Monday, August 29, 2011

Praying for Rain

Seems like such an odd thing to be praying for, considering that part of our nation has seen some of the worst flooding in 100 years.

So, maybe it is a prayer for the spiritual realm instead of the physical, but the concept comes from a very physical and tangible concept.

God showered it over me last week:  the former and the latter rain.

I know what you are thinking, "What on earth is the former and the latter rain?!"  Because that was what was running through my head when every verse I encountered had to do with this subject.

James 5:7  "...he hath long patience for it, until he receives the early and latter rain."

Deuteronomy 11:13-14 "...if you obey...I will give you the rain of your land in his due season...the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil."

Job 29:23 "And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain."

Proverbs 16:15 "In the light of the king's countenance is life, and his favour is as a cloud of latter rain."

Hosea 6:3  "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD, his going forth is prepared as the morning, and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."

Joel 2:23  "He gave the former rain moderately, he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain in the first month..."

Jeremiah 5:24  "...neither say they in their heart, let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season, he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest."

Zechariah 10:1  "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them the showers of rain, to everyone, grass in the field."

I am not trying to take things out of context...just wanted you to see that this concept is everywhere! 

But, what does it mean?

On a surface and very practical level, the Palestinian area where Israel is only receives a significant amount of rain a couple of times a year.  The first time is in the autumn months...around September or October.  This rain is for the purpose of preparing the ground for seed to be sown.  It sometimes only comes as a dew, but it softens the ground enough for the seed to take root into the earth.

The next rain comes in the spring, around April or May.  It comes just before harvest time, which occurs around June.  This rain develops and grows the crops so that the harvest will be plentiful.  It is a harder rain than the former rain.

I am not a dummy.  It would require great faith to live in this kind of environment and expect a crop every year. 

Sometimes what is physical for the Jewish people can be spiritual for the church.  So, what would that look like for us?  Why should we be concerned with a concept known as former and latter rain?

Many associate rain with the Holy Spirit (see Is. 44:3-4).  What if rain could be tied to a soul harvest?  If the former rain softens the soil and allows a seed to be planted, then maybe God uses our witness in this way.  God softens a person's soul, waters the seed that has been planted, and a harvest comes later on.

The rains always had to do with a harvest, so if we are going to apply it to our spiritual lives, then we can't forget this!  How might this work for believers?

In Clarke's words, God wants to do two things:
1.  Impregnate the seed when sown
2.  Fill the ear of wheat near the time of harvest (He wants to ensure what was promised.)

How might this apply?
Here are just a few ways...
1.  We can ask God to sow an understanding of Jesus and His rain on it til it is manifested in our lives!  (We can ask the Holy Spirit to rain on our talents and gifts and use them for His glory!)

2.  We can look around and see what God is doing in our lives and ask God to send rain to bring about the result (for our family, God has sown a seed for loving the nations and we are asking God to bring rain to show us what to do with that love.)

3.  We can ask God to send rain on our children's souls...that He would soften the ground for salvation, or rain on the Word that has been implanted in their they will know Him and live their lives to glorify Him.

4.  We can ask God to restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2) (Through sin, suffering, and/or trials, things in life may have been stripped away...we can ask God for rain to send a bountiful repayment.)

5.  We can pray for rain to fall on our finances...that what we have will go far...and that if He wants to bless us with more, that it will be used for His purposes and name sake.

6.  We can pray rain over our church and country.  (We can pray for a turning from sin and a turning to God's pure heart...we can pray that rain might lead to a revival of sorts...a true soul harvest.)

7.  We can pray rain over our friends' wombs that are longing for children...that God would prepare the "ground" and fatten and grow that baby until the "harvest."

What seeds are you desiring to be planted?  They can be spiritual and physical!  Pray for the former soften and prepare the ground for it to take root...and then pray for the latter rain, expecting God to come through on His promise!

