Friday, December 31, 2010

2011: Where are We Going?

Is it just me or does everyone else notice that the longer you live the faster the years go by? All thanks to God that I’m not among the crowd that faces massive credit card bills in January – but seriously? Another January already?
Either I’m too lazy or too busy – but I didn’t get the things done I planned to do last year!

A friend’s blog said that this coming year she plans to focus on being focused. Sounds like a good idea to me. I’ve never really been a goal-setter; it’s not how I was put together. I can laughingly call myself a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ kind of girl, which is how I perceive my life, setting only a few goals in recent years. I can jokingly say that if you don’t have a goal, you don’t feel bad when you don’t reach it, sad but true. But if I never set the bar above where I am – how will I ever know what I can achieve?

I will concede that goals are valuable and sometimes needed to push us forward. I’ll admit that without being specific we can end up disappointed. For example, I want to win a lot of money. Here the phrase ‘a lot of money’ falls of deaf ears to a man that lives on two dollars a day. I want to lose weight. If I lose just one pound I’ve achieved this goal – but it’s hardly what I had in mind.

To set a goal, I need a vision. My vision might include where I want to be next January; how fit do I want to be? How financially secure do I want to be? How intimate with God and my friends and family do I want to be? Baby steps may be good in each area, but I might be capable of much, much more.

Part 2 coming tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Key to the Kingdom Part 6

England is a tremendous ocean away from everything I knew. But God’s divine appointments were many, and right away we found ourselves seated in a little missionary church. The congregation was comprised of military families and the local Brits.

So many of the ‘truths’ I’d learned were challenged. Having always been full of questions, I pursued those challenges by asking my questions and searching out the answers. I thought surely the wise women and men of God that were now in my life would grow weary of my questions. But they didn’t. They continued to point me into God’s Word with every question I asked. It was joked that on my tombstone it would say, ‘But wait, I have one more question!’ The most common response to my questions was, ‘Did you check in the Word?’ That frustrated me, because I wanted quick easy answers. But it taught me that every question I have is answered in the Bible.

Within five months after arriving in England, I sat crying in my seat on the back row of the church, asking Jesus to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart to live forever. But that couldn’t have happened until I believed that God truly loved me! That was the truth that the devil used so many lies to hide. That truth is the key to the kingdom of God. God’s Word says that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 38-39 KJV

That means nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not the devil’s lies, not his weapons of choice, nothing we think, say or do…. Nothing! Selah, pause and think about that and take a look into God’s Word for yourself!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Key to the Kingdom Part 5

That night the door to the kingdom opened for me. Oddly, I didn’t just run right in.

But I got a glimpse of God’s kingdom, simply by peeking through the door. A hunger and a thirst began to stir within me in the following days, weeks and months. But don’t think that the enemy just rolled his eyes and gave up. He wasn’t going to let me go without a fight. But the battle wasn’t mine to fight alone. Jesus fought for me and with me. For God’s sake, He’d died for me, He wasn’t going to just let go of me now!

Life didn’t become perfect overnight. I was at a crossroad. What we see when we look at an iceberg is merely the tip of it, have you ever seen a photograph of the HUGE part that’s still under the water? What I experienced that night was just a tiny peek at God. It was all I could handle at the moment. I had no idea what else God had in store for me.

When you’re wandering around in the dark, you can hurt yourself a lot, bumping into all sorts of things you don’t know are there, and missing all the good things you can’t see. Though I had no clue, my look into ‘the Book’ was me allowing God to turn the light on for me so I could see. I tiptoed eagerly into the unknown.

But as if I hadn’t been feeling alone enough, behind the closed curtains of our home, trapped there with three very small children, miles from any other family; my military husband got four year orders to another country. Within months, we were in England, not able to afford a trip home to visit the whole time we were there....

More to come......

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Key to the Kingdom Part 4

Upon finding the verses, I began to read, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!” I rolled my eyes and wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I told the chaplain I planned to kill myself that night, and he wanted me to rejoice? What a loser! How dare he blow me off like that? Did he even know what these verses were going to say? Didn’t he think I was serious? Was there something more important than me on TV? Is this what chaplains got paid for? After pausing in frustration, I looked down to read again.

This is what I read. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:4-8 KJV

No, I didn’t understand everything I’d just read, but as I read those words, a peace came over me. Like a warm blanket being wrapped around me, like a warm, thick oil was being poured over me, I relaxed. It was probably the first time I felt peaceful and relaxed in years. That peace mentioned in verse 7 - this had to be that kind of peace. With a deep sigh of resignation, I had to admit, ‘There must be something to this! This isn’t just a religious book. There’s something here I have to have.’

More to come.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Key to the Kingdom Part 3

What do you do to make your fingernail polish last longer? You apply more than one coat. Fear is like that. The enemy applies coat after coat after coat. The thickest coat was applied the night I was raped. Details aren’t important to the story; suffice it to say that the devil thought he had me right where he wanted me, permanently crippled and dying. But what the enemy intended for my destruction, God used for His glory and my good.

After a few years of depression and even hysteria, medication, counseling, and finally a plan to kill myself to escape the fear of torment, God broke through. He got my attention and rescued me. What did He use to set me free? Not lightning bolts from heaven, not an angelic host singing in my ears, not a magical display of what He can do. He broke through my torment with the still small voice of His Word.

While contemplating suicide that night, I called a military chaplain. I guess that was my pathetic last cry for help. As I told him my plans and after confirming that there was a Bible somewhere in the house, he calmly told me to find it and read from the book of Philippians, chapter 4, verses 4-8. And he hung up. Either he was extremely confident in His God, or he was a fool. After pouting for at least an hour, I found the Bible and sat down on the floor against the living room couch. Not being familiar with God’s Word or how it was written, I had no idea where to find the book of Philippians. It was in fact a minor miracle that I even remembered what he had told me to read!

To be continued…..

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Key to the Kingdom Part 2

The devil’s weapons are not great, or gigantic or undefeatable at all. It seems though, that he has the ability to hold a huge magnifying glass before us, so that his threats seem insurmountable. What puny weapon did he wield over me? What was magnified out of proportion so that I shriveled and withdrew beneath it? I’ve seen the weapon, and it is no match for my King. The devil’s weapon of choice was fear. This could be a selah moment, stop and think about the enemy’s weapon of choice in your life. Have you identified it? For me, fear was a tiny word that made a huge impact in my life. Years ago, someone told me that the letters in the word fear stand for; false evidence appearing real - wise words to remember.

As I look back over the years, the fears that enveloped me were pathetic. I was afraid of things that can in no way ever hurt anyone. I, however, was deceptively convinced that they not only could, but would, hurt me. Logic was of no help, because logic would dictate freedom from the lies of the enemy. No, fear sometimes even defies logic. My point is not to share how to overcome fear, that’s another article for another time. It’s been taught before, and will be taught again. It was simply the devil’s weapon of choice in my life.

Of course, when unchallenged, fear grows. It creeps into any area of life it can plant roots and grow. As ridiculous as my fears were, they crippled me and consumed my life. The point of life became that of simply avoiding fear and fearful situations, not even recognizing the enemy behind the fear, or his plans to keep me from realizing that God truly loves me.

