Pure zeal for people

"Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother's children; Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me." - Psalm 69:7-9

Tonight I had a conversation which evoked passion in me. It concerned sexual perversion and purity. I couldn't just have the conversation "lightly" or sarcastically or in "good humor." The fire in my belly starting pouring out my mouth. Tears, a raised voice. "I care!" I cried. "I care okay! I care about those people! It's not so much about it's wrong or breaking the law or whatever, It's about their souls! It's about that's not how God created them to be and its destroying them!" And the response was mocking and sarcasm and "Give me a break! Who cares!!!!"

At that point I got mad. I stomped away spewing about how I opened myself up and shared only to get shut down with sarcasm and mocking for actually caring.

I then ran to John. The book of John that is. I felt the Spirit leading me there to purify the zeal that was being exhibited in me. His whisper to my heart was, "When you take up your cross and follow Jesus you care about people. It's not about what's 'legal' or illegal. It's about their souls. You care so much that you will speak the truth and not respond with harshness when they are angry with you. You must care and be willing to hurt though they cling to what hurts them and despise you for caring. My pure love that cares for them beats in you Sheila. But that impurity of defending yourself must go. It has to die. Otherwise you're cutting off ears that would otherwise hear through your willingness to hurt and care in the name of Jesus."

Then He led me to this:

"Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. But Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?" - John 18:10-11

"Put your sword back into its sheath Sheila! Shall the sufferings of Christ not be seen in you because of your impure zeal?"

When Christ lives in us, zeal for His house eats us up too!

His house.

You know what that is? You know what His house is?


"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."

-1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NKJV (emphasis added by me)

A pure zeal for God's house (people) to not be defiled will be willing to bear the reproach of those who reproach God's name. If my zeal is pure, I will be willing to bear shame for the sake of desiring God's name to be glorified in the lives of people... the "house" which He chooses to dwell in.

If my zeal is not pure, like Peter, I'll be quick to cut off the ear that won't receive the passion Christ has for souls. I have cut an ear tonight. But I'm so glad that my Jesus is reaching down to put it back on tonight and heal it.

God calls us to live a life that bears the reproach others have for God's character while reaching out in truth and love for the deliverance of their souls. He calls us to have a zeal that eats us up for others! He calls us to care that people are dying in bondage to sexual perversion, lies, all kinds of subtle evil and twisted ways that are not what they were created for. He calls us to be passionate about people who He created to bear His own image... who He desires to inhabit that His glory might be displayed in their lives, and that they might have intimacy with God as they were created to. But He calls us to be willing to bear their offenses without returning offenses in our zeal.

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;" 1 Peter 2:21-23

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." - 1 Peter 3:8-9

Search me and know me oh God! See this wicked way of cutting off ears and returning reviling for reviling in me, and rid me of it, leading me in Your everlasting way!

Isaiah 51:3

I sing this song a lot... I'm singing it tonight

Good To Me
by Craig Musseau

I cry out
For your hand of mercy to heal me
I am weak
I need your love to free me

O Lord, my rock
My strength in weakness
Come rescue me oh Lord

You are my hope
Your promise never fails me
And my desire
Is to follow you forever

For you are good
For you are good
For you are good to me
For you are good
For you are good
For you are good to me

Isaiah 51:3

Follow up on Pet Sins

A few days back I wrote about Pet sins... about my pet sin. I confessed it here because I want all to see the mercy and saving grace of my Redeemer and I want to be free of ANYTHING, that binds me. Especially things I think are no big deal but are really keeping me from fully inheriting the Spirit as God would have me.

After writing that post though I just wanted to clarify something. I in no way am condemning the eating of sweets or enjoying a piece of cake, etc. If God provides it, and we give thanks for it, we can eat and be thankful. My post had nothing to do with eating and everything to do with hiding from God.

Hiding from God, trying to find an escape and indulge self just a bit with a hidden attitude of, "Can't I even have this!?" is the heart of this issue I was exposing in my life.

I'm not my own anymore. See, because I face daily the cross Jesus calls me to take up and follow Him with, I have a choice. I can either seek some form of escape from that cross, or I can deny myself, pick it up, and follow my King.

I face that choice everyday, and lately it seems my flesh is enticed to escape my cross via chocolate or goodies. I find myself having the thought, "I need to get away... I just need a break." Right before I go seeking some sweet thing to eat.

But the Spirit calls me to deny myself that false escape. He calls me not to return to a well that will not satisfy when I've tasted Living Water. He bids me to drink of His sweetness and be satisfied, so satisfied that I can take up my cross and follow Him.

