Christmas Snow

Christmas Snow

A voice from Heaven spoke clear, without show.

“Go, tell it on the Mountain…it’s going to snow.”

 

In a manger He was swaddled and laid.

Every curse against man was about to be paid.

 

He grew up in wisdom, grace, and favor.

The still small voice He could hear without labor.

 

A voice from Heaven spoke clear, without show.

“Go, tell it on the Mountain…it’s going to snow.”

 

God in the flesh; blameless and pure.

Was about to become mankind’s cure.

 

One obedient step at a time

He did not shrink back from Calvary’s climb.

 

A voice from Heaven spoke clear, without show.

“Go, tell it on the Mountain…it’s going to snow.”

 

He’s body was broken; in a tomb He was laid.

Little did they know; their debts He had paid.

 

The final card was in His hand.

This play would be felt throughout all the land.

 

Curses, shame, and all unrest

Are far from us, as east is to west.

 

A voice from Heaven speaks clear, without show.

“Sin’s red stain forever gone;   you are white as snow.”

 

107

When Push Comes To Shove

Yesterday I enjoyed an amazing ski day at Big Sky Resort all by myself.  It was an introvert’s dream.  Thanks to my iphone I was able to follow Facebook, and unless you live in a hole in the ground, you know that everyone was talking about comments made by Duck Dynasty’s patriarch Phil Robertson in an interview with GQ.

The Duck Dynasty controversy, in my opinion, is not so much about A & E vs. Phil Robertson,  as it is about relative  vs. absolute truth.  Phil was backed into a corner and asked questions about where he stands on a specific topic.

Those who stand on the side of relative truth believe truth is defined individually.  It is up to each person to decide what is true for them.  Those who believe in absolute truth believe something outside of themselves defines truth.  Phil is in the later group.

If you follow the “truth is relative”  line of thinking consistently you have to take anything off of the table as “wrong” because if it’s up to an individual to decide right from wrong, then anything can be morally right.  And by anything…I mean ANYTHING.

Those who hold to a belief that there is such a thing as absolute truth believe that something outside of our own feelings or opinions defines truth.  Most in this group look to the Bible as a guide for defining what is right from wrong.

It comes as no surprise that I am in this later group.  I love the Bible because it is more than just a book.  It is a living word.    The very best part is that the word came in the flesh as Jesus.  He is the word, and I have access to Him!  I can talk to Him and He talks back.  His presence is felt in increasing ways as I grow in intimacy with Him.  I will live with Him for all of eternity because He came and took my place in death.  Forever and ever  I will worship Him face to face, and He will sing over me, in an eternal exchange of affection.

Whatever your opinion was about yesterday’s Duck Dynasty controversy,  you must now recognize that a line has been drawn in the sand.  Our culture has been approaching this moment for years and now there is no turning back.

I wish  Phil had said things in a different way, but I can not disagree with his stand about what is right and what is wrong.

His follow up comments brought clarity:

 “I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and, like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

The topic of homosexuality is a prime target for those who want to bring persecution against the Christian church.  It’s  a hard issue to address because it’s so deeply personal.  If we say murder is a sin,  few people will argue or be offended.  But when we say that the act of homosexuality is a sin we are suddenly hateful.

I have wrestled with this for years.  My husband and I have had hours and hours of conversation about this topic.  We have friends who are homosexuals.  We love them, and we have shown that love in very tangible ways.  I have ministered to gays and lesbians.  I have counseled and prayed with them.  They know exactly what I believe about homosexual acts, and they know that I love them.

It is VERY VERY difficult to say in one line “I love the GLBT community” and “I believe that their actions are morally wrong.”   Oh how I wish it were easier.  The good news is that there are homosexuals who do get it.  Some even spoke out yesterday in Phil’s defense.

The GQ interview was a push comes to shove moment for the Church.  When push comes to shove, what is our belief?

Misunderstanding and persecution are the same thing.  Jesus was completely misunderstood by the religious leaders. Those who backed Phil into a corner did so because their intent was to bring persecution.   I feel a boldness that is increasing in my heart to proclaim the truth in love.  I do not want to fear persecution because I believe  when persecution hits, there is  an increase of boldness and kingdom expansion.