I think Jesus wants us to know that He is our former and our latter rain.  He came softly the first time, as a suffering servant.  But, when He comes again, it will be as the King of Kings, noticeable, and where everyone will witness His glory.  In our lives, He is both, as well....the one who allows things to start, and the one who brings them to completion.  Our alpha.  Our omega.  Our former rain.  Our latter rain.  Our very living water. (Jn. 7:38)

This idea of former and latter rain goes much deeper when dealing with the nation of Israel, but I wanted to focus on the church today. 

What would rain do for you right now?  Pray for rain.  And then you better open that pretty little mouth of yours wide open!

"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground:
  I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
 and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses."  Isaiah 44: 3-4

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mmm Mmm Good!

Now that fall is (almost) upon us, I am finally in the mood to cook again.  My husband and children thank me.

Yesterday, I roasted a 9-10 pound pork roast on 250 degrees for 6 hours.  I seasoned it with lemon zest, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, garlic, and white wine.  It was tasty!  We had it as "roast' with mashed tators and green beans.  Then, I shredded the rest and put 4 cups each into 2 ziploc bags to freeze.  I think we'll have pork soft tacos with cilantro and avocado one night and BBQ pork sandwiches another.  It was nice to get a lot of meals planned in one day!

I have been getting excited about the possibility of cooler know what that means don't you?  SOUP season!  I'll give you some of my fave soup recipes another time, but in the mean time, enjoy these!!!

1.  Sausage Mushroom Rigatoni (Earthy and homey and the leftovers are just as good!)

2.  Biscuit Style Cinnamon Rolls (my first attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls...they are perfect/melt in your mouth, not too sweet!)

3.  Chicken Florentine (this may be Eric's fave...he always sings my praises afterwards)

4.  Taco Bowls  (fun for a football night)

happy cooking!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

happy birthday to my mom!

I can't believe you are only 39
I am catching up waaaaaay toooo fast

I am proud to be your daughter
proud to resemble you in some ways
proud to call you friend

I am blessed that you taught me about Jesus
blessed to have learned a thing or two from you
blessed to know some of the hidden recesses of your heart

I am happy that God knit me together in your womb
happy that we have fun when we are together
happy to celebrate another year of life with you

{I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always...}

Dreams of a 15 year old girl

My hair was permed tight and I rocked the oversized shirt and leggings.  I couldn't even drive, but I had my life mapped out.

I found the proof of that this very morning (in old school typewriter form complete with white out, no less.)  (All the spelling has been left to protect the identity of the 15 year old.)

REBEKAH ASHLEY MARTENS WAS BORN ON JUNE 2, 19XX.  After that day she decided to become a doctor, so she asked her mom-Debbie what kind of doctor she should be .  Debbie said she should either become a gynecoligist or an obstretician.  Becke' wasn't sure if that's what she wanted to spend the rest of her life doing, so she asked her father-Jerry.  Jerry said she should to to CONNERS STATE COLLEGE.  Poor Rebekah KNEW that wasn't what she wanted!  So LULU decided to wait until she graduated to make her final decision.  After Becke' completed high school-she accepted a 90 thousand dollar scholarship to HARVARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ANYWAYS LULU finished college and became a pediatrician she then married a rich lawyer who loved kids!  They had twins-two girls.  Later we had a boy.  Then we decided that I better have a hyserectimy so we couldn't have anymore kids.  WE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER BECAUSE I DIDN'T BECOME A COW WOMAN OR A GYNECOLIGIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I laugh and then I hear the undertones of a growing up girl who doesn't know what to do with her life.  She feels like everything should be mapped out.  She needs vision.  A plan.  She doesn't understand yet that God has his own story to weave from her life.  She can't even spell, but she knows that some sort of plan will give her a sense of security.  Identity.

Several years later, I laugh.  I am not a pediatrician.  Or a cow woman.  Or a gynecologist.  I went to small-town-USA college.  I am simply a mother.  A wife.  A daughter of God.  A woman who occasionally takes pictures for people.  I didn't marry a lawyer.  We aren't rich.  We don't have twin girls.   (I know who is laughing at that.)

