Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From Head to Heart

Sometimes there is a disconnect between what we know and what we really know. We know things about God and the Bible, yet we don’t live in the knowledge or appropriate it in our day-to-day life. It’s as though our knowledge about God is checked in upon arrival to church and then checked out before we go—or as if what you are learning from God is confined to a day or a place. That is sooooo not true! We are to take what we know with us and live it out daily. How do I know you have that problem? It’s because I have that problem too!

I can know that God is Creator. I can know that as Creator, He made everything: “without Him nothing was made that was made” John 4:1-3 or “Everything has been created through Him and for Him” Col.1: 16 But knowing that He made it and thereby He owns it is quite a difference. And add to that a personal aspect of that He made me thus He owns me makes an even bigger difference! We live this out and connect it in other areas: we all understand copyrights. If you write a song, it’s yours. If I create something, it’s mine. We would all hold that to be a valuable truth. But apply that same truth to God and people fuss, squirm, and get uncomfortable. So to know it and to live it out can be disconnected unless we spend some time getting things connected. You really believe this whether you have thought about it or not. Perhaps a minute to connect some things may be worth your time.

How good is electricity if it is not hooked up? A house can have the greatest and the latest, it can have all the night-scaping and automatic timers and task lights and mood lighting, timers, switches and remotes, but without the connection it is lost. So too we can have information about God without connecting it to life, and we are in the dark! Loosing out and breaking our noses as we run full steam into a wall, or stubbing our toes on every unseen obstacle along the way is not how God wants us to live.

So spending time connecting what we know to how we live seems logical and practical indeed. We know about God—much, much more than he is our Creator. He is all knowing, all-powerful and present everywhere at once. He is Love, our Father, Provider—the list is endless. We know about Jesus. He is the visible image of the invisible God; he is Savior, Messiah, the Prince of Peace, Healer, Redeemer, Restorer—on and on the list could go. I know this, I try to live it out, and it is not too weird or uncomfortable to my thinking. But go one step further…

That Holy Spirit part can get trickier. I am even good with the “Holy” part but add “Spirit” and all of a sudden things get wigged out in my head. I am not sure if it is a block or too many Scooby Doo and Casper programs as a kid. But recently as I was preparing for the retreat, I saw a simple aspect of the Holy Spirit that I had never really applied to my living that has had such impact. To remain disconnected kept me un-empowered, which is Satan’s strategy, and he uses fear of the unknown to keep it going.

Upon beginning my studying several months ago, I saw that the Spirit is the very breath of God. (Which is no doubt why Satan has an all out attack on Him). As I meditated on Him being the breath of God, it really filled and blessed me. There is nothing weird or spooky about breath—I get that, and I can live out a truth like that. As I thought about it, I saw some wonderful things I would love to share with you…

*The Holy Spirit is as there as air. Air is all around us and is everywhere we go—so is the Holy Spirit.

*The Holy Spirit is as necessary as breath. We can do NOTHING without air, not less or little—nothing can be done without breath.

*The Holy Spirit is as available as air, He is not tricky or limited; He is and has been since before the foundations of the world. He was hovering over the darkness and ready to move into action; that is still what He can do.

*The Holy Spirit takes life and health to every part of us; there is nothing he is not interested in. He wants to be in every part of your life, like breath takes oxygen to every part of us to bring life and health—that is what the Holy Spirit does in us.

*The Holy Spirit is unseen but real. There is a lot we know that is unseen but real—that electricity I mentioned earlier, air or wind are unseen—but try to convince people in New Orleans wind is not real. They saw the affects they know—we know. We just need to apply that reality into our everyday life. The Holy Spirit may be unseen, but he is not unreal!

*The Holy Spirit needs to be as regular as breath in our lives. We don’t store up air to use later; we use it all day as needed. Everyday, all day, breath and air are needed—an unlimited resource is ours for the using, no cut backs needed–use all you want!

*The Holy Spirit is given upon new birth just as we received breath once upon birth physically. He is within us forever. The more we breathe out, the more we can breath in.

*The Holy Spirit is re-freshened within us, like breathing out the old self and breathing in the fresh air of His strength for each new minute we face. It is a constant exchange of breathing out our own desires, control, and inhaling His will, His control and His desires—because it is God’s breath in us. How healing and good is that? You make your own list and let me know what God reveals to you, its beautiful, enjoy it with me.