Lust is an insatiable desire. It's not that the desire for rest and escape is wrong, but when it's sought to be satisfied with any substance or act of the flesh its lust, its insatiable. God wants me to find rest and escape... IN HIM! He wants me to labor to enter that rest. The labor isn't doing more of this or that. It's throwing off the lusts of my flesh. It's pushing away from deceptive alternatives that never satisfy.

The enemy will always entice my flesh with an alternative to the cross. And if I don't recognize every indulging self as a refusal of the cross God's called me to take up, following His Son, then I'm in danger of becoming hardened to the Spirit's urging in me to do His will and experience His everlasting life right here and now and forever.

There are times where I can eat cake or sweets or whatever and its not self-indulgence. In fact, there are all kinds of pleasures I enjoy everyday, but the Spirit knows when the thoughts of my heart are to escape the pain of being misunderstood, rejected and thought a fool for loving Jesus and teaching His ways to my kids. THAT'S THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM: SEEKING TO ESCAPE MY CROSS! He knows cake, chocolate, ice cream, cookies... none of those temporary pleasures are going to take me one step closer to experiencing fellowship with Christ, in His sufferings and in His resurrection. He has no problem with me eating sweets. He has a problem with me running away from the cross He's set before me, no matter what route of escape I try to use.

I like the way Amy Carmichael put it in The Edges of His Ways:

Luke 9:23: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

I think often we accept the cross in theory, but when it comes to practice, we either do not recognize it for what it is, or we recognize it and try to avoid it. This we can always do, for the cross is something that can be taken up or left, just as we choose. It is not illness (that comes to all), or bereavement (that also is the common lot of man). It is something voluntarily suffered for the sake of the Lord Jesus, some denial of self that would not be if we were not following Him. Often it is something that has shame in it (this, of course, was the earliest connotation of the word), such as the misunderstanding of friends and their blame, when the principles which govern our lives appear foolishness to them. It always has at its core the denial of self and self-love in all its manifestation. Self-choices go down before the call to take up the cross and follow. They fade away and cease to be.

I want to know Christ ladies! I want to share in His sufferings, be conformed to His death and live in His resurrection. The more I think on Him the more I despise that I still seek escape in sweets! May I not refuse to take up my cross and follow Him today by indulging my flesh in temporary escapes!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Will it work?

Artyom Sidorkin of Russia, who went into surgery this week for what doctors believed was a large, malignant lung tumor. Doctors found and removed a 3-inch-tall fir tree growing in his lung. “I thought I was hallucinating,” said the surgeon, who thinks Sidorkin must have inhaled a seed. -from The Week Magazine

I heard this story at the end of a message delivered from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Jon Courson. His message was JUST what I needed to hear today. I had it playing in the background while I was putting away laundry and working on a little preschool project with my 4 year old son.

My heart has been so discouraged lately with all the opposition I face due to my own past choices, my current circumstances, the unbelief of those around me and my own lack of believing. I've been downcast because I've doubted that the seeds of truth (God's word) that I'm trying to plant in my sons, and live out in my life, are really going to take root and grow into a mature tree that produces righteous fruit.

I've looked at my marriage situation and thought, "My sons will never receive this from a mommy. They need a dad. A man who raises his voice in worship. A man who leads them into service. A man who prayers over them and with them." I've looked at the response I've gotten from my oldest son... the eye rolling, the sighs, the "Not this again mom!" The, "Is this a GOD book mom? UHHHHH!" The, "Only mommies and girls go to church mom! Not daddies and boys." The, "I don't believe you mom!" With the backdrop to all those statements being non-stop excited talk about Star Wars and this fictional monster, and that make-believe villain, I've felt like I'm up against the god of this age. Me. A little housewife who struggles to believe on her own. Who rebelled against God when she was a pure virgin before Him. Who chose this way. I've felt like my feeble attempt at teaching my sons the way of the Lord is tasting like dry toast in the midst of all the candy offered them.

But then on this past Sunday the Lord encouraged me. He reminded me that He knew I was tired, discouraged and doubting, but that He was with me. And that I was being His witness here. And that He uses the weak to lead the strong.

Then today I listened to the message from Courson and he talked about how we, as Christians, are witnesses to the people around us not necessarily by leaving tracks on people cars or doors or whatever (not that those don't have their place if that is something you're called to), but simply by speaking the truth in every situation. The truth.