But, in a sense, I am living happily ever after.  My contentment is in Jesus and Jesus alone.  Whatever blessings come after that make my cup runneth over.  Many days are hard, but I wouldn't trade the story that God is writing upon the pages of my heart for anything in the world.  I still struggle with wanting a plan and sense of security, but I rest in God's delight over me.  It is a priceless treasure, knowing that God is actively weaving a beautiful story out of me. 

He is doing it for you, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review {Why do we do this thing called church anyway??}

I like thought provoking books.  I think sometimes, we do things because they are habit and we have no reason at all why we do them.  It is like the story of a lady always cutting the ends of her ham off before she sticks it in the oven to bake.  When questioned why she did this, she had no answer.  Come to find out, she did it because she saw her mother do it, who saw her mother do it...who did it because the ham never fit into her small pan! 

I think church can be the same way.  We do things, well, because they have always been done that way.

Is it right? 
Is it effective for the Kingdom?
Is it for God's glory? 

Southern Baptist, Nazarene, Methodist, Missional Church, Pentecostal, Emergent Church, it is enough to make my head spin.  Even "non-denominational' churches seem to fit a certain mold of doing things a certain way.  Who is right?  Is there a right?  What exactly did Jesus mean when he calls Believers the Church?

This book takes a Christian and an Atheist and follows their journey of visiting various churches across the United States.  Some mega churches are visited such as Lakewood (Joel Osteen), Saddleback (Rick Warren) and The Potter's House (T.D. Jakes.)  Some small churches and even a house church are visited...none of which you or I have ever heard of. 

I guess at the end of the book, I was wondering where Jesus was.  With too much watered down gospel and too many fog lights, He almost seemed to be completely absent from many of the churches.  It made me wonder why we do this thing called church and what exactly Jesus would have it look like.  Would it even have a building?  I don't have any answers, just lots of questions running through my mind.

I think the perspective from the atheist is mind blowing and very accurate.

All that said, I love my church.  We aren't looking for something bigger or better or brighter.  We are happy with our church's mission of "equipping believers to walk with God, love others, and impact their world by developing fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ..."  Even so, it does one good to question the purpose behind the couple of hours on Sunday mornings.

There was one part of the book that made me said that we as believers might want to consider toning down our words about the blood of Jesus when talking to Muslims because of all the bloodshed.  Maybe I am not understanding the author clearly, but I will never be toning down the blood of Jesus.  It is my only hope, my only power, and my only basis for eternal life.

How much in our churches is based on actually Christianity rather than just the culture of America?  We have taken what Christ did and institutionalized it.  Why does everything have to be based on a formula?  Why is every minute scheduled during a service?  It is as if we wouldn't dare want God Himself to show up with His own agenda.  We might not have time for that.

I find myself asking the same question that the atheist asked, "Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?"

I don't know.  I just don't know.

What do you think the purpose of the church is?  First of all, how do you define "church"?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Unexpected Invasion

How is it that while they are sleeping
they capture your heart all over again
and they did nothing to warrant such an unexpected invasion

I sometimes wonder
if God is overcome with love for his children
as we sleep unaware

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Day Mercy Triumphed Over Judgment (a birthday post)

The raging tide of emotions that started last Saturday have come to a full head in this single day.  This day of August 19, 2011, the day my sister Kiley should have turned 28.  It hit me while driving through Harrison last Saturday, a small town that she for a short time, called home.  It had been a full three and a half years.  To borrow another's phrase, three and a half years ago, "Her life was undone in a moment by her own doing." (Jon Bloom)

And I still don't know what to do with that.  I get to meet occasionally with a lady who has tried countless times to take her own life.  But God won't allow it.  He rescues her every single time.  My heart wrestles with why he didn't rescue my sister that day; why didn't He override her desire to undo her life in a single moment?

So, my heart turns to my Mother, because I know a mother's heart.  I think of the birth of my babies.  I know the longing of wanting them in your arms and out of your womb.  I know there is a sense of sacred that surrounds this day.  It was the day her longings for a child came to fruition.  It was the day of God's promises coming to revelation.  It was the day her faith became her eyes...the day her utterances of "God is my vow, God is faithful to His promise" became the beautiful girl dubbed with the middle name Elisabeth "God is my vow, God's promise."