I think Satan is out to create disunity, delusion and distortion of the Holy Spirit because He is whom Jesus gave us as a gift to us as our helper. Who could not use a helper? We all desperately can use some help! Am I right? Jesus said in John 16:7 it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t the Helper won’t come. If I go away, he will come…” another word for helper here has the idea of a counselor. How helpful would a hotline to a counselor be for you? I would love it! I have it! I have to by faith breathe that in and ask God for whatever need I may have and believe that God will answer in His words or breath into the Holy Spirit which is in me. I have to listen to know what God has to say. How unifying is that—we all breathe, all ages, all races, all countries—all-living!

So much of the time we have these clogs that we cannot hear through or blockages that distort or deafen God’s voice to us. Sometimes it’s ignorance or wrong thinking or sin that keeps us out of touch with reality of who He is. I hear in word pictures as I listen, and evidently, I have made some really inaccurate pictures that explained what I told myself. I would hear “be filled with the Spirit” and I would make up things that could be filled to demonstrate that in my head. I tried a tank. Like gas in a car, I tried filling up on the Spirit and ran my life until He was all used up. Unfortunately, I had more life than I had tank, and I’d find myself out of gas all the time, needing to haul my sorry self back for a refueling with people going by shaking their heads—poor ignorant thing, didn’t she know she needed gas? She should have stopped sooner. I would think, “How did they not run out, what was wrong with me?” This is not at all scriptural, but rather living in a lie that I had made up as truth. Confusing.

Or I had a bottle picture that I had to fill up. Then, decide when and where I would uncap and use the Holy Spirit and still have enough left for the rest of the day. Like choosing to fill your water bottle and rationing it out all day only when it was really needed—that is not what scripture says about the Holy Spirit—but that is what I was living out. Distorted.

My other picture was a bucket. Scooped up fresh, full, and ready to use but my bucket had holes and I leaked it out and ended up short, empty and dry—unable to patch or even identify all the holes in my bucket. Not at all what the Bible uses as an illustration of the Holy Spirit. I got nearly delusional with the difficulty of bucket living. What a wonderful welcomed reality was John 20:22 “And he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” How wonderful and how simple—breathe. I can do that without striving.

Do you, like me, have some out dated, early childhood drawings of some tremendous truths that need updating? Why keep those—other than to relate to others—they are useless and you are living from pictures that are not accurate. Let’s open the Bible, dig in, and discover what is really available and ours! Check out the Bible for yourself.

I wondered if it were like being born under the water and living in a world that was not where and how we were made to live? The distorted view and the difficulty it would take. But upon becoming believers you were transported to this world where you could breathe freely and wholly, able to move about in freedom. What a new life that would be! The Bible likens it to living in darkness and being transported into light—imagine how glorious that would be! That is what a difference we can live in, the light of a personalized light within us, “His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path”. Psalms119:105 It brings light—even the very first words spoken by God is “let there be light” Genesis 1: 3 It is His very first breath we have recorded; the very thing the breath of God desires for us is light to know and understand Him through His breath. Perhaps this is over simplified and something you have grasped and lived in all along—God bless you. But perhaps some of you have been making up some pictures that need some revising and an accurate edition. As we read, study, and hear from God, may we know Him better, clearer, and in truth. May we never hesitate or hold on to misconceptions, traditions, and deceit, but be eager to understand, unite, and cling to truth.

My prayer is: True Lord Jesus, may we know all that You really are. Free us from the lies that we have heard or have told ourselves that are not truth. Reveal Yourself to us. As we see error, give us desire and willingness to grab onto truth and realign ourselves with You. Show us where we are off the mark. Satan often makes the lies so close to truth that it is just a shadow of the truth and not a bold face lie, so give us clear vision, and don’t let us settle for anything less than truth. Help us to walk in that truth that will go from our heads to our hearts and pump life and health into all that we are. In the mighty name of Jesus, would you come and fill every breath and change us from the inside out. May we better friends, better moms, better wives, better women, a better church and a better community because you are breathing in and through us. All glory, praise, and honor to God and peace be on us. Your Kingdom come, and Your will be done. Amen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Let It Go

I get so excited when I know the babies are on their way over to the house. I love to hear the door open and them call, “Ya Ya…” waiting for my response. Everything in me delights at the sound of their voices. The other day they were there waiting for me when I got home. I was carrying in groceries, and my hands were full, and River came running and hugged me around the legs until I almost fell. I couldn’t get to the table with the groceries, and I had to stop right where I was, put everything down, and scoop her up. She hugs the best clingy snuggly whole body hugs I have ever received! But in order to receive that hug—I had to let go of everything else in my hands.

