Wednesday, July 29, 2009

life more abundant

as i laid in bed last night thinking about the proposed national health care plan and after looking myself over the actual literal wording of the bill, which reads very much like the fine print in any insurance plan almost purposely written so the layman can't understand much or will tire of reading it, i thought many of my readers have no context for my concern with the way people die. i know that i have readers of this blog from all different backgrounds, beliefs (both politically and religiously), and contexts of relationships with me. though i am really trying to become a more transparent and vulnerable person, i have not normally allowed people a window to look into the most personal places of my heart. here is an attempt to put my concerns about a national health care plan that legalizes euthanasia in context and share a little about my personal life journey.

i used to have a count of how many people i knew and how many people close to me had died. i have lost count in recent years, not because of a slow down in cases, but because i just got tired of counting. i would like to share a couple instances that may relate to euthanasia and my concern for the government being involved in end of life plans and a national health care system that decides the value of a person getting treatment in terms of dollars and cents.

the first story i want to share a bit with you happened when i was only 14 years old. i was at a new year's eve church youth group party when a family friend came and picked me up from the church to take me home telling me that my two teenage boy cousins had been in a car accident. i prayed the whole way home for them, knowing it was serious enough for him to come get me but not knowing any details. when i got home, but parents were not there but up at the hospital. my 12 year old brother and sister were there, and my 12 year old brother had decided he wanted to be the one to tell me that my 16 year old cousin was already dead. i was of course completely rocked in a way i don't want to get into detail about right now, but i was also told that my 14 year old cousin was on life support up at the hospital.

i spent the next 3 days up at the hospital almost 24/7 without sleeping, praying for my cousin to be healed and to come out of his coma. there was a roller coaster of emotions - doctors saying we should just pull the plug because he was brain dead, then tests coming back saying he was in fact not brain dead, bad reports on his vitals, increasingly good progress of improvement on his vitals, until at one point after so much improvement he decided to go be with his brother and Jesus and his life here on earth ended while still hooked up to machines. i can never quite explain how much this experience of losing my two close cousins affected me... i am still finding ways i never realized now 16 years later.

nine years later in the same month of january, i sat in my grandpa's room holding his hand and talking to him while he was in and out of a coma while he fought a terminal cancer with an inoperable tumor. i was 9 months pregnant and had spent most of my pregnancy over at his house with him both praying for healing and being with this man i admired and loved. before my first baby was born and before he passed away into the next life, i had him lay hands on my belly and bless my first born son. it still pains me that he died only 3 weeks before asher was born and was so close to being able to meet him and hold him. one of the biggest honors i have ever had, however, was to be with him the moment he died. you see, i was so impacted by his life, not just his life before finding out he had pancreatic cancer, but even by how he lived his life with this terrible disease and how he held his heart before the Lord so humbly and so full of faith up unto the moment he died. while he wasn't seeing the miracle in his own life, he would pray for and encourage others he knew struggling with different issues in their lives that we must choose to believe God at all costs. he was a man of God up unto the very point of death and led a life very worth living.

two and a half years later i sat in a hospital room, with my 2nd baby strapped to me in a sling, surrounded by my family as my other grandpa died from congestive heart failure. he battled it and the effects of it for the entire year proceeding his death, which happened to be my entire second pregnancy. he was in and out of the hospital receiving treatments that may or may not work, may or may not lengthen his life or improve his condition, but he received them and we were there with him every step of the way loving him and praying for his healing and health. once again, even though there was no way of me being in the hospital around the clock with two little boys, i was honored to be in the room the very moment my pop slipped into eternity with Jesus. it is the strangest thing to describe, but i remember the very song that was playing when he died... i had never heard it before that day but it spoke of heaven and the angels singing praises to God. it was an amazingly peaceful moment, though my heart ached that my pop would not see my kids grow up. my pop was an amazing man - a heart fully devoted to his family and he had so many times given to me in times of need, had spent many hours of prayer before the Father for me and my family, and had made countless sacrifices so that i could grow up in a family that he never had - one who knew and loved the Lord.

