Monday, September 3, 2012

Sands through the Hour Glass, A Crown of Glory

Ahh, the sensitive subject of aging...  This subject has been on my mind quite a bit during the past year as I swiftly approach my half-a-century mark. 

Just yesterday, a treasured, long-time friend asked me  "So how do you feel about turning 50?"  I drew a very deep breath in response to the very loaded question as my mind raced to scan my history--the mistakes, the trials, the successes, the challenges, the growth--wanting to answer the question with truth and godly perspective. "The physical challenges are the most difficult", I said, "but I treasure the spiritual wisdom and growth that comes with the years."

A tough question especially during this era as our culture places so much value on youth which is counter to the Word of God.  As I thought more deeply later on, these things came to mind:
  • I am embracing the wisdom and knowledge (especially the Godly) that comes with each passing year and the blessings in the children to whom I can pass that gift.
  • I am embracing spiritual growth, milestones and standing stones for Him! I am embracing a body that has a life's story to tell of accidents and babies, misguided idol worship lessons, divine rescues and amazing miracles! 
  • I am embracing the increasing physical 'weakness' by rejoicing that He is made stronger and glorified in them. I wait with great anticipation as to how I will see Him working this day and revealing Himself to me. 
  • I am celebrating His perspective on who I am rather than always looking in the mirror and relying on what I see and what 'the world' sees. 
  • I long for freedom from the fight of the flesh, to be with Him more, be like Him more with each passing day, to be 100 percent guided by His Spirit.
  • I increasingly long for the complete peace and rest the comes with His love, His grace and His deliverance and seeing Him face to face.
  • And, as the days behind grow longer than the days ahead, I truly give heartfelt thanksgiving each morning of waking as I rejoice in the day, be glad in it, and live His gift of life and mercy, one more day.....

Thirty-five days and counting. I will enter, God willing, my fifty-first year.  Wow...  I must not neglect to mention that my sweet friend followed her initial question by adding "You certainly don't look 50!" A girl always needs to hear that kind of love!

Celebrating the gift of life, the true meaning of life, that only our Wonderful Maker can give!

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31


Monday, August 27, 2012

To Focus on Things Eternal

Where do you focus your heart, your eyes, your time, your resources, your energy.....?

Come now, ye that say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain”;  whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  Instead ye ought to say, “If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

I've been asking myself these hard questions over the past few years.  Motivational questions, soul searching, introspective, life altering questions.  Why am I here really, what is His purpose for me in this life, where am I storing up my treasures and what are those treasures?  Where is my true center of gravity, the things that keeps me anchored to what is true, what is pure, what is everlasting? What do my treasures, my offerings of this earthly existence mean to the One who matters most?! What am I doing in this moment, in this day, in this life that reaches far beyond today? How do I, how can I truly make a difference?

These questions and the answers to them defy gravity, go beyond the scope of time and reach to places we do not comprehend. They are questions that have answers found in eternity and nowhere else. Nowhere else that is of any significance anyway. Far reaching, time expanding, and focusing on the eternal.

In living this existence, we must simultaneously embrace the future and our own eternal purpose. Our hearts must be searching for these answers, this purpose every day.  We must live out eternity as we walk along side Him now knowing we haven't begun to understand what He has in store and let Him lead.  Our hearts must embrace this truth with a yearning that is only satisfied with fulling His will. Nothing else will do. 

A sweet friend recently posed the question: What does eternity look like in your heart?  In living today for the bright hope of eternity's tomorrow, my eternity looks something like this:  

  • An infinite longing to be there, live it, breathe it, see and embrace Him even as I walk day-to-day through this fleshly journey, to bask in His light 24/7, where love and justice reign supreme. 
  • A aching passion to live this life for Him, with Him, through Him, with Him living in me, with nothing ordinary in seeing through His eyes a divine purpose in all things. 
  • An unending thirst to dedicate my life, my time, my resources to His service and for His glory, not just some of it but all of it, to spread His goodness and His name rather than my own, to step out of my comfort zone to follow His call knowing and trusting, to help others, to be His hands and feet, and fulfill His perfect will rather than my own fleshy desires. 
  • A overwhelming desire for others to know Him, seek Him, with hearts and lives dedicated to His glory and for others to see Him in me, my life a reflection of Him. 
  • A soothing comfort and unexplainable peace in knowing there is something so much better, Someone so much bigger, knowing that this is not the end and that there is something more beyond this life that is unexplainable in mere human terms, infinitely perfect, everlasting and beautiful.....