In order to receive something, we have to let go of something. That is so simple. I think the same is true with exhaling the past to receive the future. Do you suppose God waits for us to let go of what is in our hands so that He can give us fully what He means for us to have? As a young first time pregnant wife, I was so sick that I was out of commission. I heard a Pastor on the radio say that if we could not afford the things we wanted perhaps they were things God did not intend for us to have at that time.

It means letting go of “I want” and believing that He wants what is better for you.

It was the first time I had ever even considered that. Could there be things I want that He would not want for me? I let go of my dreams of furniture and decorating and decided that this little baby would be my priority as a gift given by God. And when God was ready for me to have the other things, He would give them—I was going to be good with that. I let go.

Through the years, there has been plenty more I have had to let go. Buddy and I were in our late 20’s and had been pastoring for 6 years. The church was growing, and we were so thrilled. All the things we had originally verbalized on the way to Boise were actually happening. People were coming to faith, lives were changing, homes were growing stronger, and we even had respect from the community. Buddy woke me up in the middle of the night in like the end of February and said he thought God had told him to go to back to Atlanta! “Oh surely not,” I said in a daze, “Go back to sleep and listen again…”. In the morning, he was even surer that God had said we were to move back! I knew that if we stayed where God did not want us to be, it would not be pretty. I loved the community and my family too much to not listen to God, so just like that, my heart said okay, and I let go of my dreams for there and believed God for what was to come. Letting go of one thing made room for God’s plan to come. To not let go of Boise would have made us miss out on Grace and all that God has done here for nearly 26 years.

How foolish would it be to hold on to your breath for fear there would not be another? The very nature of breath is that you let go and take another. Are there things you need to let go? Do you need to let go and believe God has a future and a hope for you? It may not happen right away—there may be parts that are delayed indefinitely or it may be just no. But every time I want something, I think, “If God doesn’t want this for me, do I really want it?” But then I exhale and realize I only want what God wants me to have—no more, no less. One time, I wanted a car really badly. It is the only car that I have ever had an accident in—I think it is not worth having what you want if it’s not when and what God wants. I want God things to be so OBVIOUSLY Him that I do not have to wonder.

It is letting go of “I can’t” and believing that He can.

One time Joy was doing her study abroad in Italy. She loved it there, but she really wanted me to come to be with her. She was sure I would love it. I laughed, “Oh sweetheart, it is taking everything we have for you to be there. I could not come too.” We talked a while longer and I said, “Let’s just pray and if God wants me to come, let’s pray that He would make it SO obvious there would be no doubt.” Almost simultaneously a lady called me about some artwork. She asked if I would paint a cover for her book. I told her no—she argued that she was sure God wanted me to do that. She continued persistently over the next few weeks. Finally, I agreed that I would ask Joy to do the cover—she had a professor that could oversee her work and make it quality enough to make a book cover. Me? I had no experience or training and could not do justice to her book that she had labored so diligently to write. “I can’t” played over and over in my head. Long story shortened is that I ended up having to do it because the publishing company pushed up the date to a time that Joy was unavailable. God had SO obviously provided from such a bizarre occurrence that it had to be Him. I exhaled the “No, I can’t do it” and inhaled the attempt and found myself in Florence. We have to let go of disbelief and breathe in the possibility and give God the opportunity to do so much more than we would have thought or done.

It is letting go of past hurts.