God was fulfilling something to my Mother in the gift of this little girl.

It was a day that mercy triumphed over judgment.  God had the ability of getting right inside of my Mom's skin.  He saw things from her point of view.  He felt the need she had there.  He deliberately identified with her hurt.  And he did something about it.  He poured out his chesed (loving kindness) onto her that day on August 19th.

I think of what Kiley did and how it demands mercy from all those left in the quake of destruction.  I am reminded of the story of the adulteress whom was caught in the act and drug to the feet of Jesus, demanding that she be condemned.  Stoned.  Hated.  Jesus asked everyone to start picking up stones.  But only if they are without sin.  No one picked up a stone that day.  Jesus had the right to.  He was flawless.  But His very heart shouted that mercy should triumph over judgment. 

He had come to bear the burden of that adulteress's guilt. 
He came to bear my sister's guilt.
He came to bear my guilt.

"God visits us when we are in darkness; when we are in such darkness as to know nothing, see nothing, believe nothing, hope nothing; even then the Lord's mercy comes to us."  (Spurgeon)  Mercy triumphed over judgment that day three and half years ago, the day Kiley bowed to the influence of the shadow of death.

My heart has been heavy with this one theme this week:  mercy triumphs over judgment.  If we want to find where mercy was first mentioned in the Bible, we will find it in the story of Lot.  He and his daughters are rescued out of a country that thumbs its nose at the One True God.  They were spared from judgment and harm.

I wonder what it means to be merciful.  I know the merciful will be shown mercy.  I believe our rewards in heaven will be tied to how merciful we have been to others while on earth.  I think it is easy for us to choose to act with judgment instead of mercy...especially towards our country and leaders right now.  Matthew Henry said that "all children of men, in the last day, will be either vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy.  It concerns all to consider among which they shall be found--and let us remember that blessed are the merciful-for they shall obtain mercy." 

Mercy="eleos"; the moral quality of feeling compassion and especially of showing kindness toward someone in need.  It would seem that mercy would always lead to practical help in a person's life.

Will we choose to crawl into someone else's skin until we feel what they feel?  Until we think what they think?  Until we see what they see?  Jesus did.  Jesus chose to become human.  He knows how hard it is to be us, and yet he chose to identify with us anyway.  He chose to be mercy.

"God would have that those whom He has adopted, as He is to them a kind and indulgent Father, to bear and exhibit His image on the earth." Calvin

His image is mercy.

Is that my image?

{Lord, have mercy on me when I have not chosen mercy over judgment.  Give me grace to choose mercy from here on out.}

Happy Birthday Kiley
I promise to eat a double portion of guac and cheese dip and salsa tonight in your memory. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I can always say...

that I hosted my niece's first sleepover!  We ate cookies, watched sports (it isn't my fault she has boy cousins) and slept the night away.  We gave Tia dibs on whatever bed she wanted to sleep in...Cade's bed, Eli's bed, Sam's bed, or on the floor in Eli and Sam's room.  She opted for Eli's bed (on the top bunk) WITH Eli in the bed with her.  What my only niece wants, my only niece gets.  Luckily, Eli was willing to oblige her.  It was a sweet moment...seeing them curled up asleep together.  Thanks for creating memories with us, Tia!

The First Day

New school year!  YAY!  I already miss my little helpers.  I have had to unload the dishwasher, pick up the house, and unload the sacks of groceries all by my lonesome.  Funny how you start to get accustomed to having a little help! 

I will say that knowing once you have picked up the house and you know it will stay that way for more than 10 seconds, is quite a nice feeling.

I haven't had time to sit around, but the moments I do have are awfully quiet.  Not that I mind that...

All boys were ready to go this year!  When they got home from their first day, this is how it unfolded:

Cade sits down at the breakfast table with books and homework.  A huge grin spreads across his face as I realize he is finally back in his element.  School is simply his happy place.

Eli smiles and says that this will be a fun year.  (After he tells me he will only have homework two days a week.)

Sam goes to his room, flings himself on his bed and starts sucking his fingers and loving his blanket.   This morning he proceeded to tell me he doesn't want to go back to school today and that his stomach hurts and he should probably stay home.

