great sense of humor." But why do we need God's love? Most of us have someone who loves us. And most of us have been hurt by those who proclaimed to love us! What's the big deal about God's love anyway? What makes God's love any different than the love we've experienced thus far? Let's explore that, shall we?

I think we should start at the very beginning. Genesis 2:15-17 God gives the man He created a command. He says of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (another name for this tree might be the tree of disobedience) you shall not eat. Imagine a beautiful bountiful garden that is given to you at no cost. You are only given one command, don't eat from one of the many many trees that are here. Just one tree. In a previous verse Genesis 2:9 we are introduced to every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food including the tree of life. How much time passed between the command by God to the disobedience of man? The tree of life was available to us but before we ate from that tree and could live forever we instead chose to disobey God and eat from the forbidden tree. Well.... not a very bright decision, but there ya have it.

Are you a parent? How long does it usually take your kids to disobey a command you give them? I have the most adorable niece and nephew on the planet. They are two years old (which makes them twins) and they steal away hearts with their adorable looks and their larger than life personalities. But, I've seen them start to head for trouble and get a stern warning from mom. You can see it in their eyes, the instant the warning was received it only sparked the desire to follow through with their original plan to touch or grab the thing they were just warned not to. It's an instantaneous impulse to sin, because of the disobedience that reins in our hearts, and they are only two. How new were Adam and Eve before they first conceived sin in their hearts? Well by the third chapter in Genesis the created man had already messed up a good thing. The garden given him was taken away and the sentence of death had been given by our Godly judge.

Death for disobedience? They just ate a piece of fruit it's not like they killed anyone. Seems kind of harsh don't ya think? Well to us sin is common and natural. But to a Holy and good God who never sins, sin is inexcusable and punishable by death. Adam and Eve were given the death sentence and banished from the garden. Wow, so what do we do? The truth is there is nothing we can do! We are just the creation not the Creator. We chose to disobey and as the old saying goes, "you are what you eat." We are all sinners stemmed from our family tree of disobedience doomed to die. Or are we?

Enter in God's love! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) But, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)

God has to punish sin! He cannot allow any sin to slip by His righteous judgement! If God's standard was anything less than perfection what would our world look like? "Well the sun doesn't have to be exactly 150 million kilometers from the earth with its orbital rotation which allows for the different seasons which are four in all, in conjunction with the boundaries of each continents global position. Just set the earth here and give it a good spin and we'll call it good." Yikes! I'm glad I didn't have to set the world in motion.

God wasn't surprised when His creation sinned, in fact He had already planned for it and made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through faith in His Son who took on the wrath of God for us. God has given us another command and a warning. Take from this tree, that has hanging from its branches a man, who though beaten to death remained obedient and faithful. Receive the fruit of faithfulness. With that fruit you will receive the forgiveness of sin and though you will still surely die, because God has already signed your sentence with His signet ring, you will rise again and live eternally? A good and righteous judge who always follows through with His judgement, and who also provides a way for us to be reconciled. Wow, that's a Loving God.

My kids were playing the game of Life today, a board game, and of course a fight ensued because my daughter didn't land on the square she thought she deserved to land on. She wouldn't budge an inch on the clear injustice that was done her on the obvious unfair roll of the dice. I think she wanted to land on the, trade your salary card with any player, square. The game was discontinued shortly after because in her mind the plans she had for the course of the game came to a screeching halt and she refused to accept this "other" course.

Take my advise and accept God's course for your life and stop trying to do things your way. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Are we OK with that? Are we OK with the fact that God who formed us and gave us life, God who made the heavens and the earth has more knowledge and understanding of things than we do? If your life isn't going exactly as you had planned, so what? You are still alive and you still have your free will, but be careful with what you choose for yourself. Your decision has eternal ramification.

If You need advice on what course of action to take in your life, look to the instruction book. B.I.B.L.E. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. If you need help with understanding the instruction book, look to a bible teaching bible believing church.

Hebrews 10:23-25  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Day is approaching and we will all have to give an account to The Almighty Holy God. You will have no defense unless you take the plea bargain and admit you are a sinner and give yourself over to the Good Judge. He owns you now, because He bought you with the precious blood of His Son. But what better hands could you be in than the ones who rightly condemned you and then provided a way for you to be made righteous?

Monday, July 30, 2012

What Can We Offer

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and broken and a contrite heart- These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17.

