The 1/4 Lift

…“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Mark 8:33

It’s thrilling to discover God’s GREAT notes of encouragement often tucked in the small and unexpected, most unassuming places! Astounding is it not, that with just the slightest quarter turn of an apple the shape you discover in the middle is clearly a star!! What might you see in a new and brighter light with just the slightest lifting of your chin (even just one quarter degree of an angle) upward toward God? 

Moses was deeply distraught (understandably so considering what he was facing) so he asked God a question. Exodus 4:1-2 records Moses asking God… what if they…?! To which God answers with another question… what is that…?! Perspective lift from “they” to “that”. None of us will ever be able to control the “they” in our lives but we can control “that” which is in our hand. Throughout scripture Jesus constantly kept His focus on “that” goal His Father and He had planned in advance instead of “they” that wanted to discourage Him from it. 

In Christ we can retain a clear purpose even when our circumstance remains blurry.

Leviticus 16 reminds us how Aaron’s sons died for burning the wrong kind of fire before God. What passion burns within you? What fuels it? It took the priests back then about an hour to properly prepare to enter the presence of God. The sacrifices they made for the atonement of sin could only cover it up. Today, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection He has made a way for us to confidently approach His throne of grace and receive mercy anytime! Now our sin is not merely covered, but can be REMOVED!! Jesus’ proper perspective allowed Him to accomplish His purpose. PRAISE HIM!

Has your fire within grown dim because your perspective of God is limited to your present time and experience? Are you measuring God’s love by your circumstance rather than your circumstance by His love? Are you focused on “they” rather than “that” (or even discounting “that”) which He has given you for such a time as this? 

Our appreciation for Jesus must go beyond our here and now. Deliverance from sin is too great and good a gift to fully grasp and yet if we allow Him to be the lifter of our chin even just ¼ of an angle we just might begin to see the Light. Like the star inside an apple can only be seen with a perspective shift let God Almighty lift your chin up a degree, you’ll see you’re the apple of His eye. Therein lies your clear purpose and a renewed passion that burns oh so brightly. Oh dear one, reverence how very, very special that is!

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. Psalm 92:4 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings Psalm 17:8

Wrinkle Free

Unsuspecting, I began my morning in Leviticus 13; when I about choked on an outburst of laughter in a desperate effort not to have my coffee spew out my nose! 13:2 states, “If anyone has a swelling or a rash or discolored skin that might develop into a serious skin disease, that person must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons. 

This hit close to home as I may have had a recent birthday and I may have thought to treat myself to a new face moisturizer that promises all sorts of age reversing magic. I may have  liberally (very liberally) applied the cream to my face and neck before bed fully expecting a new and transformed younger me to emerge in the morning. However… not so much. 

To my horror I awoke to something far worse than wrinkles!! It was probably a good thing that my eyes were nearly swollen shut so that I could not see the full extent of the damage (oh but I could feel the burning itch of it all over my swollen face and neck)! So as I sat and read Leviticus 13 I thought to myself, I most certainly would have appeared to have qualified for a serious skin disease and been drug up to see Aaron the priest!! 

John 10:10 NIV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 

The world is full of false advertising and if we are not careful we will fall prey to it. Mark 8:14-21 finds Jesus asking His disciples nine questions. See, the disciples were worried they would go hungry because they had forgotten to bring food along. As Jesus questions His disciples He recounts some of His miraculous wonders and asks, “Don’t you remember anything at all?” The disciples did remember but they failed to consider the implications in their current situation. 

To be able to remember all the right Truths and yet forget to apply them to our current situation will only leave us swollen with worry and burning with anxiety as the enemy outwits us with his false advertising. However Jesus came to give us abundant life so if you have ever awoken to something far worse than wrinkles… dear one, bring it to our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, so you can be healed and set free. (Christ is the only one who can offer an eternity wrinkle free.)

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV 

God bless you muchly~

Hold The Helm

Anyone can hold the helm when the waters are calm… it takes steadfast faith in the promises of God Almighty to hold the helm in a storm. How are you handling your “helm”?

