Friday, August 28, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

I wonder if Belshazzar, the final King of Babylon knew just how serious his actions were.  He was throwing a huge feast and thought it would be amusing to dig out the vessels of gold and silver that had been tucked away into the king’s treasuries, thanks to Nebuchadnezzar.  Nebuchadnezzar had taken these holy pieces out of God’s holy temple and stashed them away in his own treasury, during the great besiege of Jerusalem.

King Belshazzar took something consecrated (set apart for the Lord) and desecrated it.  They poured wine into the vessels and praised false gods between every sip.

God intervened immediately.

The hand was made visible.  But, only the hand could be seen, mind you!  All of a sudden, the light illuminated the hand that scribbled something unknown onto the palace plaster.  The King stood shaking in his fancy garb as pee probably puddled into a pool at his feet.

Astrologers and soothsayers and all the so-called wise men could not interpret such a thing.  The Queen stepped in and said “never fear, Daniel is here.” 

The man with the God-given name of “God is my Judge” stepped onto the scene and told Belshazzar he had not humbled his heart.  “You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.” (Daniel 5:23b)

The King’s horror escalated as Daniel gave the God-declaration:  Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin.  Numbered. Numbered. Weighed.  Divided. (Some say “numbered” is said twice to suggest that things would happen quickly.)

Read in Aramaic, they form a sequence of weights that decreases from a mina to a shekel to a half shekel. God has numbered your kingdom, Belshazzar, and is finished with it.  You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.  Your empire-kingdom of Babylon is now divided and will be given to the Medes and Persians.

That very night, Belshazzar was killed.

The Kingdom was divided.

Did Belshazzar not know his enemy was at his very doorstep?  Instead, he was feasting and drinking and abusing God’s sacred things. He was foolish and oblivious to the reality all around.

I heard Jonathan Cahn recently say that our nation has taken the sacred and holy vessel of marriage and desecrated it by its redefinition.

I think it’s obvious that the United States of America has been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Does that mean we are numbered and He is finished with us?  Will our great Kingdom be divided and given over to our enemies? 

Lord, let us not take lightly the days that we are in…


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Repentance {Soften this Heart of Stone}

Sometimes, I think we as Believers think we have it all figured out.  We accept grace and then get all smug and forget that we need this grace day in and day out.  It is then that we stop offering grace to others.  Our hearts are to continually be in repentance-mode.  God calls us to sin no longer and if I'm not in a constant state of turning away from something ugly in my life, then I am probably in sin.

Sometimes, we need to ask God to come down and soften our hearts that have become stone.

Repentance is to turn away from something that doesn't glorify God.

I love this checklist that Anne Graham Lotz put out last year.  It is a good way to ask God to search me and know if there is anything offensive in me.  If I read the list without praying first, I am prone to skip over areas where I might be harboring sin. But, if I pray for the Holy Spirit to shine a light on things, He is faithful to gently show me areas I need to turn from.

I believe national repentance must start with personal repentance.  Murray says, "Every deep revival among God's people must have its roots in a deep sense and confession of sin."

There is grace right here...the place where God wants to soften our heard hearts. {Every time I go through this list, He shows me something fresh.  Humbling, I tell you!}

Lord, shine a light on the things that don't bring You glory and give me grace and strength to turn from these things.  Make evil taste hopes that I spit it out and never want to consume it again!

Here are Lotz's thoughts...

1.  Ingratitude:  Neglecting to thank God for answered prayers and all of His blessings.  Am I thankful for my spouse, children, work, home...etc.??

2.  Neglect of Bible reading:  Reading without focus or not making it my first priority.  Would I rather read a fiction book or turn on the TV?

3.  Unbelief:  Doubting who God is and what He says.

4.  Prayerlessness:  Constant chatter instead of fervent prayer.

5.  Unconcern for the lost:  Leaving it to the "professionals" to get the people saved.

6.  Hypocrisy:  Pretending to be more than I am.

7.  Pride:  Impressed with my own reputation and accomplishments and offended or resentful when someone else receives more attention.

