Thursday, June 28, 2012

let's be immoveable!

"Also of your own selves shall men arise,
speaking perverse things to draw away disciples 
after them" - (Acts 20:30)

The apostle Paul is warning us here that even people in our own sphere of influence, in our own personal relationships - our own churches perhaps - will go forth distorting the TRUTH for their own purpose or agenda. He is giving us instruction to guard what we know to be TRUTH. We have to stand firm in our beliefs as to be immoveable in our convictions and in our knowledge of the Word.

So many times, there are people that seem to be distorting the truth when the fact is they don't even know the TRUTH. Their misinterpretation of it may simply be a lack of knowing. It may be a teaching that they were handed down from a precious generation and haven't researched it for themselves. Or it could be that they really aren't true disciples of Christ, but wolves in sheep clothing sent from the enemy to distract and then destroy.

Whichever the case may be, it is up to us to make sure that we are armed with the wonderful TRUTH of the WORD of Jesus Christ, so we can discern that which is the authentic and doctrinally sound. 

We must keep ourselves totally immersed in the Word of God. His Word is TRUTH. If we remain drenched in the scriptures, we will know Him and we will know what true Godliness and Holiness looks like. We will know His teachings and His commands and therefore, be able to rightly divide authenticity from a lie.

We can't be expected to follow and obey what we don't know. We can only follow hard after God if we are immersing ourselves in the precious and holy scriptures. We have to eat the bread that He has so generously placed before us, hungrily devouring the awesome words of LIFE.

Once we have tasted the TRUTH, we will long for more of it. We will never be satisfied with where we are spiritually, but continually be yearning for a deeper, more progressive walk.

Oh, my friends, when we do this, we will be so grounded in the WORD that we won't be easily led astray. We will be able to stand firm and to resist the schemes and agenda of the enemy, because we will KNOW the TRUTH.

James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

We must know the TRUTH. So we can stand on it. So we can share it. So we can believe it and live sanctified lives because of it.

"Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth"
(John 17:17) KJV

"Make them holy by your truth. Teach them your 
Word, which is truth" 
(John 17:17) NLT

Do we want to be sanctified? Do we desire to be holy? We must purpose to be lovers of His Word. Lovers of the TRUTH. True lovers of God.

It's about passion. Let's be passionate in our pursuit of righteousness and the knowledge of the Holy One. His Word is TRUTH. He is TRUTH. And once we fully understand this, we won't be swayed to the left or to the right, but we will be able to keep our eyes focused on our Lord and Savior.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

do you want a WORD?

Have you ever asked someone their opinion about something and you had no intention on really hearing what they said. You didn't plan on following their advice or giving their opinion much thought in the first place. You were simply asking for the sake of asking. 

If we aren't careful, we will be tempted to approach God in this same complacent and apathetic manner. Asking His opinion but never intending to abandon our own agenda. Desiring to follow Him, but only when His leading is where we want to go and is what we want to do. 

Obedience is about being willing to do whatever He asks, with a willingness to do whatever it requires to make it happen.  Obedience is the key to hearing the still, small voice of God.  You see, it's not just about being passionate about hearing, but it's all about our determination  and passion to do what God commands. We can't honestly expect to hear God speak if we aren't really willing to obey what He says. 

Before we anticipate a Word from God and ask Him to speak, we need to be spending some time taking a deep look at the desires of our heart. Do we desire to obey? The progression of our spiritual walk hinges on it. If we don't have a desire to obey, then we simply won't. A desire to obey our God comes from a passionate love for Him. The more we fall in love with our Lord, the more we will be purposed about obedience. It won't be hard. It won't a struggle. It will be the greatest joy of our lives. 

We have to WANT a Word from Him. We have to truly expect to hear and truly commit to obeying.

It is necessary to purposefully carve out time to sit in God's presence and be open and available for when He wants to speak. Sometimes He may call you just to sit and simply bask in His sweet presence. Other times He may call you to dig into the holy scriptures and devour them like never before. He may take you to one small passage and have you meditate on something specific He wants to reveal to you or He may lead you to read a several chapters of even a whole book of His Word. Be open to what the leading of God is. Allow His Spirit to speak to your heart and allow Him to move in your life as He desires.