This verse struck me this morning. Sometimes I pray that God would gift me with some drive or desire to work in a specific field or serve God in a specific ministry for which I have an unquenchable passion. But verses like this one make me thankful that God's ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts.
I have a tendency to think highly of myself, as most of us do. If I had some great gift that was recognized by others as great, how easily I might sink into the lie that I was something special or I offer God a greater sacrifice than another. I am grateful for my Lord and how He directs my steps and helps me to stop and ponder His truths.

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar. Psalm 51: 18-19.

Before we can offer God anything there must be a refining process. We have to be broken down before we can be rebuilt and used for His purposes. God is the great creator. He breathed life into us and then said choose for yourself this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15) All we like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). But in His great love and mercy He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself through Christ Jesus, (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). If we turn from our sins and our self seeking ways by allowing God to show us exactly who we are, wicked at best and dust of the earth, we will find our hearts broken and ashamed before Him. Then through our weakness and humility we find that God is pleased with us. How can this be? How is it possible that after we discover our true sinful nature we can become righteous and pleasing in His sight? Through faith in Jesus Christ! (Romans 3:20-23) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33-36)

Lord, how arrogant are we all to think that we can offer You anything! You created us all and in Your great love and Mercy provided a way for us to choose You. God I am so unworthy but still You love me. Lord lay me in the house You're building. Help me to surrender all of myself to You. God only by Your mighty hand do we exist and have our being. Why do I entertain these evil thoughts? God forgive me and strip away anything in me that is self seeking. I need Your truths to make it through the day! Without You my life doesn't make sense! Lord keep me close and make a way for me to be useful for Your purpose, even if I'm just a small piece of stone in Your magnificent wall. All Glory Honor and Power are Yours Forever and Ever Amen.

Convincing Me

I hate crying! I hate feeling sad! I try so hard to avoid being sad. To let one tear fall would open flood gates that I might not be able to close. Do you want to know the truth? I blog to convince myself of what I believe. I try to avoid the tears by searching to understand God's truth behind the pain I'm feeling. I don't start out with this great faith and certainty that God is good and everything will be fine. I'm not that strong! God uses my strange obsession with blogging as a way to help me understand His truths and apply them into my life. Then every once in awhile someone will comment and say how they were encouraged or how they can relate and that is so cool but so not my intention. I love you all don't get me wrong, and I praise the Lord that you were encouraged, but my motives for blogging are a bit more selfish.

I am so weak and so fearful, but God can somehow take my weaknesses and fears and turn them into strengths and victories. I remember the first time I tried to pull start my lawn mower. It took me like 25 tries maybe more before the stupid thing would start. I didn't want to mow my lawn, and actually some friends were on their way over to help me do some yard work. But I was angry and needed to do something or else I might have exploded. So I took out my aggression productively. Not what my tendency is most times but God is able to control even my explosive anger when I acknowledge His presence and try to live by His words regardless of how I'm feeling.

You'd think after blogging a couple times I would figure it out. You'd think after 90 plus posts I would be an expert believer. Nope, not me. I keep coming back to post more and convince myself again that God is with me and He loves me and He will never leave me. This blog might come to an end but my need to convince myself of God's truths will never end! Having faith is hard work! Letting yourself despair and feel depressed is easy, at first. 

When I was a kid I remember how some friends and I rode our bikes down this steep hill. It was so much fun to feel the wind on our faces as we raced to the bottom. It was so easy to go down the hill, we didn't even have to petal, we just coasted all the way down. But then we looked up from the bottom of that hill and boy did it seem so much bigger and steeper than it did coming down. We wondered if our moment of speed was worth the climb back up to the top. 

In life we always have two choices, to believe or not to believe. To take the higher, seemingly more difficult road, or take the lower seemingly easier road. One road leads to the top of a mountain where the view is breathtaking, but it takes effort and skill and can be treacherous and leave you with more than a few bumps and bruises. Or we can take the other effortless road that may be fun at first as you fly down at top speeds but it eventually leads to the bottom of deep and dark scary pit. 

Faith isn't easy but it is rewarded! God says in His Word, without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
What are the rewards that the diligent will find? Peace, hope, faith, joy, and love, just to name a few. Welcome to the mountain top. Now take in the majestic view and see that you have become a new creation. You were faithful to follow Him through the difficult road and now you come to the end of your journey and you hear Almighty God say to you as He looks lovingly in your eyes, "Well done My Good and faithful servant." Yes you fought the good fight, you've finished your race and you've kept the faith. (2Tim 4:7)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sleepless in Spanaway

Tomorrow would have been 10 years of marriage for Kenny and I. Do you want to know how I am feeling? I feel strange. I don't even think my mind can understand the feelings I'm feeling. Strange right? So, the only way to understand something you don't is to look at whats true, the facts. I miss my husband, obviously, very much. But, I am not sad, I'm not mad, and I'm not planning on going through pictures and movies and having a good cry either! I don't really know what tomorrow will bring for me. Only God knows!