Sometimes letting go is a difficult thing. Sometimes it is letting go of a past hurt that is still hurting you. Words can hurt a long time and actions can about do you in. I have a friend that was driving a tractor in Illinois clearing some land at his hunting camp. The weeds were so tall that he couldn’t tell there was a huge ditch or ravine. He rolled through it, and it flipped the tractor on top of him trapping him under the huge machine. He was there 45 minutes before anyone realized what had happened and was able to free him. He was so tough that he got through it without being hospitalized, but he had broken ribs and had a bit of a time recovering.

We thought all was done and he was okay… several months passed and he noticed he was not able to breathe well. His shortness of breath was checked and rechecked, but nothing could be found. Finally a doctor noticed a thickening in the walls of his lungs. The lining around the lungs had become hardened and calcified. And his lungs were no longer able to expand and contract easily; they were becoming encased and hardened, not allowing him to breathe freely. Obviously my description shows I am not medical, but it is not the medical aspect that I see. The doctor said that this was caused by a previous extensive injury that had hardened so thick and hard that it was like breathing in a metal can that was getting smaller and smaller as the calcification got thicker. Have you been so injured you have hardened walls lining your ability to breathe in?

If I say hot, you say cold. If I say up? (Down) Black? (White) Inside? (Outside) Big? (Small) God? No! It is not Satan! God has no opposite. He is the biggest, the greatest, and the most powerful! As wonderful as God is, Satan is not equally bad, or oppositely powerful in horror and mayhem. He is not a foe too big for God. God takes what Satan means to ruin us and turns it into beauty. He is able to make those things enhance us not encrust us. God wants to take the things that are crusting over your heart and remove them so you can breathe freely and take in all that the Holy Spirit has for you.

It is letting go of bad thinking. Ephesians 4:23-32 and Romans 12:1-2

My dad had lung cancer; I’ve seen what not being able to breathe can do. Another friend’s brother just died of lung cancer. It ate through an artery and he bled to death right in front of her. I know people with emphysema that need to be on oxygen. It is hard to not get the air you need. Before we knew about the cancer, my dad started seeing things and acting strange. It was horrible. It broke my heart to watch his mind get messed up. About 6 months later, we found the tumors in his lungs and realized it had been affecting the amount of oxygen to his brain. Perhaps your injuries have affected your ability to think clearly? Perhaps you are not able to get enough of the Holy Spirit that you need to have healthy thinking? The difficulty that kind of incapacity can cause on you and your loved ones is not what God means for you to continue to live like.

God is bigger than whatever the pain and injury was; He wants to rid you of breathing in the tin can, He wants you to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Who is truth? Jesus says I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. Jesus is truth.

Like enzymes break down our food and nourish us, or take air into every part of our bodies, the Holy Spirit nourishes us and breathes air into every part of us so we can function at our best. The next time you begin to cower in the corner or under a blanket afraid and hurt, tell Satan he is a liar and then let go of those thoughts; breathe in the truth of the Holy Spirit.

Could I say that I have been overwhelmed at trying to figure out how to help women? I want so badly to help your hurts and for you to live happy healthy lives. I try to figure out Bible studies and events and challenges and meetings and praying, but I really know that I can’t fix you. I am not a spiritual surgeon that I have the confidence to say, “Oh just listen to me, read this or attend this and all will be well.” But I do know God can. He is your answer. Hearing from Him will scrape the hard shell encasing you. He can remove your hurts and set you free. You do not need me or someone you think has a hotline to heaven—you can hear from God yourself. He wants to speak to you. He loves you. He says you are precious; believe truth, my dear friends. Let go of all that separates you from the love of God. Romans 8:35-39 “Can anything separate us from the love of God? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or when we are persecuted or hungry, or destitute or in danger or threatened with death? No… I am convinced that NOTHING can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries for tomorrow-not even the powers of hell… no power in the sky above or in the earth below” The only thing that separates us is our will. It is our choice to respond to Him or not. He does not rob you of your choice. Won’t you choose to breathe in all that you can and let go of all that contains and hinders you?

Her Worth is Far Above Rubies

Buddy's Mom was graciously released from the prison of her body several years ago. As sorrowful as we are to have her gone from us, we are overjoyed to have her well and home. I'm so glad that Buddy had the opportunity to do his mother’s funeral and honor her in such an amazing way. He did an incredible job, and I am so proud of him. Not only did he do so by what he spoke that day, but also, and even more importantly, by the way he lives daily.