Exodus 39:3 (NLT) reminds that it takes GREAT CARE and attention, focus and persevering diligence (and often when no one is watching but God Almighty) if we’re going to hold the helm steady. 

He made gold thread by hammering out thin sheets of gold and cutting it into fine strands. With great skill and care, he worked it into the fine linen with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. 

Good grief! Wouldn’t it have been easier to just skip the gold thread?! Would anyone really have noticed, I mean there was already fine linen of blue and purple and scarlet threads!!? 

Yes, it would have been easier but that is not what God had commissioned Bezalel to do. Even if no one else would notice, Bezalel and God would have. So with GREAT skill and CARE Bezalel was faithful to an audience of One.

God didn’t build you for easy. He took GREAT CARE to equip you for everything good according to His will (Heb. 13:21)! Most good things require hard effort. It’s easy to get off course going the easy route. If Bezalel had asked his buddies if they thought the extra effort toward the gold thread was really necessary they probably would have validated the easier route too. It can be easy to forgo the extra effort when you feel you can validate the unimportance of it; when you see all sorts of fine people doing the same thing already. But God didn’t ask you to look around and evaluate His call on your life, only to take GREAT CARE to be steadfastly faithful to Him.  

By Exodus 40:36-38 we see God taking GREAT CARE of His people. He led them faithfully, This continued throughout all their journeys. ALL their journeys, not just the calm ones. He will be faithful in the calm and in the storm, when it makes sense and when it doesn’t but will we take GREAT CARE to hold the helm in Him no matter the condition or cost?

Mark 4:33-34 reminds me that He will teach me all I can understand but it will be in time alone with Him when no one else can see, that He will explain these things to me and increase my capacity to understand. To understand that I will never fully understand it all this side of heaven but that I can trust Him. He will always take GREAT CARE of me. 

Dear one, He is ALWAYS taking GREAT CARE of you. Today what “helm” has He asked you to take GREAT CARE of, for Him?  

Promises to strengthen your hold at the helm: Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 15:13, Isaiah 41:10,13, 1 Corinthians 15:54-58, Galatians 6:9, Romans 8:32, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, John 14:1-4,6,27, John 15:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:8

Years + Life / Life + Years

In this day in age we are fortunate for the many medical advancements that have lengthened the average life span. However more than knowing a good doctor that can add years to your life… is knowing the Great Physician that can add life to your years.

Psalm 91:14-16 gives us 6 “I will…” promises. I will deliver… I will protect… I will answer… I will be with… I will rescue… and verse 16, (ESV) With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” WOW right! Now look at what is on the other side of these promises with me. Hold fast to Him… loves Him… knows His name… calls to Him… Another WOW! The ultimate picture of a trust filled relationship. 

In Exodus 33:12 Moses asks God, whom will You send with me to bring Your people into the Promised Land?! The Lord replies in verse 14, I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest – Now if you know much about the Israelites journey in the wilderness, restful would probably not be the first word that comes to mind. However I believe it’s like Proverbs 17:1 NIV Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. The journey of life will ALWAYS  be better in His presence than outside it.

John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 2 Timothy 4:18 NIV The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The journey may at times feel anything but safe just as Moses’ journey may at times have felt anything but restful but a faith filled, trusting relationship goes deeper than just the emotions we experience. I’m sure Jesus didn’t feel like the cross that day but because He persevered in the unsafe and restless journey here on earth we too who trust in Jesus will be satisfied with a VERY long life in His presence eternally. No matter how long or short our earthly journey lasts we can be sure our years in His presence can be filled with abundant life regardless of what we face.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 

Sparks A Flyin’ Even Still

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. (NLT) 

In Exodus 23:20-21 God promises His people that He will protect and lead them, for He has prepared for them. However the people are told they MUST pay close attention, obey and not rebel. Dear one, in this world that can be so overwhelmingly distracting God Almighty has given you and I that very same promise! He will protect, lead and prepare (Ps. 32:8)… and HAS prepared an eternal Home for us as believers (John 14:1-4)! 