8.  Envy:  Jealousy of those more gifted, fruitful and recognizable than I am.

9.  Critical Spirit:  Finding fault with someone because he or she doesn't measure up to my standards.

10.  Slander:  Telling the truth about someone with the intention of causing others to think less of him or her.

11.  Lying:  Making a statement, exaggerating, or inferring something that is contrary to the unvarnished truth.

12.  Cheating:  Not doing to others what I expect or demand them to do for me.

13.  Robbing God:  Exercising my gifts or spending my money, time, or energy on things that have a selfish goal--without asking God first.

14.  Fear:  For being so afraid of what others think and say that I remain silent, hiding the light of God's gospel under the basket of intimidation.

{I repent.  Come and make this hard heart pliable.  Mold me into your image, Lord. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit.}

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


{Happiest of birthdays to my favorite Mom!
We got to take a little girl trip.  We soaked up sun and wriggled toes
 in sand and ate pounds of gumbo and shrimp.
 Thankful for this little lady who raised me to love Jesus.}

Sunday, August 23, 2015

School Daze. A Haze of Memory from 9th, 7th, and 4th Grades.

Good heavens, I never knew a beehive could stand so tall.  Those girls ratted and ratted and teased and teased in the wee hours of the morning, preparing me for my initiation day, the first day of 9th grade, the first day of high school in a brand new city—brand new state.  I had miracle of miracles made the dance high-kick team and after practicing in the grueling heat all summer, this was the day they introduced the dance team freshmen to the rest of the much older high school world.

After the older girls matched my hair to the 70’s, they put me in a skin tight brown polyester dress with embroidered flowers that barely covered my bosom but still managed to hit my ankles.  As the sleeves fluttered in the wind, I gulped back tears, wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into. 

I had so much makeup on that I didn’t even recognize myself when they pranced me in front of the mirror, me apparently supposed to be proud of their cheap artistry. The black eyeliner rimmed me to the point that I almost signed “Cleopatra” on all my papers that first day.

I was appalled.  Mortified.  Horrified. 

And that was just the first day.

Ninth grade all around was a difficult one.  It held a mass amount of rejection, new kid on the block and all. Apparently I was so uncool that kids would swim away from me at pool parties, the tears on my face disguised as chlorine infused droplets of pool water.  Ninth grade also held my first kiss which made me want to gag and be my Daddy’s little girl forever. I still have nightmares that I am back in that town and back in that school.

I want my ninth grade son to know this:  People can be cruel for no stinking reason.  Let it roll off your back and don’t hold onto grudges and bitterness.  Forgive quickly and pray for those that persecute you or you know, swim away from you.  Continue to cling to your faith and celebrate family time.  And for crying out loud, don’t dare start kissing girls yet.  J

Cowboy boots kicked up the sawdust as my hot pink Wranglers waltzed into the show ring.  Sweetie, my black heifer was by my side, and together, we dominated the fairs and every show in between.  They would slap her grand champion time and time again, me smiling from ear to ear.  The trophies started invading every corner of my yellow bedroom.   It made Sweetie’s sassy attitude a little more tolerable to bear.

While 7th grade was a blast in the school room, what I seem to remember most are the cow shows.  It was my second year of showing, but I was finally starting to understand things like the difference between a heifer and a Hereford.  Winning, of course, was the icing on the cake.

Days of driving to the barn, washing, grooming, feeding, showing, and so forth kept me out of a lot of trouble during my teen years. God knew I wasn't going to be an athlete, so He gave me something else that would put my Dad and me on the same page. God used those days to groom in me a healthy respect for my Dad and an appreciation of his authority in my life.

 I want my seventh grade son to know this:  Your Dad is the most influential person for you right now.  He is going to teach you how to be a man.  He is going to teach you to work hard, celebrate victories, and live in reality.  Whether driving to soccer matches or church, enjoy his presence and all the wisdom he has to offer you.


Right past the large red farm gate that separated yard from pasture was the pond.  The pond held little significance to me because there were no fish in it.  It provided water for the cattle and looked pretty enough—in a murky pond kind of way--and that was about it.  One day that all changed.  Dad decided we didn’t need the pond anymore and so he got out a giant beast of a yellow machine, backhoe, I guess, and started digging large trenches so the pond would drain.