I'm also glad to have the opportunity to honor Mrs. Hoffman on this special day.

Frances Hoffman was quite wonderful. It’s true! I know it’s hard to believe we could all think so, that perhaps we're just glossing over things, but quite truthfully, words aren't even adequate to tell what she was like and how much we adored her. Given the shortness of this space, I have to share only in part, many of you have heard me tell this, but I never tire of the telling any time I can--she changed my life.

We sat and looked through her old prayer journals of the last twenty years. Talk about riches - we felt up to our elbows in a treasure chest of jewels! What beautiful nuggets to find my name written to our Father, offered up in prayer, blessings and requests on my behalf. Not only us as parents, but prayers for our children...prayers that we have seen God answer. How precious an inheritance - how valuable beyond price.

These are the pages that I didn't know about: prayers I never heard. I look forward to discovering each precious one in the days to come. But so far, my favorite is still the letter of more than thirty years ago, sent me just after our engagement. I remember it often...I can still feel that day. I feel the warmth of the sun and the shady confusion in my heart, contemplating my past and my future. Not confusion over the engagement, but I could not for the life of me figure out why this wonderful thing was happening--to me! How? How did I find such a Prince? Why would he want to take me away on his white horse? (Or a dark chocolate brown Nova Super Sport, as the case may be) Why were my dreams and prayers coming true? My parents had not a dream come true, quite the opposite - these were nightmare days for our entire family. My brother was in deep difficulty; my sister had long given up on fairytales, how could this be for just me?

Many a day had I pondered these sorts of questions before, more questions always than answers. Why did I have such a heart for God, was always my biggest question. It was not a heart cultivated by parental example or encouraged and nurtured by them; they were busy trying to figure out their own mess. This seemed to be a heart beckoned and drawn like magnetic filaments from an unseen giant magnet on the other side. It was an irresistible delight and joy in my heart from the time I could begin to speak. My mother says it creped her out a bit when I was so young. She says I had tea parties with Jesus, and would speak to Him as if I could see him. Where was this desire from and why only in me with such intensity? I knew it was not of my own goodness; I knew it was from somewhere else.

As I had sat in the sun mulling over such, I noticed the mail carrier had delivered the mail and ran to see if the carrier pigeon had brought news from Prince Charming. To my bigger surprise was this letter from Mrs. Hoffman. In fairy book script, it began, "My Dearest Jody" my heart melted with the love that oozed from these pages. She wrote answers to questions that she never knew I was asking. As the letter unfolded, she told the story of her prayers for me since she was pregnant with Buddy. She said that she would hold him as a newborn rocking him and praying for me. Praying for the little girl that would one day marry him. She prayed she would have a heart for God and that she would make good choices. She prayed wherever she was that she would follow God and at just the right time, they would meet.

My heart leaped inside, so this was it! So this was why! She had been praying for me! This is where that heart came from. This is why I was drawn to God. This is why I would pour over the pages of my Bible and find scripture that would feed my soul, guide my way, and develop a hunger so strong that only God himself could feed it. She had prayed this into me.

The confusion and shadows once cast over me was now flooded out by the clarity of the letter and her prayers for me over those many years. For the first time it made sense. Then it absolutely overwhelmed me that prayers for someone you had never met or ever knew could change their life. How grateful I was. How valuable this woman and her prayer for me. How priceless is that? Proverbs says..."her worth is far above rubies".

May this encourage you to be in prayer for the ones yet unknown that will one day be your sons or daughters-in-law. They are wonderful to meet, and even more wonderful to know, I thank God for each of them. (And look forward to meeting the other, wherever he may be).

Mrs. Hoffman, I will forever be grateful; I love you. Thank you for changing my life with your prayers. Jody

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The High Cost of Silence

I am so enjoying the Esther study by Beth Moore—you would too. But every now and again, as studying will do, you get your toes stepped on or your nose bloodied, depending on which is bigger your nose or your toes! I felt it once again this week. It is amazing how scripture can do that. It only confirms the power of scripture. By the mere reading of the words, you can feel the impact from top to bottom.