Once God knows that you are serious about developing a more intimate relationship with Him no matter what the cost, He will begin to speak. God wants us to want Him. He longs to whisper to our spirits. He is just waiting for us to be ready to respond in obedience.

Pray. Meditate. Long. Desire. And I promise you my precious friends, you will hear from Him.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

do we crucify?

As I was studying the book of Acts this past week, Peter's sermon in the second chapter really captured my attention. There is a lot of good truth in those verses and a lot of encouragement. And then you get to verse 36.

"Therefore let all the house of Israel
know assuredly, that God hath made
that same Jesus, whom ye have 
crucified, both Lord and Christ"

Whom ye have crucified. Peter was making a bold statement here. Who has crucified Jesus? The House of Israel?  Not just them, but me, too. I read the next verses, but I kept going back to that one. There was something that just drew me back to it and my attention was focused on those 4 words. Whom ye have crucified. My flesh wanted to utter "oh, no, Lord, not me.... I would never crucify you like they did."  But my spirit knew that wasn't true. In fact, in the margin of my bible, I penned these very words.

"Do we crucify?"

And the moment the words hit the page, I knew the answer. I knew it before that actually but I just didn't want to give voice to what my spirit was groaning inside.

Do I crucify my Lord daily? Sadly, the answer to this question is yes. There are so many ways that I do this and it just breaks my heart as I realized how many times I put things before Jesus. How could anything be more important than him? How could I fail him day after day when I know who He is and who I am in Him?

The Lord began to show me all the ways we crucify Him and it hurt...

* When we neglect His precious WORD.

* When we fail to see Him in the beauty of HIS creation.

* When we rush through our quiet time with Him because we have 'things' to do.

* When we don't hit our knees (or faces) first thing in the morning and whisper our awestruck thanks for another day to serve Him.

* When we see a need in someone we come in contact with but fail to do anything because we are busy and don't want to be bothered.

*When we fill our minds with those things that aren't pure and certainly aren't lovely.

* When we promise to pray for another person and then forget or neglect to follow through.

* When unkind words are spoken or even thought.

* When our actions don't edify but instead nullify.

* When we invalidate others with our words.

As I began to see the list that the Lord had placed on my heart, I saw so many areas that I needed to repent of. Areas that needed some attention and renovation.  We tend to think that crucifying is an act of commission when it is also an act of omission. Those things we fail to do in His name are just as hindering as those things we do that tear down His name. 

Have we been merciful? Kind? Gracious? Are we angry or apathetic? Arrogant or prideful? This powerful word from Peter has caused me to take a closer look at myself. It has made me more determined to make sure that nothing is put before Him in my life. I want to be more mindful of His majesty. His power. His authority. I want to give myself continually to Him in prayer and the ministry of the Word. I want to sit in His presence and just let Him refresh me...

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your
sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing 
shall come from the presence of the Lord"
(Acts 3:19)

Refresh me, Oh, Lord. May I bask in the wonder of you, all the days of my life.

Friday, June 15, 2012

he speaks to be obeyed

I just love God's Word! I love how God uses His Word to grow us and to encourage us and to make us more like Him. I love the study of His Word and I certainly love when He gives us life lessons in the midst of our studies.

I am currently teaching a class on hearing and discerning the Voice of God. We are looking at how God does speak to us if we are His children. We sometimes don't hear. We sometimes hear and ignore and then sometimes He doesn't speak because we haven't been obedient to Him when He has spoken.

God never speaks just to be heard. He speaks to be obeyed. That truth will pierce us deep if we stop and meditate on it. When we are craving a word from the Lord, the first thing we need to do is determine in our hearts that we will obey. No matter what. 

I have been doing some sewing lately and trying to perhaps start a little business while doing what I enjoy. I made a few baby quilts and spend a lot of time on them and put a lot of money into the materials it took to make them. I sold one of them and then I fell in love with the other one and decided if no one purchased it then it would certainly be used by my newest little grandson that will be here in 7 short weeks!