More to come......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Key to the Kingdom Part 1

The Key to the Kingdom

Imagine the look on Cinderella’s face as she entered into the palace that very first time. Greater still, imagine the excitement in her heart as she married the prince and became part of the kingdom! Okay, so maybe her eyes weren’t exactly on the kingdom at that time, they were totally centered on her prince, her bridegroom.

When I first opened my heart to Jesus, I became a part of His kingdom. But my eyes were totally on Him. I keep my eyes on Him, now, but I realize in part, the tremendous impact of being His bride. I’ve not only entered this phenomenal kingdom, I am part of it!

As a child, I was surrounded with the cloak of religion. The churches I attended were beautiful, the atmosphere was reverent. The rules were many, and the spirit was binding. I learned many ‘facts’ -some even proved to be true. For example, Jesus was born to a virgin and laid in a manger. Jesus was crucified, taking the sin of the world upon Himself. While He walked on earth, He had disciples, He performed miracles, He taught the people who would hear Him. I learned about God’s unsurpassable power. He created the universe, our world and all that it contains. He is to be loved and feared, because He is in control.

As a young adult, I discovered the bottom line of truth. God loves me! That is the golden key to the kingdom. That key was within my grasp all along, but it was hidden from me. God didn’t hide it. God’s enemy hid it. But God did everything in His unsurpassable power to show me where it was. He surrounded me with His beauty. He provided divine appointments long the way. He gave me written instructions! He called me to Himself. What gigantic weapon did the enemy hold over me to keep me from seeing God’s purposes and intents and from embracing God’s love?

To be continued…..

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing Still

In the busyness of life we sometimes lose the sense of awe and wonder that constantly surround us. Here in the wonderful land of the Rockies – it’s actually possible to drive around and miss out on seeing the beauty of the mountains, simply because I’m focused on something internal.

If I can drive down the streets of Colorado Springs and not see the mountains – what am I missing in my own home?

Is it possible I focus on self and on the things in my own little world so much or so intently that I close my eyes to the grandeur of the love of God lighting my way through the people God’s placed in my life?

The love for me in my husband’s eyes is incredibly profound. So how is it I don’t see it in moments when I’m angry with him over something petty. I must be so focused on myself that I’m momentarily blinded to the love around me.

I rejoice in choice. I don’t always understand why I choose what I do – but I take great joy in choosing, because God trusts me enough to allow me to choose.

Today and everyday forward, I choose to find love in everyone – from the precious gift of my husband, to the lady standing on the corner by Wal-Mart clenching a sign that begs for money; from the treasure of my children and grandchildren, to the man that cuts me off in traffic only to slow down in front of me.

Today and everyday forward, I choose to rejoice in the love that God surrounds me with through the people He’s placed in my life – the good and the not-so-good, and the beauty He’s filled my world with – the mountains and the ant hills, the sunshine and the cloudy skies, wild flowers and weeds, gentle breezes and wind that blows me off my feet, waterfalls and mud puddles…’s all in perspective.

I choose to look for God’s perspective.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing V

What are you watching for?

Twenty-seven years ago, in a far away land – I gave my heart to Jesus. I taught my children from the Word of God –and learned from them.

One day when my children were young, a friend and I walked across Bentwaters AFB in England. We pushed our strollers to the shopping area for lunch. Every Friday at a certain time, a siren would sound. That was my signal to head back; my oldest was already on the school bus, heading home.

We strolled leisurely until I noticed school buses already on base. We checked the time, confused. They’d sounded the siren an hour later for some reason! My friend pushed both strollers as I took off running. When running in my heels proved to be too hard, I carried them in my hands, my feet breaking into thin ice covered puddles.

Arriving at home with frozen feet and out of breath, I pushed open the unlocked door calling for my six year old son. I searched the main level, he wasn’t there. I ran upstairs and checked his room, empty. At last I found him curled up on my bed, sobbing. He was looking up through the window at the cloudy skies.

My heart was crushed to pieces. I’d let him down. I scooped him into my arms, we cried together and he began to tell me his fear.

‘I thought Jesus came back and left me here without you.’ My broken heart was now stuck in my throat.

This sobering, eye-opening event is mine forever. There’s more – perhaps I’ll share that too someday.

Jesus is coming for a people that are watching and waiting for His sure return, preparing themselves for Him.

Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: Luke 12:37 KJV

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing IV

The miracle in my last post brought me to the miracle in this post. You’ll recall that God supernaturally healed my toddler’s busted lip. It wasn’t an ‘over time’ healing – it was instant and complete.

In the early 80s I suffered ridiculously awful stomach pain. After too many scopes and humiliating tests - the docs told me I had irritable bowel syndrome. (Never thought I’d use the word bowel in a blog post!) I don’t know how anyone can even live a somewhat normal life with such a painful malady, I couldn’t. I must have wrestled with it for at least two or three years.

On our way to church one Sunday night, frustrated because I’d just missed another fun outing because of unquenchable pain, it dawned on me. God healed my baby’s mouth – maybe He’ll heal me too! It was an exciting thought, but did I dare hope for such instant relief?

Before the service started, I approached the pastor, asking him to pray for me to be rid of this horrible ailment. I stood there disappointed after he gently laid his hand on my head and uttered a thirty second prayer, at best. After mumbling to myself on the way back to my seat, ‘A lot of good that prayer will do,’ I noticed a queer feeling - the absence of pain. I marveled in shock for a moment before making my way back to tell my husband what just happened. I don’t recall his reaction, so he might not have been as thrilled as I was. But for me, this was a faith building block of magnificent proportions.

The pain the enemy meant as a stumbling block instantly became my stepping stone!

As phenomenal as the absence of pain was to me, the enemy of my soul still felt the need to lie to me about God’s healing in the upcoming days, weeks and months. But I sit here before you now, healed, whole and happy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing III

Once upon a time I had a baby boy – this particular baby boy is now more than six feet tall. When I was a young mother of yesteryear I heard about this Jesus and that He not only loves me, but would bring healing into my life. A pretty tall order, thought the girl struggling to maintain her sanity.

But one day as Daddy was at work and his big brother and sister were playing, no doubt quietly, my toddler fell and bumped his face, busting his lip badly. Every mother recognizes the cries of her hurt child. It’s not at all like the ‘I’m tired’ cry, or the ‘I’m hungry’ cry. I cradled him in my arms, rocking him in the rocking chair, trying to no avail to put a cold, wet washcloth on his swollen, bloody mouth. No phone to call a friend or sister for consolation. Almost an hour’s drive from the military base where Daddy was at work with our only car, I listened to him cry with no apparent power to end his pain.

A light bulb burst with illumination in my mind! This praying stuff, try it – tiptoed through my thoughts. It couldn’t hurt. I mumbled a short, humble prayer. Before I even got to the amen, I opened my eyes to see my baby’s eyes smiling back at me. His loud, persistent cries were quieted. I slowly moved my hand off of his, which had been clenched to his face. He slowly moved his hands a revealed his perfect smile. No blood, no swollen lips, no evidence at all that it had just been busted. Oh my God – this works!