 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4:17-18

For we know that if our earthly house, this tabernacle, were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Cor 5:1


Some hard questions to ask. Their answers make a difference now and for all eternity. For you, for others. Are you living your eternity here, now....?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


In a moment alone, I sat on the couch in our vacation condo meditating with uncertainty on God’s direction for me and the war  waging within.  The rain poured down outside my window and in my soul. My mind was clouded and uncertain, my heart was hurting and my spirit was depressed. 
After all, I had spent the better part of the year being offended and demeaned, publicly and privately insulted, and ignored. I had been the subject of subtle ridicule. I had been misunderstood and offered no opportunity to clarify myself but rather subjected to criticism and false accusation. Judged and rejected.

My heart said “It hurts so much. Make it stop.”  God said, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. Proverbs 20:30
My mind said “I don’t understand why this is happening?! What have I done?”  God said, "I have determined your path; how then can anyone understand the direction his own life is taking? Proverbs 20:24
My fleshly spirit said “I’m tired of waiting.” God said, "Don't take it on yourself to repay a wrong. Trust the Lord and he will make it right. Proverbs 20:22
My pride said “I’ve been wronged! I want justice.”  God said “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

How I truly struggled! How hard it was not to seek justice! I pondered, I prayed, I asked for forgiveness, and prayed for my enemies! Finally the Almighty reminded me:  "These six things does the LORD hate, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief,  a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19

I often thought this passage was referring to those who fell into temptation, and acted in selfishness or malice; however, this time God brought a new angle to light.  The next day, I came across Matthew 10:38 where He says, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Wow, NOT WORTHY. NOT WORTHY. This time, these two words spoke volumes to me.

Groping in the dark, I think I was beginning to understand the cross more completely..... For me to want to ask that these life experiences would be changed or taken away, that He would take the pain and suffering away, my spiritual growing pains, just because I was being a good girl, makes me totally unworthy of Him.  I need to live it even when I had done no wrong, had turned the other cheek and my heart was breaking. I had humility in relation to others but not before my God. I hadn’t really approached the cross from this perspective before. Boy, did I need to eat a huge portion of ‘humble pie’. I truly must give thanks in all things.

I, albeit reluctantly, began the daily sacrifice of letting go. He showed me that I must.....

.....rid myself of the desires of self appeasement, pride, and to be in control of my circumstance no matter how good my intent......... to rid myself of the hope of retribution, justice, or any attempt at maintaining my reputation no matter how justified I might be.....riding myself of any desire of receiving acknowledgement or affirmation from someone other than God though I knew others would always esteem others better than myself even when they are unkind and...

He helped me to realize, in more fullness, that the symbolism of the cross is not just about a sacrifice I make in my life in giving up something for Him, not just about service or sharing burdens. It’s about the sacrifice of self no matter what the case without compromising. I cannot be divided in my offering in sacrifice. I cannot hold on to ‘self’ in part by projecting my will onto His, no matter how well I’ve behaved or how good my intentions are; I need to construct an altar in my heart that is wholly devoted to Him rather than any self aggrandizement no matter how Christ-like my actions may be. 

I need to ask myself what is the sacrifice that He requires of me?  Am I willing to suffer so that He can do a work in me or do I just want Him to work through me?  Am I sacrificing to feel good about my Christian walk or to fully surrender and completely change for Him? It is truly about His Spirit sending me to that extremely uncomfortable place where I struggle and am confronted head on with my human weakness in not letting Him reign supreme. In the flesh, I’m desperate in wanting to hide it under the grace of the cross, to ask for forgiveness and then forget about it. But I can’t. I must die a slow death on that cross. Otherwise I run in endless circles around it.  I am not worthy.

So, there I was at the altar.  I was ‘dying to self’ firsthand.  Would I choose to get on the on that altar? I knew it was the only way to close the door on the darkness and to once again embrace the light. To be fully worthy of Him I must confront my sin--pride, selfishness, vengeance, self esteem, my own will--in repentance.  Not just when I am bad but when I’m good. Not just when I am wrong in my actions but when I am totally justified. Only then is the power of His Spirit free to make me a new creation.

He reminded me that Christ carried that cross, not only because of the symbolism of burden and sin but more importantly because it was the instrument of ultimate sacrifice. Certainly, there was no one more justified than He. The cross was His altar. My purpose here is to become more like Him.

So, this circumstance was another opportunity to build a memorial to Him and give Him all the glory. As I sat there in this home away from home with tears streaming just as the rain poured outside, the lyrics of a popular Christian song came to mind....”Scattered words and empty thoughts seem to pour from my heart I've never felt so torn before seems I don't know where to start.....”

Amazingly enough, the cloud just outside my window was low in the sky and seemed to have fingers at the end...”but it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain from every fingertip, washing away my pain....”

And, my heart and spirit cried out, “I still believe in Your faithfulness; I still believe in your truth. Even when I don’t see, I still believe.”