As I was in the middle of studying last night and doing my homework, I had just come across a paragraph about responding to God's voice and about immediate obedience to it. The study is by Priscilla Shirer and she was asking us if we would commit to obeying God's voice by praying about it and then writing it out in the margin of our book and signing it and dating it. Of course, I want to obey my Lord and so I did just that.

God gave me an opportunity to obey Him almost before this ink could even dry on the page. Don't you just love the way God works. He was giving me a chance to put action to my thoughts. He was giving me a teachable moment right there in my quiet time with Him. He is so good!

As I sat in my study, a friend of mine in Mississippi was posting a plea on her FB page about needing baby blankets for the pregnancy crisis center where she volunteers. You see, when a young women receives a positive pregnancy test at the center, they give her a handmade blanket that has been prayed over. She was posting this at the very moment I was writing "Whatever God says, I will do it" in my book. As I read her post I was thinking that I could make a simple blanket the next day and get it mailed to her that afternoon. Just a simple little blanket.... And at that very moment, God's voice said, "Beth, you will send her that quilt you made that you love...."

Um, excuse me Lord? You mean the one that I have spent about $20 making? The one that I spent 4 hours making? The one that I can sell? The one that will be my grandsons if I don't sell it?

"Oh, yes, Beth, that precious quilt."

I dashed off a note to Marilyn telling her that I would make one and send it to her. But when I wrote those words, I knew that I wouldn't be making one. I would be sending the blanket that I had already made.  I am not going to sit here and tell you that I didn't almost get into an argument with God. Because I did. Almost. But then His sweet voice whispered to me that obedience is about sacrifice. And wasn't that precious unwed mother who will receive that blanket worth what I had invested into it? Wasn't it all about Him anyway? You see, I was losing focus on what God has gifted me with. He has given me a gift to sew and if I don't use it for His glory, then what use is it?

As I folded that sweet quilt today and prayed over it and wept over it, I felt the holy nod of God saying, "Well done my servant". 

You see, I want to be obedient. I want to hear His voice speak to me. A lot! I desire to be a woman who seeks after His heart and I want to be a woman that He will speak to because He knows that I will do what He says! 

God will put you to the test. He will give you opportunity to put action to your words immediately! I love that about Him. He is so sweet and He is so good.

Do you want to hear His voice? Purpose in your heart that you will obey Him when He speaks, and my precious friends, HE WILL SPEAK TO YOU!

Thank you, Lord for your Word. Your Word is TRUTH and I desire to know it and live it and obey it! You are the greatest joy of my life and I am so thankful for your sweet mercy and grace in my life. Be glorified in all that I say or do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

it isn't about fair

Life is hard. There are so many things that happen in the lives of people that tempt us to utter the words "it's not fair".  But in reality, life isn't supposed to be fair. Life isn't even really about us. It is all about Jesus. It is intended to be a temporary dwelling place for us as we embark on our journey into glory with our God and Father.  We don't always see it that way though and we forget that what we do with our lives while we are here is of the utmost importance. We are here to bring glory to our Lord and Savior in all that we do and all that we say. 

My heart is heavy tonight for a little girl named Lucy and her family. Lucy is 6 years old and began a journey with cancer 15 months ago. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor last February and after several surgeries and many rounds of chemo, ended treatments in November 2011. Although the tumor was gone, she had many health problems as a result of the treatments and she has had a very hard battle. And then, just a week ago, they discovered that the cancer had returned. And there is nothing that the doctors can do. If Lucy doesn't get a miracle, she will die soon. It breaks my heart for that precious little girl. It breaks my heart for those sweet parents having to watch their baby go through the pain and agony that this disease delivers and the terror at knowing that her time is very short. It breaks my heart for those grandparents feeling so helpless and having to prepare for the loss of their granddaughter. I am tempted to says that it isn't fair. But I know God has a plan. And His plan has nothing to do with fairness, but with life. Eternal life. 