It's strange how we can become so connected to people or places or events that the thought of not having those connections can leave us numb and dumbfounded. When we have a routine or a tradition of some kind or a habit, good or bad, those things can sometimes become to us a mark of our identity.
Are you a morning person? Do you like exercise? Do drink coffee everyday? Do you have a big family with big holiday traditions? What do you do for a living? Are you super efficient? Are you lazy? Do you watch a certain show on a regular basis? Do you have pets? Do you have kids? Are you married, single, in a relationship? Do you have a college degree? Are you a people person? What kind of car do you drive? Do you blog, facebook, tweet? Would you consider yourself rich or poor? Are you rich or poor? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you own a home or do you rent? Do you have a five year plan? What religious beliefs do you follow? Do you believe? Are you a worrier? Are you sure or unsure? What are you doing right now? Insert your own probing question here_________?

All these things can be used to describe a person or be used to judge a person. I know I've often wondered whether or not people like the same things I like because it makes me feel connected to them. But is that it? Is that all there is to us? It just doesn't feel very....significant. I don't want to be judged by people because of a few superficial things that have become my habit or routine or tradition. That probably means I shouldn't judge others by those things either.

So is there more to us or are we, in fact, what we eat?

God says He created us in His image. GOD of the universe took the time to form us and breath life into us. Doesn't that make you wonder if all those things that have "become" our identity are truly all we are or ever want to be? Don't you feel like there should be something more to you? Let me assure you right now, You are more? You are a child of God. You were made for a reason and with a specific purpose in mind. God sees you and knows exactly where you are at all times. He knew you would be right here right now, because nothing surprises an all knowing God. God loves you and wants you to know Him more. He wants to tell you how long He's been waiting for you to finally turn around and realize He's been there all the time. God who set the world in motion also made a way for you to be saved even though you've strayed so far away from Him. He gave up His one and only Holy and Good Son Jesus, to be your rescuer. He knew what a mess you would get yourself into. He knew you needed His help from the very beginning but because God is love He would never force you to be with Him. He wanted to let you come to Him in faith, trusting that He can make you into something even more magnificent than you ever dreamed you could be. You are His and you don't have to continue down this road you've been traveling down any longer! All your burdens and all your sins and all your shame can be washed away because Jesus came and died in your place. And because Jesus died instead of you God can forgive you. He longs to hear you cry out to Him! He can restore your lost time, He can heal what's been hurt and broken! Not only that but He said there is a place for You in His heavenly kingdom if you are willing to follow Him and seek to know Him more. Isn't that the most amazing thing you've ever heard? HE IS GOOD, HE IS GOD!

So you see we are what we eat or should I say what we take in. Did you take in that last paragraph? Did you take in the Love of the Lord or are you still searching from something else? Fame and fortune and even our human relationships are here one day and gone the next, but God is eternal and you were made for more!

I love looking at the truth instead of relying on my emotions! It's so freeing to know that no matter what this life brings God was, He is, and He will always BE my everything, and He can be yours too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Last Trumpet Blast

1 Corinthians 15:52-54

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. 
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, 
and we shall be changed. 
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, 
and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption,
and this mortal has put on immortality, 
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

When Lord? When will You come back? I am tired Lord, and this world is ruthless. I just want to be with You! Is there none here that can be trusted? Is there anyone who is virtuous, someone who will be grounded and faithful, forgiving and compassionate? Lord my heart breaks for my sister and there is nothing I can do! God who has courage to do what is right? Who can receive a rebuke with a humble heart and turn from their ways? God how did You reach me? Lord why are some saved and others lost? What can be done? Why does it seem easier to be ignorant than to find wisdom and knowledge? We are wasting away our time here doing nothing while people suffer and die. What can we do? What will You do? How long Lord, till You come back?

1 Corinthians 15:55-58

"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 

We are still waiting Lord for Your promises! Help us to wait and be steadfast, immovable always abounding in Your work and not our own! Help us to have the victory through Jesus! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

My daughter learned a song this year in school and I heard her singing it and thought how true.

"Little by Little inch by inch
By the yard it's hard, by the inch it's a cinch
Never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps 
little by little inch by inch."

