April 20, 2020

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Good morning, DearHeart.

I question God a lot.

Sometimes, I think He is ok with it-maybe even humored by it. (Girl, you have the gall to question Me after I brought you through that last pickle?!). Sometimes, I know, He’d rather I simply trust Him. (Ang, I know what I’m doing. This will turn out to be for your deliverance, child).

We all want to live a life full of meaning. What is meaningful for me may look differently for you.

Purpose.

Passion.

Calling.

Dreams.

We are each placed here on the planet earth for a reason. There is something we are to do and our lives will seem empty, until we begin to engage our hearts and do it.

“From one human being He created all races on earth and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live.” Acts 17:26 GNB

God wants us to be ourselves and do good for He has positioned us, so we are able to make a difference. He has handcrafted our lives – very individually, and it takes a lifetime to accomplish His work in us. It emerges from a small and exquisite piecing together of our inner and outer lives …

crafted,

played,

woven together every day,

every week,

every month,

come summer,

come winter,

the same. The overall magnificence takes many years. It cannot be fast-forwarded.

Take some moments today to consider this place that you find yourself today. Take it in, pandemic and all. Know that in this place, in these emotions, in these callings, you have been placed here specifically by our Maker. This, too, has purpose – and, by it you are being moved deeper into His will.

Wake up.

Ponder this place.

Go.

April 15, 2020 authentic

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Do you have stories that stay with you?

Plain, everyday stories?

Bizarre stories that you’ve lived?

Those that you’ve heard?

Crucifixion size stories?

Experiences are moments of magic that become little chapters in your head … and, because they stick around they have a purpose and a life of their own. They stick because your Creator uses them to prove His point in you … through you. When you dress down out of the demands of what others are saying you

-should be,

-ought to do,

-must have

… there you will find authentic, one-of-a-kind, treasures that are your own stories. And, if you begin to tell your unique stories, then The God of the Angel Armies draws people to Him through you.

Your faith grows when you share Him.

Authenticity is magnetic.

‘For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (2 Peter 1:8 HCSB)

Wake up.

Zone in on your story.

Tell it.

Go.

April 14, 2020 snow

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Normally, when there is a chance for snow, I pray for a snow day. A habit left over from childhood. This is the first time I didn’t. I wonder why they have been so important to me? Maybe, they represent a reprieve, a break from the ordinary.
Maybe, they are a reminder that I am safe and warm – that I am inside and everything else is outside. Snow days usually give my heart a time to just be … to take a break from the cares burdening me. Maybe they have been my reminder to simply “rest”.
This morn, Noah and the ark are on my mind.
“Make yourself an ark of gopher-wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.” (Genesis 6:14, NKJV).
The choice of wood, the covering of pitch – which acted as a tar-like substance – all emphasized that the ark was a protection and hiding place. The ark was to keep the elements out and Noah, his family, and the animals safe.
But there is more….
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of those things not yet seen, moved with Godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7, NKJV).
Not everything in life is going to make sense.
Coronavirus does not make sense. Surely, for Noah it did not make sense either. Building an ark when he had no idea what rain even looked like. Not even a drizzle.
And … yet … he obeyed.
He followed and completed building the ark, without understanding and enduring the ridicule and the criticism of those around him.
Faith demands an obedience. An obedience to follow God

  • when you may not know where you are going,
  • or what you are doing
  • or what you you will do when you get where you are going.
    In the unknowns of these sheltering days, a fresh reminder … just as the pitch kept the elements outside of the ark and kept Noah and company safe, Christ is my covering.
    He is my protection.
    He is my safety.
    To live by faith.
    To obey by faith.
    Faith doesn’t always make sense at the moment.
    Noah was being warned of things not yet known of or experienced.
    On days you and I are in need of rest, He will close us in and provide all that we need to continue to move forward in obedience.
    Wake up.
    Notice snow in green grass.
    Even there,protected.
    Go.

April 13, 2020 day after

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Good morning, DearHeart.

It’s the morning after.

The colors in the sunrise are brilliant on this Monday after Easter.

A weird, semi-isolated Easter, with only a few near … Dale, Luke, Bryan, and Dani.