As I prepare for the retreat, my mind is filled with truths that I am eager to share. Yet I barely want to share them because they all go together, and I can hardly pull out one to write about for now. The closer it gets, the more protective I am of all that I have been thinking, so as not to lose these thoughts before I speak them. Isn’t that funny? I can see why Buddy gets quiet and needs to be alone on Saturday nights. I think I could go into hibernation over getting my thoughts together for the three sessions I will be sharing. For more than two months, I have studied and thought and prayed. It is not as if just this week I am just getting around to it, but because of that, I have not worked on this writing like I would have liked to in my dream world of extra time—no such place exists down here!

So with that said, along with the crazy-busy past two weeks of company, hosting the Common Ground conference, and the addition of this week’s retreat, ramble with me through some thoughts I have not fully developed. Rather come with me on the adventure of thought and processing. I usually try to do this before I write, but since I am painfully transparent at times, I thought I may as well just take you along with me as I sort out some truths that have really hit me as I think them through, search them over, and pray that God sheds His marvelous light on it all. So come along this week on some thoughts that have been rattling around. Don’t expect it to be a great writing, but more like sitting over coffee chatting. That way, I have no pressure, and you have no expectations other than time spent together. Thanks for giving me the freedom to let me be where I am rather than expecting me to have arrived. We are all in process, and at times it is more evident than others, so there is no use in trying to act like I have it all together. I don’t. But I do like the journey. I like the process of thinking truth through and filtering it over and over to see what comes out.

One of the first real dates Buddy and I went on was panning for gold up in Dahlonega, Georgia. They give you a mining pan and show you where to dig in. Then you take the time to sift your pan back and forth to expose any nuggets of gold that may have been in the mix. It was fun to see. Certainly we could have gone and bought pieces already dug polished and cleaned, even made into something. But there was real fun in just panning to see what we found personally and together. The Bible offers more treasure than we can imagine. Sometimes it has been dug and cleaned and formed into something beautiful to enjoy, but other times it is the fun of discovery. So what do you say we pan together and see what God exposes? And no mountain roads to get there—and no Dramamine needed! Just opening His word takes us to places unknown and yet as close as your own heart.

These are just pieces in my pan…in Esther 4 there is the famous verse that is so wonderful and powerful that you no doubt have heard or read…“for such a time as this” found in verse 17. But what has my attention is the beginning of that same verse… “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this?” Our silence may not always be golden. We may have been called to speak out, to warn, or to blow the trumpet.

When we were in Krakow a couple of months ago, we heard again of the famous story of the trumpeter of Krakow. Perhaps you have heard or read of a book by that name. The story goes that along the walls of the city, men were stationed to alert the city dwellers of the approaching visitors. If any were suspicious, or a conquering army was approaching, they would blow a trumpet to announce the impending danger so as to give men warning to arm themselves and for the women and children to take shelter. As one trumpeter sounded the alarm, an arrow shot him. But - he saved the city. Still hundreds of years later, in his honor, they blow a trumpet every hour, day and night. It is never a recording, but always done in person seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Oddly, they do not play the entire alarm, but only as far as he got before he was pierced through with the arrow. It is a very noticeable event yet today; people gather on the square to hear the trumpet sound. You can tell that it is abruptly ended without the full version. The first time I heard it, I thought there had been a mistake until I understood the history behind it. My ears understood it was unfinished, but my heart had no idea of the sacrifice it heralded.

For some of us, our alarm has not been honored and celebrated, and so we slowly lose our warning, forgetting the importance of the message and the critical role we play as watchmen on the wall. We have forsaken our job and become involved with numerous other wall-related activities. Painting the wall, or maintaining the wall, or giving wall tours, but not blowing the trumpet—thus many enemies have entered and ravaged our homes, our cities, our neighborhoods until they lie in ruin. The rubble of brokenness in epidemic proportions—perhaps even pandemic proportions are signs that we have not heralded the message loud or clear. While we’ve been busy making the message about buildings and denominations and methods and styles of music, we’ve forgotten our mission. And as a result, our cities suffer, our homes are destroyed, and our children are without parents.