Matt. 27:12-13 finds Jesus in a swirling circle of cruel accusations and devastatingly wrong charges against Him. Pilate asks Him, don’t you hear all these charges…?! as Jesus held His cool and remained silent. Jesus chose to pay close attention to His Father’s voice. Jesus chose to obey the plan of salvation They had laid out before time began. Had Jesus rebelled we would have all been lost. 

When all seems dark and confusing, pay close attention, obey and do not rebel from the Light of His Word that is Faithful and True (Ps. 119:105). As an olive is pressed to bring oil for light so was Jesus pressed and persecuted so that His sacrificial blood would bring continual Light all through the night from generation to generation! 

God’s not done yet, from His first recorded spoken words in Gen. 1:3, Let there be light sparks have continued to fly into the darkness as He works out His good plan like a master welder (Rom. 8:28). So dear one, keep shining. Though it may seem at times you are just a voice crying out in the wilderness like John the Baptist, remember His Word never returns void but always accomplishes that for which He purposes (Is. 55:11). 

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11 (NIV)

God bless you muchly~

Pressure’s Rising… So Soar!

You have seen… you know… I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4 NLT

I have watched eagles soar overhead and I have been amazed at the extreme heights they take to!! It’s a wonder they don’t need oxygen strapped to their backs!! I could use a bit more oxygen just getting to the upstairs in my own home!! Seriously though, I researched this a bit, eagles use the power in rising thermal air to gain altitude. This is air warmed up on the ground and since heat rises it gets thrust upward. These winds can also come by way of blowing against a mountain face so that the air must rise to pass over the mountain. 

So basically by way of fire and mountains does the eagle soar to unfathomable heights!! Could it be that God allows the fiery, mountain sized challenges in our own lives so that we too will soar to immeasurable and unimaginable heights in Him?!! 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV

He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Psalm 103:5 NLT

When you feel the pressure don’t let it push you down but rather let it thrust you up! Let it cause you to soar straight to the heart of God Almighty dear one! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 NIV 

God bless you muchly, you were made to soar! 

It’s Too Small A Thing

He says: “It’s too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 NIV

As a teacher I have bushels, I said BUSHELS of stamps! Some are in a large bucket for the kids themselves to pick from. These stamps are of every cute image known to man and I let the kids go and choose from this bucket to stamp their own work after a job well done (pretty much the “anytime good effort” stamp bucket). Then, there is the “teacher stamp box”. This box is for EXTRA special occasions when effort has gone just WAY above and beyond and blown all my expectations out of the water! 

These stamps are extra special but when I use it on a child’s work it gets stamped not once but quite liberally ALL over it! I tell ya what, I don’t know if it’s more fun for me to give it or for them to receive it because it’s just all around special! (I teach elementary.)

I think God has a special stamp box too. I think one such stamp is one that He loves to use just as much as we like to receive it! It’s the Ephesians 3:20 stamp. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

In Exodus 4:2 God asks Moses what is in his hand and Moses replies (probably in a half hearted mumble) “A shepherd’s staff”. Yet Moses is willing to give back to God in service the meager that is in his hand and 14 chapters later Moses has a different perspective of that staff! In Exodus 18:9 Moses calls it the staff of God!!! 

In the course of those 14 chapters Moses experienced God part the Red Sea, bring water from a rock, turn the Nile into blood, bring up every created frog in the land (at once), turn dust into gnats…(just to name a few of the things). Quite literally He brought down the enemy using just a… “shepherd’s staff”!!! 

Moses realized what was in his hand really wasn’t his own, it belonged to God. When we place our ordinary back in His hand it becomes extraordinary! God said in Isaiah 49:6 it was too small a thing to do what any human being would have classified as HUGE! Who can know the magnificent mind of Christ?! And yet He has given us who believe in His Son, His Spirit to reveal it! Often what we would think is big, God calls small and what we often call small and insignificant God would say… “Beloved bring that thing here, I’ve got a special stamp for that. Will you trust Me?” 

