Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Soul Washer

How could a person of 34 years of age be so thrilled and tickled by the process of a fiberglass box swishing and swashing hot water onto items of eatery? Yes, my poor dishwasher has been out of commission for five months. I won’t tarnish anyone’s name but let’s say four months and three weeks were spent waiting on one repair man. Fortunately, I had a second one who was excellent in service, price, and timeliness. Praise the Lord. Isn’t there something beautiful about just having a task done and off the “to do” list?

So, I ran the dishwasher to clean the inside walls but thought I’d throw in a couple dishes and silverware. Okay…it was two spoons, one knife, one fork, two cups, one plate, one bowl but who’s counting? What an exhilarating and very weird feeling when I unloaded those few items. It was like getting a new toy at Christmas [for a kid of course, not me :-)]. It actually has been over a year of not using it since most of last summer I didn’t use the dishwasher as I was not eating or dirtying dishes. When I did start using dishes, it would take about three weeks to get a full load. In the last five months I've mostly eaten from paper plates; otherwise, I have to wash dishes by the piece to keep my sink empty while my house is on the market.

I have enjoyed hearing the clang of the utensil hitting the glass plate or bowl. That’s a beautiful sound. I have really enjoyed knowing I can dirty a dish, hide it in the dishwasher, and know it will be clean in about three weeks. Yes, this all may sound very crazy to those who make large meals daily for several people. Dishes must be a dreaded time of the day for those folks. Trust me, I was never a dish cleanin’ person and was blessed to have a husband who emptied the dishwasher every time.

I won't be making it a habit to run a less than full dishwasher because I'm way too conservative for that. (Waste not, want not.) However, isn’t it great that we can be put through God’s dishwasher whenever we need and as often as we need? God is willing and able to cleanse us at any point and as many times as we need. We don’t get just one washin’ at the time of our salvation. No, for most, it is a daily cleansing.

Oh, how I’m in need of a good cleaning. Negative thoughts. Pain. Regret. Worry. Confusion. Discontentment. Complaints. Envy.

Cleanse me oh Lord with Your pure blood. Change my heart. Change my focus. Change my desires. Change my outlook. Cleanse me. Purify me. Create in me a new heart. Yes, Lord.

One scripture that I wrote on my heart in the last months is Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV says pure heart; whereas, NASB and ESV say clean heart. I love both the words clean and pure but to me, I don't see them as exact synonyms. Maybe I just hate to see my heart as impure but I know it is because though I know I am cleaned and forgiven of my sins, I will never be totally without sin. We will never be fully pure and clean this side of Heaven. Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"? Proverbs 20:9

Wash me.
Cleanse me.
Purify me.
Take from me, Lord, the junk that resides in my heart, mind, and life. Mold me and make me. You, Father, are the Potter and I am the clay...Your clay.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:2

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Ezekiel 36:25. I found this scripture in my search for this dishwasher piece. As I read this, I imagined myself, standing in front of my dishwasher, turning the switch, and saying to the dishes in my fiberglass box: "I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean." :-) That reminds me of the shows "I Dream of Jeanie" and "Bewitched". Snap and be done.

Be clean you old dirty dishes says Paula.

Be clean you old dirty Paula says the Lord.

Unfortunately, a lot of our dirtiness is not something that is changed over night. Yes, our Almighty God has the power to snap His fingers and cleanse us from worry, pain, envy, bad attitudes or whatever it may be. However, though His power is great, we are still human and most of the time it requires the Lord teaching us how to live without discontentment, worry, negativeness, lies, regret, shame or envy.

As thankful as I am for my repaired dishwasher, I would trade it and wash my dishes by hand for the rest of my life as long as Jesus keeps on washin’ me. I’d trade my fiberglass box any day and sign up for dishpan hands just for one cleansing of the Lord. That’s how precious and powerful the Lord is. We cannot live on this earth without His presence that gives not only comfort, love, peace and all those warm securities but also the refreshing but painful cleansing. I know for the Lord to cleanse me of the things I find dirty, it incurs pain of purifying and discipline. However, all purifying experiences bring us closer to the character of Christ. How awesome is that. Is there anything better? ...No.

Do you need to be ran though the Soul Washer either on short cycle, full cycle, or rinse only? Is there something in your heart, mind, or life that needs to swished and swashed by the Lord's blood? Tell the Lord you need a good washin' and He'll cleanse you over and over. You will never be fully cleaned and not in need of God's cleansing power. It doesn't end at the salvation experience but rather it ends when we see Jesus face to face in glorious Heaven. Only then will we be made perfect, clean, and pure.