Pilot asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:38)

Jesus prayed, "Thy word is truth." (John 17:17)

In every situation if we answer truthfully, interject what's right, speak out what God says, we are being His witnesses.

Courson talked about how this will often cause people to despise us because it burns them, even though on our part we do it in love (and we should be sure that we are speaking the truth in love not in spite or reviling). Often speaking the truth in love will cause people to rejoice when we finally leave their town, situation, workplace... life. Often we'll be rejected, but always God will raise up a remnant of those who will believe because we spoke the truth. We may not always see it, but it will happen.

Courson raised the example of Solomon's mom. Just the example I needed to hear. He pointed out that Solomon wrote the Proverbs 31 chapter in memory of his mother. Solomon recounts what she taught him in verses 1-9.

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him: What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy. - Proverbs 31:1-9 NKJV

There she implores her son not to go the way of the world... sex, drugs and rock n' roll... etc. She points out he was destined for greatness... to be a king for God, to be a deliverer of the oppressed, poor, women and children. She calls him to rise to that call and not get caught up with immoral women and drunkenness. But as I was listening to Courson's message, he goes on to say that she probably died not seeing her son become the man she desired him to be... the man she spoke truth to. Nevertheless, in Ecclesiastes we see the wayward Solomon come to realize that all of what he'd gone chasing after was stupid and vain, and that fearing God and obeying His truth is what really matters in life.

Ecclesiastes calls Solomon, "the Preacher." Solomon's mom probably died seeing Solomon as a rebellious, worldly man. But the truth she planted in him eventually sprouted up to make him a preacher.

Courson then shared that story about the man with the 3 inch tall fir tree growing in his lungs.

God's word is an imperishable seed.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. - 1 Peter 1:23 NIV

The Word is planted in our hearts, and in our kids' hearts when we speak it to them and model it for them, and even though the odds against it growing seem more than that of a fir seed planted in a lung growing, it will grow! It will work!

Let us moms not grow weary in planting truth in our kids and in others God has brought into our lives. God will get what He desires from His implanted Word.

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." -Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV

Isaiah 51:3

My breastplate

St. Patrick's Breastplate

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through the confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the Judgment Day.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of demons,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

I've read pieces of this before, but the other day at a prayer meeting I read through the entire thing.

Looking back over time and reading things my brothers and sisters from the past have written while I hear "Amen" ringing in my soul, I realize it's the Spirit. It's the Spirit of Christ in us throughout time. Our soul's cry the same thing! St. Patrick's Breastplate is my breastplate is your breastplate... is anyone's who's life is in Christ and Him alone.

I arise today not cause I'm human and I breathe and I have two legs and I eat and work and make beds and drink and talk with others and sleep and do all the other things that humans "naturally" do. I arise today because of Christ and His kingdom.

Just stop and think about that for a moment. You and I who trust in Christ rise in the strength of our Creator, our Redeemer. We have angels and cheribum on our side. Prophets and patriarchs. Archangels and apostles. Confessors. Holy virgins. Righteous men. Even the sun and moon and all creation are for our good and strength since we are in Christ. Christ is our life and His kingdom is ours because of HIM!

"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or pricipalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." -Colossians 1:16-17 NKJV

Isaiah 51:3

Stop the World

I have much to share. And even if there's no one to share it with I need to sit down and write out the encouragement I'm receiveing as I've waited on the Lord recently.

For now, here's a song a dear sister sent me. I hadn't heard it before. It totally speaks my heart!

Isaiah 51:3


"...show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do." - Exodus 18:20 NKJV

Future engineer of some kind maybe? He engineered this "robot" out of stuff around the house and in his room this morning! :)

Lord give me wisdom to show him the way YOU designed him to go!

Isaiah 51:3

A word to the weary and weak parent

I have been overwhelmed with discouragement this past couple days. Truly I am one of His "weary" and "weak". I'm so glad He says, "He gives strength to weary and increases the power of the weak..." (Isaiah 40:29).

It's parenting. It's being in a "foriegn land." It's my circumstances. They always find me weary and weak. I'm so thankful that in my weakness, as I wait on the Lord, He strengthens me.

Maybe you're a weak and weary soul this morning. Wait on the Lord. Let Him hear you. And maybe in the words below He'll give you instruction, strength, for today as He did me.

Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
Acts 17:17

What did Paul do about the idolatry which broke his heart? He talked. In the church and on the street, Paul dialogued daily concerning the idolatry which gripped the city. So too, I am discovering that it’s my job as both a pastor and as a father to dispute, to dialogue, and to discuss in depth.