i hear the rhetoric from politicians and political commentators about death with dignity or quality of life. i would like to share that from my experience that part of life is how you die. life doesn't end the moment you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, whether you have supernatural healing in this life or not. quality of life does not end the moment you slip into a coma. dying from chosing, by your own choice or by a physician's, to not walk through the dark valleys of struggle is not dying with dignity. walking through life with your eyes fixed on Jesus no matter the circumstances around you and chosing to cling to hope regardless of what may be the present trouble - that is death with dignity. life is worth living and the way you die says a lot about the way you choose to live.

did any of the three stories i shared have someone who didn't deserve the chance to live the entirety of their life to the very end of their days? national health care, especially one with such broad openness to euthanasia says some lives are more worth living than others. that simply is not true. should a 35 year old get the treatment and not the 75 year old because we have a health care system that forces doctors to choose who they will treat? should someone in a government office be able to decide whether the plug is pulled on life support because they think it costs too much money and they deem the life not worth living? is not the last season of life as valuable as the first? it is easy to be allured by the idea of free health care, but the reality is that nothing is ever free. we will pay for it in one way or another and hopefully will not give over the choice of the viability of a life to the government in the meantime. some may think i am paranoid and extremist. that is fine. it does not bother me if you think so.

i have personal life experiences that affect how i view these questions and issues. i have friends walking through life and death struggles right now with diseases that modern medicine declares no hope for. just as i have been blessed to be with loved ones when they died, i have also been blessed to personally know and see some who were given no hope by modern medicine still alive today completely disease free because they were miraculously healed by God. i believe we do have hope. i believe in a God who both heals the sick and raises the dead, but also has redeemed even death when He laid down His life for us. death where is your sting? grave where is your victory? He came to bring us life, and life more abundant. every life is worth living from the very first moment until the last.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Health Care

i don't usually blog about political issues, but i feel this one is of importance. the health care bill that the obama administration has proposed to congress is a bill that seeks to legalize killing our older generation as well as those who are to expensive to treat with euthanasia. i believe the commandment to honor your father and mother than your days would be long... is very important and this is why i want to bring this to everyone attention and ask that you read this excerpt from an article by a christian leader and pastor, rick joyner, and click here to read the article in it's entirety and to read excerpts from the bill itself and what it means in real language for all of us if there is indeed this proposed national health care plan. the obama administration is trying to rush a vote on this because the more people who actually read the bill and know what it says make it less likely to pass. please read, call and write your senators and representative, and most of all pray. we want righteousness and justice to reign in the country we live in and we must come before the Lord and ask for His mercy and His justice to move now in our country.

here is a bit of what rick joyner wrote:
When I read the brief on what was contained in the National Health Care bill that is now being presented before Congress, I could not believe I was reading something that was actually being considered in the United States of America. This is not about money or government mismanagement—this is about something far more diabolical than that. As incomprehensible as it may seem, this is about euthanasia, the power to determine who lives or dies in America. Hitler and Stalin would have loved to have had a means such as this for dispatching the millions they killed—it would have made their job much easier, and probably given them the ability to kill many more than they did. THIS BILL IS THAT SINISTER. This is not a joke—this is actually the nature of what is being proposed in the National Health Care legislation, and it is the obvious reason why the Obama Administration wants to ram it through Congress before anyone gets a chance to read it.

I have resolved to always be as generous as I can toward people with opposing views of my own. I do this because I believe it is the mandate of I Corinthians 13 to always believe the best about people, rather than the worst. I know this opens me up to be misled by some, but I consider that a small price to pay to not become cynical. I also do it because I think it is wise to always try and understand the position of my opponents—to be open to consider their positions and not be too rigid or inflexible to change because we all “see in part,” and “know in part.” Because of this, I have been chided for being too generous by giving those I do challenge grace by believing that they had not thought through the consequences of their proposals, or had other good intentioned reasons for doing what they were doing. However, after reading the brief on this health care bill, I don’t see how anyone could not see that there is profound evil and evil intent at work here. I just do not see any way to be any more generous with those who proposed this bill than that. It is that bad.

This bill is obviously designed to put the authority to determine who lives and dies in America into the hands of government bureaucrats. As outrageous as that seems, it is true—you can read it yourself. It even gives the government access to all of your accounts, and the authority to make withdrawals. I know this is hard to believe, but you can read it yourself.