My prayer for those who hold fast to absolute truth, is that we will   recognize this  increased freedom and favor to share Christ’s love and truth in humility this season.  God is by nature a redeemer, and I am confident that He is going to take this controversy and use it for His utmost good.

phil

What Are The Walls Of Jerusalem Made Of?

What are the walls of Jerusalem made of?
How do they stand?
From everlasting to everlasting
Your name is strong in this land.

What are the walls of Jerusalem made of?
Are you awake and aware?
Men who have bent knee
Women who sacrifice and dare.

What are the walls of Jerusalem made of?
Will they prevail?
Mighty and vibrant are those
Your watchmen who travail.

What are the walls of Jerusalem made of?
Do you see? Do you care?
Tears and sweat poured out
In His suffering you surely share.

I’m standing on the wall of Jerusalem today.
Our future home, a Holy place.
Coming down out of heaven
As we seek His face.

A loud voice from the throne one day shall declare;
“God’s dwelling is come
Justice abides forever on earth.
Radiant light and peace from the eternal son.”

jerusalem

Do we see how He sees?

I met with a good old friend today.  She’s not old…we are just old friends.  It was refreshing to be in one another’s presence.  There was laughter, tears, admonishment, and prayer.  We may not land on the exact same spot on every single issue, but we do have a deep love for one another and a desire to see each other running our race un-hindered.  Jesus was in our midst and I think He was smiling.  Yes…Jesus loves to see His body in action.

Why?

He shed His precious blood for this purpose.

“7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”   Ephesians 1:1-10

What is God doing in this hour?  One thing I believe is that He is teaching us what it looks like to be the fully functioning body and bride of Christ.

Personally, I am discovering more and more what this looks like.  My heart is being enlarged for His body.  He has been renewing my mind to see (hopefully) more clearly His heart for unity in the big “C” church.

In fact, this scripture is truly a mind bender in verse ten where it says, “To be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

Jesus is going to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth!  Wowzers..that is going to be beyond my imagination awesome and amazing!

I was talking to another friend recently about this issue and she said, “Heaven is really going to be a learning curve for some people.”

Ouch!  .

I’m certain that there will be a learning curve for all of us, but I’m trying to learn now to see the body the way He sees it.

You don’t need a PhD to recognize the body is diverse.  Yes, there are many streams and they flow and function in unique ways.  What Jesus is teaching me is that He is the head of the Church…and whether we like it or not we are stuck with one another for all of eternity.  The more we learn to love one another here the less culture shock heaven will be.

The “poor reflection” we see now is not only how we see Christ, but I think also how we see one another.  When we see “fully” in Heaven, our eyes will be opened to see each member of the body the way Jesus created them.

No more misunderstandings, competition, jealousy, or strife.  Just  pure love for one another.

Wow

I will look forward to that day.  In the mean time I’m going to pray for open eyes to see others the way He sees them…..for His glory and for the building of His big “C” church.

love

Your Win = My Win

I couldn’t help but notice these banners at the MSU Field House this past week during my son’s track practice.

Image

Each banner marks championship won by an MSU individual or sports team.  Some date way back.  Every school has similar memorials serving as important reminders of their history and giving hope for future wins.

History

It got me thinking about the history of the Church.   Curious about past spiritual battles that have been won, I wondered if there are banners in Heaven displaying those victories?  It’s fun to imagine how they might be memorialized there.  I’m confident Heaven keeps a record.

Some past spiritual victories have been very publicly documented.  Like the ones we get to read about in scripture.  God gave victories to Gideon, David, Moses, and others.  I love reading the bible, digest it regularly, and am continually discovering God in it. I love the history that resides in its pages.  I’m also keenly aware that the story of the Church, His Bride, is still being written.

His Church

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember the bigger picture that God has one team and all who are in Christ are on that team.  Yes, we enter different buildings on Sunday mornings, but we are one in Him.

