Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Between His Shoulders

Deuteronomy 33:12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

In this chapter Moses blesses the tribes of Israel before his death. This blessing to the tribe of Benjamin is so intimate:

First they are called the beloved of the Lord....beloved...how sweet to be beloved. AND the beloved "of the Lord" there is belonging there. Relationship. Union. I am...you are...the beloved of the Lord.

Shall dwell in safety by him...Benjamin inherited the land right next to the temple. . OK, so I don't live next door to my church, or any church for that matter...but thankfully....God came near to me! He came near to all. He is God With Us! There is safety in that place of nearness.

The Lord shall cover him all the day long...John Wesley said "Shall protect that tribe continually while they cleave to him" I think about a nice cozy quilt. I grew up sleeping in the basement bedroom of our home in North Dakota and it gets REALLY cold there. So, I love the feeling of being covered by layers of blankets. Fluffy comforters. Thick, heavy quilts. It feels so good to be covered! It feels secure...ha....a security blanket of covering....now that is something to cling to!

But, this is my favorite phrase in the passage -and he shall dwell between his shoulders. That's close! The NIV Bible puts it this way: "the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders". Picture that...resting between the shoulders of the Lord. Leaning against his breast. Now, to be totally honest, I'm not quite sure about the pronouns here, which "he" is Benjamin and which "he" is the Lord. Looking at different translations it seems to read both ways. The truth is, either way you look at it: The beloved resting between the shoulders of the Lord OR the Lord dwelling between the shoulders of the beloved...it's beautiful. Christ in me AND me in Christ. Close enough to hear, even feel a heartbeat. Loved. Safe. Warm. Mmmmmm

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Receive Sucess?

How to win in life.
Unleash your potential
Tap into talents

Mmmm...sounds great...and what good American doesn't want to rule and reign in life?
We expend ourselves in the pursuit. Striving. Grasping

But listen to this:
Rm 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

There is a completely different posture here. Receive. Accept the Gift. Golly. That just sounds so passive. Reign in life....through...the One, Jesus Christ. Not through me, or mine, or even ours. Through the ONE...the only ONE! Geez....where is the effort? Don't I need a peak performance to Reign in Life? Apparently not.

Thanks for a great word Pastor Rob!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Savor Every Bite

Psalm 107:9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

I read this verse this morning and just giggled. I thought of my two boys who seem to be perpetually hungry. It's nuts. They are constantly standing in front of either the pantry or the refrigerator with the door open waiting for something to jump out and say "EAT ME!"

Still I know, there is some thing sneaky about this hunger! Because when I pick them up from school and we drive past KFC...the are starving! At times to the point of tears, tragic I know..... BUT then when we get home, they somehow forget, distracted by Legos, Nerf bullets and Webkinz. The urgency of their hunger seems to subside for a while. Interesting....

So let's take a look at this verse:

He - God, not the government, not the programs, not my good performance "HE ALONE"

Satisfies and fills - Mmmmm that makes me think of Malt 'O Meal and mashed potatoes :) Something that warms you on the inside and stays with you for a while. Something that brings a stop to the constant searching. Rest.

The hungry and the thirsty - The needy, that's me! I need fellowship, I need companionship. I crave that full feeling! But just like my kiddos...I'm easily distracted. Laundry, work, finances. Sometimes I'm the hungry one on the way home...but I sit down in front of my computer - HELLO - an hour later I've forgotten about my hunger. But I'm still empty.

With good things - Not KFC! Home-cooked, made from scratch meals! :) Relationships. Unsolicited hugs and kisses....those are good things! Sunsets. Cool breezes. Shared-lives. Light, life, hope, truth! Jesus.

I guess I'm just thinking about maintaining a healthy appetite, managing the distractions of life and slowing down to allow the good things all around me to to really satisfy. Slowing down...that must be a key! Right? Savor every bite of life today! Taste and see! Oh, that's a different Psalm:

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

They lack no good thing because He fills them with good things!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My God Crutch

There are some who say that the whole idea of God is just a crutch for weak people and that truly strong people don’t need a crutch like that. Well, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I am VERY weak and I’m so thankful that I have a strong God to lean on!

Psalm 143 is one of my favorites and in verse 8 the psalmist talks about this leaning

Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk

Sometimes we just need help walking…

A few months ago I wiped out on my bicycle and I couldn't walk…literally...I was laying on the floor in our hallway and a lightbulb came on. I wish I could say that I had a great God moment there in the hallway; but actually I remembered that the chair in the office had WHEELS! Yes! Our boys pushed me around the house on that office chair for several days. Thankfully I know who my healer is! And I'm so grateful just to be able to stand, to walk again.

There was also a dark time in my life emotionally when it was hard to put one foot in front of the other…God was a beautiful crutch to me in that season. And I was able to keep walking….to believe that this current circumstance of my life was not all there was for me…there was an “other side” and I would Walk THROUGH the storm. I would walk THROUGH the valley with Jesus right by my side.

This God Crutch, I recommend it! It's solid, strong and by far the most SURE thing for you to lean the weight of your soul on. We all pick up crutches. What are you leaning on?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Open The Doors!

Tonight we have a special Shine On women's service. These are always so beautiful. The girls show up with a eager hearts to worship and connect with their God - You can sense the expectancy! We are singing a great song called No Sweeter Name.

My favorite lines are:
You are the light to the darkness around me
You are the hope to the hopeless, the broken

Jesus is Light. He is Hope. I've spent some time in a dark, hopeless place and I'd probably still be there if it wasn't for my Jesus shining his light into that darkness. I'm so grateful.

Reading Psalm 24 I am caught by verse 7

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

I thought of how doors that haven't been opened for a while tend to get stuck, and how gates that stay closed can get rusted shut. We all have dark places inside that we keep behind closed doors. Hidden things. Maybe past mistakes that are still shrouded in shame. Or even bad habits that we keep under wraps. It is really hard to open those doors. But once they get lifted up, and a little light shines through the darkness, things begin to change. When the King of glory comes in...everything changes!

So that is my prayer for our service. That women will experience a new freedom to lift up their hands/their hearts in worship. That ancient doors will be jiggled open, and gates will swing wide. I'm asking God to come in....change circumstances...change lives! He is the only one who can do that. But then Father, if things around us don't change we welcome you to change our attitudes...change our perspectives. Help us see what you are doing on the INSIDE: Shine on!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I will be 40 yrs old on Wednesday, January 14th....hard to believe...

This year I've opted for something completely different.

No presents
No invitations
No party
None of that....

I want to celebrate in a way that really makes an impact. So I've created a fund-raising birthday page at Charity Water. I'm asking everyone I know to visit...read my story...and join me in providing something so basic as clean drinking water.


With my drop and your drop - we can fill the whole bucket! And change life for an entire village.

Water changes everything!