Enter my panic attack.  The so called non-existent fish were flopping and my heart was pounding to the cadence of save-the-fish.  Mason jars in tow and buckets galore, I plopped my cut off jean short self into the muck and mire.  Let’s be real here.  It was mud, pure and simple:  glorious mud that sucked my legs right under, threatening to hold me hostage forever.  Nevertheless, it might have been the most fun thing I’ve ever done, grabbing fish and tadpoles and all things swimmy, saving them in clear containers. 

We dumped what we could into the creek.  The next day, I loaded up the tadpoles, with the punctured Mason lids screwed on, and begged every other fourth grader to take one home. (Can’t you just hear the string of curse words at the 3 o’clock pick up line when kids climbed into the back seats with their new little tailed friends?)

Mrs. Whitlach, a fifth grade teacher close by, took the remainder of my orphaned tadpoles and dumped them into her large aquarium.  It might have been the nicest thing a teacher has ever done for me.

I want my fourth grade son to know this:  There is something noble about offering life to everyone and everything around you.  Even fish and tadpoles deserve a chance.  Never turn away from the tender heart God has instilled into you.  Even if the situation seems absurd, give until you can’t give anything else.  You just never know what kinds of life you will leave behind in the quake of generosity.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Beach Letters {Rend Every Last Heart}

{Written on August 9}

This sound right here.
Listen in, incline thy ear.
God rules here.
God delights in this place.
His majesty roars upon the shoreline.
Each pounding, a beat of His heart.
The blue of the waves fades into the blue of the ocean which fades into the blue of the sky.
Such grace, all this blue.

Today, I hear the roar of a God coming to rescue His bride from evil and wrath.
Yahweh's power commands the ocean to come to a certain point, and then no longer.
When the Restrainer is gone, who will keep the never ending waters from leaving their mark?

Sometimes grace allows the swirl of blue to go beyond for the purpose of redemption.  What if judgment always has a deeper intention of grabbing our hearts and begging us to return?

Make our hearts perfect with you, our Maker.
Forgive us for being like Solomon, whose heart was turned away from Yahweh and unto cheaper imitations of love. 
We are no better than him, our kings have set up sites for the abominations of children.
Children fashioned in your image.
Every last beautiful one.

This sin never goes without a peering of God's eye.
God rends the Kingdom from Solomon.
He enlarged their eyes, allowing them to see the True King as He tore the powerful nation in two.

Perhaps, in judgment (after all we have mocked your heart for marriage and cut up your precious babies and betrayed Israel) perhaps You will descend upon our nation and rend her in two, in hopes of rending her heart.

Whether by a physical split of the land or a split of some other kind, I am uncertain.

Who am I kidding?  We have been split for as long as I can remember.  North vs. South.  Republican vs. Democrat.  Slave vs. Free.  Christian vs. Atheist.  Grace vs. Legalism.  Humility vs. Self.  Pro-life vs. Murder.  Black vs. White.  Guns vs. None.  Terrorism vs. In-house false flags.  Cheap entertainment vs. Holiness.

Perhaps it will be a physical split, after all.  None of the other divisions have returned us to you.

Rend every last heart until it is You alone we worship.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The God of Provision

There is a lot of unrest regarding the month of September.  From the final blood moon to the Shemitah to the Pope coming to address the UN to Congress voting on the Iran deal...there are a lot of things coming to a head next month and a lot of anxiety is floating through the air.

We need to be aware of the times, but left unchecked, fear can permeate into our pores, allowing our thoughts to run towards the "what-ifs" instead of to the "Who" that orchestrates all things.

While at the beach, God reminded me that He is our Provision.  He won't be boxed.  His methods of providing for His children have always looked differently. He owns it all and He will shower down His riches in whatever way brings Him the most glory for each unique moment and each unique child. Sometimes, we just need to unbox Him.