Do you want a government bureaucrat to determine if your mother or father can receive treatment, even in life and death cases? Would you want a government bureaucrat to determine if your child, or you, could receive treatment, even when it means life or death? Think of the best experience that you ever had working with a government bureaucrat, and then think about them having the power to make a potentially life or death choice for your child, your parents, or for you. This is actually what is being proposed.

i would love to hear your thoughts. most of all, i would love to have you join with me on our knees repenting for the lack of our stand for righteousness and against wickedness as the church in america, and see the Lord raise up a banner for righteousness!

click here to search for your local representative

click here to search for your local senator


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a call to anguish

here is a short video that a friend of mine sent today to look at by david wilkerson. very worth the seven and a half minutes. i would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

thinking of a change

so, i am just thinking about the possibility of switching my blog from blogger to wordpress. i haven't decided what to do yet, but i wanted to give all of you who follow a heads up that if i do choose to switch, you will lose your rss feed and will have to resubscribe. you will be able to keep going to and see it there, but you will have to reconnect your rss feed.

as i said, i haven't decided, and if i do switch i will also post it here so everyone is aware. so, regardless if i change the format a bit, please keep coming back and checking for new posts. i have enjoyed blogging... it was something i kinda fell into, and i think it is great that i did. blogging has kept be disciplined in writing, and that is the one directional word that God gave me for this season: i am supposed to write. i plan on continuing for quite a while. thanks for being faithful readers! someday... a book.


Monday, July 13, 2009

rend my heart

there are times when i, like everyone else. feel the pain of life. i know it is something that all of us feel and go through in different circumstances and moments. my desire is to take these times to the Lord. i have two temptations that i face that seem at times more appealing than bringing my pain to the Lord.

the first temptation is to try to just be positive. i am not saying that it is bad to try to be optimistic and look for whatever good may be in a circumstance - believe me that this is something i both believe is beneficial and seem to always be trying to do. however, i think it is second best to really dealing with why my heart is hurting and looking to Him to be the Healer of my heart. finding something positive makes me feel momentarily better and gets me focused to keep on going, but it doesn't really ever make the heart problem go away but just masks the pain. what can really take the pain and bring healing to my heart for a permanent fix and true joy other than the One who created me and my emotions and knows me better than any person could ever know me?

the second temptation is to talk to a person about the hurt i am feeling. i am not talking about gossip or slander right now, though i do believe a lot of that is done in the name of venting or sharing with other, but i am talking about just the simple verbal processing. this one is a huge struggle for me because talking it through with another person takes enough of the weight of it off of my shoulders that i often will stop right there at fixing the problem. i am not saying that we shouldn't get counsel from others, but i do think that if we talk to God about what is going on before turning to our best friend, mom, husband, or whomever to talk it through, we find so much more deep healing and breakthrough. after really pouring the pain and tears and questions before the Lord, much like king david would in the psalms, then talking with another person second may even bear more fruit of healing on that level.

this is something i desire: to turn to the Lord first every time. i want to rend my heart before Him. i want to take my alabaster bottle and break it over Him. i don't want to hold anything back, but bring all of me... to bring the broken places and the places i long to be whole in. it blows my mind to think that Jesus, being fully the uncreated God became fully man as well which means that he experienced the array of emotions, heartache and joy, that i do. He is so compassionate towards me and doesn't despise my tears but psalms 56 says that He keeps every one in a bottle and considers them precious. wow! why do i struggle with going to Him first when this is the very thing He wants? He longs to be tender toward me and really bring healing and joy unspeakable to my heart.

so i chose now, and hope to again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, until it becomes natural and not a struggle because i am well acquainted with His great love for me.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

His eye is on the sparrow

i am in this whole crazy journey of learning to live by faith. if you would have told me a year ago that this would be where our lives would be right now i would have told you that you were crazy! how amazing is the journey...

back in january bill, i, and the kids, took a trip out to see the family in the midwest. we felt while we were out there that God was going to do a lot of transition in our lives when we got back home. we didn't really know what that exactly looked like, though we had our own ideas of some general changes. the general feeling we both had was that this was definitely going to be a time of transition. the details of what that was going to look like in reality was still a mystery.