We are so good at being whomever we think other people want or need us to be. I don't know, maybe that's just me. We have all taken on some heavy duty loads. Loads bigger than we were supposed to bare or we take on mountains much bigger than the ones God had intended for us to climb. Maybe because we think we are more than what we really are. It's our pride that gets us into trouble. We long to be known for great things. We would do well to 'learn' from Jesus the truth in Matthew 11:28-30.

If only we would be satisfied with a little progress. If we would just sit down at the end of the day and feel like our little tiny inch was enough. We love to over do things, I know I do. I always feel better when my calendar is filled. It makes me feel like I'm important and accomplished. But oh how we burn out fast in a blaze of utter failure.

I hate failing! It's never fun. Why does't God just come right out and tell us in the beginning instead of letting us learn by trail and error? Well He gave us His truth in the bible. How much are we seeking Him (Matt 7:7-11)? God is a Loving Father and He doesn't want to force us to do, or not to do, anything. Besides if He said, "No no my child that's too much for you," would we listen or would we try it anyways? Be honest now!

The things of the Lord, the lasting and eternal things of God, are never given in hast or with a time crunch involved. God never reveals to us His full glory because we would surly die. He hid Moses in the cleft of the rock and only let him see the train of His robe as He passed by. Think about your own life and the hard things you've endured thus far. Do you think if God had taken you aside in the beginning and revealed to you all that you would endure in this life that you would say, "Sweet, bring it on!" I seriously doubt it! No, God's truth is revealed slowly for our own good.

Lord forgive me for my arrogance and thank You for allowing me to fail. Thank You that there is a lesson in every failed attempt. Thank You that You carry our burdens and comfort us when we fall. You are so loving to endure our stubborn and stiff-necked ways. And thank You for saying NO to that prayer I prayed today! You know exactly what I need! Lord be my strength and help me to not take on more than I can handle, in Jesus name amen!

"We all wanna be somebody, we just need a taste of who we are.
We all wanna be somebody, we're willing to go but not that far."

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Last year on this day, July 15th, Kenny had his second brain surgery to try to eradicate a cancerous tumor.

I went to church today feeling angry and sad and weak and defeated. I was angry because Kenny is gone and the reality of that truth still hurts a lot. I was sad because I miss my friend and the father of my children, my co-pilot through this difficult life. I was feeling weak because I am exhausted by the simple mundane things of life, like raising three kids, that use to be a lot more bearable with my husband by my side. I feel defeated because I literally have nothing that I can fall back on, like a degree or job training or experience that could be a security for me and my children.

As hopeless and painful as this life has been, God is with me. Because even at my weakest moments when I read God's promises and think in my heart "Liar," when I don't deserve it God still carries me through. He still covers me with His mercy and His grace. His love I cannot shake! He wont let me despair for long before He reminds me that He loves me and is for me.

Remember Alyscia, Kenny is with Me now and I am with you. Don't be angry. 
Remember my daughter that I will be your strength and guide you through this life and be a father to your children. Don't be sad. 
Look up my child and trust Me and keep moving forward. Before long you will reach the top of this mountain and I will show you how far I've brought you and you will be amazed. Find what you need for the day in Me.
Don't forget Alyscia that I am your security and at the end of this life you will forever be safe with Me if you will stay the course and believe to the end. 

I went to church today bitter but I find at the end of this day a sweetness in trusting the Lord still. How can it be that we can go through such crippling pain and emotional suffering yet not be destroyed? How can we feel such total peace after a deadly storm? Only God can keep us from crumbling to dust as we walk through these trials of life. Only He can give us peace that surpasses all understanding as we wait and wait for the coming of His promises. Only a merciful and loving God would stay by our sides as we waiver back and forth with our faith. He remains faithful and loving and true as we struggle to follow after Him.

Lord thank You for Your faithfulness! Though I don't always understand and sometimes get mad, You patiently and lovingly reassure me of Your presence.  I am just dust and You are God. Thank You for loving me and for sending Your Son to die for me. You are God who gives and who takes away and still I will say blessed be the name of the Lord.

"What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?"

Friday, July 13, 2012


"E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;

Death cannot long divide.

For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall

Has blossomed on the other, side?