He reminded me of four different scenarios and different people.  He was their provision in each circumstance, even though the situations are entirely different.  I hope these examples reassure you in whatever place you find yourself today.  Unbox Him and see His glory radiate!

1.  God told Noah to prepare.  He warned him of something that no eye had ever seen before:  rain and a flood.  God gave Noah very specific instructions for an ark of safekeeping, pitched with grace.  Noah and his family gathered food for themselves and the animals.  {In this example, God was glorified in giving instructions beforehand.  He was glorified in the preparing.}

2.  God told Elijah to flee the wicked people that sought him out.  He pointed Elijah to the brook of Cherith by Jordan.  God sent a raven to bring him bread and meat morning and evening.  Elijah drank from the brook until it dried up.  Then, God gave him new instructions for sustenance.  {God was glorified in the sovereignty over His creation...commanding even a bird to feed His beloved prophet.}

3.  At that point, God told Elijah to move on.  God provided through a widow who only had a handful of meal and a few drops of oil left.  She listened to Elijah and obediently made the cake-bread for him.  The meal and oil miraculously lasted and lasted.  {God was glorified in the multiplication of items on hand.}

4.  The Israelites while under Pharoah ate the Passover in haste, with loins girded and feet shod.  God executed judgment, and they were spared, all because of the blood that covered their doorframes.  The Lord passed through to smite His enemy.  The Israelites were told to take flocks and herds, kneading troughs, and the Egyptian's jewels, silver, and gold.  God divided the waters to ensure their escape.  At Marah, they needed water, but it wasn't fit for drinking until God acted.  They needed bread and God rained it down.  Every single day was reliance on God...except for the Sabbath which they had been allowed to gather double for.  They lived like this for forty years.  {God alone was their moment by moment provision....such a demonstration of His glory!}

There is a song we sing at church called "Good Good Father" that I can't get out of my head. 

"I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you are like but I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night.  And you tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone.  You're a good good Father.  It's who you are. And I'm loved by you.  It's who I am."

No matter what lies ahead, we are secure.  We have a Father that is quite fond of us.

He is good. And we are loved by Him.  Nothing else really matters.

Rest in His provision for you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


While standing knee deep in the ocean the first day, I was almost repulsed.  It was nasty.  The waters that are usually clear were polluted.  A huge film of filth covered the surface.  It looked like some combination of dirt, brown algae, and sand had concocted, rising to the surface.  It became iridescent after the collision with the washed off sunscreen.

"Dross."  "This is dross," the Lord said.

Dross:  Something regarded as worthless, rubbish, foreign matter, scum, the impurities of metals separated in the process of melting.

Hebrew definitions of dross:  refuse, worthless or unwanted objects or materials, impurities removed during refining

This word picture hit me so hard and I knew it (a time of cleansing) was coming for all of us, the unbeliever and the believer alike.

There are a ton of verses in the Word that talk about dross.  Most are so heavy, I don't even have the heart to type them out.  (You can study Malachi 3, Ezekiel 22, Psalm 119:119, Isaiah 1:22-25, and 1 Peter 1:7.) There is a time quickly coming when God will remove all of the impurities.  For the wicked, this will be judgment.  For His children, this will be through trials and perhaps even persecution.  He is coming to cleanse. He is coming to scrape off the layer of filth that covers our hearts and our nation.  He is coming to purge.

If we belong to Him, we have no need to fear.  Being in the furnace (where we melt and the impurities rise to the surface) is exactly where we can find him and know Him deeply (just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!) The dross can't rise to the surface unless the heat is extremely intense. The blessed truth is that once we have melted, He can easily mold us more and more into His character and image.

He is shining a light on all things hidden.  Surrender every dark corner for the purpose of cleansing, healing, and restoration. He is good.  You can trust His heart.

"These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."  1 Peter 1:7

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Roar of the Lion

When Satan sprawled the news of Cecil the lion all over the headlines, I about came undone.  I'm not here to talk about whether or not we should kill animals.  I'm here to say that Satan is always throwing diversions our way to get our eyes off of what really matters.

