Monday, January 25, 2016

Whiter than Snow

{I wrote about this on Saturday, but wanted to get it on the blog, as well.}

All this quiet.

Snow covers the ground like a fluffy blanket of fresh mercy.  The fire silently offers each flame, a sure promise of Your never ending Presence.

Outside, I see a cross nailed into mortar.  Amazing Grace, indeed. 

I feel like I did back in 1998, January through June, as I was longing for my groom.  Betrothed and sealed as his, I was ready to wake up to his smell.  I wanted his kiss to be the last thing I tasted as I drifted into dreams. 

I feel that now, with You, Lord.

You purchased me, and I long to see Your face. 

Will tears make their way down my cheeks as I behold perfect, audacious love?

Will I start laughing and never be able to stop?

Will I simply lie against Your chest, capturing the cadence of a heart that withheld nothing in order to bring me to this place?

I am Your Bride.

My insides are giddy in anticipation of what You’ve prepared for me.  You died for me.  I’ll never lose the wonder.

Do You long for me like I long for you?

Father, please send Your Son to gather up the elect…to gather His Bride…to gather me!

Please delight me.  Ring the wedding bells.

I felt so heavy Friday afternoon.  Some weight had settled onto my frame, causing restlessness and sorrow.  Not a thing in the world was wrong and I was looking forward to some much needed time away.  Why the ache, Lord?

Winter storm Jonas was making landfall in Washington D.C. and the East coast.  Over two feet of snow fell hard and fast.  The name “Jonas” can mean “destroyer.”  It can also mean “sign.”  I think about its variation of the Hebrew name, Jonah, and how this prophet was sent to warn the evil people of Nineveh of imminent destruction.  Jonah’s message was simple:  repent or be overthrown.  Shockingly, everyone from ruler down to slave believed God and turned to their Maker in mourning and repentance.

God is always longing to be merciful.  He is always sending signs to grab our attention.  His mercy is boundless. He will do whatever it takes to wake us up before time runs out.  Even through a blizzard.

He thunders through each perfect, spotless flake.

This can be you.  I can make you whiter than snow. Allow me to wash you in my crimson and remove every single impurity.  I long for you to be mine. Won’t you repent?”

Do you long for Him like He longs for you?

The Waking Toddler

Ear infection after ear infection. One round of tubes was not sufficient, so back to surgery we go tomorrow.  I wonder if Asher ever feels well.  Can he even hear, this constant state of feeling like he is in the ocean as the fluid rises and rises?

I'm in my rocker, soaking up God's words as I hear his door open.  He is his Momma, needing a little time to wake up.  He runs to my ever open arms and finds his spot under the nook of my chin.  I have older children.  I know these sacred moments are fleeting.  I slowly inhale his Johnson's and Johnson's hair and will him to stay this age forever.

He nestles in and I hold on for all I am worth as we rock, me giving love pats to his squishy hind parts.

Love bursts from every pore and each hard memory of poop in the tub, defiant No's and toys askew fades into oblivion.

God made us Mommas to love hard.

Love hard, we will.


Sunday, January 24, 2016


Image result for moses serpent

While in college, I pursued a degree in English for one reason:  I totally loved literature.  I got my license in secondary education and dreamed of teaching kids to love literature as much as I did.  After Eric and I married, kids came quickly and I decided staying home was my heart’s desire above all else. 

I wondered though the years if my degree was a waste.  Hindsight is always best.  I can now see that God was using my college years to train me how to study His Word, the ultimate piece of literature. 

Allegory, typology, metaphor, foreshadowing, imagery, theme…all these things trained me to see not just the larger picture, but each minute detail that pointed to the whole.  Names, location, and time period all mattered.  Meaning was everywhere, if I could just discipline myself to look hard enough.  Treasure waits if we know how to dig! 

We worship a God of order.  Not a single name, moment of time, or detail is random or out of place.  There is skillful design to each book, each chapter, and each word.  The sixty six books are inseparable, each adding a layer to the love story of a Father who would stop at nothing to get His children back. 

I love the details.  In photography, I love the macro.  I want to show off not just a field of flowers, but the single piece of pollen on the stamen of the sunflower.  It’s the collection of perfect details that showcases the glory of such an amazing God. 

While studying the book of Numbers in the Old Testament, there was a passage I couldn’t fully comprehend.  Parts of it made perfect sense while other parts seemed thrown together haphazardly.   

The Israelites had been rescued from Egypt.  They were wandering in the wilderness, grumbling and ready to return as slaves.  God wanted them to trust His heart.  Their grumbling against His perfect plan and perfect provision brought about the release of poisonous snakes.  Many were bitten.  Many died.  

Sometimes, God seems harsh.  It’s in these times that He wants us to know about the seriousness of sin and just how costly it is.  Sin will be judged. 

{A righteous and Holy God demands it.} 

But, God’s heart towards His beloved people was always about perfect provision.  Please, let me feed you manna.  Please, let me sustain your clothing.  Please, let me provide a substitution for the judgment of your sin. 

{A loving and merciful God longs to provide the substitution.} 

In mercy, God had a plan for the curse of snakes.  He instructed Moses to make a brass serpent and set it on a pole, so that whoever looked upon it would live, even if they had been bitten. 

My mind is spinning.  Why a brass snake on a pole lifted high for all to see? It seems so out of place and ridiculous. 

Brass is the least of the metals, especially in comparison to silver and gold.  The word is “nechosheth” in Hebrew.  Brass represents the spiritual filthiness of fallen man.  In the Bible, brass symbolizes judgment.