1 Corinthians 12:27

“27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Yup, that’s right.  We are one body.  God knew what He was doing when He made us one.  Truly, a body functions best when all its parts are attached and operating in unity.  Paul used an illustration by saying that the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” (vs.21)  Paul makes his point.

Competition in sports is what makes watching entertaining.  Competition in the Church is like watching your right hand try to compete against your left. It is pointless and distracts from the main goal.  We are on the same team.

All believers who live and breathe on the planet today are wearing the same jersey.  We are joined with those who have gone before us and the believer who lives on the other side of the earth. Their victories are our victories.   Your win is my win.

The way I see it, we will be spending A LOT of time together in the near future celebrating each win for the team.  For all of eternity we will worship the ONE who won the victory we share in Him.

I might get to watch some of the super bowl on Sunday. I’ll pick a team and root for them.  One team will win and one will lose. We will drift off to sleep a little fuller and hopefully well entertained.

Another day is coming when we will stand before our Lord and give an account for how well we fought together for what He paid for.  Did we honor or argue?  Did we compare or prefer? Were we proud or humble?

I’m thinking the way to win is to take the low road of humility, pray our guts out for God to divinely move in the Earth, and to LOVE one another….like Jesus commanded.  On this planet we won’t physically all worship together under one roof, but we can be together in spirit and oneness, celebrating each win as a win for the team.

Guilty As Charged

I asked my good friend and mentor Barb Smith to share some of her story about making the choice to have an abortion when she was 15.  My prayer is that there will be hope and healing in this for many.  

Thank you for your blog on October 30th, 2012.  I appreciate the value that you place on life.  I certainly am not educated or well versed in the political ponderings of the pro-life or pro-choice agendas, but I understand the strong pull on both sides.  My purpose in responding is not to stir up controversy.  Rather, to offer a look at my experience and possibly help someone making their own decision with the life growing inside of them.

I was 15 years old in 1973 and felt very grown up.  It is funny how I felt like I was in control of my whole world, but I didn’t even have a driver’s license.  I was also pregnant with a child I didn’t know, and didn’t want.

Like most 15 year olds, I sought the counsel of my closest friends.  Most of my friends had already had abortions; so of course, this was the logical solution to my problem.  It was so easy.  They told me who to call.  They told me where to go.  They told me how to lie.  I was only 15, so I had to tell the clinic that I was 16.  It was already past the 3 month cut off, so I had to tell them that I was not that far along.  I had to tell them that it would be a problem if my parents found out, and that would put me in danger.  None of these where true, I simply had to jump through a few hoops to get what I wanted.

My sister found out what I was planning on doing.  She found a pay phone in the middle of the Sierra NevadaMountains during a backpack trip to call me, trying to persuade me not to go through with it.  She told me it was not my child, that it was God’s, and I didn’t have any right to end a life.  I refused to acknowledge that this group of cells in my body was a child so I would have none of that argument.  It was mine, not God’s.  It was in my body, and I had the ultimate say in whether it lived or died. Strange isn’t it, how if it is not alive, that you have to kill it to get rid of it…

Stranger still was the fact that my boyfriend wanted me to keep this baby.  Really, how could a guy who smoked too much pot and worked at a gas station, provide for me and my child?  That was a no-brainer for me, even at 15.  I didn’t want to marry him and spend the rest of my life struggling.  I was unwilling to even consider the option.  He was older than me and begged me with tears not to “kill his child.”  Yet, I was unyielding in my decision to have an abortion.  I made him drive me to a clinic in Los Angeles and wait for me as I underwent the procedure.  He cried the whole way home.

I didn’t cry – not once.  I wasn’t sorry – at all.  I was sure I had made the right decision – for me. Other options were never on the table; this was my only option, and it was my choice. It was a choice, right?

Eventually, I married and had two more children.  I love my family dearly and enjoyed my pregnancies immensely.  Every month, I would follow each child’s development in my womb with great joy, anticipating the day that I would meet the children who were formed out of the love my husband and I shared. It would have been horrendous for anyone to tell me that the children in my womb were just a clump of cells. I knew, from the moment of conception, that these children were alive and loved.