It was a thoughtful Easter … do I just want to be near Jesus, too? The way I long to be with all of my family right now?

I love that early that Easter morn we find Mary Magdalene coming early to the Lord’s tomb. The Book of John even tells us it was still dark.

Her grief compelled her to “go”, for grief often has its own reasons, doesn’t it? She expected to find the tomb yet sealed. But, in John 20, what fell on me fresh was this … Mary Magdalene just wanted to be near her Savior.

She had a deep seeded need to be where Jesus was; with Him however that might mean, even if this meant sitting outside a sealed tomb.

Her need to be near Him was the reason she experienced more.

Her need to be near Him caused her to SEE the risen Lord.

She heard Him speak her name bringing hope to what seemed hopeless and life to what appeared to be dead.

Questions mulling around in my heart:

Do I long to be near Jesus?

Does my need drive me to Him?

Does my need cause me to get alone with Him?

To go where He is?

Mary went to the grave much the way we would go to the graveside of a loved one …

to sit,

think,

cry,

and mourn.

She already missed spending time with Jesus. She missed their conversations and being with Him.

Her need was for Jesus alone, no strings attached. She did not want anything from Him. She did not need to ask Him for provision or to do something for her. Her need to be with Him is what caused her to see Him in all of His glory.

“Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.” (John 20:18, NLT)

Seeing Him and being with Him was dearest to her heart.

Wake up.

Draw near.

Just to be with Him.

Go.

April 10, 2020 Jerusalem

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Good morning, DearHeart.
My nephew and his wife, Turner and Taylor, are stationed in South Korea. Every time she posts on FB or Turner FaceTimes the boys we notice and we share – we won’t be whole again until they are back on American soil. She recently posted the results of a game where she interviewed Turner … so, sitting on the back porch the other day, for fun, I asked Dale the same questions:
Me: What is something I say a lot?
Him: I want to go see my momma.
(I’m going to kiss her whole face when I get to hug her again!)
Me: Someplace I’d like to go?
Him: The Holy Land.
He didn’t hesitate on any question.
Well, except ‘who is your celebrity crush’; he couldn’t think of one. I couldn’t either! 🤷🏼‍♀️
He knows me well.
The Holy Land. Walking the trails where Jesus walked. Splashing the water of His familiar sea on my face … mmm.
In his triumph, Jesus could have paraded through those streets of Jerusalem. He could have knocked on Pilate’s door. “Surprise!” He could have confronted the high priest.
But, the first person our resurrected Lord appears to is a woman … without hope. And, the first words He spoke were, “Why are you crying?”
What a Savior we serve, or rather … serves us. In His hour of greatest triumph, He doesn’t shout about His victory from the rooftops. He comes quietly to a woman who grieves … who desperately needs to hear His voice … see His face … and feel His embrace.
“Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them His message.” John‬ ‭20:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Wake up.
See the Lord.
Go.

April 9, 2020 Maundy

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Maundy Thursday.
Secluded in an upper room.
A last supper.
Even there, Christ washed their feet.
Even there,
locked in,
quarantined
… He found a way to serve.
Surely, they were thinking of the events of the past week…the images – Jesus riding on a lowly donkey. The crowd around Him. The palms waving as He passes by.
The people had expectations of Him which, now, would go unmet. They wanted Him to come and restore kingship, leadership to Israel.
His very actions were proof … this would not be. He had not come to be the military and political leader they were hoping to receive. No matter how big of a reception they were to give Him, He was not going to overthrow and take political action.
Their shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” were shouts for Him to save them.
They missed the point – He was not coming to save them from the oppression of their society. Instead of salvation from their political and social oppression, He had come to bring salvation for their souls.
The ones who stood praising and waving palms would soon be the very ones to yell, “Crucify Him!” when they faced disappointment in His mission.
Are we any different than the crowd that day?
We have a tendency to desire an ‘out’ to our present circumstances rather than see the treasure that may lie hidden in the dark times. We want the immediate relief or comfort over the eternal.
And yet Jesus still says to us today:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b, NIV
I think of our front line medical people, serving through troubled days. Putting their life at risk – a nurse somewhere, holding the hand of one whose family can’t be with them.
Jesus knew this world would bring each of us much turmoil and discomforts. But He gave us Himself – His Presence – to get us through these times. Even when surrounded by that which makes us fearful, anxious, and unsettled, we can be in peace and have peace. And, find a way to serve others.
On this, a Holy day, may our adoration of Jesus be firmly established in our hearts and minds.
And may we wave our palms in worship to Him, each and every day, as we, too, wash the feet of others.
Wake up.
Wash their feet.
Go.