Oh, the different kids that we have!  (Which was proved by the different color shirts they all picked out.)
And, oh how I love them each totally and completely!

 Guess it is just gonna be me and my girl...

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Last Summer Hoorah

Other than weddings, we hadn't had a chance to take the boys anywhere this summer, so we took over Branson for the weekend for one last summer hoorah.  Or only summer hoorah.  Whatever.

We stayed at a hotel that had an indoor water park which was great fun for the kids.  Eric and I sat there in tears and with headaches because the chlorine is sooooo strong.  I guess having no ventilation doesn't help matters.  The boys seemed fine with it...hopefully not too many brain cells were damaged!  The hotel has an indoor black light putt putt golf course that is really fun!

We went to Silver Dollar City on Friday with Kirby, Jen, and Hunter (Jen's bro that is Cade's age.)  I have no pictures...and it is a good thing I didn't carry around a camera cause we all walked around soaked the whole day!  But, it was great fun.  This was the boys' first time there and they LOVED it!  Cade road a BIG roller coaster.  He LOVED it!  He is growing up too fast.  Eli and I agreed that the best seat in the house was watching him...we were getting woozy just trying to count how many times he went upside down.

Friday night we ate yummy food at Landry's.  I was kind of cold...the weather was just beautiful, but the rain had come.  Gumbo seemed to be perfect for the evening! 

Saturday we went to the Amazing Pets Show and the boys just thought it was well, amazing

Now, we are furiously getting our house back in order and getting ready to label all of the school supplies.  For whatever reason, the school year snuck up on me this year and I can't believe I am saying this, but I am just not ready for those boys to go back to school yet. 

No more swimming.  Sniff. 

Did your kids start school today?  How did it go?  Did you celebrate or cry?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

You Can Have As Much As You Want

There was a lady born in the 1800's.  She went by the name Katie.  She stated a principle that I can't seem to get out of my head.  I have been pondering this simple statement for 4 months.

There is no fruit without sacrifice.

What if we are dry and empty and longing for adventure and Thy Kingdom come; but, inside we are at war with our own selfishness and comfortability.  (And yes, comfortability is a word...according to my weather man, anyway.)

What if the Holy Spirit wants to whisper into our inner beings this one thing:  "You can have as much fruit as you want--as you are willing to sacrifice for."

The fruit of seeing others come to Christ
The fruit of Joy
The fruit of really and I mean really knowing God
The fruit of children memorizing scripture
The fruit of answered prayer
The fruit of making His name known
The fruit of discipleship and people walking in freedom

But that word sacrifice.  It sometimes stops my selfish and frail flesh in its tracks.  Doesn't fruit have to be tied to a cross?  Isn't there no other way?  Didn't Jesus gain the fruit of allowing us to fellowship with the Father as He does by the cross?

Will I carry my cross so that the Holy Spirit can produce Kingdom of God fruit?  Is the amount of fruit I have directly linked to how much I am willing to sacrifice?

Isn't it just like the Holy Spirit not to demand it of us.  He offers it to us.  He wants the desire for fruit to become the desire of our souls.  He plants seed after seed of discontent with the things that we think we desire until our desires become His desires and we start to crave the things that really matter.

Perhaps the only things that really matter...the only things that are going to have an eternal reward tied to them...will always demand a sacrifice.  It was the way of our Savior.  Shouldn't it be our way?

A sacrifice of time
A sacrifice of praise when we don't like what God is doing
A sacrifice of investment into things we can't enjoy on earth
A sacrifice of tears and prayers when people are stuck in bondage
A sacrifice of giving when we would rather be taking
A sacrifice of crucifying our own name and fame
A sacrifice of knowing God on His terms, even when it slays our souls

The amount of fruit that comes from our lives is up to us!
Lord, set our thoughts on the joy of the reward, not the pain of the sacrifice.