Oh yeah – the word of my testimony! This precious miracle led to the miracle in my next post!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing II

I’m really tired. It’s 3:33 in the morning and I haven’t gone to bed yet. So what does this ezer have to rejoice about? During the holidays some of us reflect upon what we have to be grateful for. Some are too busy to think. Some don’t even see their blessings – blind to what God has done for them. Some are oblivious to the love God lavishes on us, resisting Him at every turn. Whether it’s lies we’ve believed or simply the recognition of our unworthiness, we’re trying to hide from God –and from ourselves.

The revelations of God’s involvement in my little world were life changing. He pierced my heart with the knowledge that He loves me. He knew me, He knew everything I’d done, everything that had been done to me, and still He loves me. God loves ME! I cried and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. God loves ME! I wasn’t abandoned trash, abused beyond usefulness. He spoke to my heart and showed me the power of the blood that flowed freely from His veins that incredible day on Calvary. It truly was enough to wash me clean and make me new again.

1 John 5:13 (KJV) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

This verse gave me permission to believe Him. Different scriptures speak to each of our hearts with God’s own voice and give us the reassurance and confidence we need to believe He can overcome the wickedness of our hearts. Faith. He gives it to all of us. Mine came unannounced with three short, powerful words. God loves me. God love ME!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing

What is the word of your testimony? I hope you’ll share it with me here. In the first chapter of Mark we’re already reading about the miracles Jesus performed. This is one of my favorite testimonies.

Mark 1:40-45 (NKJV) -Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed." As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.

One day while sitting in the stench of my own sin, I read this and cried out to God, ‘Lord, if You’re willing, You can make me clean, too.’

And with just as much compassion, He said to me, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’

And just as the leper was free from leprosy – I was made clean from my sins.

And just as the leper that was made clean had to share his story, so must I.

I cannot imagine having leprosy. In biblical times, lepers had to announce themselves when in public, calling out, ‘Unclean. Unclean.’ How shameful.
How much more shameful would it be if we had to announce ourselves upon arrival anywhere, ‘I’m unclean, I’m filthy with sin.’

Satan wants us to live in the lonely little corner of life beneath the sign, shame - where so many of us find ourselves daily.

Jesus says that yes, He is able, He is willing and He will make you clean.

Are you willing to ask Him – today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ezer Standing V

Again, Sun Tzu said, ‘One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.’

Through the reading of God’s Word we gain insight to His ways and His will. We learn how He does things. We learn about His heart. Through spending the time it takes to prayerfully hear what He’s saying to us through His Word, we gain the faith, wisdom and strength to perform what He requires of us. (Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.)

Many scholars read the Bible and walk away unchanged. Simpler minds can read God’s Word and come away a new man. Some can read it believing they’re objective or even on a fault-finding mission, and discover themselves on the pages. How can one man walk away changed and another leave it still hungry for what it contains?

Heart change – once the heart receives from God, the mind can believe. Is your heart teachable? Is it reachable? Are you prepared to give it away? Only when you let go can God change it and create in you a new heart, one like His. (Create in me a new heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.)

Learning God’s Word, we’re more than a soldier reading through an instruction manual. We are being empowered to truly love and receive love, we’re being transformed. He who fights greatly has the heart for the battle. I would not be your first choice to be the poster child for being a vegetarian – I love meat. I would not be the woman to look to for pro-choice matters – I hate abortion. But I want to know that God can depend on me to declare His Word and live it to the best of my ability – to the best of the ability He’s placed within me – which is far greater than I know!

Though not a typical Thanksgiving's Day blog - I am thankful most for the God that loves me -no matter what!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ezer Standing IV - Afraid to Fight

‘All warfare is based on deception.’ ~Sun Tzu

I hate that line! We all hate the idea of being deceived. It’s happened to all of us. Whether you’re a jilted lover, a shocked parent or a businessman that’s just been swindled – the deception causes hurt and shame. But this is how our enemy battles, and these are the wages of his war, to envelop us with guilt, shame, hurt, pain, anguish, failure, fear, sickness and death.

The other day we celebrated Veterans Day. Thank you to our veterans! But as I noticed on line the many notes of thanks, I also noticed the notes of a few that were bold enough to say: Thank you for doing what the rest of us are afraid to do. And that’s just it. We’re afraid to fight.

‘One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.’ ~again from Sun Tzu

We’re afraid to fight even for what matters. Around me I see those afraid to fight daily battles, for the rights of their children, afraid to fight for the defense of unborn children, afraid to fight for their personal convictions. We’ve become accustomed to the idea of being ‘politically correct’ or to the idea that we’re not ‘giving up’ – we’re just ‘moving on.’ I want to make note here that I am not aiming this at anyone! As in every battle – there are times to retreat and regroup or cut your losses. As long as you’re submitting to what God requires of you – I applaud you! The whole point of a battle is submitting to your commander – so that you can win His way. The ways that seem right to a man, in the end lead to destruction. The bottom line is to do things God’s way – and that’s why it’s so important to be in His Word – so that we know His ways, and submit to them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ezer Standing III - Deception

‘All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out bait to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.’ – Sun Tzu, from The Art of War

How cold. How calculating. How hateful and hurtful. But this is how war is waged. This is how the enemy of our soul plans to overpower us. If we don’t know this, we cannot prepare to battle him.

The enemy has tried to take many things from me. He’s tried to take my children, my health, my marriage, even my life. He’s not fought fairly – if wars can be fought that way. I’ve overcome many battles. The Bible tells me that we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

It appears that I’ve lost battles as well. But the war is not over. When Satan is near, he wants us to think he’s far away. When he’s using force, he wants us to think he has no power to use against us. When he’s about to attack, he wants us to think that he is unable to. When he is weak, he wants to convince us that we cannot win – that he is too powerful a foe to battle against. Deception.

Many who claim to believe in God – say they do not believe in a devil, they’re eating right out of his hands. If we are not even aware that we have an enemy, how can we possibly triumph over him?

We cannot live in fear, though. It’s merely a tool Satan uses against us. ‘Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.’ –Again, the Bible.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ezer Standing II

‘Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.’ ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Spiritual battles have the most at stake. If we don’t understand the strategies of war our enemies employ – they may win.

God is a god of peace and love – but He’s also a jealous god, a god of war. Only when you stand with Him, can you win.

To those who will not fight, I quote:
‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.’ –John Stuart Mill, 1806-1872

When I watch Revolutionary War movies, I can’t see the honorable or the advantage of fighting the way the British fought – standing in lines in clear view of the enemy, waiting for enemy fire. Why would you sacrifice your soldiers this way?

In the battles between good and evil - life and death, there are many unnecessary casualties – warriors not prepared for war, that don’t know how to use their weapons, that don’t understand the strategies and sacrifices to be made, that don’t wear the proper protection or that stand out in front of the enemy thinking he won’t dare fire upon an innocent, unarmed player.

‘Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.’ ~Sun Tzu

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ezer Standing

We’re not sitting ducks.

We face a barrage of attacks from Satan and his minions every time we try to step up to do something for God. Once we’ve established daily time in the Word, we gain the footing we need to stand against the enemy.

Pastor Mark Cowart has given us a list of seven strategies of opposition which include: ridicule, discouragement, your past, the threat of attack, internal conflict, false accusations and false prophecy. He’s taken a look at each of them – and the study is phenomenal. I wish you could all be here in Colorado Springs at Church For All Nations so you could hear it for yourself. He’s an amazing teacher with an incredible anointing. He’s also given us an acronym for getting out from underneath the attacks of the wicked one. W-O-R-D: be in the Word; be on the Offense; Replace the lies with God’s truth; and Dream again – with determination. Pretty powerful stuff!