Mom and Dad, we have the responsibility and the privilege:

To talk to our kids constantly,
To share with our kids consistently,
To invest in our kids wisely —

Not so much telling them what to do, but teaching them how to think so that, slowly but surely, they will make the right decisions eventually.

How do we teach our kids how to think? Through the Scriptures.

How long has it been since, like Paul, you’ve talked with your kids in depth concerning issues as they relate to the Scriptures? In 2 Kings 4, we read that the responsibility of one of the young men who studied under Elisha was to prepare breakfast. But when the other students dove into the meal, they spit it out saying, ‘This stuff is terrible. There’s poison in the pot.’ Spitting and sputtering, they were about to dump out the whole thing, when Elisha said, ‘Hold on. Don’t dump it out. Take the meal — the good stuff — and pour it into the bad stuff.’ They did, and a miracle transpired, for when the good was poured in, the poison dissipated.

That’s the key, Mom and Dad:

We are not to pick the poison out of our kids’ lives, for that will only lead to legalism and result in resentment and rebellion. Instead, we’re to pour in the meal of the Word when our kids are poisoned by the pottage of the world, for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).

Not only are we to pour in the meal, but we are to let the dirt go, for in 2 Kings 5, we see another relevant example in the life of Elisha. Naaman, a Syrian who had leprosy, was told by Elisha to dip in the Jordan River seven times. When Naaman obeyed, he was healed immediately. He then said to Elisha, ‘I must go back to Syria, but I want to take some soil from Israel with me so I can worship Jehovah at home.’ You see, in this region of the world, the prevalent point of view was that gods were local, and could only be worshipped on the soil of the country of their origin. That is why Naaman wanted to take dirt from Israel back to Syria. Elisha's response? ‘Go in peace. Do it.’

‘Elisha, what are you doing?’ I protest. ‘You know that the God of Israel is not a local
deity to be worshipped superstitiously. Why didn’t you correct Naaman?’ But upon further reflection, I believe there’s a wise reason Elisha let Naaman return to Syria with dirt from Israel: Elisha knew Naaman’s understanding of God was very limited. Naaman had been touched by God, had received healing from God, but he was not yet very deep in his knowledge of God. Did Elisha give him a lecture on theology? No. Elisha simply let him go his way, knowing that as a brand new baby believer, Naaman would, in time, discover he didn’t need the dirt at all.

So too, mom and dad, if we fight every side-issue our kids struggle with, when they face the crucial issues — the ones dealing with sin and black and white matters — we will not have their attention. We see a lot of Christian young people whose circuits are blown because a well-meaning parent pushed too hard on non-essential matters and fought the wrong battles. Consequently, as a father I have to pray, ‘Heavenly Father, help me to know what issues are essential for my kids. Help me see which questions need to be addressed, and help me, Lord, to let the bags of dirt go.’

Folks, our Father delights in dilemmas without easy answers because they make us go to Him. A lot of us would rather talk to a pastor, read a book, or seek counsel from a friend — but in so doing, we are robbed of the opportunity of cultivating a deep, intimate, eternal relationship with a Father Who says, ‘See Me for specific instructions. Search the Scriptures daily and I’ll guide you and show you what battles need to be fought, for I alone know the hearts of your children.’

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book "A Days Journey" by Pastor Jon. "A Days Journey" is a collection of 365 short devotions from the New Testatment. If you would like your own copy of "A Days Journey" you may click here to go to the SearchLight Store

Oh balm to my soul! I think this is a good introduction to the rest of the Home Matters series on teaching our kids God's word that I haven't posted yet.
Today, may we prayerfully set out to constantly, consistently and wisely pour the "good" (God's word and ways) into our kids though they are tainted by sin and this world with the "bad".
(The excerpt above was taken from the Searchlight website.)

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Calling all grocery shopping pros


My husband and I have been trying to stick to a budget and over the last month we've found that we spend WAY more than we thought we did on groceries.

I feel so out of ideas. I already take the weekly ads and sit down every week to plan out a weeks worth of menus and make a grocery shopping list accordingly. We don't eat any prepackaged foods. I make my husband's and child's lunches (for work and school). We don't eat out often. I always make our meals based on what meat is on sale that week. I don't use coupons because most of the stuff that takes a coupon is pre-packaged and boxed foods that we don't eat.