on our way home we stopped at our friends' house who let us park our car while we were gone and they insisted on feeding us breakfast. while we were eating, the wife told me i should go into their prayer room to just connect with the Lord before we drove back home, since we had spent the night in denver after a cancelled flight with three little kids. so, mostly because she really seemed to want me to go in there, i went. i didn't really expect to hear anything, but listened to the worship music they had playing and sat on the little couch and closed my eyes. i was only in there for about 15-20 minutes, maybe less, and i definitely felt the Lord speaking to my heart.

as i sat there i asked Him if He had any insight He could give me as to the direction of this upcoming year of 2009. 2008 had been a really tough year for us, one that i definitely would not want to repeat. of all that happened in the year, the only good thing i felt i could point to was the birth of my youngest son david. it sounds strange that i should say it that way, but if you knew the history of what happened that year, which included david being admitted to pediatrics with a life-threatening illness at the age of 2 months old, you would understand why i felt and still feel that way.

first of all, i felt Him point out a couple of areas where i had attitudes and ways of thinking that i needed to repent. next, i felt like i clearly heard Him speak to my heart, not with an audible voice that you could hear externally, but like a clear voice internally if that makes sense, that this was a year that He was going to teach me what it meant to live by faith.

wow. what the implications of that could mean were so vast and definitely so scary. i had just come off of a really tough year, and i won't say that it was exactly an "encouraging" word for the moment. but, in my heart, i knew it was the Lord speaking to me and whenever He speaks it is encouraging if you know what i mean.

when i talked with bill in the car as we drove up he shared with me what He felt like the Lord was telling him in the prayer room at their house when he was in there and it was very close to what i felt the Lord speaking to me. he felt the Lord speak to him about a shift in the foundation of our finances... yikes. it felt like really scary stuff and i cried in the car when talking to him because just thinking of what the implications of the Lord talking to both of us about this stuff made me realize how little faith i really had.

here i am, six months later, and i have lived through at least the beginning of the fulfillment of the word the Lord spoke to both of us. it is amazing to me, seriously amazing, what the Lord has done in our lives. if i had words right now to explain all that has happened in the past three and a half months and all the emotions it has caused me to go through and the places of my heart it has touched, but that is for another day. let me just summarize by saying God has shown Himself incredibly faithful in spite of my presence or lack of faith. i am so thankful that He told me it was going to be a year of learning to live by faith because i definitely am still learning. i have moments of wondering what in the world we are doing and and why!!! but, it is so comforting to know that God knew of my own weakness and cared to give me a heads up so that i could remind myself of His care for me and His patience for me right where i am at today.

my friend bizzy grapperhaus wrote a song about His faithfulness to us even when we are faithless called faithful as the sun and it describes this dynamic of my life right now. He is faithful not because of anything i do, but because He cannot deny Himself. it also reminds me of the great song His eye is on the sparrow. so many times i have encouraged myself with the passages in the gospels about God's care for such a small insignificant bird and that He says He cares so much more for me. my faith does not come from my own efforts, goodness, or circumstances. i believe because of who He is and that is enough.

why should i feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion? my constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches me.

i sing because i'm happy,
i sing because i’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and i know He watches me.

“let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word i hear,
and resting on His goodness, i lose my doubts and fears;
though by the path He leadeth, but one step i may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches me.

i sing because i’m happy,
i sing because i’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and i know He watches me.

whenever i am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
i draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and i know He watches me.

i sing because i’m happy,
i sing because i’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and i know He watches me.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

the glory of a wasted life

yesterday i took the time to listen once again to one of my favorite mike bickle teachings of all times - the glory of a wasted life. mike gave this teaching over 20 years ago on mary of bethany, and its powerful truths are so worth the listen, and the re-listen, and refocus to a life of extravagant devotion to Jesus. in the midst of so much going on all around me, it is good to be reminded of my one thing of seeking the face of the Lord and keeping that the number one thing.

click here to go to a page on the ihop website where you can download this amazing teaching! you may have to look through the pages for it - i believe it is on page 6, 3rd teaching from the bottom - called mary of bethany.

prepared to be rocked! i would love your comments on what you get from it. enjoy big time!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 chronicles 7:14

why would the people of God need to humble ourselves? why do we need to pray? if our sins are already paid for in full by the blood of Jesus, why should we still repent? what does it mean to seek His face? this passage is the key for the one thing the church talks the most about and sees the littlest of - revival. it is a call to relationship. it is a call to a time when the presence of the Lord will come and never again leave, not even for a moment. i heard two amazing sermons sunday out of what i consider to be two of the most influential churches in the nation, ihop in kansas city and bethel in redding, and both were on this passage in the Bible. i do not think it was an accident at all.