Now, here is my conflict.  I always thought I was a good person.  I grew up Catholic and went to Catechism and Parochial schools, and I certainly knew the Ten Commandments.  However, these things were not enough to hold me steady.  I made a lot of very poor decisions in my life; most of which I was able to justify by saying to myself, “Well, at least I haven’t killed anyone.”  Crazy.  Cause… I did.  I committed premeditated murder.  Yup, I was a murderer and I was in denial – big time.

But God!  That is one of my favorite sayings.  But God…. He wouldn’t leave me in denial.  He is all consuming.  God doesn’t bend the truth to make it more palatable.  He took away every excuse, every justification, and every rationalization that I was using to protect my own heart.  He wanted to be the protector of my heart.  He loved me until I could actually look at the truth with my eyes wide open.  I was a murderer.  The standard I had set for myself had to come down.  I could no longer find security in that measuring stick, that lie.

The funny thing was, I didn’t feel condemned.  I felt loved.  When I was willing to “call a spade a spade,” and see my sin through His eyes, I felt the power of the love of God wash me clean.  I didn’t have to pretend to be a good person.  He made me one.  He made me new.

It’s Easy

Our perspective and God’s are sometimes worlds apart from each other.  Our minds say, “There is no way I can do this.”   He says, “I’ll back you up.  I know you can.”  Gideon’s story in Judges chapter six is the perfect example.  God asked Gideon to do the impossible. “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

 

I can’t think of a time where I felt God was asking me to do something I felt qualified for.  Most of the time my response has been the same as Gideon, “Pardon me, my Lord…how can I….?”  That included campus ministry, leading mission trips, bold evangelism, overseeing a counseling ministry, and then pioneering a women’s conference ministry.  Last May at our Unearthing Destinies conference He again asked me for something that I did not see coming.  He asked me, “How would you like to do this every week?”  “What do you mean?” I questioned. “Plant a church” He answered. 

 

I am living proof that God is not looking for the naturally qualified.  He is looking for those who are willing to volunteer and say, “Yes” no matter the cost.  This next step feels bigger to me than anything else thus far, but at the same time I have a great peace.  I know that if Jesus is asking me to plant a church, then He will back me up in it. It might even be fun.  If heaven is not burdened, nervous, or afraid, then I don’t need to be either.  In fact, I believe that God is joyful, full of hope, and ready to move in a mighty way as we agree to align with His heavenly plan. 

 

In 2011 during a lunch break at a women’s conference a wonderful woman on the ministry team prayed for me.  As she placed her hand on me she began to say over and over, “It’s easy….it’s easy….it’s easy.”  The spirit of the Lord came upon me in a powerful way.  I actually laid down on the ground under the heaviness of His presence as this revelation was imparted.  There is no strain or worry or fear in heaven.  Everything is easy.  I’m learning to partner with God because when I fully depend on Him, it is indeed easy. 

 

This past week I attended a Global Awakening conference on healing.  I think sometimes we complicate the supernatural.  We see a healing minister on a platform and separate ourselves from them.  The simple truth of the gospel is that each one of us is commissioned to do the greater works that Jesus said we would do.  The difficult part is taking the risk, the easy part follows when God answers our faith with the miraculous. 

 

Knowing that God is going to back us up is half the battle.  It gives us confidence to step out and obey.  Gideon received requested confirmation and great supernatural assurance that God would be with him.  In the natural it was an impossible task, but are those not the only kind God calls His people to perform?  If it was easy in the natural we might get bored and find entertainment somewhere else.  Life in the kingdom is a constant experience of adventure. 

 

There are great principles in the story of Gideon.  He asked for confirmation more than one time, and God answered his request. When the Lord spoke to me about planting a church, I thought I might be crazy or hearing voices.  The first thing I did was ask for confirmation.  Within a week, someone who didn’t know from me what God had spoken, boldly said, “God is calling you to plant a church.”  It was the exact confirmation I had asked for.

 

I love that God uses ordinary people.  He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.  He uses a tiny army of bold men to defeat a much larger army of more equipped warriors.  This is our God.  He is the God of the impossible.  