At that moment, I asked Him to give me a sign of hope that I wouldn’t be this way forever and there will be brighter days ahead. I told Him that I would love to see a rainbow. I turned my head and, out the other window in the room, low in the sky, was a beautifully arched bouquet of colors. Another coincidence? Again, I think not!

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

Monday, January 2, 2012


It began in June. I awoke unreasonably early to a stinging sensation on my upper eyelids. So strange. Couldn't go back to sleep for the discomfort so I pulled myself up and out to see what this pain was all about….

Hmmm…. Slight redness on my eyelids. I rinsed my face with cold water. It cooled the discomfort. Didn't think anything more of it.

A few days passed. The redness was persistent. It seemed to be creeping into the outer corners of my eye. The stinging sensation had intensified a bit. Hmmmm…..

A few more days passed by. Then I had a good cry about something I can't even remember. I woke up the next morning to extremely red, swollen eyelids that seemed to be on fire. The morning after that, the eyelids were less swollen but with deep lines in the crevices.  A few days later the crevices cracked open in a couple of places and I was bleeding slightly. It was as if someone had taken an Xacto knife to my lids.

Never had this happen before. I was baffled.  And, no matter what I did, this state did not go away. In fact, as the weeks passed on, it grew progressively worse. It spread to other parts of my eyes and face. And, it was accompanied by flakey skin and itching!  Sometimes the itching was so intense that it kept me awake at night.

Luke 9:11

And the people, when they knew it, followed Him: and He received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

I struggled with this condition for weeks. Over four months had gone by since it all began. I was beside myself.  Praying constantly, asking for others to pray.  Doing research to find out exactly what this mystery was that was creeping and spreading around upon my face. Then I found out: eczema. Never had it before! What do I do?!  No topical remedy would work. It provided merely temporary relief; the eczema returned after a day or two.  I dare not cry or have watery eyes for fear of it stinging and spreading. Then I found out more: detox.  It was coming from the inside out. Going to a medical 'expert' was, in my experience, not a viable option. A doctor would treat it topically and/or give medication that would further tax my system and fill me with more toxins. I needed to cleanse, cleanse, cleanse and detoxify myself. 

Matthew 9:35
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

So I cleansed. A juice detox.  And, I prayed. This time I pleaded that He truly, once and for all, would deliver me from this affliction. Just as the Israelites did in the days of Joshua and the judges pleading for Him to deliver them from oppression; however, unlike the Israelites, I reminded Him of my faithfulness to Him over the years especially during times of trial and temptation. Never, even during my darkest times or difficult tests, did I turn away from Him or question His purpose for me.

After this most heartfelt prayer, the eczema seemed to get better. For three days, it was slowly dissipating. It seemed that I was finally experiencing some relief.  Ahhh!  I was tentatively excited! On the fourth day, it returned with a vengeance! I was distraught. Almost six months had passed. Was I going to have to live in this condition forever!  It certainly was a possibility. I resigned myself to the reality that God may not want to clear me of this infection for a purpose I could not yet comprehend. I resigned myself to my Lord and handed my desires to Him.

James 5:14

Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

That week at church services, my husband asked our pastor to anoint me. I had been anointed for a couple of things in past years but not for this current malady.  Yes, during this time, I'd always had complete faith that He could heal me if it was His will. So I was anointed. Within three days, the eczema was COMPLETELY GONE!  The scaly skin, the itchiness, the redness and soreness--GONE! Coincidence?  I think not!  It was truly a miracle. I had my face back! Praise Him from Whom all blessings flow!

I take no credit for this miraculous occurrence nor does my pastor. As I write this memorial to His grace and wonders, my face tingles with remembrance of the discomfort and healing! COMPLETELY GONE!   Yes, I've 'cleaned up my act' somewhat and continue to detox periodically and try not to stress out the adrenal and other filtration systems in my body. The credit and praise, however, all go to our Great Healer…..

He did it not necessarily for me but for HIS GLORY, for His good pleasure, and because He is love. It is HIS VICTORY.  I felt compelled to share it with you!  I did pray over the course of six months and He chose to answer with a resounding 'No, not now....'.  He has His reasons for answering me this way at that time. But, YES, He does care. YES, He does hear you. YES, He can perform miracles--in alignment with His will and in His perfect timing--for those who trust and diligent seek Him.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I do want to share, as well, that I also suffer from a more significant physical disability that I have had since birth. I have prayed continually, since coming to know Him, that He would heal me and remove this thorn from my side. I have also been anointed for it. Our Great God has chosen not to take this affliction from me. I know and am confident that He is able. And, I have not ceased, in fifteen years, in asking Him to do so. Maybe one day His answer will be "Yes"! Until then, I pray I can use it as well for His glory.....

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.