In these times, what really matters is THE lion.  His name is Jesus and He is the lion of the tribe of Judah.  This title is found in Revelation chapter 5. 

Can you hear His roar?

Because, I can assure you the Creator that dreamed up beautiful babies knit together in His own image, who now sees those babies ripped apart, to be sold off...THIS TRUE LION is roaring.

This lion, who clearly told us very clearly in the book of Genesis that anyone who curses Israel will be cursed, is on a rampage against all nations that don't stand with Israel.  As far as I can tell, that is every nation except Israel.  We, as the United States, no longer stand with the apple of God's eye.  We sold them down the river when we handed over billions of dollars to a nation that has promised they will use a nuclear bomb to wipe Israel off the face of the map. What we don't realize as a nation is that we really sold ourselves down the river.

Can you hear His roar?

The roar precedes the death to the lion's enemies.

I have never been more grateful to be His own than in this moment and season.  I can almost taste the wrath of God that must happen soon.  How long, O, soul is at the point where I am begging for matter what that looks like.  As the bride of Christ, I believe we are hidden from that wrath...but not necessarily from persecution and suffering.  Having the hope of heaven and the hope of the True Reigning King will get us through whatever lies ahead.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus is CALLED the lion (but John SEES a lamb because Jesus's glory will always be in his sacrificial love for us.) The context of him having the title of lion is that He alone is worthy to open the seals of judgment. Woe to all of those who have rejected His grace.  There is still time!  Pray for those who don't know Him.  Repent!

In 1st Peter, Satan is said to be like a roaring lion.  He is the counterfeit and can only pretend to be what God truly is.  "The roaring lion of hell is no match for the conquering lion of Judah."  {Come, Lord Jesus!}

"The King's wrath is as terrifying as the roaring of a lion; but his favor is as refreshing as dew upon the grass."  Proverbs 19:12

Can you hear his roar?


Monday, August 3, 2015

Asher and His Bath

“Wanna take a bath?”  “Baaaaath!!!”  he screams as he runs into my bathroom where his pint sized porcelain pool awaits.  He does his best to pull down his shorts and rip off his diaper.  He asks, “Pee Pee on potty?”  Asher hops up on the seat, sits for five whole seconds, only to grin at me, and say, “No, thank you.”  Every single time.  Can’t get him to pee to save my life.

I kneel and crank up the hot and the cold, both cascading into a lukewarm perfection, using more cold these days, due to the 110 heat indexes.  He squeezes into the space in between my arms and grins up at me, his anticipation leaking through his pores.  His eyes are swirled with wonder and hues of blue and I swear those few seconds of him glancing my way are some of the happiest moments of each day.

I lather his baby soft dark blonde hair up with Johnson’s and we rinse and rinse and rinse.  I squirt lavender wash onto a white fluffy cloth and scrub each little toe, each little finger.  He is officially clean but the fun has only just begun.

The toys await.  Tug boats and fish squirties and yellow duckies and measuring cups float, begging to be picked up by the happy fella.  He plays and plays, me watching from the safe distance of my bed, occasionally saying, “Sit down, Asher!”  “Okaaaay, Momma,” he croons back to me as he plops himself back into delight.

Two year olds aren’t always little hellions.  Sometimes they offer so much joy your heart can’t even hold it all.

I let the water out and wrap him up, him grinning all over himself.  We step over to the sink where hair and teeth are equally brushed.  I leave his hair wet, knowing it’s simply too hot for a hairdryer.

“Jammie time!” I scream and he takes off running through the house, naked and unashamed, the way we were once all meant to be. His dimpled bootie shakes and his brothers laugh at his innocence.

Still naked, he peers at his bookcase, grabbing one to look at while I put on his diaper.  Always reading, this fourth boy.

I put him down and he runs to find each family member, giving them big fat kisses on the mouth, telling them goodnight.  Asher loves big.

I place him onto the bottom bunk, lay his beloved baby blankets beside him and offer prayers to Jesus.  Thank you for creating Asher, Lord.  Use him for your glory, Lord.  Thank you for the joy he brings to each one of us, Lord.