April 8, 2020 wait

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“When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, GOD. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.” Psalm‬ ‭138:7-8‬ ‭MSG‬‬
Good morning, DearHeart.
Yesterday, a friend of mine sent a text. We had been praying for a couple who are friends of hers – the wife had dropped her husband off at the hospital, he had the virus, and could not go in, so she had to leave him to go home to self-quarantine. A couple of days later, the wife got a call that he had passed. Because of our current pandemic status, the funeral home will bury the body with no one present, and the wife can go to the cemetery after they leave. I cannot imagine this kind of solitary grief. A funeral will take place sometime in the future.
We forget that we live on a bubble.
That every minute …
every minute …
every minute is a gift.
There is something about loss that creates a gaping wound … a wound that challenges us to do better for each other … to nod and allow questions to come that are not part of our usual days … and, to greet one another in life-affirming ways. It’s in the shadows of life, just beyond the curtain – on the edge of the stage, watching, helplessly, hopefully – it is there when there is nothing left to do that surrender happens, and the Source of Life takes over.
God Almighty responds to empty.
He streams Himself in like a very gentle white light through one heart, straight into another. Healing energy. The trauma must stay fluid, and moving through as only God can do. The enemy wants it stuck so we live in defeat. The Holy Spirit moves through whispers and songs. All around. He moves through the pens and the voices of others when they use words like: care, gentle, love, healing, grace, deeply held, I’m here, hope, and peace, and more peace. Wounded hearts grieve with certain raw tenderness when loss happens. It is every kind of right to sob, to feel hot tears. Feel all the impact and power of loss that reminds us how deep love drives. By feeling the sickness and swirling of everything wrong, God clears us to see Him and to burn brighter in His love and in life. This is the power of His Light in you and me. His Light wins over dark. People begin healing when the force of pain is allowed to shudder you to the core. We meet that pain together with our faith, and our love for our Savior. His capacity to transform far exceeds ours to move from pain into healing. So we wait.
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him!” Job‬ ‭13:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Wake up.
Let His Holy Whisper flow.
Go.

April 7, 2020 why and what if

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Good morning, DearHeart.
I’m married to a questioning sort of person, constantly asking questions. Constantly reasoning. Constantly a problem solver. I used to think he was asking ME the questions – but, I’ve learned he is not seeking a quick answer, but finds merely the asking of a question causes him to think deeper, and solve thoroughly. By asking, he is simply processing.
The questions most asked are “Why… ?”, and “What if …?”
“Why”, and “what if”, can set one’s heart into a panic but a while back, Psalm 124 was before me and it also asks the question:
“What if the Lord had not been on our side?”
It asks not once but twice in a short eight verses, a repetition demanding our attention.
“What if the Lord had not been on our side?”
The answer is quite simple – we would not have survived.
We would have gone down for the count.
We would have been destroyed when people speak ill of us,
when anger is spewed on us,
when circumstances overwhelm us,
when we feel cornered,
rejected,
abandoned,
or unloved.
Or, perhaps its when relationships fail us;
when the checkbook runs out of funds;
when the refrigerator is empty;
when our dream job suddenly comes to an end;
or when illness strikes.
But the psalmist, King David, is not asking the question because anxiety is great within him. In fact, I feel his faith and a call to also ask the question … it is in the asking that our faith will be built up.
David tells us in the psalm what could have happened, but did not, because the Lord was on the side of His people. He states the “what if” scenarios to remind us not of the difficulties but to shift our hearts to remember …
The Lord was indeed with us and on our side.
“Praise the Lord … Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (verse 8, NLT)
We can look at our present difficulties, those challenging days, and remind our souls of the greatness and power of our God. It is out of our hard days that we develop a faith to stand firm in the promise of His help.
“What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalms‬ ‭124:1-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Wake up.
What if God is already there?
He is. We are safe.
Go.