Please be aware that to make no decision IS to make a decision. Perhaps you believe, but you have not been moved to action. The very fact that that you do not act—has indeed become an act. It may result in the hurt or harm of many. Our silence may allow much to go on that we object to but have not voice our opinion. Mayor Shirley Franklin, of Atlanta, has called upon the churches of Atlanta to arise and cry out against the sex trafficking and the child prostitution. She has said that without the voice of the masses to object and show their moral outrage, little can or will be done. Where is the outrage? In the name of tolerance we have succumbed, submitted, and surrendered to silence.

Notice the verse says, “Relief and deliverance will arise from another place” (emphasis mine). I am glad that relief will come and that someone would bring it, but why not get to be part of it? I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I want to be aligned with the problem solvers, not the problem makers! I want our kids to have vision, to make the world a better place, to bring about change, and to see what answers they can come up with. Let’s ask God to let us be part of the place from which comes relief and deliverance. Don’t you think so?

It goes on to say, “And you and your father’s house will perish.” If we do not become part of the solution, it does not mean that we get off scot-free. If we do nothing, we do not remain unaffected. It says we and our family dies. Here is a thought: often when we hear, “Honor your father and your mother” we get some crazy picture in our head that we have “to obey forever” what our parents tell us to do—we are manipulated by guilt as adults by our parents. I believe that the best way to honor your parents is to be a good parent yourself! I realized that sometimes saying no to my mom was the best way to honor her. To make my family the priority and not get guilted into making her my priority took some doing. But I realized that to make your own family the best it can be is the best honor you could give your parents. That was years before my kids were even married, but now even more so. Now that they are married and are parents themselves, I pray they will be the best parents ever. I want those precious grandbabies to have wonderful parents who love them and understand them and build them up to be all that God has intended for their lives. Far more than I want my kids to say I was a good parent—I want them to be a good parent. That is what would honor me the most. Don’t let your parents manipulate you and guilt you into things that will only cause the dysfunction to continue on generationally and not really bring honor to them at all.

I warned you these were random thoughts so what can I say? Back to this verse…

“And who knows (emphasis mine) whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Beth makes this point so well, as only she can do with her wide eyed “WHO KNOWS? Who knows? What do you mean, who knows? I need somebody to KNOW!” Boy can you agree with that? I’ll say! We need some one to know. We do not have a chance to redo life—this is it, so we need more than, “Who knows?” We need HE KNOWS. And He does—what a relief. Remember the old Rolaids commercials… “How do you spell relief?” We can spell it… G-O-D. That’s it. In the midst of chaos and impending doom, there IS One who knows. Whether my thoughts are together or reeling from place to place. He knows. Whether my weeks include dinner for 40-50 people every night for a week, or dinner for two. He knows. Whether you have just lost a loved one, miscarried a precious baby, are contemplating leaving your spouse and family that share your DNA, lost your job, just heard the doctor announce a potentially fatal disease, or just feel overwhelmed with raising little ones through flu’s, colds and disobedience (like how about a antibiotic for that?) or teens with hormones and hang ups. Who knows? HE DOES!

Take heart that all that has gone on in you up to now is not an excuse for you to bail out—it is for such a time as this! He has known what to put into you to make you get through this all along. What you are facing is no surprise to Him. You can get through this time. To bail now will just make you miss out on the blessings ahead. It is Satan sabotaging your success. Jesus, unlike us, never starts something and lets it go unfinished. “He who began a good work in you will continue…” Don’t give up. He knows and He has you where you can make a difference. He can fix that marriage; He can fix that emptiness. For a matter of fact, ONLY He can! Running won’t stop it, another man will not solve it; leaving your kids to be raised by another woman can’t possibly be what God meant for them. You are meant to fulfill your role, but you need help, I know. And He will help. Stop and get help. It is there. Putting it off will only delay it, not fix it. Like in a balloon, you can push it out from one area, but it pops out somewhere else.

I love in the close of Revelation where it says in its final comments “COME.” It doesn’t say it once, but three times! Three times in one verse it says, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let any one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” To not take it will cost you plenty. A price you should not risk to pay for He KNOWS and it is for such a time as this that He has prepared YOU. Just come right where you are, He waits for you…

Dear God in heaven, only You know and we are so thankful You do! Please give a voice to those who will trumpet out that You know and care. Give strength to those who need You this day to bring relief to the places You have put them. Do something that only a Mighty God can do. May You be honored and glorified and Your name be lifted high.