God isn't meant to be a part or my life or an addition to my life. He is my life. in a relationship, there are things that we sacrifice in order to make time to pursue the deepening of the relationship. when i was dating bill, i was working in the days, taking teaching credentialing classes at night, doing homework somewhere in between, and i was exhausted. yet, i was in love with this man and i made sacrifices of time to be with him. it didn't feel like a sacrifice for what i was getting in return. there is so much to know of God, so much beyond what we could ever know of another person, that the knowledge of Him is inexhaustible. just like in any relationship we desire to pursue growth in, we must exchange the things that gave us pleasure at one time in order to get pleasure that is so much sweeter. it seems pretty silly that i would rather spend time watching a tv show or eating chocolate than with my husband who wants to be with me and loves me more than anyone else i know, but that is exactly what we all do when it comes to the Lord. i have even been known to find things i don't enjoy doing, like laundry, cleaning, paying bills, and even cutting my toe nails, to avoid spending time with the One who loves me more than any man possibly could. how crazy does it sound even though we all know we do it!

humanism. i will write more on this another time, but let me just say that it is more dangerous to the reality of knowing the Lord than any of the major religions of the world. the basis of humanism is simply living for myself and my desires first. the deep root of it, that no one would probably admit they believe about themselves, though they live like it, is the belief that man is God. the world revolves around us, the point of life is to satisfy all our desires and cravings, and even God lives only to please our wants and needs. what a sneaky lie that has not only convinced so many that they have no need for God, but has even lulled those of us who love Him to sleep instead of really pursuing knowing Him. it is so difficult to guard ourselves against it when it permeates most of our entertainment and life all around us. i believe this is the major roadblock to revival. this is what the people of God need to repent from in order to be able to really seek His face like 2 chronicles describes.

what is revival? is it many people who have never known God coming to experience Him, encounter Him, and follow Him? is it healings and miracles? signs and wonders? i believe these above things really do accompany true revival, but the word revival can only apply to bringing life to something that once had life and doesn't any more. i believe this word revival is really about awakening the hearts of believers that have been lulled to sleep by the cares and lusts of this world, humanism, and reviving that fiery passion for God that is willing to lay aside anything, even the neutral or good things of this life, to make the time to really know Him and experience Him. when the world sees a people who would give up anything to experience more of this God and His love, they will come to taste and see that God is good. who is this that is so amazing that He makes the pleasures of this life not worth the time they take? when we are letting go of all the other legitimate pleasures because of the single focus of obtaining more of Him, He will release such a power that has never been seen before, signs and wonders like in the days of moses, and that will get the attention of those who didn't think they needed a relationship with God. then there will be the ultimate fulfilment of the
greater works than these promise because we will be made into a people that look just like His Son.

seriously i know it is offensive when it pushed the buttons of our own favorite pleasures, but we spend more time, and by we i am including myself, in front of the tv watching entertainment, surfing the internet and checking our facebook accounts, eating food, socializing and networking, and so many other things that are even considered very godly things like pursuing careers, developing our talents, ministering for God, than pursuing the Lord Himself. we dull the ache in our hearts that would push us into Him with all this other stuff and we quiet the voice of the Holy Spirit which says, "seek my face, seek His face..." i alone know how many times i have felt the pull inside to spend time seeking the Lord, reading the Word, praying, worshipping and how many times i have turned to something easier that never really brought the fulfillment i was wanting. so many times! even as this is burning in my heart, i know that i will do it again this week! it pushes my buttons too.