The snakes were sent as a consequence to sin.  Every snake that hissed and let forth its deadly venom was a reminder of the sinful murmuring against a Holy God. The snakes symbolized sin.   

The pole was to be set high for all to see. It was more than likely in the shape of a crossbeam, so the snake could set on it.   

It all seems like such an odd picture.  What on earth is the point of such an image? Why on earth would a serpent and a lowly metal point to my beautiful Savior on the cross?

John 3:14-15 says, “In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.”   

It took an act of faith to look at a brass serpent on a pole and expect to be healed.   

It takes an act of faith to look upon a man on a tree and expect everlasting life. 

The perfect man took on the sins of the world to serve the wrath and judgment of a Holy God.  He hung on the tree as my sin. He was foreshadowed as a serpent made of cheap metal because my sin was transferred to Him on the cross.

The gospel was made known in the wilderness that day.   

Free Substitution is possible. Have you accepted the only gracious Substitute that satisfies the wrath of a Holy God?  
Image result for jesus cross
“Oh, the depths and riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God…”  Romans 11:33a

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Broken

For a solid month, I was broken and didn't even know it.

On the 4th of July, I started a game of soccer with my premier league player.  Incoming and CRASH as the ball slammed into my hand while I had averted my eyes towards the toddler.  Premier league kids kick hard, you guys.  My hand immediately swelled and I did my good-girl-best to keep the slew of cuss words from exiting my mouth.  Why does pain have to be part of the dad gum curse? 

Thinking it was just a jam, I went about my vacation and re-entered life, hoping all was fine.  Changing diapers, carrying buckets of laundry, and unloading sacks of groceries all brought tears to my eyes as I cringed in pain...but I just knew I would eventually get better.

For a solid month, I didn't know I was broken.

My injury was hidden, wrapped in layers of skin and muscle.

The first step to healing was acknowledging that something really was wrong and that my body couldn't fix itself this time.

I've thought a lot about our souls and how they can fracture, shards shattering from the whole as unexpected pain hits full force.   Often, we carry this brokenness around without even realizing we are indeed, broken

There is a balm in Gilead,
to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead,
to heal the sin sick soul.
Perhaps the first step in healing for our souls is to allow the Healer into the deepest ache.  The first step to healing is admitting we aren't getting better on our own.  The first step to healing is mustering the courage to admit we are indeed, broken.
The injury of our souls is hidden, wrapped in layers of unforgiveness, pride and anger.  We must allow this Physician to shine His light and prescribe the only remedy...Himself. We are meant to be whole.  He wants us whole.
He is the answer to every broken thing.
"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise."
Jeremiah 17:14

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Spiritual State of our Union

Two nights ago, I listened to our God-appointed national leader discuss what he believes to be the state of our country.  I respect his position of authority and I believe he is there only because God has allowed him to be there.  But, I didn't agree with his words.

After the speech, I shuddered in fear, wondering if destruction was right at our door. The arrogance was literally seeping through my television screen.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't remember hearing God's name mentioned even once...not even an obligatory God Bless America. The lack of Jehovah seemed to set the tone for the whole evening. 

There were certain comments I totally disagreed with.  I don't believe our economy is strong and durable.  I don't believe we speak out and stand up for the weak. (How do we explain the continual slaughter and selling of baby parts?)  I don't believe that we are building up ISIS to be something they aren't...I believe they really do threaten our national existence.

But, what really bothered me more than anything was his proclamation that the State of our Union is strong.  Loud, raucous applause erupted after this final proclamation and I curled into myself, wondering just how deceived We the People really are.

We have been in a free fall since last summer and there seems to be no desire for repentance.  I believe the spiritual state of our country will rule all areas.  If we are weak spiritually, then we are weak in everything.

The tone of the evening is that We Are America and We Are Indestructible.  He literally said that "No nation attacks us because they know that's the path to ruin."  Pride always goes before the fall and that is the real reason I believe the state of our union is in utter chaos.  It is God alone that has allowed America to be blessed and protected all of these years. When humanism replaces that Good Father, the Bible says a fall will surely result.

There is a minor prophet named Obadiah that speaks of a country named Edom, which came from Esau's line. 

In a vision the Lord God showed Obadiah the future of the land of Edom.[a]
“A report has come from the Lord,” he said, “that God has sent an ambassador to the nations with this message: ‘Attention! You are to send your armies against Edom and destroy her!’”

“I will cut you down to size among the nations, Edom, making you small and despised.

“You are proud because you live in those high, inaccessible cliffs. ‘Who can ever reach us way up here!’ you boast. Don’t fool yourselves! Though you soar as high as eagles, and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you plummeting down,” says the Lord.

“Far better it would be for you if thieves had come at night to plunder you—for they would not take everything! Or if your vineyards were robbed of all their fruit—for at least the gleanings would be left! Every nook and cranny will be searched and robbed, and every treasure found and taken.

“All your allies will turn against you and help to push you out of your land. They will promise peace while plotting your destruction. Your trusted friends will set traps for you, and all your counterstrategy will fail. In that day not one wise man will be left in all of Edom!” says the Lord. “For I will fill the wise men of Edom with stupidity. The mightiest soldiers of Teman will be confused, and helpless to prevent the slaughter.

10 “And why? Because of what you did to your brother Israel. Now your sins will be exposed for all to see; ashamed and defenseless, you will be cut off forever. 11 For you deserted Israel in his time of need. You stood aloof, refusing to lift a finger to help him when invaders carried off his wealth and divided Jerusalem among them by lot; you were as one of his enemies.

I'm not saying the exact same thing will happen to America, but I do believe that there is a pattern in scripture that is always fulfilled:  intense pride always precedes a great fall.

Pray for our nation?