Being Cleansed By the Soul Washer,

(The picture is of my Rose of Sharon tree.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Word: Part Two

There will be a test….
Remember hearing that in high school or college? Ugg. I hated that. Can’t we learn this stuff without being tested on it too? It seemed to take the fun out of learning. No, it didn’t work that way in class and it doesn’t work that way in life. We need to expect the test. (BM) Or rather testSSSS, right? Oh yes.

One of the first scriptures Beth gave us under this point is 1 Corinthians 10:13. This is a verse I wrote on my heart years ago, probably because it was a part of some Bible study. I had not really pondered on this verse until a few months ago at my ladies group. It was almost like it came flooding back to me that night. It has since come up several times in the last few months. If you aren’t familiar with the verse, here it is. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

God does not tempt us. Temptation comes from satan to make us fall. Trials come from God to make us stand. (BM) Yet even in satan’s temptation our God still doesn’t end it there. No, He provides an escape door. He provides a way out. He provides an alternative. He provides they way to stand up to the temptation.

We will have tests and trials. He is testing us to prove the Word TRUE! The Word is not laying idle in us. We need to wait for it to come to pass and proven to be true. (BM) Waiting is hard but we must put it to the extreme use.

Ephesians 3:17 …rooted and established in love. We must know that we know that we know that God loves us. I’d guess if asked we’d all say “yes, I know God loves me.” Several have told me lately that God loves me and this has been my reactions also. “Yeah, I know.” It seemed to make a larger impact with the words Beth spoke and with the emphasis of truly knowing that we know. When going through a crisis you must know that you know that you know that He lavishly loves you. (BM) Lavishly loves us. These words still ring reinforcement and strength in me. It is easy in crisis, pain, and trials to think He’s forgotten us. He must not love me that much.

Take root below and bear fruit above. 2 Kings 19:30 The “root” is to know that you know that you know that God loves us and has not forgotten us in our time of suffering.

We’ve heard it many times that in exactly the times we need God the most, we feel Him the least. Isn’t that the truth. I’ve never understood why that is. However, Beth continued to say because worrying is over powering us. (BM) I never put worry into the equation to see it is the reason for our disconnect feeling. We can’t get a Word over it because worrying is chocking us. Anxiety chokes the Word right out of us!!!! (BM)

Wow. That seems to be opposite of our goal of keeping His Word hidden in our heart. Yet, we have the “power” to keep it hidden or choke it out. Our decision to worry or not worry gives power to whether the Word is hidden in our heart or to choke it out.

That gives us even more motivation to conquer the worry and anxiety because it is stealing the Word from our heart and choking it from us. Thus the reason our all-knowing God told us not to be anxious. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The enemy watches us not bowing down to God when we are anxious. (BM)

He will birth our passion THROUGH our pain. (BM) Through our pain, not going around it, not escaping it, not removing it, but THROUGH it. Passion from pain. Wow. I just love those words. I know those three words bring so many promises of God’s to us. We cannot understand His ways and we never will on this side of Heaven. Only the Almighty One can bring such beautiful and glorious passion from such horrific pain and tragedy.

These words, passion from pain, remind me of Romans 8:28. In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

He makes beauty from ashes.
He makes passion from pain.

Every one of our lives has purpose, a destiny set aside for you before the foundation of the world. (BM) Wow, what vastness this shows of God. Thousands of years ago He set out MY purpose in this world from 19_ _ until (?) when He calls me home.

We need to change our perspective of what we go through!!! (BM) Oh how very true this is. Perspective is SO much of the battle. It is very hard to have a God-perspective because we are not God. But with His help God will enlarge our human perspective into something closer to His perspective. We will never fully achieve and perfect our perspective. It’s been amazing that slowly but surely, God has even changed my perspective. He is allowing me to step out of my disaster and see it from a glimpse of His perspective and what He can accomplish through me, through this disaster, and through the birthing of my passion. It is only through the grace of God that we can step out of our tragedy (and tragedies they are) and see the purpose and passion He is birthing. That is just awesome to know so much good is coming from so much bad. For me, my 'disaster' still hurts very deeply but it’s like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold day. God is wrapping is arms around my pain and comforting my broken heart. I must continue to still go through the pain but His loving arms through purpose and passion bring such comfort to me.

Beth continues to say God doesn’t have us to through the tests just for us. It’s not about us. Then why? To be able to minister and testify after the disaster. (BM) Again wow. Minister after the disaster. I know the I’ve already ministered and testified to God’s greatness through my disaster. It’s been a slow progress and I can only hope my ministering and testifying are much more than I even know. I know my ministry and testimony will just continue to grow and grow through this journey and the revelations God brings me.