I cannot exaggerate the importance of consistently being in God’s Word. It’s our instruction manual for life on Earth.

But we need to be on the offense, as well. It would be detrimental to sit around just waiting for the enemy’s attacks or worse yet – to believe those attacks won’t come. What enemy doesn’t just love a sitting duck?

In Ephesians 6 we find the armor God has given us for protection in battle. Sadly, too many of us try to walk into battle without protection and weaponry, and even scarier, too many of us don’t acknowledge the battle!

Dig into Ephesians chapter 6 – read it, study it and apply it! There are Bible studies available – in Christian book stores, thrift shops and even here on line. We have no excuse to walk naked into battle. We’re warriors, poised for war! Take up the offensive positions!

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ezer Rising VII

As the ezer rises, the only place found to stand is upon the Word of God. You cannot find sure footing in the sand, only on the Rock. Jesus is our Rock.

Exodus 33:21 (KJV) And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock

Deuteronomy 32:4 (KJV) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he

Deuteronomy 32:18 (KJV) Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

Always, consistently – stay in God’s Word. Stand on His Word. There’s safety there. God’s perfect will and love will fill you and empower you – through His Word.

This morning I challenged fear, again.

Does my drinking glass fear that each time I drink from it that it will somehow fail me? Besides the obvious, that an inanimate object cannot know fear, no. If my glass falls to the floor and breaks, I dropped it. If my drink dribbles onto my blouse, I’m the one that began pouring before it reached my lips. I control my drinking glass – the vessel I purchased to use as I please. I have my favorite coffee mugs, my favorite tall glass, my favorite soup mugs – I seldom pour cola into my soup mug, but I can if I choose to – because they all belong to me.

I’m God’s vessel. He purchased me for His own good pleasure. He paid the price so that I could be useful, used by Him. I willingly yield to His control.

From an old poem of mine:

Oh, dear Lord, let me be Your pen, every now and then, write with me.
Oh, Lord, just now I pray, that You would choose today-
to speak through me again.

The power of the pen is not in the ink, but in the commitment to the paper. Until the pen is put to paper – it’s powerless.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ezer Rising VI

So we’ve got it! We need to be in the Word every single day. If we’re a Christian, that’s our first essential. It teaches and equips us to do everything else we need to do. If you’re not a Christian, you’re fighting a losing battle. You cannot fight your way into heaven. Your name is either in the Lamb’s Book of Life, or it isn’t. That’s the easy part. Message me if you need to know more.

Now that we understand we need God’s Word daily, prepare yourself for the fact that Satan isn’t going to let that go uncontested. Whether he’s whispering in your ear about the million other things you need to do today, or your Bible is ‘conveniently’ out in the car because you took it to church last night, stand your ground. Lines like ‘I’m too sleepy’ or ‘I don’t understand what I read anyway’ are lies you’ve fallen for before that the enemy will keep using until they stop working.

Simply reading God’s Word – and allowing God to speak to you through it may be enough to get you on your feet and well on your way past discouragement. That’s not okay with Satan, either. He’s not going to give up. He wants you discouraged. He wants you doubting yourself, your salvation and your abilities to do anything for God. Without the reassurance you need from God Himself, it’s easy for Satan to lie to you and get away with it.

When are you going to stop harping on this, Helen? Well, most likely, never. Throughout our Christian walk, the temptation to make God wait on us may always be there in the backgrounds of our mind – or it may just pop up to try to sabotage us from time to time. Always, get back to the Word. If you’ve neglected it for a while now, begin again. God is the God of new beginnings.

What next? Come back for part VII….

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ezer Rising V

Okay, so some of you didn’t find yourself in the last post. You read your Bibles every single day. The angels are celebrating your commitment. I rejoice with them. What a way to seek after the heart of our Father!

This post isn’t aimed at everyone either, but to those who read the Word out of habit, like they take their vitamins every morning. I think some people even read their Bibles out of the superstitious feeling that if they don’t something will go wrong that day. So is it a good-luck charm?

Today I want to challenge you to examine your motives when you read God’s Word. Are you looking for something? That’s okay. But be ready to receive what God’s desiring to pour into you, as well. If you’re looking for a ‘word in due season’ – something to provide encouragement for your day or the answer to a question, great. But be open to the idea that God may be pointing you toward something you didn’t go there for.

When you’re looking for something you’ve misplaced, isn’t it great to find something else you thought you’d lost forever, or discover something you didn’t realize you had in the first place? God has nourishment and blessings and instructions and commands and even correction for us that we might not have been looking for when we opened our Bible covers. I love digging a purse out of the closet to discover there’s money in it I’d forgotten about. I love finding a note I’d written to myself with a nugget God gave me, refreshing me once again. But I love it best when I’m reading God’s Word and I find that He’s talking about me, that He’s written something there just for me, that I need right now. He knew I’d need it today since before I drew breath!

He’s good like that!

Look at your routine. Is it just a routine? If it is, you’re missing a lot.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ezer Rising IV

And again, I’m reminded of the saying we hear most from Pastor Mark, ‘Satan hates it when you get into the Word, but he trembles when the Word gets into you.’ This quote made its way around our favorite network system the other day – ‘You know that when you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache. When you open it, he collapses. When he sees you reading it he faints, and when you are about to repost this message, he will try and discourage you! One of his greatest tactics is simple discouragement!’
Surely the point is getting out; Satan does not want you reading your Bible. And on most days, if you’re honest with yourself, do you feel like you want to? Let’s examine that for a minute or two.

If you find that looking over the last week or so, you’ve missed out on reading the Word more days than you managed to make time for it, ask yourself why? Most of us know by now that we need to read it – that our spirit needs the Word like our flesh needs food. How often do we forget to eat? Yeah, we’ve all got our priorities. It might be about rearranging them.

What’s inside our heads that says it’s okay to put off reading the Bible until later, when we have more time, or convinces us that we won’t have time at all today, but that’s okay, God will understand?

Yes, God understands our busyness – and He’s not impressed with it at all.

Has Satan got us so deceived that we think its okay to go indefinitely without reading God’s Word? It’s where our spirit gets its strength to do the things God has destined us to do. So though our bodies may be (or need to be) on a diet, our spirit needs to be gorged, everyday. Without this nourishment, we’re too weak to use the other weapons in our arsenal.

Be accountable, put it in writing. Why didn’t I read my Bible yesterday?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ezer Rising III

Discipline. Kind of sounds like a cuss word to the lazy person.

I bought the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu, a Chinese military general that lived at least 500 years before Jesus clothed Himself in flesh. In it he reveals his mind set for war. A lot of Christians don’t see the warfare we’re involved in, and most of those that do are still learning this mind set. Amidst his warfare strategies, General Tzu says: All war is deception. We need to see that spiritual warfare in particular, is built upon deception. Of all the things Pastor Mark has been teaching us lately, this resounds in my mind.