We have a food budget of $500 a month... that's just food. I thought that was generous, but it turns out we are half way through the month and I've already spent $350. I talked with my husband about it. He said he's willing to eat less meat and even eat less period. He thinks maybe we eat too much or maybe we just eat too much meat. This is huge coming from my man who is a very in-shape, active, muscular, meat and potatoes eating machine! I try to keep our menu varied so he doesn't get bored with what we eat. I also try to keep it healthy... we don't eat casseroles (which have a lot of creamed soups and such in them... I love casseroles though!), and we don't eat deep fried food.

Here's what our menus generally look like:


cold cereal/milk or
oatmeal with raisins or
egg burrito or
eggs and toast or
eggs and potatoes


leftovers or
lunchmeat sandwiches or
peanut butter and jelly sands


A slow cooked, grilled or sauteed meat
A side of rice or potatoes
A side of green veggies or salad


I try to keep ice cream or make some cookies or a pie regularly available.

We snack a lot on cold cereal or fruit.

So that's how we eat.

Today I took an inventory of everything in my freezer, fridge and pantry. I came up with 10 pages of items and I was overwhelmed with all of the odds and ends of things I have yet don't know what to make with them. I decided that if I had an inventory at least I could refer to it to try and use what we have on hand to supplement my grocery shopping list and replace as necessary.

I would just love to hear any of your ideas, recipes, etc. to help me better budget groceries and meal planning for a family of four who eat as we do.

Do any of you have good vegetarian dish ideas?
What is your grocery budget like?
What do you do to keep it as low as you can?


Isaiah 51:3

If I had Two Hands

This is my new favorite song. I love Jars of Clay. Their lyrics always speak what I can never seem to put into words much less beautiful song.

My favorite line is:

"I have a broken disposition. I am a liar who thirsts for the truth..."

What do you think?

Isaiah 51:3

A long overdue recommendation

Back at Christmas I won a beautiful necklace from Tammy over at The Adventures of T and Super B. She has an amazing jewelry and gift boutique called Lily J Designs, where her handcrafted jewelry, art and gifts are sold.

I picked this necklace from my winnings back then and I LOVE IT!!!! Pink Sea Treasure:

I'm not much of a jewelry wearer, but when I get the chance I'm thrilled to wear this necklace! It's classy. It's simple. It's just pretty! Every time I put it on my sons say, "Wow mom! You look sooooo nice! You look like a princess!" I curtsy and say, "Why thank you my young prince!" (( smile))

Tammy has many other gorgeous designs at her boutique! I encourage you to go visit. If you're looking for an original, feminine gift for a lady in your life, I'm sure you'll find it there! Mother's Day is coming soon!!!

Thanks Tammy for a beautiful necklace I always look forward to wearing!

Isaiah 51:3

Will the Seed grow?

So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby. -John 19:42 NKJV

It's Saturday. Yesterday and Thursday my heart was meditative upon the Cross of my Lord. This morning I'm reading through the Preparation day accounts in the gospels and thinking about waiting for new life to spring up.

THE Seed had been placed in the ground. And now they waited. But they waited in grief, not knowing the Seed would rise anew and in us multiply His life.

In a very small way I understand what they felt. When I planted seeds in my garden I truly had doubts that they'd grow. I put the seed in the dirt and... that's it. I watered it. I waited. Nothing.

What if it didn't rise through the dirt? My effort (small as it was) would be wasted, and my hope for fruit and veggies to be eaten would be lost.

And in a bigger way I understand that making your own human life as a seed, planted in the dust of humanity is even riskier.

But I know the end of the story concerning the Seed of all seeds. He rose through the stone. The soil wasn't even good where they planted Him. It would seem impossible that He would rise. But He did.

I wait through this Saturday reflecting on how it feels to anticipate new life when it seems impossible, yet I know that if Jesus is in it, not even a stone can keep resurrected life from sprouting forth.

So I receive the implanted Word into my heart meekly and trust that even through the stone of my heart Jesus will rise in me.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. -James 1:21 NKJV

I take up my cross of speaking the truth in love, confessing, repenting, obeying God, and bearing the offenses of others in mercy and intercession, willingly denying myself all the way to death; pouring out my life (the new life I have as Christ dwells in me), planting my life in others, trusting the Word is able to rise past the dirt, stone and opposition and produce resurrection life. Eternal life.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. - John 12:24-26 NKJV

I wait in confidence that a day is coming when Resurrection life won't just live in the midst of perishing flesh, but will be all there is.