Remember this…
Satan’s plan is to lose our effectiveness not our salvation! (BM)
We know the enemy cannot take our salvation, that is between God and His believer. Remember, he can only tempt us in our lives but he does not make our decisions for us. Rather, satan knows he has no power over our salvation but he can influence our effectiveness for God’s Kingdom. He can tempt us to not pray and be in God’s Word daily. He can tempt us with using our time for our selfish desires instead of Kingdom purposes. He can tempt us to not attend church, Sunday School, or fellowship with other believers. He can tempt us to not tithe our firsts to God. He can tempt us to not serve in the church and our community. He can tempt us to not share God’s love with others. He can only tempt us. But if we fall into his temptation, we can become less effective in our walk to minister to others and testify for His greatness.

Birthing Passion Through Pain,

If anyone would like a full copy of all my notes, I'd gladly email them to you. Leave me a comment with your email. It's about six pages (double spaced.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Word: Part One

I wait for the speak to Paula. Psalm 130:5 Oh wait, that's not in God's Word, that's in your head. (I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.) You know the Lord is good to those who wait so He's gonna be good to you. The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)

I'm coming to you LIVE from my hometown...with some old news about the Good News. I'm not a whipper snapper when it comes to things I post on my blog so yes it's been over a week.

For an avid note taker, Beth Moore sure did give me a work out last Friday and Saturday at the Simulcast. I will not repeat all her notes but rather things the Lord led to my heart as I pondered on my notes and composed pivotal points of reflection in my own words made applicable to me and hopefully for all.

If I summed up the weekend in two simple words I would say the weekend was all about THE WORD. The central theme was about knowing and retaining the Word for a 100-fold harvest. Many of the thoughts and statements Beth made weren't all necessary "new" but yet the phrasing at times seemed to have a huge impact. (Most of the sub titles below are ones I created. Anything Beth said is in brown and ends with BM.)

Opening God's Word isn't just for the knowledge; it is for God to speak to us. (BM) We speak to God through prayer but He speaks to us through His divine Word. I have to disagree that God's Word isn't for our knowledge as we do need it to learn about Him and how to follow Him but she is right that it is God's primary means of speaking to us. We need to seek His Word and then hide it deep into our hearts. Beth's words brought to me the realization of the level of impact we allow God's Word to have in our lives. She challenged us to let it have full impact, the maximum impact.

Throughout my Christian walk, 9 out of 10 times, I've heard it said or suggested to have our quiet time in the morning. For years I had a morning time with God. Life changed and it is very hard for me to have that time in the morning. Then, I heard someone say in the last few months to have it whenever we're at our best and whatever works best for us. So, I let myself off the hook with having my time with God in the evening. Beth has challenged me to return to a time with the Lord in the morning. With baby steps of five to ten minutes in the morning, I'm trusting the Lord to increase it to solely be in the morning replacing the evening time. Scriptures used to support this convicted me further.

Sow your seed in the morning...Ecclesiastes 11:6 (Sow your seed by reading the Word.)

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. Isaiah 50:4-5. She mentioned on those last five words to think about not drawing back our bed covers.

In addition to this, I thought about how we are to give God the first tenth of our money, first of our heart, first in our life, first of our time, first in our thoughts. Why not the first of our morning? Another convicting point is when we read the Word in the morning, we have "those" words to carry with us throughout the day. We never know what we read will explicitly be needed or applied that day at work or whatever we face. We also have more time to let the Word linger in our heart.

We need to retain the Word. Merely reading it does not do the job at all. God has not ceased to amaze me how He's allowed me to retain of His Word more than I thought I ever could. Three of the scriptures referenced were already written on my heart. Ironically, one is Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. The Greek word Kateche means to hold in a vice grip. I love that. To me that is a very strong hold as I envision the vice grip my grandpa had in his garage on his work bench. May my heart be like a vice grip with God's Word clutched tightly in it.

God can't change your life if you don't let Him change your day. God wants to change your day. (BM) My response was "hmmm". There are things that I'm trusting God to change and I realize those things will take time. However, this made me stop and think how I need to allow Him to change my day, whatever that may entail. Each day will build on another and then He can change my "life"~that is the circumstances of those desires laid upon my heart.

Satan's plan is for us to lose our effectiveness not our salvation. (BM) Again, I remember simply thinking "hmmm". Very interesting. The way we begin to lose our effectiveness is when we are not in the Word and not in fellowship with the Holy One. We can't be effective if we don't know Him and commune with Him.

Our heart is at the center of all we do. We are created with such sensitivity and vulnerability (as least I was) that we are naturally guarded especially when we've been hurt. When we hear the words "protect your heart", I'd suspect we'd all say "sign me up". Amen? Beth suggests the way to protect our heart is to hide the Word in our heart. There is no bigger offensive weapon than with the Word of God. (BM) Again, I was challenged that I need to be aware of satan trying to steal what I've hidden in my heart. I love how Beth told us to guard the Word in our heart and refuse to let the enemy convince us otherwise of things we know to be true from God. He can try to tell us we don't hear from God but we need to stand up and refuse to listen to his lies. Trust what you hear from God (in His Word, sermons, studies, conferences, etc.) and don't let him convince you otherwise. The enemy and I have gone round and round with this and I have bruises to show for it. But I refuse to give up or give in to him. I feel God has lead me down a very lonely road and one not understood by others. Satan tries to tell me to give up but I have to trust this road from the Lord until He changes it.