The discouragement the enemy rolls out before us like a red carpet, compelling us to ‘walk this way’ is based on deception. The ridicule he throws at us, intentionally, is steeped in deception. Every lie we fall for is intended to deceive us into thinking about our lives from any viewpoint that doesn’t line up with God’s. This is why it’s so important to investigate and search out what God says about everything. The enemy of our soul doesn’t want us to know God’s point of view, because there we will find truth; absolute truth.

You’ve heard it said: fact is stranger than fiction. Well, lies can be easier to swallow than a truth pill. If I’m sly and cunning and have access to your unguarded mind, I can hide the truth from you. And Satan has had eons of time to practice the art of deception; he’s watched and learned the vulnerable, soft spots in the human mind. He notices when we drop our guard and sees when we’ve not been taught how to guard our minds in the first place. He is merciless and is out to steal, kill and destroy – his purpose, in a nutshell.

John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Come back for more………………

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ezer Rising II

So we all know what discouragement is. If you want to look into it more, check your favorite dictionary – you’ll find you’ve been there if you’re not sitting in the middle of it right now.

Take inventory. Do you see discouragement having its way with you? Whether it’s subtle or overt, it’s probably lurking there. If it’s not, you’d better be commenting on these blog posts and helping the rest of us out!

It might even be good to pull out a notebook and jot this stuff down. Sometimes things take hold better when we’ve thought enough about them to put them into actual words. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need notes for reminders anyway.

Now, what does God’s Word say about your situation? A concordance will come in handy if you take the time to search it out. If you don’t take the time to see what God has to say about it, you’re sitting on the bottom end of the teeter-totter with no playmate. You’re not going anywhere. Sitting there all alone makes you too easy a target for the enemy. If you don’t have a concordance – here’s a great tool for you, and there are many others like it. I use to search scripture and read commentary. Explore it.

Prepare your heart to renew your mind. Our battles are waged there. And discipline will take determination. How much is it worth to you to get the devil off your back? You have to come to a place where you accept and believe that God is right about everything, even if/when He disagrees with you.

Now we need to apply the ‘Balm of Gilead’. It does us no good to have a prescription filled and in hand, if we refuse to use it.

Stay tuned……

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ezer Rising

Pastor is teaching us how to rebuild the broken places in our lives, our community and our nation.

‘Discouragement is the attempt to prevent you from doing something by raising arguments, objections or some type of expression of disapproval. That doesn’t even have to be a word, it can be a look it can be a glance, it can be a snicker, it can be a smirk.’ - Pastor Mark Cowart (Church For All Nations, Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Is this how easily we’re set back? Is this how easily the enemy can snatch our destiny from us? This is the simple ploy we don’t even recognize enough to consciously put a stop to.

It may seem petty, but it’s powerful – especially against unwary Christians who don’t recognize we’re in a battle. Pastor Mark even calls discouragement ‘the choice weapon of darkness’.

When you purpose in your heart to do things God’s way – Satan is ready to send discouragement your way. He taunts us and harasses us with snide remarks or challenges us with arguments that somehow seem plausible at the time.
In my own life, even when I’m trying to do something good for myself, not even a grand notion to advance the kingdom of God, I hear objections to overrule my plans. You want to lose how many pounds? - Ha-ha, you seriously think you’re going to exercise every day? - You know you can’t resist those Mocha Frappes.

Worse yet when I argue the case against myself! I haven’t eaten all day, one mocha won’t kill me. - I’m not failing, I’ll just get back on track tomorrow. - Well, at least I’m not as heavy as the lady in front of me.
And as if that’s not bad enough, discouragement can come in just because something doesn’t go my way. (As if the world revolves around me.)

Bells should go off when I’m siding with the enemy! When I battle in my mind over little things, certainly the devil is convinced he’s got me under his feet when I try to do something for God.

But no more! This will require biblical tactics and discipline. See you back here in a day or two…..

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Beautiful Seasons of Ezer

Each season is crowned with splendor, but the colors of autumn are so rich, they insist on grabbing my attention. Looking out the window I can tell that the air is crisp and chilly. It’s daytime, but there’s no hint at the warmth the sun should be spilling everywhere. It’s time for turtlenecks, jackets and the fuzzy socks from the back of your drawer. But whether we’re looking at the warm colors of fall that compliment the cooler temperatures or the white skirts of snowflakes canvassing our view in the winter; whether we’re embracing the bright pastels of springtime or the array of greens that summer wears – the beauty of change is fulfilling. Oftentimes we’re forced from our routine to stand awestruck in wonder and nature itself takes our breath away.

The seasons of our lives are just as beautiful. But just as in springtime there’s rain to complain about or the sweltering heat of summer, the temperature drops of fall and the icy roads of winter – we find things to complain about as we pass from one season to the next as we age. When we’re young, we can’t wait to grow up. When we’re young adults we think time will stand still. When we’re older we long for our youth.

But God, in His wisdom, has placed us right where we are for such a time as this. We can make a beautiful impact on the lives around us, as we allow the beauty of those lives to fill our day with meaning and love.

Instead of defaulting to complaining and murmurings, and wishing for something ‘better’, we can rejoice in knowing that our God knows exactly what He’s doing and that His timing is always perfect.

Today, we are beautiful – and perfected in Christ.

Esther 4:14 …yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wounded Ezers

Our pastor has been teaching on the Seven Strategies of Opposition, drawing from the book of Nehemiah. I certainly think he’s stepping on a lot of toes – unless people are sitting on their feet. I find myself exposed by every strategy of the enemy he brings up. The first was that of ridicule, then that of discouragement. I transcribe his sermons because we’re (as a church) intending to produce a workbook of some sort on this series. Since I’m listening to his sermons repeatedly and intently to transcribe word-for-word, I hear what he’s saying and it’s being hammered into my heart to the point of my rescue! He truly shares far more than most of us can possibly retain, whether we’re taking notes or not. There’s so much to be learned. After recognizing the ridicule (at least some of it) that the enemy throws my way, and after uncovering the discouragement he’s no doubt entertained by watching me squirm beneath, I’ve turned my focus on how to get myself out from under the captivating spell of his tactics. Pastor Mark (Cowart) has emphasized that Satan’s warring against us is all from deception. If he could just wipe us out, he wouldn’t bother with his attempts to deceive us. He’s not nearly as powerful as we give him credit for. And he certainly knows the power and potential that’s wrapped up inside of us more than we do, or we would be of no threat to him – and he wouldn’t be so focused on taking us down.

Besides ridicule and discouragement – the next thing pastor exposed is how Satan will try to use our past against us. He pointed out that the Apostle Peter himself denied Jesus – yet felt no condemnation as he showed the masses he preached to how they themselves denied Christ and His authority. For many years I’ve sung the chorus from Romans 8:1-2 – but Peter exercised it in his life!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 KJV)

Does any of this sound like something going on in your life? There is a way out!

More coming later this week……

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ezer - Help or Hindrance?

Going back a few blog posts I wrote a little about what an ezer is created to be. When God created our world, He saw that everything was good – the only thing that was not good, was for man to be alone, without one of his kind. God created the woman as the man’s ezer; his helpmate and so much more. The woman was created, as was the man, to bear God’s image in this world. Both men and women are created in God’s image – we are His masterpiece. Working together with each other, we more perfectly bear God’s image. When we war against each other, we mar His image.