But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain--perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. -1Corinthians 15:35-44 NKJV

And I'll even plant my canteloupe seeds, trusting in the power of God to raise to new life a seed, dead in the dirt, which for me to live (by the eating of it's fruit) requires its death.

Isaiah 51:3

Who would have thought?

1 Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this? 2 The servant grew up before God - a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. 3 He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

4 But the fact is, it was our pains he carried - our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. 5 But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him - our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. 6 We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him. 7 He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. 8 Justice miscarried, and he was led off - and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. 9 They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he'd never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn't true.

10 Still, it's what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he'd see life come from it - life, life, and more life. And God's plan will deeply prosper through him. 11 Out of that terrible travail of soul, he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many "righteous ones," as he himself carries the burden of their sins. 12 Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly - the best of everything, the highest honors - Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep. - The Message Isaiah 53

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Preparing to Remember

Today I'm preparing to remember what the blood of Christ, my Passover Lamb, did for me. I'll be remembering, reflecting, meditating... worshipping in the presence of children who only know the story through me, and with a listening Philippian jailer.

I'm praying for an earthquake! I'm praying for walls to fall! I'm praying for a prostituted soul to hang the scarlet cord out the window of their soul!

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." -Romans 1:6 NKJV

I'm praying for eyes to be opened. For questions to be asked. I'm praying for a godly sorrow that leads to true repentance. I'm praying for revelation.

May Resurrection day come with the true raising of new life in this house!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Standing at the cross of my Captain

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." -2 Thess.1:11-12 NKJV

There Private Ryan stood, an old man now, before the cross at the grave of his dead Captain.

Captain John H. Miller had given up his life to find and save Private Ryan years before and now he stood before Captain Miller's gravestone trembling.

He wasn't sure he could even come back to the place where Miller gave his life. He wondered if he had led a worthy life. A good life. A life that said Captain Miller's life wasn't sacrificed in vain. He had been given freed by Captain Miller, but that freedom came at a mighty price. He knew it. It weakened his ability to stand, but it also motivated him to honor the sacrifice with his life.

This is EXACTLY what happens to me every time I stand before the cross of my Captain. The Captain of all captains.

He isn't dead, but His cross reminds me that He had to suffer and die a terrible death and that His sacrifice was more costly than I can ever repay. I can't earn what He did for me, but while I stand remembering the cost, I tremble and desire to live a life that honor's His sacrifice. I owe my life to HIM. It's not about earning salvation, it's about living a life that honors the One who died to save me.

That's why I can't indulge my flesh without overwhelming shame. That's why I MUST teach my kids the truth.

I want to be able to look at the people in my life and know they'll be able to say my life honored the cross of my Captain. I want them to see His life laid down causing me to live. But even more than the assesment of the people in my life is what God would say about me. Would He say I've lived a life worthy, a life that honors Christ?

Unlike Ryan, my hope is not that my life will ever be enough... I know my life will never be enough. I know I can never earn what my Captain has done for me, but His cross compels me to live a life that honors Him.

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

I was born here

"Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him." For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody." - Isaiah51:1-3 NKJV

This is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture. It tells where my new life began. It tells of how God brings life out of death.

He has hewn us from the THE Rock and we are living stones. When that great rock rolled away my new life emerged from the tomb in His. He has given us new life from a hole. A hole in His hands. A hole in His feet. A hole in His side.

When I read, "...and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug..." I see those holes in His hands, feet and side.

I was born in the holes where nails pierced His hands and feet, and from a pit where a spear opened His side. Where blood and water poured out. A fountain of new life. Just as blood and water pour out from the womb.

Just as the LORD made a father from childless Abraham, and a mother from barren Sarah, He brought forth my new life like a garden out of waste places. He gave birth to me eternally through my deadness, which He bore, there at the Cross.

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

April's Giveaway

I can't believe it's April!

I love this month. It's one of my favorite months of the year. Here in the desert the cacti are blooming spectacular flowers and the whether is not yet blistering hot. Also my firstborn's birthday starts off this month. And for the past two years the rememberance of my Savior's sacrifice and resurrection has become increasingly worshipful and celebratory for me.

April is a month of remembering new life and trusting in the promise of what we get a little taste of here and now. One day He will make all things new.

Aaaaa spring! The death of seeds in the ground and the resurrection of them to new life sprouting up green and blooming whites, pinks, and yellows speak of Christ and my life in His.