Death doth hide,
But not divide;
Thou art but on Christ's other side!
Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;
In Christ united still are we."
-Streams in the Desert-

We all face hard things in life but we don't have to let those things make us bitter and cold. We have a choice to let our mind slip away as we dwell on the unfairness of life or to continually take our thoughts captive by filling our minds with truth. 
If your not reading a daily devotional may I suggest, Streams in the Desert! You will find in these pages the cold hard facts of life painted like the most beautiful scenery. You will be encouraged and you will be grounded. You will find comfort knowing that so many others struggle with difficulties and heartaches and yet are not broken because of God's great love and mercy. You will realize that life is more than what you feel and that God can bring good out of ANY situation! You will be humbled to hear personal stories of triumph through pain.
God doesn't send trials into your life to cripple you, but to teach and to grow you in love. You wont make it through this trail alone, but with God all things are possible!  We are all weak, but thank God who gives strength so freely to those who seek and ask. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt 11:29-30). Surrender yourself unto Him and see for yourself. 

Lord thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son, who freely humbled Himself under Your authority, who suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world. Your beloved creation is now free to chose to believe in Jesus and be saved or to believe in themselves and parish. Love doesn't force itself on anyone but offers itself freely to everyone. You are Glorious! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Past, Present, Future Memories

There was a window in my room when I was younger. It led out to the rooftop of our house. My sister and I use to crawl out there sometimes and look up into the sky. Sometime on sunny days, sometimes on starry nights, it was so great to be up there. We use to listen to music and sing along or just catch some rays in silence.
Tonight there is a light show going on in the heavens. I've been watching the lightning flashing across the night sky and I wish I could crawl out that window again with my sister by my side and watch the sky light up and hear the thunder roll.
Nights like tonight must be meant to be shared with someone special because its just too good to enjoy alone! Though my neighbor on the other side of my fence is also out enjoying this magnificent light show he's not the one I'd hoped I'd be sharing this night with.
Time goes by so quickly! We have a few short years with family or friends and then....times up. How sad that we so often take our loved ones for granted and the time we have with them.
Just as I typed that last sentence I ran up stairs to wake Keegan up to show him the awesome lightning show. I took him to the back door and we stood there in the door way and watched the lightning flash. Then the loudest thunder I've ever heard came crashing out of the dark sky and Keegan and I both fell back and were totally terrified!
Not wanting to send him back to bed scared to death I told him, that right there is just a small taste of the mighty power of God and that is who loves you and is always watching over you! Isn't that amazing!
Wow what a night, and the lights are still flashing and now the rain is falling heaving on the roof and the windows. Yeah nights like tonight are definitely meant to be shared with someone special!
Thank You Lord for this night and for my someone special, may I never take my children for granted or the time I have with them!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Please Pray!

Please pray for my sister! She doesn't know love in her life. She has been hurt time and time again until she finally decided to build thick walls around her heart to keep it from being broken. She didn't realize the consequences of building that wall. She has a stone heart now and its cold and lifeless. She is at the bottom of a deep pit and there is no one she can turn too, and that is a good place to be! She needs the Lord, she needs us who are saved in our comfy cozy living rooms or bedrooms to lift her up in prayer. Please right now stop what you are doing and offer up a prayer for her. God is able to save to the uttermost because Jesus paid for every sinner!
Maybe you know someone too who has built a wall around their heart. If you would like to discreetly write a prayer request for your loved one I will lift them up as well. Just reply to this post or e-mail me. Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Gal 6:9

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Like Salt in an Open Wound

You've heard that phrase before I'm sure. Probably even experienced it a time or two. Salt in an open wound hurts! It stings and kind of burns and it's just not enjoyable. But then there is the after math of the stinging and burning of the salt which is pretty amazing. Not only does it help clean and draw out the unclean, it also helps with inflammation and helps dry out the wound. And my favorite part, quicker healing.

Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, God's Word has the same affect. Sometime I get to a verse in the bible and I am just left with this 'ouch' feeling. I feel totally shamed and defenseless and there is nothing I can do or say to excuse myself. I have to be careful to not put the Word down at this point because I can easily reason in my mind how this word can't be for me right now, I'm too vulnerable to hear it. I have to press on trusting that God will bring the healing after the initial sting.

One of the many amazing truths about God's word is that, 'if properly applied' onto or into the wound, there will be healing and blessings that come out of the pain. You'll get back more than you lost! That nasty gash in your heart will heal to the uttermost with God, and He will give you beauty for ashes. That's just His way. He loves so much that He can't help but pour out blessings with the healing, if we are able to endure the momentary discomfort of the sting.

God You are so good to me! I know with all my heart that no matter what this life may bring I am safe in Your arms! You are Love! I am Yours! Thank You for Your healing word!