Though men are traditionally the protectors, women have a protective nature and role as well. Along-side the men in our lives, we are called to fight. We are not called to fight against our men or to fight against our children. We are not called to chase after elusive battles that demand our attention, such as the battle of the bulge or the fight to keep up with the Joneses or even battles for equality. We are called to fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 6:12 KJV)

This past weekend I had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. In an attempt to ‘help’ my mate – I stepped on his toes. In order to help and not hinder the man I’m called most to stand beside, I have to be careful not to create little battles that can blind us to what we’re really fighting for. Satan rejoices when we get side-tracked and chase after pink elephants that aren’t really even there, instead of donning the full armor of God and pulling down strongholds and vain thoughts and every high thing that exalts itself against God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Five Riddles

Here are the five riddles I promised you yesterday. And yes, I've provided the answers.

1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three
rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of
assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that
haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over
5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go
out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

3. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when
you throw it away?

4. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words
Wednesday, Friday or Sunday?

5. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious as to just how quickly
you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary
and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact,
nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though. Study it and
think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work
at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching!


1. The third room. Lions that haven't eaten in three years are dead.
That one was easy, right?

2. The woman was a photographer. She shot a picture of her husband,
developed it, and hung it up to dry (shot-held under water-and hung.

3. Charcoal, as it is used in barbecuing.

4. Sure you can name three consecutive days: yesterday, today and

5. The letter 'e', which is the most common letter used in the English
language, does not appear even once in the paragraph.

That was fun - questions are so good for the mind!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A 'Funny' Break

Since we've been talking about questions I decided to share an email I got the other day... filled with questions. Funny questions! They remind me of an old column about 'things that make you go, hmmmm.....'

Can you cry under water?

Why do you have to 'put your two cents in'... but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'? Where's that extra penny going to?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway...

Why is 'bra' singular and 'panties' plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

If people evolved from apes,why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

Why do they have braille at the bank drive up window?

Tomorrow I'll post five funny riddles (and the answers) for you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ezer Part 12

It can be very hard to make sense of the world around us. I was talking with a lovely waitress the other day about tragedies that befall the most innocent among us. After stating that she believes in God, she asked with a pained face, ‘Why? How does a loving God allow this?’ That’s a tough question. The only answers I have aren’t usually enough to soften the face of the one asking. It’s a question we’ve all wrestled with, especially when the tragedy hits close to home.

I can say from experience that God will use our tragedies for our good and His glory. He’s done it in my life time and time again. Knowing this to be true doesn’t always make the next interruption of pain or sorrow any easier though. Maybe it would if we learned everything we needed to learn the first time around. But there’s always more to learn.

I do not for one minute believe that God causes tragedies. But I do believe He allows them to occur, because He’s allowed us all to make choices. Most of the time we won’t understand why or what good could possible come out of any tragedy. Oftentimes it’s not until after healing begins to take place that we can look back and see God’s hand in motion. Even then, or years later, there are things we look back at and still can’t make any sense of them. But still, His mercy is there.
One thing I know is that God is good, all the time. He is merciful and faithful to a merciless and faithless people. He trusts us, even when we don’t trust ourselves. In Jeremiah 29:13 God tells us: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. In the midst of your heartache and grief, search for Him. He promises that you will find Him.

To be continued…

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ezer Part 11 - Questions and Answers

Hopefully you’re discovering some points to ponder as you read through these blog postings. If you have answers to some of the questions I’ve posed, please share them with us.

As I navigate through this walk of life I am constantly bombarded with questions. Perhaps it’s my personality type; I’m just curious by nature. But my need-to-know sometimes gets the better of me. I ask silly questions. I ask questions that none of us can really know the answers to until we can ask God Himself Face-to-face. To my human mind there are plenty of verses in the Bible that seem to conflict with each other – and for many people, that is enough for them to dismiss the idea of the Bible being accurate and directly from God. I’m a little more humble than that when I admit that my finite brain can’t yet boast to understand all of God’s thoughts and ways. I take God at His Word, even when I don’t completely understand what He’s saying. It’s not blind faith; it’s a faith that constantly asks God for more; more knowledge, more wisdom, more understanding, more grace, more compassion and more discernment. I want more of God Himself. There are plenty of things I know in my heart but can’t find words to express.

But honestly, I have more unanswered questions than I do answers. Most likely, because one good answer leads to dozens more questions. I’m okay with questions. To stop learning is to stop living. I’ve met people that don’t ask questions – maybe they’re afraid to ask or they’re afraid of the answer. Maybe they don’t even care enough about the answer to ask the question. Or maybe, just maybe – they need someone like me to ask the questions for them?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ezer Part 10

Since God trusts us with the privilege of choice, I don’t believe we can rightly force others to believe the way we do – but believing as I do, I want desperately for others to live in freedom and look forward to the promise of heaven. I passionately want those I love to be spared eternity in the torments of hell. I can argue with God all I want that the people around me lack the capacity to make the wise choice. He doesn’t believe me at all. [smile]

While recently at the hospitals for tests, when Dave’s father argued to leave before the doctor cleared him to leave, some of us wanted to override his choice. He’d have been left with a very expensive bill that Medicare would not have paid and the tests they were running on him would have been rendered incomplete and therefore worthless. Fortunately, he wound up staying until the doctors had a diagnosis and were willing to send him home with antibiotics and oxygen for an infection and pneumonia. But he fussed and complained the whole time that he wanted the contraptions he was hooked up to unhooked and to put his clothes back on so he could go home. That would have been very unwise, but it was his choice to make. I presume he stayed because we argued back with him and gave him reason after reason to stay. But if they’d have wanted to admit him overnight we’d have either had to honor his choice or override his right to choose. Knowing we wouldn’t want anyone to override our right to choose, we’re glad it didn’t come to that.

Choose wisely.

Come back in a few days for more!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ezer Part 9

Here on planet Earth, we are confined to timelines. We cannot normally see what will happen beyond the moment we’re living in. If we see an acorn falling from a tree branch, we can safely predict it will hit the ground in less time than it takes to think it through. If it’s raining today, we can guess that it might be muddy out tomorrow. If we can’t sleep tonight, we’ll probably be dragging tomorrow. But God can cause events to work together in ways our finite brains can’t imagine, causing the impossible to become possible. We can’t live day to day assuming that we’ll know the outcome of everything. In the Bible God tells us that His thoughts and ways are higher than ours.

(For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 KJV)

The bottom line for any belief we hold, is that we choose to believe it. We choose to believe scientific facts, generally, based on what we’ve been taught – we don’t know any different, and when we don’t know a differing point of view, we tend to believe what we’ve been taught until it’s contested. I tend to believe that a sturdy looking chair will hold my weight, unless I see it buckle under someone else or feel it caving beneath me. If I chose to be suspect of everything around me, I would be labeled paranoid. For choosing to believe the Bible, many around the world are persecuted, even to the point of death. Why? If what we believe is a lie and of no threat to anyone, why persecute those of us that choose to believe the Bible? Again, graciously, I’ve been afforded the privilege of living in America, where, at least for the time being, we can still choose to believe what we will.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ezer Part 8

Then I have to ask myself why it is that I’ve been blessed, or fortunate enough to discover God’s truth, when so many in the world have never even heard the Name Jesus. Clearly God dictated that I be born in the year 1959, in Middle America and into a home that feared God. As I grew up, I questioned most everything, including God. But that’s okay, that’s how I learn, by investigating. I chose what I believed and from what I was taught and what I didn’t believe. I questioned and investigated further to discover why I made my choices the way I did. What I choose to believe is found in the Bible, what I chose to throw out were traditions, which in and of themselves may or may not have been good traditions, but were not found in God’s Word.