{the thoughts triggered from this post stem from the book Simple Obsession by Jamie West Zumwalt and I can't recommend it enough}

Monday, August 8, 2011


Nothing quite like it, going home.  I packed up the boys for an extended stay with my parents.  Now that they are empty nesters, we spread out all over their house and had ourselves a grand ol' time.  Amazing food and rest and country drives to new land and laying between my parents watching TV as if I were five.  No, nothing is as good as home.

And nobody is as pretty as my Momma.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Going Outside the Gates

I need to get this down so I will that perhaps, when God gets us outside the gates, I will remember how it all started...

While in Key West in June, I was struck by two different passages.  One was Isaiah 45:2-3  "I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name." 

God is speaking to Cyrus, who will be his instrument in bringing down the Babylonians so that the Israelites can return home to Jerusalem.  But, why was it jumping off the page at me?

The other passage was Hebrews 13:12-13  "So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured." 

What does that mean for go outside the camp to where Jesus is?

About a week ago, I found another passage (Psalm 107:16) that says "For He has broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder."  Bible Gateway told me that Isaiah 45 and Psalm 107 are the only two places that specifically mention God breaking down gates of brass and cutting bars of iron.

It had me in fits because I had no idea what it meant...what it meant for me and our family.

Struggling with shoulder and neck muscle tension one night,  I took a muscle relaxer.  I took a whole one instead of a half because of the intense pain.  I usually am knocked out within about thirty minutes after taking one.  You can imagine my surprise when I was still staring at the clock at almost midnight while my husband was in dreamland.

My soul was restless and I think the Holy Spirit was ready to show me what all of this was about!  It came to me quickly...I think our American church today somehow resembles being inside of the city gates. In Bible times, after Nehemiah had helped rebuild the city, the gates provided protection and security.  They were the means of entering the city...just as Jesus is our means of entering the salvation and the heavenly city.

I am not here to bash the American Church.  I believe that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the true church of God.  Do I think we have some things messed up?  Yes.  Do we often use attention getting/seeker friendly tactics?  Yes.  Do we have soul searching and system questioning to do?  Yes.

I think that being part of an American church is like being inside of a privileged city.  It is very comfortable.  We each have access to a Bible, even if it is located in the lost and found.  It doesn't cost us anything.  Even a tithe isn't required by the preacher before we enter the big glass doors.  We get fed and aren't held responsible to feed others. 

It is easy.  It is comfortable.  Goodness, church even looks good on us.  But, I think we are bored out of our minds.

What if Jesus wants to come into our protected little city called the American church and break down the city gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder? 

Just to free us?

Luke 9:23 tells us to deny self.  take up cross.  follow Him.  Follow Him where?  Hebrews 13:13 says that we are to go to Him.  He is outside the camp.  Outside the gates.  Outside the place of privilege.

The Greek word for camp there is "parembole" which means to put between or interpose.  We often want the lost to come into our camp called church...but what if God wants us to go to them? The word camp implies that there is a wall that has been put between us...will we go to them so they can become part of the heavenly city?

What on earth does this look like?  There has to be some sort of quitting of the world.  How do we as Americans quit the world when we look just like it?  Clarke says we have to leave the city and the system and take refuge in Jesus alone. 

I am not telling you to quit church.  God calls us to be part of a community of believers.   What a joy to live in a country that can worship The Beautiful One freely and without fear of being hauled to a dark place of imprisonment!

But, what if we decided to forsake the privileges?  Moses did this!  Hebrews 11:24-27 says "By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible."

I think God spiritually cut down the gates of brass and the bars of iron of Pharaoh's house that held Moses from his God-given purpose.  He set him free.

What a sad life of not knowing the One True God...had Moses not left the gates and the privileged camp of royalty.

What if we can know Him, enjoy Him, and worship Him on a whole new level if we will simply go to Him? 

Outside the gates.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nighttime Moments of Glory

I lean down to cradle the youngest in our nightly ritual.  I have learned how to love him in this manner.  I wrap my arms tight around his frame and allow my heartbeat to fall into sync with his own.  I stay there.  I linger and breathe slowly.  For years, I rushed.  But, now I savor the hugs that allow heartbeats to become one.  His sense of touch allows his heart to explode with love.  So now I know not to let go until he pulls away.  During those slow moments, my soul whispers prayers that point to his salvation and purpose.  After moments of allowing my inner being to breathe the way it was meant to, I go to the next son.