Put your hand over the Word in your heart to conceal it. Put your hand on your heart and say with faith of a mustard seed "my faith is not up for grabs. Let it take root and grow. It's my word to keep and you can't take it." (BM)

You've waited this long for my reflection of the Beth Moore Living Proof Simulcast. Do you think you can wait a few more days for the last half? There will be a test.... That's all I can say about the final part.

Hiding His Word,

(Picture is of yellow tulips from my yard this past spring.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Fall

The Fall? Your mind immediately goes back to the fall of Adam and Eve, huh? Yes, that was THE Fall. However, there is another fall. The fall into the pit. The fall into the enemy's trap. The fall into the attacks from satan. The fall into sin. Yes, we still experience the fall today. I believe it is well known and to be expected that whenever we have a mountaintop experience with God, we should expect to experience the attacks of the evil one. We cannot stay on the mountaintop forever. Instead, we make a slow climb down the mountain and eventually wonder in the valley. Instead of it being a gradual climb down the mountain, satan tries to literally push us off that mountaintop. For you see, the quicker he gets us off the mountaintop, the quicker we'll lose our "fire" for God and the less likely we'll continue to do marvelous things for God. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Matthew 26:41

However, our God is SO great that He too can and does use the valley experiences just as much as the mountaintop experiences. God will even allow satan to throw his daggers at us after such a glorious experience with God. Why? Because, this too will only reinforce the Truths we learned while on the mountaintop and it will draw us to rely even more on God and conform to the character of Jesus. Surviving and thriving after the attacks of satan reveals our faith to God and brings Him glory.

That is how wonderful our God is. He uses everything for our good and His glory. Romans 8:28 tells us in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes.

Let me share some history to these thoughts. I wanted to post today and I have a couple in drafts that I was going to fine tune and post. However, it is as though God said "No. You need to post on the fall because of what many THOUSANDS of women may begin to experience this weekend starting Saturday afternoon." So this is the first sporadic posting I've ever done literally in one sitting.

Many of you are probably aware of Beth Moore's conference tonight from 7:30-10 pm and Saturday 9:30-1 pm. She is in Louisville, Kentucky which is about 60 minutes from me. However, the church which probably holds 10,000 has been sold out for several, several months. My ladies' group at church is hosting a simulcast. We gathered last night to set up the church and boy did I ever get pumped up. We had prayer and I mentioned that this has been a concern of mine that we all need to be prepared for the enemy's attacks to come Sunday or Monday or even Saturday at 1:05! (Update: I've found out 715 churches are involved and over 70,000 attendees over the world!)

The enemy does NOT like God's children to be on fire for Jesus, spreading His good news, doing His good works, and proclaiming His good love. No, indeed, it makes satan madder than a wet hen. So, he is going to push. He is going shove. He is going to scream. He is going to try anything and everything to beat us down and convince us we cannot do what God is going to speak to our hearts. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. Psalm 118:13

Satan opposes what God is doing and what we are willing to do for God. Though this scripture is not talking about satan, I found it in my search and thought it was good advice for us. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. 2 Timothy 4:15 Satan opposes God's message and he opposes our message about Jesus.

Be on guard, if you are attending the conference or a simulcast. If you are not, please pray for the many THOUSANDS of woman who may experience the enemy's attacks this weekend after a glorious experience with God. I am so pumped up to have a "high" with God. If you attended Proverbs 31 She Speaks this year, you know what I'm saying. Many attendees have shared how they had a mountaintop experience only to come home to the attacks of satan. But they overcame because God is with them. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:5 And because they cast their cares on God. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14 Wow. This is a gem of scripture. Isn't that what God is doing? He's depositing good in us through such conferences. Have you ever pondered that while He deposits this good He is trusting us with it? We are to guard the good deposit He makes whether it is at a Beth Moore conference, or Proverbs 31, or any conference we attend. What a beautiful picture of God "entrusting" us with His good deposits. Just beautiful.

Whether you attend this conference, your local church event, a church meeting even for some new ministry, whatever the atmosphere for high with God, be on guard and prepared for the attacks of satan. Never let him steal your thunder. Never let him push you off that mountaintop. Never let him tarnish the good deposits from the Lord.

Entrusted By Him,

(Picture is of "Candy Tuft" from my yard.)