I think back to 7 short months ago when God whispered those dreaded words to my spirit.. "Beth, your life is about to turn upside down". I don't think that I will ever forget hearing those words and feeling the deep stab to my heart that they delivered. I can still feel the sick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that I felt at that time. 

If God hadn't reached down and touched my sweet Mercie with His Healing Hand, I could be that grandparent right now. My precious daughter and son-in-law could be those parents right now.  And that just kills me. I am horrified by what could have been but at the same time so deeply humbled and eternally grateful for the miracle bestowed upon my Mercie girl by the Master. 

But that isn't the case for sweet Lucy. Or countless other children battling the same horrifying disease. And I know their parents are so tempted to utter those same words... "it's not fair". And in our flesh, it isn't. But in the eyes of our wonderful and amazing God, death is the vehicle that He uses to take us from our temporary home here on earth to our eternal home in glory.  It hurts for us here on earth, but for those that are tasting the riches and glory of heaven, there is no more pain and no more sorrow. Only continual praise and worship at the feet of a very worthy and awesome God. 

I don't know why God chose to heal my granddaughter. But I do know that when I cried out in desperation and in faith, He heard me. I know that when I was holding that sweet baby I felt the power of the Holy Spirit surging through her body. I know that I promised the Lord I would NEVER quit praising Him for what He did in her life and I haven't. I also promised Him that I would make sure Mercie always remembers what God did for her and that I would do everything in my power to make sure she will always be a young lady seeking after the heart of God.  

No, life isn't fair. And things don't always happen the way we think they should. But no matter what takes place here on earth, for those of us that are children of God, we are promised an eternity of perfection. No tears, no sorrow, no pain. Only absolute JOY and an eternal PRAISE and WORSHIP session with the King of kings and Lord and lords. Glory Hallelujah!!

Our God reigns.


Lord, my heart is so burdened for sweet Lucy and her family tonight. Oh, sweet Jesus, send your mighty Holy Spirit down to them at this very moment to be their comforter and their strength. Wrap your arms around them and shelter them under the shadow of your wings. Be their all-in-all during this very difficult journey they are on. If it be your will, reach down and bestow a miracle on that baby. And if it is your will for Lucy to be swept home into glory, then be merciful and gracious to those she will leave behind. We will give you all praise and all glory forever. For you are so worthy.

In the mighty and saving and delivering name of Jesus,

Bryton and Sawyer in Illinois

Laylah Beth struttin' her stuff in her bathing suit! 9 months old and such a girlie girl!

Mercie and Mikaela in Pennsylvania - such happy faces!

Eli wearing his daddy's shirt and looking way too cool in it!

My Mercie girl looking too much like a little girl instead of a baby girl...

Silas will be 2 next week! Pennsylvania is a long way from his Nana!

My baby girl and Laylah Beth - too far away in Illinois!
My sweet Bryton - missing him so much!

Laylah Beth is growing up way to fast - she's only been gone 2 weeks and has changed so much!

Sawyer looking way too cool in his sunshades!

Friday, June 8, 2012

fingermarks of Jesus

I feel the urgency in my spirit. I walk across the parking lot from my house to the church with sweet expectancy in my heart. Slowly, I open the doors to the sanctuary and I immediately feel the wind of the Spirit. He is in this place. I step over the threshold and a deep reverence settles over me. 

I can feel Him. I can sense His powerful presence.

I enter the Lord's House and being to walk toward the altar. I take quiet steps, not wanting to disturb the sacred feel of the moment. I am in the Holy of holies. I am in the presence of the Almighty God.

Approaching the altar, I bend my knees and bow my heart before Him. Emotion begins to flood my soul and I worship. The tears begin to flow. Hot tears of conviction and confession. Tears of repentance. Tears of gratitude and overwhelming love for my Savior and Lord.

As I fall to my face in humility, my heart is full of sadness for those things that I have done that don't please Him. Regret for things that I neglect to do daily. Sorrow for the many times 'self' gets in the way of what His purpose is for me. But it is also full of praise for the generous grace and sweet mercy that is dispensed to me every day by Christ. Every hour.