are all these other things really worth it? i am not talking about sin lifestyles, though it is sad that many in the church are not willing to give those up either, but about just the things that take up so much time and energy. is this what He has given us freedom for? do we have freedom so we can pursue the pleasures of this world that never really satisfy, but leave a dull empty feeling when it is all said and done? i hear so much talk about the freedom we have as believers and i believe in this freedom. i know without this freedom the Lord gives i would not even be alive today. what i often question is why did He give us this freedom and what do we do with it?

i have the same temptations as everyone else, and i know how painful it is when i decide to spend my time and energies seeking the Lord rather than i usually do just trying to entertain myself. feeling the ache inside of not being entertained and seeking Him instead is the whole reason for a regular lifestyle of fasting and fasting in secret. let me suggest that we are not grouchy when we fast because we are hungry. we are grouchy because of the ache inside that we finally allow ourselves to feel for just a moment. the ache was always there, we just dulled it with other pleasures... many times very legitimate pleasures that were put here by God for us to enjoy. however, there is the invitation to have a greater pleasure in Him and that is where we have to decide if experiencing the pain of changing the way we spend our time is worth the reward of knowing Him deeper than we could have ever known any other way.

this is what He gave us freedom for - so we could have the ability to choose Him first when there are so many other options that are legitimate and many times even put there by Him. all the way back in the garden of eden He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, never intending for man to partake in it. it was always meant to be our choice. He will not make us love Him or choose Him.
i want so badly to see a move of God like i have never seen but always longed for to come to, not only the world but to the country i live in. we so badly need a move of God now unlike ever before. so many people i know and i care about do not see their need for God. so often we have turned to politicians to fix our problems and blame everyone around us except ourselves for the state of our lives. we blame "the world," instead of looking at ourselves.

He is longing for us to come to Him to fix our problems. He is waiting for us to desire growing in humility like His Son. He longs for us to turn to Him and learn how to pray. He is the good Father who longs to unleash His love on us if we would just turn to Him in repentance and say we need Him. He is calling for us to seek His face so that we may find Him and know Him and experience His love. He is a good God who cares for us and will forgive us when we come to Him and He desires to heal our land. revival is His plan and His desire. it is our choice when.


Monday, July 6, 2009

psalm 27

one thing i ask of the Lord...
i am a part of a house of prayer that is being built in redding, ca. part of our commitment of being involved is to spend time during the week in the particular passage of the Bible that we will be praying out of during our worship/prayer set. i was so happy when the leader of the set i am on let me know that we were focusing on psalm 27 this week! this particular psalm is so near and dear to my heart that i just had to share a little about it and its significance to me.

first of all, my Bible, a nasb version, has a title underneath the psalm number: a psalm of fearless trust in God. a psalm by david. i have struggled with fear so much in my life. there was a point in my life, as a child, where i was plagued by nightmares so much so that i would lay in bed, and by my mom's advice i would quote Bible passages about fear, sing worship songs to God, and "change the channel" in my mind of what i was thinking about. when i was 14 years old, two of my close teenage cousins died on new year's eve in a terrible car accident drowning in 6-8 inches of water. this, as well as many other deaths of classmates, friends, and loved ones, uncovered a fear of death as well that was always just below the surface. i also have struggled greatly with the fear of man (the approval and acceptance of people over the approval and acceptance of God). this last struggle was so great it was debilitating at times to even being comfortable in my own skin. i felt many times as if i was acting a role in a play about someone else and was afraid that if i took of the "mask" i put on, i would be rejected as soon as people knew who i really was inside.

fear in these areas, as well as others, was an incredible struggle. i longed for freedom from fear, and i would look to the Word of God to find hope of one day being free from the fear that sometimes felt like such bondage that it kept me awake at night and gave my mind no peace. i underlined every scripture i could find in the Bible that had to do with fear and overcoming fear. one passage that became very near to my heart was psalm 27, both for the reason of what it says in regards to overcoming fear and because its author, king david, successfully overcame this struggle in his life over the fear of death and the fear of man.