Predestination, is there anything to it? Yes, it’s referred to in the Bible. Honestly, I don’t know how it all fits in to the grand picture of life and eternity, though. I believe God knows the end from the beginning; He’s already seen it all. Does He know it because He’s seen it? Or has He ‘seen’ it because He wrote the script? I’m not really sure which way to argue that. I do believe that God is not confined by time like we are. And yet....

To be continued still....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ezer Part 7

It’s recently come to my attention that the percentage of people in the world that hold a biblical worldview is so tiny I gasped. I didn’t realize that I was in such a small minority. Only 4% of the people worldwide (according to the poll cited in the documentary I watched last night) claim to believe that man is created in God’s image with God given purpose. I imagine that even fewer actually believe that man lives in a fallen state until they come to the place where they recognize their need for redemption and gives their lives back to God to perfect.

To discover the foundation that God has laid for us to stand on, we need to go back to the basics of Christianity. Those basics that most of the world doesn’t recognize. The simple truths I’ve embraced for so long, that seem so far from the grasp of most humans on the planet. I’m forced to ask myself questions regarding why and/or how I can believe in a God that up to 96% of the world’s population disregards. In our society, majority rules – or rather it’s supposed to. This would dictate that my beliefs in God must not be founded and are wrong and useless. This would shake the foundation from beneath someone whose foundation is built on lies – or sandy ground. But I choose to stand. With God, we always have the choice to do things His way or our own way. He will never force us to do things His way, because He wants us to choose His ways out of love. When we’re forced to do things a certain way, they are seldom done out of love.

Then I have to ask myself why it is…

Part 8 coming soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ezer Part 6

We cannot fight everyone else’s battles and stand unwounded to fight our own. God has equipped me to fight my battles – though He may call you along to help me as I grow weary, but they are my battles to fight. He may call me alongside of you to provide an encouraging word at the right time, He may expect me to even take a bullet for you, but ultimately, the battles you’ll face are yours to fight. He never leaves us alone; He is constantly with us no matter what enemies we face or their strategies against us, because He lives inside of us and cannot leave us, by His own choosing.

So, where do we start? How do we build our foundation on God? Is it something that just ‘happens’?

Building your foundation is not an overnight undertaking. It’s something you have to be intentional about. Along the way, you’ll probably make mistakes, I know I have. But God is ever so patient with us. He sees our heart, He knows our intentions. He’ll provide road signs and assistance along the way. He’s paid too dear a cost to leave us alone to wander in the wilderness all by ourselves. He’s provided us with a map and instructions that far too many of us pay far too little attention to. The old jokes about men not wanting to stop and ask for directions when they’re lost are a perfect example of how God’s children try to get through life, thinking we can complete our missions without asking how God wants us to do it; thinking we can surely figure things out on our own.

Part 7 coming soon.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ezer Part 5

If something is worth holding on to, it’s worth fighting for. When we’ve been joined together in a holy union, before God and man – that union is worth fighting for. Not much pleases the enemy more than dividing what God has joined together.

Don’t look back to past marriages or failed relationships. Fight from where you are, for what you have now. Looking back upon our broken relationships may reveal flaws in ourselves we need to work on, but we cannot look back and feel guilt over what God has already forgiven. God casts our sins and failures into a Sea of Forgetfulness and doesn’t remember them anymore. When we repent (turn away from) the sins and mistakes of our past, God no longer sees those sins and failures because His Son Jesus stands in the way, saying, ‘Now she is mine, I’ve cleaned her slate, she gets to start out fresh and new today and every day she belongs to me. Her heart is one with mine, I’ve given her a new name and a new mission.’

When soldiers are in battle, they forge forward to gain ground. When the battle slows, they can tend to the wounded around them. Forge forward as the strong warrior called alongside your husband, tend to his wounds as well as to the wounds of others as the battle slows. But keep your eyes on the Master, follow the commands and leading of your ‘General’ and He will see to it you come through triumphant. There will be casualties of war, because there are those who will insist on fighting in the battles without establishing the true and firm foundation from which to wage war. And there will be those who try to fight someone else’s battles. God has equipped you to fight the battles He has already seen the enemy contrive against you.

To be continued again.....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ezer Part 4

As Christian women, as an ezer, there may be more than one man that you and I will be called alongside to battle with. You may need at some times to stand with your father, your sons, a brother or a friend. But after our commitments to God Himself, if we're married, our priority is to battle with and on behalf of our husband; the man God created for us to love and receive marital love from. Satan doesn’t like us being committed to that mission and plots ways to divide and conquer. Sadly, he’s often too successful.

Shifting back to the walls we erect and the doors we slam shut; too often they are doors through which the love for and from our husband is meant to flow. Sure, sex might be good. Sure, we may even spend time together on extracurricular activities and share a date night on a weekly basis. But what is the foundation of our relationship? Is the foundation one that Satan will succeed in shaking or crumbling like old clay? Our foundation has to be the Word of God to be a lasting and unbreakable foundation. When the foundation of a house is cracked, it’s very costly to repair – if the repairs can even be made. Contractors need to be especially careful when constructing the foundation of any building. When the foundation of our marriage begins to shake and crack, the cost of repairs can be extremely high, if not out of reach. An old scripture song tells us not to build our house on sandy land – not too close to the shore, but to build your house upon the Rock, so you have a firm foundation, not one that will shift with the tide. The Rock is Jesus Christ; God Himself.

The children of this world often achieve a self-contrived inner peace and relationships of harmony that rival those of the children of God. The divorce rates across the nation are the same whether yours is a Christian marriage or not. This should not be so. As Christian men and women we should be fighting for each other, not against each other. We should be fighting for what God has given us, not looking for something easier or what appears to be better on the surface.

To be continued again.....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ezer Part 3

Any one we wish to receive love from is potentially in a very powerful place. We give them the keys to unlock the essence of what’s in our hearts, hoping to exchange with them the phenomenal source of life: love. But love is not always returned. Trust is often laughed at, behind our backs until the charade is revealed. Whether it’s a playground playmate that betrays our friendship or our first love that betrays our trust; the hurt our hearts suffer seems insurmountable. We learn to trust again, either out of hope or desperation. Someone comes along and sends out the signal that they can be trusted with our heart. Or someone comes into our life that challenges us to reach into their heart to love them. A knowing that there’s a place in them that needs to be caressed – and a place in us that needs to be filled.

I want to back up for just a moment to my opening greeting, which may have been puzzling. When God created man, He created us male and female. The female part was, in the original Hebrew, called the ezer. An ezer is one shaped to harmoniously fit together with the male part, but created to be his strong, warrior ally; the part of him that fights for him when he is weak or chooses not to battle himself. Together they can successfully bear the image of God and advance His kingdom. Nothing can frustrate our common enemy more, so he perpetually seeks to destroy the union between man and his ezers. To look at our society we find proof enough to see that the battle of the sexes rages forcefully.