Today will you trust Him? Don’t settle for too small a thing when God wants to use His Eph. 3:20 stamp all over your life dear one! 

99/1

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? Matthew 18:12 NIV

How often do you hold back on a chance… a chance to serve, to use your God given gifts, talents or abilities because you think what you have may not be good enough or you’re afraid things won’t turn out like the picture in your head. So much fear can be wrapped up in the “what if” the results appear to be failure.

At the end of my life God is not going to ask me about the harvest, He’s only going to ask me about the seed He placed in my hand. The harvest, the fruit produced, that’s God’s department; not my responsibility, not in my wheelhouse. What happens to the seed He placed in my hand upon my birth into this world… that is my responsibility. 

Often seed is planted one at a time and it seems tedious and sometimes you wonder if it’s doing anything at all but Gal. 9:6 promises God will faithfully produce from that which is faithfully sown. Matt. 25:40 reminds us that what we do for ONE of the least among us, we do for Him. Don’t grow weary if you can’t see the harvest, a good planter has to keep his eye on his job and his boss to do it well. Each ONE of your seeds matters to God. Each ONE was made to produce something.

Mark 14 finds Jesus commending a woman for doing a beautiful thing to Him while everyone else in the room condemned and criticised her effort and method. Jesus commends this woman for doing what she could and says her act of love and service to Him would be remembered for all time. 

Sow your seed dear one, do what you can with what is in your hand. Don’t grow weary or worry about the end result. God isn’t going to ask you about the harvest, only what you did with the seed. One seed, one chance at a time, let Him write a WILD seed sowing story of trust for you to give Him back in the end! May what you hear in return be, “Beloved, you did a beautiful thing to Me.”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you have me.’” – Erma Bombeck

Hope Of The Parenthesis

(All the flax and barley were ruined by the hail, because the barely had formed heads and the flax was budding. But the wheat and the emmer wheat were spared, because they had not yet sprouted from the ground.) Exodus 9:31-32 NLT

Parentheses are used when a writer has something extra to add; a bit of additional information to clarify things for the reader. In the midst of the destructive storm of Exodus 9 God inserts a parenthesis filled with hope in verses 31-32! Although the storm had been very great and extremely destructive God wanted the reader to know there was still hope beyond what the eye could see. 

The hail had fallen and destroyed everything in sight. Sometimes things have to fall all apart before one uncovers the hope within the dirt. The wheat had been spared because why? The seed was under the dirt! 

Because of Jesus, the Author of life, there has been inserted a parenthesis of living hope in each of our lives. Often it takes a falling apart before we have the pieces to build something brand new, something we never could have seen, asked for or even imagined. Out from the dark tomb in the dirt walked Living Hope, so now so can you.

1 Peter 1:3 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 

God bless you muchly~

Faster And Fewer

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:3 NIV

In Exodus Moses knows what God has promised and he is faithfully walking in God’s will and way in spite of all that does not make sense to him. Exodus 5 reveals Moses’ obedience which leads to his situation getting worse!!?! What?! Yes, worse. By the end of Ex. 5 Moses is pretty frustrated, he seems to have expected faster results and fewer problems. Ever been there?! Especially after what we feel has been faithful obedience?! 

No one is more faithful than God Almighty and no Word from Him has ever, nor will ever, fail. Let’s make sure our obedience is based on trust and not on a spoiled attitude of entitlement. Jesus gave His life to save ours for eternity and He has promised to never leave us as we walk through this world that He also promised will be full of troubles. Keep watch for God’s plan to unfold, look for ways to honor Him in your present situation and circumstance. Trust Him to know what is best and to be working as He promises, for the good of all who love Him. 

The God who faithfully led Moses through the Red Sea on dry ground, Noah out of the ark, Joseph from a pit and prison, Daniel out of the lion’s den, and Joshua across the Jordan is the same God that leads today. Are you ready to follow? Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4 NIV 

Song pick of the week: https://youtu.be/xb1bx3hYfzg “Keep Me In The Moment” By Jeremy Camp

God bless you muchly~