April 6, 2020

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Dad’s favorite tv show is the news. Always has been. So, in the morning, and in the evening – I turn it on and listen. Maybe, it is partly habit, but, like Dad, I appreciate being informed. Even when the news is troubling … and … at the moment, that is the tale. The experts warn that this week in America we will begin to see the darkest days of the virus. 2000+ years ago, the Savior of the World and His closest disciples were feeling the same pressure – didn’t know what to expect, but did feel the pressure of dark change looming. Like them, we want answers. It is even more than that – — we are of the opinion that we are entitled to get the answers that we demand. I am not sure how or when we all got this way. Perhaps it was with the advancement of technology which brings so much information right to our fingertips & before our eyes. Anything we want to know, we can “google” & the answers are before us. As much as that can be a good thing, I wonder if it is more of a hindrance to us than we even realize.
I think we have slowly lost our ability to say this simple phrase:
“I. Don’t. Know.”
Pastor, Jonathan Martin, writes:
Sometimes,
the sacred thing,
the wise thing,
the compassionate thing,
the best thing,
the anointed thing,
is simply to shut up.
I learned a long time ago that there are some thing in life so dark that if an answer is asked for, the only reply we are able to give is our tears or our presence. Sometimes the best response is in the courage and wisdom to say, “I don’t know,” but then don’t walk away. Some questions are NOT opportunities; they’re temptations – to play God, to play the expert, to play doctor, to build a platform or reputation.
(Prototype, pages 102-103)
We tend to equate the words, “I don’t know,” with ignorance.
That is a lie.
Those words are actually a sign of wisdom.
Perhaps even of humility. May we not be tempted to play God as that is the very thing that brought about the fall of Lucifer. May we not be tempted to rest on our intelligence & give answers that only God can give.
Proverbs 10:19 puts it this way for us:

  • “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (NIV84)
  • “Too much talk leads to sin.
  • Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” (NLT)
  • “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” (MSG)
    So let’s quiet. Let’s be a wise people and know that our God is able. And, in this week – God is on His throne. God has a plan. God is working.
    Wake up.
    Stay safe.
    Let your words be few.
    Go.

April 3, 2020 riverbend

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Good morning, DearHeart.

If these were normal days, I’d be driving to Texas today to facilitate a weekend women’s retreat. My mom would be in the car with me. And, my BFF from childhood would be waiting there – actually, several of my role models would be there … at a retreat center/campground with neat little cabins on a river. I’m bummed this morning to be here instead of there.

Like we always do, whether we’ve not seen each other in 4 days or 4 years, Nancy Buzbee and Angie Coon would pick up where we left off.

Our theme was, is, will be “Mission Impossible”. Ironic – at the time selected who could’ve known that getting to the retreat would be impossible?

We carry deep our missions impossible, don’t we??

• The one in an affair. Adultry.

• The one who ends a pregnancy. Abortion.

• The one who drinks too much. Alcoholism.

• The one who steals money. Embezzler.

• The one who ends a marriage. Divorce.

• The one who lies on a test. Cheat.

• The one that is left in a broken relationship. Unwanted.

• The one fired from a job. Enemy.

• The one raising a rebellious child. Bad parent.

Do you see what I mean? If we are honest, we all do it, to some degree or another. But what about if we were to remember these words of Jesus:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, 2  NLT).

That should stop us dead in our tracks! The same standard we judge with, will be the standard by which we are judged. Whoa! May I walk in grace & mercy towards others. That is the standard by which I want to be judged. The Message puts it this way:

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.” 

I do not think that any of us would sign up to be picked on, jumped on or criticized. Yet that is the same treatment we will receive if we treat others in that manner. Sign up to sow seeds of love, instead.

Even as we are stuck at home, reach out in love.

May we remember that, in Christ, we have been forgiven. Not only that, but He has far removed our sins,

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12 NLT).

God loves impossible situations. Especially those that we have assigned a label and sewn on our heart. Those ‘impossibles’ are where He does His finest work.

Wake up.

Postponed is not cancelled.

Trust God’s timing for your finest hour.

Go.