We ezers often want independence and to tout superiority over the man instead of coming along side of man and stand in battle with him. Being fifty years old, I’ve encountered men along side of whom I would choose not to stand. But those are not the men that God has called me and created me to stand with. Through the years too, Satan has regularly lied to me and tried to tear me away from the man God created me to stand with. Praise be to God, Satan’s strategies, though powerful and hurt-filled, have not succeeded.

To be continued again....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ezer Part 2

Lately I’ve had to face the fact that loving everyone isn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be. Up until this place in my life, I’ve found it quite simple to love most everyone that crossed my path, even those that cut across the paths of my life with sharp razor blades! I’ve not had to wrestle with forgiving most of the offenders in my life – just a few.

But the further into my life I allow a relative stranger venture, the more I find myself protecting my heart and putting up walls and closing doors that I’m meant to love through. Perhaps I plan on sliding my love through in an envelope under the doors, or tossing my love over the tall walls in note wrapped around a rock. I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work, though love can be shown through what I write when it’s my only way to show it. I think love is supposed to be more ‘hands on’. I think I have to love the way I want to be loved, personally. If the object of my love is out of reach, letters, text messages and phone calls may be all I feel I have to reach out with. But written messages and even calls can be vague and my emotions might not be read correctly.

So now I work on tearing down the walls and opening the doors to those around me. I wouldn’t have thought the work to do so would be so hard, or the walls so high and the doors so tightly slammed shut.

When (not if) I open the doors, I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable, which is something many of us have vowed never to do again. By the time we escape childhood, most of us have been hurt enough to swear off the pain that can accompany loving and being loved.

To be continued again.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ezer Part 1

Ezer - Part 1

What does ezer mean? We'll get to that.....

Ezer! Strong and loving friend; warrior in the battle to advance God’s kingdom, I love you and I thank God for you.

Called to the battle lines in the war that will see life as we know it come to an end, ushering in the kingdom of God on a level we can’t yet even comprehend, we grow weary quickly. Has God called us to battle without training us or giving us instructions or briefing us? It sure looks that way, especially when we don’t recognize His involvement and influence on every moment of our lives – every breath we take.

Oftentimes we’re thrust into the midst of a battle screaming, ‘Wait! No one told me we were at war!’ But what indeed do we think we’ve been in training for? All of life’s experiences to this point have not been pointless, random events taking place in a mass of matter and energy with no purpose. God’s been busy preparing us all for everything He knows we’ll face, especially for those events that will further His kingdom on Earth. Winning our lost loved ones souls for the cause of Christ is great and heavy in my heart and always on my mind. And clearly preaching at them is one method that appears to fall on deaf ears. Calling on the Spirit of God that lives within us, to love them through us is the greatest gift we can share with anyone, whether that’s a stranger on the street, a co-worker, a child, a parent or a spouse.

To be continued.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Vivid Dream

Not for the sqeamish, another vivid dream.

Strangers in a Foreign Land

They were in a foreign land, like China –an Asian country. Amidst many other travelers, two couples rode on a trolley-car type train across major roadways in a huge city. Oddly, several loud, obnoxious, fat, college aged Americans seemed to be the ones in control of the train, acting as conductors. At the time no one seemed to suspect the train had been taken over. The conductors served the passengers a tempting plate of goodies; brownie bites, cookies, chocolate fudge and the like. The woman watching her weight knew she shouldn’t indulge, but the temptation was too much, she ate her fill. Everyone on board the train partook.
Back at their hotel, though the husbands were tired too, they went out on their own, but the ladies were so sleepy they had to nap. While they were sleeping, or drugged by the goodies and unconscious, they were raped.
Upon waking, they knew something horrible had happened to them but looked for reasons to explain it away and dismiss it. They were ashamed and didn’t talk about it with each other – until the younger woman admitted to the older one that she was sore ‘down there’ – confused and terrified as to why.

I woke up.

As Christians we are strangers in a foreign land, indulging in temptations to sin.
Sin weakens the Bride of Christ – causing her to ‘sleep’ or be apathetic about what happens to the body.
The Bride of Christ is being raped while she ‘sleeps’ – while others, the protectors (perhaps pastors or others in leadership roles?) in the body ‘sleep’ or look the other way.

Key: stop indulging in temptation/sin

Words that can replace ‘rape’: violated, made ‘un-whole’, damaged, crushed, torn apart, invaded, divided, confused, shamed, laughed at & mocked, innocence taken, quieted, suppressed, emptied, scarred, scared, intimidated, robbed, numbed, shocked, devastated, trashed, used and abused.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

RFDS - Part 6 - Conclusion

Part Six - Conclusion

Relating this parable of the ten virgins to our own lives, the oil for the lamps has been said to represent the Holy Spirit, oil in other places in the Bible represents the Holy Spirit. But the oil has also been said to represent the personal relationship between the bride and her bridegroom, or her faith, or even her works. The bottom line it represents is readiness; readiness for the return of the Bridegroom. Are we ready for Christ’s return?

There are many who consider themselves Christians who won’t be taken in the rapture. They have not been washed in the Blood of the Lamb. They are not watching, as we are commanded to do. Christ will say to them, “Depart from me, I knew you not.” (Matthew 25:1) Could the oil represent their innocence? Whether or not they had indeed been washed in the Blood of the Lamb? The foolish virgins weren’t realistic about how long their oil would last and they were not ready when it was time to go. Were the foolish virgins living in the reality of salvation through Jesus Christ? Or were they just living under the title ‘Christian’ which many do, even though they have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Are we living in the reality of our salvation through Jesus Christ? If we call ourselves Christians, we are either one of the wise virgins or one of the foolish. We are either washed in the Blood of the Lamb, or not. We are innocent or we are not. How do we know?

When you ask yourself if you are among the innocent, what is your answer? Are you innocent but didn’t dare to call yourself innocent? Can you say it out loud? Is that being arrogant or proud or is it simply the word of your testimony?

Can you look around at your Christian friends and see their innocence? Maybe they too have been living in denial of the Truth that sets us free; that makes us wise. Saying it out loud is the first step to admitting and proclaiming the Truth that sets us free. Say it loud, and say it often - but know it and mean it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RFDS - Part 5 - More on Our Innocence

The lies of the enemy are subtle, and he’s rehearsed them a thousand times before he whispers them in our ears. And - we listen. And - we believe him. Without even checking out what God has to say about it, we believe the lies of the enemy, and we suffer because of it. We go without, because we aren’t walking in the Truth.

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

After we have been washed clean and innocent by the Blood of the Lamb, we need to tell somebody, often. That would be the word of our testimony.

Determine some of the differences between the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins Matthew talks about in chapter 25. Which group do we fall into?

Matthew 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

It appears that the only thing that made the foolish virgins foolish - was that they didn’t take any extra oil with them. The wise virgins had oil enough to burn their lamps, even after waiting on the bridegroom for so long a time that the lamps of the foolish virgins had gone out. Both virgins knew about the coming of the bridegroom, both were waiting for his call, it even appears that they were waiting together.

Hmmm..... to be continued....