So this month's giveaway will be a journal, some seeds for planting and some other surprises.

All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this post about your favorite part of creation or favorite activity at springtime.

Happy commenting!

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Confessions: Pet sin

***(I just have note that my friend, after originally writing this post helped me more accurately jog my memory as to when this event happened in the past... not 11 years ago but more like 8 or 9. I know it really doesn't matter, but since it was brought to my attention and this post is being shared other places I just wanted to clear that up.)***

It's 3am.

About 8 years ago I faced a night like tonight. Because I tend to rank sin on a scale of badness, what I did tonight almost slips past the cross of Christ in my mind like a pet. A pet sin. But tonight my broken Jesus, who was bruised for my transgressions was looking at me the whole time and I can no longer call my sin anything less than it is in light of the cross. It's lust.

I think if I were to make known what I did tonight some, like me, might laugh or sigh, or poopoo what happened. Some might think, "Aw come on Sheila, you're being too hard on yourself." I understand. That's what I did the entire time I indulged my flesh in the secret of the night tonight... I made excuses to the Holy Spirit. This is MY sin. This may not be sin to you, but it is to me and I'm tired of carrying it around like a pet. It's not a pet, it's chains!

Tonight I woke up to let my cat out. The first thing I thought of was the leftover chocolate cake sitting on the counter from my son's party. I immediately cut myself a large slice and sat down at my table to devour it. I'd never do this in front of my husband or kids... I wouldn't want to look like I was indulging myself. And if I did, I do it with a hard attitude, as though to say, "Geeze! Can't I even have a piece of cake!?" And that's exactly what I did. I sat down and argued with the Holy Spirit while I ate it saying, "Can't I even have a piece of cake?!!" Problem is I was sitting in front of our little lamb, who is laying on a stream of red satin underneath a boquet of flowers with the banner, "Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed..." hanging over it.

After I hardened my heart to the Spirit over a piece of cake, Christ's light was shining so much, I couldn't hide. Where can I go from His Spirit? Why do I even try to go?! I was drawn to His Word like a baby sheep longing for milk! I opened to Psalm 23.

"The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want..." -Psalm 23:1

His holy life layed down for mine exposed the true nature of my sin. It wasn't about cake. It wasn't about food. It was about lust. And before the holiness of God I saw that what I did tonight was not different at all in the eyes of my Maker than what I did 11 years ago.

8 years ago I called a dear friend weeping. Overcome by the guilt of what I'd just done while I knew Jesus was there. It wasn't cake that night. It was pornography.

I remember the excuses I made. But that night they were all broken because all I could see was my Jesus hanging on a tree. That night before the cross, Jesus broke my wicked bonds to sexual lust. Tonight, by His blood, He's breaking my bonds to appetite lust.

As I sat before my slain Lamb I realized tonight was a turning point, just like it was for me 11 years ago, and I had to confess it. I had to bring it out in the open. Because I want to be healed. It's not a pet for me, it's a ravenous wolf that's never satisfied.

I'll never be the same. Tonight the blood of Jesus dripped on my cake. It dripped on my lips. It poured on my tongue. It soaked my stomach. I can never pick it up again without seen the Cross.

Oh my Lord! You are my Shepherd... I shall NOT want the fullfillment of my flesh's lust in any area! I shall be satisfied in YOU! For YOU prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies! May the table of Your body broken for me, and the wine of Your blood poured out for me, forever satisfy me, even while the enemy who once claimed godhood over the appetites of my flesh is present.

This has been me in this area of lustful appetite even until tonight:

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. - Philippians 3:19 NIV

NO LONGER! NO LONGER LORD! JESUS you have come! You have conquered! You have exposed this sin in me! I run from it! I run exposed to YOU! I run to YOUR salvation! From tonight on my stomach shall never be a idolic "god" I hold in my hand while I try to enter Your promised land! NEVER AGAIN! Let YOUR blood mark this night! Let it mark my stomach! Let it mark my mind! For from tonight I set my blood stained hands that have clung to this idol of my stomach on this:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. - Philippians 3:19b-20 NIV

And this:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9 NIV

I write all this out here in the open because my Lord says:

When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?... Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. - Isaiah 58:7-8 NKJV

My Lord, who exposed Himself and covered me on the cross calls me to expose my own sin and not hide myself from my own fellow man. But rather to cover my exposed brother or sister with the mercy of the Cross when I see them. This is not what I tend to do. I tend to hide my self under the cover of sleeping hours, or behind closed doors, or while away on an errand, and expose others when I see their offensive sin. But that's not my Lord's way. He heals me when I call my friend and confess my sin, or willingly let my shame be exposed to you here, and cover my friend, or you, or my husband when I see nakedness. This is how He cleanses us from our sin. This is how we can walk in His righteousness.