 

Is there something God has asked you to do that feels impossible?  Remember today that He will be faithful to confirm the call, and back you up in every battle you face.  He is the God of the impossible.  What looks difficult to us is easy for God.  He will confirm His word to you as you take a risk and obey His voice.  From heaven’s perspective it’s easy.

 

My Political Musings – Why I Think and Feel the Way I Think and Feel.

 

 “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”   C.S. Lewis

 

I’m a Christian.   I don’t believe any one is born a Christian. A person must choose to become a Christ follower.  Memories of my life before I was following Jesus remind me to be thankful for the gift of His presence I now experience.  I’ve done nothing to deserve His love and forgiveness. I’ve simply chosen to accept the gift He offers.  I believe someday I will leave this earth and be with my savior for all of eternity.  He has given me so much and to live for Him seems a very small thank you.  I could never repay Him for what He has done; dying in my place so that I can have everlasting life and a joy filled one on earth until then. 

 

One thing I love about my America is that each person has a right to their own opinions and beliefs. My political beliefs are derived from my own value system. That’s true for everyone….from the President to the homeless person living on the street.  Our values shape the way each one of us thinks.  There are Christians on both sides of the political system because they are embracing the party they feel best represents their Christ centered beliefs.  This current Presidential election is one of the most interesting ones I’ve observed in my lifetime.  The two candidates are opposite of one another on almost every issue.  It makes deciding who to vote for pretty easy if you are passionate about the issues that they are supporting. 

 

I’m relieved that no matter what the outcome of this election is, Jesus will still be on the throne.   I do believe that it’s vitally important that we pray for our leaders and for those who will become our leaders.  We must pray for God to ordain men and women who will carry Righteousness and Justice in their hearts.   After all…those two things are the very foundation of God’s throne.   The Facebook profile lists “Political Views” and in that space I wrote:  “Heaven’s Justice….He will make all things new.“  This election, or any election for that matter, is not about which party I support, but instead about the need to have leaders in place who will make decisions which support Righteousness and Justice.   I feel that each one of us is responsible to prayerfully consider what this might mean for our nation’s future.

This year there are many issues on the table, jobs and the economy, heath care, foreign threats, the placement of new Supreme Court Justices, and on and on.  It isn’t always easy to prioritize what deserves the most importance.  One look at the Declaration of Independence helps cut through the blur.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Life is listed first and I agree.  Of all the pressing things facing America today the issue of Life has to be the most important.

God’s love is wherever there is a spark of life.  His love is for the little girl with Down’s syndrome, the sick elderly woman, and the young boy sold into sexual slavery.  God has spoken to Christians and we are responsible to see that widows and orphans are cared for, the hungry are fed, and the prisoner remembered.   We cry together as we see examples of life gone unprotected on the news, such as an abducted child who is abused and killed.  The world is not always a pretty place, but God’s love is bigger.  And that love extends to the unborn child, growing in the womb, wanting nothing more than the chance to live.

We all agree what happened to the Jews during WWII was wrong. It was horrific and causes us to ask how could human beings be capable of such evil? They were flesh and blood people just like us.  How were they able to carry out a holocaust & still sleep at night?  In their minds they were doing something they thought that was justified.  The really believed that they were right, but Righteousness and Justice show that they were really…really wrong.  They had believed a lie that they thought was true, and that means they were deceived.  At some point the blinders came off and the world was in shock that such an evil had been allowed to happen.

God loves life.  He created life. He has said in His word that we are not to extinguish life.  Yet a great deception continues on the earth today.  The numbers exceed many of the great tragedies of the past and continue to climb each day.  40,000,000 Americans will not vote in this election because they were not given the choice to live.

Isaiah 32:1-4 says,

 “See, a king will reign in righteousness
    and rulers will rule with justice.
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
    and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
No longer will the fool be called noble
nor the scoundrel be highly respected.”

Please pray with me for this election.  Pray that even now eyes will be opened, an awakening will begin, and that righteousness and justice will prevail.

                                                                                                               Baby on the way announcement