psalm 27 - niv
the Lord is my light and my salvation-- whom shall i fear? the Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall i be afraid?
when evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will i be confident.
one thing i ask of the Lord, this is what i seek: that i may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
for in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His tabernacle will i sacrifice with shouts of joy; i will sing and make music to the Lord.
hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, "seek His face!" your face, Lord, i will seek.
do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. do not reject me or forsake me, o God my Savior.
though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
teach me your way, o Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
i am still confident of this: i will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
how do i get this victory over fear? it is in the one thing. this is the journey i am on: to seek the face of God, to behold His beauty, to dwell in His house, and I will be forever changed. no matter what else happens - if i am attacked, rejected by those closest to me, if the very worst thing i can imagine really does come true i can be confident in the God i serve. there is no one else i can wait on in the worst of the worst to be faithful to me but this One; He promises that i will see His goodness in this life and what a peace that hope brings!

this psalm is so close to my heart that when i found out that i was having a second baby boy, (i have three boys now), i asked the Lord what his name was supposed to be. the Lord has just broken through a huge battle with the fear of death after my 1st son was born and we nearly lost him when he was only a couple hours old and i had some personal health scares at the same time. while i was praying over my soon to be baby's name, the Lord pointed me back to this psalm that i know by memory. He spoke to me in my mind, like a clear voice that i could hear inside but not with my physical ears, "the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall i fear?" i thought of a hebrew boy's name i had heard of, uriah, and felt compelled to find out what it actually meant. when i looked it up, i found that uriah meant the Lord is my light. i knew that this baby was called to be have a fearless trust in God and he was to be my psalm 27 son - a constant reminder that the Lord had given me victory over the battle with fear and that i could trust in His promise to see His goodness in this life. so, i named my 2nd child after this psalm.

i know there is so much more i could share about the context of this psalm in the life of king david or about the meanings of some of the hebrew words that would make it come alive, but for now i will leave you with my story. we have an opportunity to chose to wait on a God who is faithful when no man is faithful. Jesus made a way for a relationship with the very Creator God of the universe who never lies though men may lie. we have a choice to look at our circumstances and be frozen fear or look to a God who said He would be our light and our salvation if we would only chose to live or Him instead of for ourselves. i choose this one thing of seeking Him today, and i will choose it again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. He is the only hope i have in this life.


Friday, July 3, 2009

quick to listen

seems like a simple thing, but i really appreciate someone who knows how to listen. i probably appreciate it so much because it has been a struggle for me to grow in this area in my own life. i remember a moment in my teenage years when my dad told me, "you are not a very good listener. if you want good relationships, you need to learn to not talk so much and how to listen more." when he told me this it actually really offended me and hurt my pride. i had considered myself a good friend and basically he was saying that i wasn't one. but... as i have had 15 years or so to reflect on this moment that is etched into my brain, i realize that his statement was really powerful.

everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. james 1:19

this quick to listen thing is something the Lord has really be speaking to my heart. it is interesting because it really isn't a strength of my personality to be a very good listener. i am friendly, outgoing, welcoming, talkative... but definitely not great at being quiet. (and i even try!) i don't think that the james would encourage people to not talk as much and listen more if it was just something that was a trait of some people and not of others. there has got to be something there that we need to grow in regardless of our natural strengths and weaknesses. so, even though it is really hard at times, and i am sure those around me would tell you that i often fail at really be present during a conversation when the other person is speaking and often drift off to thinking about what i want to say next, i am seeking the Lord to help me grow in this very area of my life.

i started thinking about this again because of a conversation i had with someone last night. it wasn't even that long, but this 5 minute conversation struck me because i felt really listened to and heard. i didn't feel any hidden agenda about why she was having the conversation, but simply that she wanted to listen. i didn't sense that the person was distracted by her thoughts or what she wanted to say. she didn't continually check her cell phone for texts, or the clock, nor did her eyes roam the room for other things going on. she was totally engaged.

how refreshing. how much could i minister to those around me the love of God if i just took a little more time and attention to really focus on what they are saying and stop my self absorded thoughts for a moment to really be present. what would this do to my relationships? i know what the 5 minutes did for me. hey, i am so impacted i am blogging about it! i think it stood out to me so much because i am not only often heard that way by other people and i know for a fact that i do not listen like that much at all.

so... that is part of my journey. to talk less. to listen more. to not be angered quickly. as i said before, silver and gold have i none, but what i have i will share even when it is simply a desire and not a mature fruit in my life. wow. what a wild ride.

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