I wonder if any of you would, with me tonight, be exposed before our Lord. I wonder if any would see Him looking at our hands like He looked at mine tonight saying, "You're still holding that idol in your hand like a pet! Drop it! You can't go any further in if You're still holding that." I wonder if any would look at the Cross with me tonight in our nakedness. I wonder if any would be broken by His love and ask Him to mark our hands and our appetites for whatever it is our flesh lusts for with His blood so that we may never again approach that idol as though it were a pet. May His love and His grace make us tremble. May it shake us so much that we are free from our chains but not destroyed.

Oh may we see our "pet" sins as chains! And may we not cuddle our chains, or play with them in secret, but expose them before His cross, and each other, and let His blood break them! I don't want cake at 3am, or cookies in the middle of the day, or a KitKat on the way home from the store, to hold me back from further entering the life in the Spirit God leads me to through the cross! If He looks at me, exposing my "pet" as an idol, which is chaining me when He's made me free... oh let me drop it like a poisonous snake!

I'm looking to You who knew no sin, and became sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God tonight! I want YOU, not this!

Isaiah 51:3

Our Passover and Easter

Last year a passionate desire began in me to really stop to remember our Passover Lamb- Christ. We had our first Passover seder and it was great, but it was a bit lengthy. I so wanted to savor ever little bit of meaning in each of the emblems in the dinner, but then I had a 3 and 4 year old sitting at the table, trying hard to listen but their glossed over eyes giving away that my "sermon" was just a tad too long. :)

So, this year I've been prayerfully seeking how I could really keep it simple, worshipful, and yet not loose any of the emblems. One of the things the Spirit keeps reminding me is that I don't have to explain everything. I can simply worship the Lord and meditate on Him as I serve this special meal and remember His body and blood broken and poured out for me. He also reminds me that He'll stir my kids to ask questions and He'll give me the answers. So instead of giving a sermon on every aspect of the meal this year, this is what we've been doing:

Thanks to the ideas I gleaned from the Family Guide to Biblical Holidays book, in February we started studying the different emblems of Passover a week at a time.

We did a week on sheep. And then a week on shepherds. Then we did a week on Jesus being our Lamb and Good Shepherd. (The kids crack me up. They said, "Yeah. Jesus can be a shepherd and a sheep. He can be two things cause He's God!")

Then we did a week on bread. I think that was the kids' favorite cause we made bread. Last we did a week on seeds and plants. We talked about how Jesus said unless a grain (seed) of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit. We talked about how Jesus died, but just like a seed dies and then sprouts a new life, He came alive again and lives in us who put our trust in Him, promising to raise us to new life, with eternal bodies like He has. The kids LOVED that too. They wondered if in their "new" bodies they'd get to fly.

Then this past week we made a sheep centerpiece for our kitchen table.
We also placed lambs that represent each of us in this house on the windows of our front entrance, along with the prophecy of Christ's sacrificial death in Isaiah 53 and our declaration of celebrating the Passover and Easter. I kinda saw it as a modern placing the blood on our front doors. I know the application is spiritual, to the doors of our hearts, but I felt stirred to put a physical declaration of our dependence upon the blood of the Lamb at the entrance to our house.

On Palm Sunday we'll begin a daily reading through the book Benjamin's Box to prepare our hearts for Easter, which I discovered thanks to Jill at Praiseworthy Things.
At the actual Passover dinner we'll be having all the emblems, but instead of going through a lengthy haggadah, I'm reading this book to the kids at the table. Then we'll taste each of the parts of the dinner and prayerfully discuss each, especially the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine (grape juice).

I'm so prayerful about Passover this year. It's such a tremendous opportunity. My children asking questions and listening and savoring the specialness of the night. My husband taking it all in. My heart overflowing in worship... I'm sure I'll be fighting back tears. My sweet neighbor and her girls will be here with us, sharing in the richness of the night.

Father, I pray right now for Your anointing on that night. Please bring to Connor and Ryland's remembrance Your word. Stir them to ask questions. And I pray you'd give me utterance to make known the mystery of the gospel of Christ to them. I pray the night would fill my husband's ears with worship of You and prayers to You.

So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Featured Post