New beginnings and fresh starts. Forgiveness. Cleansing.

I feel the Lord minister to my spirit and I hear Him whisper to my heart. 

What an amazing thing to be in the presence of our God. To feel His glory. To sense His closeness and almost feel His touch. Holy Hands reaching out to a hurting child. Holy Hands binding up some wounds that need some healing. Holy Hands cradling a crippled soul in a loving embrace and feeling His Holy breath as He whispers your name.

"I love you, too", I echo back to my Lord in a very hushed voice that is overcome with emotion.

An encounter with Jesus. One that leaves me with a deep urgency in my spirit for another..

Slowly I head back home and I just know that I bear the fingermarks of Jesus on my skin. I can still feel the gentle touch of His Hands as He ministered to me so tenderly. Truly, He is the Son of God. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

eyes wide open?

(1000 gifts journal - now on #1054) 

God has so much to show us. He has so much revelation that He desires to reveal to us. But sadly, He can't because we don't allow Him the access into our lives that enable Him to move! We fail to see Him working because we have our spiritual eyes closed. We don't have them wide open with expectation of what we will discover when He begins to reveal His truths to us. 

Must we force God to pry open the eyes of our hearts that we might see? So He can begin to show us His glory? We need to prayerfully... expectantly... open our eyes!

We fail to see the power of God or the authority of God or the sovereignty of God. We have become spiritually blind so therefore we miss out on what He has for us. We have eternal purpose and we fail to fully understand or even appreciate this. We neglect to cultivate the most important relationship we will ever have - our relationship with Christ.  We have to be surrendered to Him moment-by-moment with our eyes wide open so that He can begin to drop nuggets of truth into our spirits so that we can truly 'see' the glory of who He is, what He can do and what He wants to do.

If we want to experience an authentic, deeper, richer relationship with God, we must be spending time in His Word so that we can truly know Him. The more we dig into His precious Word, the deeper our intimacy with Him will grow. The more we desire a fresh Word, the more likely it is that we will find it. He wants to be wanted. He longs for relationship with us.

Deep calls unto deep. The deeper we yearn, the deeper He can reveal. God gives us hearts that can hunger and souls that can thirst. But it is strictly up to us whether or not we set out to satisfy and quench that emptiness that we have without Him.

If we desire for God to move mightily in our lives and if we want Him to reveal Himself to us, we must first deal with sin in our own lives. Sin can go unnoticed in our lives until we turn on the light of God's Word. Under the intensity of His Light, we see things that we didn't see before. Things are exposed to us that were hidden before we subjected ourselves to the light of His truth.

Before Isaiah saw the Lord, he had been totally focused on other peoples sins. If we aren't careful we, too, can become preoccupied with the specks in other peoples eyes and not take a close look at our own. But when Isaiah saw the LORD, his eyes were immediately opened and he got a fresh glimpse and a fresh vision of who God was. But he also received a fresh vision of himself. And his first words were, 'Woe is me'  (Isaiah 6:5). 

The glory of God shone His Light on the unnoticed sin in Isaiah's life. The bright spotlight of Holiness shone down on his sin and his wretchedness. And He was undone.

This is what must take place in our lives. This is necessary if we want to come face-to-face with our depravity so we can confess it, repent of it and then cast it out of our lives. Then and only then can we begin to live a life of Holiness before the LORD.  We need to be asking God daily to shine His pure and Holy Light on our lives and reveal to us those things that are defiling us and preventing us from going deeper with Him.

There is nothing like that searing light of His holiness to make our sinfulness become glaringly apparent.  We must accept responsibility for our sin. Own it. Acknowledge it and cry out, "I am ruined". We must allow our hearts to rend in two so that the God of all Creation can begin to put them back together again. He can take our undone lives and empower us to live a life worthy of His calling and then with eyes wide open, we can say the words of Isaiah with all humility and surrender, "Here I am. Send Me."

Prayerfully.... expectantly.... let's open our eyes!