The son that is caught in the middle.  I often just kiss his forehead or cheeks since he is so far up.  But, in moments of grace, I climb the shaky ladder that leads to his nightly abode.  I remember how hot air definitely rises.  I am reminded to make sure he doesn't use as many covers as the others.  He is his own person.  Caught in the middle and yet nothing like his older and younger brothers.  We cuddle and count the glow in the dark stars that I never take note of until I am up here.  With just him.  He giggles, loving the fact that he finally has mommy all to himself.  He lets out a big sigh when I tell him that the biggest waits.

I know what is to be expected when I enter that boy's room.  It isn't what I would typically expect of the mature first born who always chooses the disciplined thing over the fun thing.  And that is why it is so priceless.  I walk in, relishing in the fact that my preteen is simply being a kid again.  I want him to remember and savor the moments of childhood that are too fleeting.  He grins all over himself as I lean down for our tickle session.  He squirms and I evade the long legs that fly out kicking.  We fall into a tizzy of laughter as he climbs under the covers.

These moments of glory that come before eyelids fall...why did I used to rush them?  Didn't I know how fast the times go?

"Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom."  Psalm 90:12 NLT

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Holy Discontent?

It is the 900th post here at moop and saba.  I just want to thank you for coming back post after post.  Thanks for hanging with me when I am low and celebrating with me when I am giddy.  As I type away thoughts and dreams, hurts and sorrow, God seems to allow the blog to soothe my most inner soul.  My blog is a balm of Gilead of sorts.

When sucked into the mantra of wanting to make a name for myself, I often get sad and angry that I don't have many people comment.  In those selfish and sinful moments, I want to throw in the towel and wipe the blog off the map of blogworld forever.  But, then I wonder where I will write.  And I wonder if I will have to start adding counseling to the budget.  Because sometimes my heart doesn't speak until it writes.  So here is to another 900 posts...I do hope you will be with me on the journey!

Lately my heart has entered some sort of holy discontent.  I am content with the things that I am not always content size, old cars, you get the picture.  But, I am restless on a different account.

God.  His Glory.  Our nation.  His Kingdom.  Our materialistic society and how much it costs to simply live in this country.  My heart breaking for what breaks His heart.  The rampant sin in this nation that is being accepted and exploited.  My heart sinking when I see how much we look like Sodom and Gomorrah.  My heart begging God to spare the righteous because I know He won't look at our sin forever.  Our days are numbered.

Did you think God would keep blessing a nation that kills the babies He lovingly creates?  Did you think God would keep smiling down on a nation that gives their wealth to entertainment instead of the advancement of His name?  Did you think God would share His glory with those who are bent on making a name for themselves?  Did you think we could truly know the One True God in a society that has stripped him bare and put him in a box? 

What if we knew the freedoms of America would only last for another year?  Would we use those freedoms to advance the gospel as quickly as possible?  Or would we continue in the self centered narcissistic path that might lead to our demise?  What exactly is it that makes our country the greatest in the world?  Is it freedom?  Should that freedom be used to set others free?  Are we blessed as a nation so that we might take the good news into the world and share the blessing and freedom that only Jesus brings?

I know this is harsh, but as I said, I have entered into some sort of holy discontent.  I know there is more out there.  I want to see God's glory on display and I sometimes wonder if the easy life this nation provides hinders that in some way.  I sometimes think that I am not sacrificing one single thing for the Kingdom of God.  And that shames me, after my Savior sacrificed everything.

I have no idea how to be part of this world and yet not of this world.  I have no idea how to live in America and not look like every other American.

Perhaps the Holy God will come speak into this heart that he has turned upside down.  "I won't relent until you have it heart is yours.  Come be the fire inside of me.  Come be the flame upon my heart." *  Please don't pass me by, Lord. 

I stare at Cade's baby blanket that he still sleeps with.  It is as if 11 years haven't even gone by.  Please use us, Lord.  Time is fleeing.

*Lyrics by Jesus Culture