Sandals Off

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Exodus 3:5

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

 

When was the last time  you were in God’s presence that you felt the need to outwardly acknowledge His Holiness?  Have you taken your sandals off?  It seems as though life today wants to belittle the Almighty instead of honoring the One who has created all and given all.  But instead of finger pointing maybe I need to check out my own sandals.

God is all around us.  He is in everything.  The whole earth is His and everything in it (Psalm 24:1).  It is as though the Lord is jumping up and down saying, “Here I am, over here!  Look over here!”

Take some time today seeing God instead of your phone, the pile of papers on your desk, the spilled milk on the kitchen floor, Wimbledon (kinda a tennis freak here) and find that place with Him where the ground is holy and no shoes are required.  Honor Him.  Adore Him.  Praise Him.

The Seeking Generation

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Psalm 24:1-6

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for He founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in His holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
    who seek Your face, God of Jacob.

 

I want to be that generation; the seeking generation!   Who is with me?  ‘Nough said.

Self-Forgiveness

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Psalm 25:15

My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only He will release my feet from the snare.

 

What has your feet in a snare?  What holds you captive?  What grabs on to you in order to trip you up?

I have come to the discovery recently that guilt and self-condemnation have me snared because I have not learned how to forgive myself for past mistakes.  The cycle of guilt, bitterness and resentment rage on like a tornado without an end.  Nasty stuff; not a pretty site.  Guilt holds me because I don’t know how to let go of it.

As a Christian I know that guilt is not from God, that is not how He works….Amen and Amen.  I have asked for forgiveness over and over again and repented of my follies and yet there are my feet, snared.  For me forgiving others is so much easier than forgiving myself.

Realizing the problem was step one; took a very long time to even see that I was snared.  Now my eyes see clearly the trap.  Step two is in process and that step is asking the Lord to help me, show me, teach me, train me.  While reading scripture this morning and asking God for revelation knowledge He took me to Psalm 25.  The whole Psalm blew me away, please read it for yourself, but verse 15 hit me between the eyes.  What I heard Him say to me through verse 15 was, “Kay, just keep your eyes on Me and all will be right.”  As I look to the Lord and keep my perspective toward Him, guilt will have less and less to hold on to and one day I will realize, “Hey, I am free!”  Praise God for that day.

If you feel alone in your struggle, don’t!  You are not alone.  Every single person on the planet struggles in some way with something.  Unfortunately so few people are willing to let down their barriers and allow others to see inside.  Barriers only keep all of the ugliness trapped inside with us.  I am here to tell you I have been a sold out to the Lord Christian since 1975 and I struggle.  Instead of barricading ourselves in we need to reach out and encourage and  uphold one another.  I pray today that you are encouraged to know that you are not alone.  Our Father calls to us and loves us.  He knows how to get our feet out of the snare even if we don’t.

Amen and Amen!

Psalm Day

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Psalm 4:6

Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.

 

Ever have a Psalm kind of day?  Well, today is my Psalm Day; just needed to read a Psalm.  Psalm 4:6 is my prayer for you and for me.  Go into this weekend with the Light of Christ.  Let God’s Light drive out any and all darkness.  Feel the warmth of His care and know that the Lord is good.  His steadfast love endures forever.

Amen and Amen!

 

Oak of Weeping

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Genesis 35:1-9

Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”  So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.  There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,  God appeared to him again and blessed him.  God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.

Please notice the passage that I highlighted in bold above.   I sat for the longest time this morning asking the Lord, “Why did You put that information into this passage; what is the importance?”     It seems to just be dropped into the middle of another story.  So confused!  I didn’t even know that Rebekah had a nurse, let alone that her name was Deborah.  So?  I decided to just keep reading but the passage would not leave my thoughts.  Alright, so it has to be of some importance, but what?

I prayed and I asked for understanding and I waited.  I thought of the many people who have cared for my mother in her advanced years.  Without those caring servants it would be difficult to impossible to provide Mom with quality of life and allow her to maintain her dignity.  I have made it a point to learn the names of Mom’s caregivers and to express gratitude to them often because they care for someone I love dearly.

Deborah cared for Rebekah and here is God’s Thank You note to Deborah for her willing servant’s heart.  Even in the midst of declaring the nation of Israel, God acknowledges what the world (you or I) might have missed; the care of one individual for another and His thankfulness for that servant’s heart.

By the way Allon Bakuth translates to “Oak of Weeping.”

Dislocated Hip

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Genesis 32:24-28

Jacob was left alone,and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

 

There are so many accounts in the Bible that cause me to shake my head and wonder why the Lord wanted us to know such things.  As I continue in this journey called “life” I find that some of the reasons for these accounts reveal themselves to me as my life becomes more seasoned through living.

I have been a sold out for the Lord Christian since I was 16 years old.  I was known as a “Jesus Jock” and “Bible Banger” during my high school days.  Both titles I wore with honor.  Though I have desired to live my life for the Lord from the age of 16 that does not mean that I have always gotten “it” right.  Even in my zest for God sometimes I get too big for my own britches.  I can recount many times in my life that I have walked out on my own understanding instead of by faith.  I have been blessed greatly and there are times when such great blessing can get to my head and I lose sight of Who is the foundation and step off for a little while without meaning to…….”DANGER, DANGER, Will Robinson!”

I think that is where this story of Jacob/Israel makes sense to me.  God was protecting Jacob.  You say, “What?”  God wanted to give Jacob a daily reminder of where it is safe to stand.  So often human weaknesses turn us toward the Lord because in those times we know that we can not do it on our own and we depend and look for the Lord’s support and guidance.  Jacob was about to be more richly blessed than he could have ever imagined and great responsibility would be upon his shoulders, God desired to protect Jacob’s strength by giving him a little weakness.  God was providing a way so that Jacob would not get too big for his britches and in doing so Jacob would continue to stand upon the firm foundation of God and not upon his own understanding.

We all have some type of weakness in our life, something that is a struggle.  I think I am learning to STOP asking God to remove my struggles and instead answering as Abraham and Isaac and Jacob did many times, “Here I am, Lord.”

 

Between You and Me

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Genesis 31:49

It was also called Mizpah, because he said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.

 

Our son has been out of the military for a couple of years now and I turned into a bawling hysterical weeping mess when I found this picture just now.  God’s protection was so very real to us during the years that our son served.  Knowing that God watched between us while our son was in Afghanistan was the peace that made it possible to breathe.  The emotions are so very strong even now.  How the Lord holds us up is amazing beyond words.  We have lived and understand the words, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.”

We are entering into a new separation.  We will soon leave where we have lived and put down roots for the past 30 years and move 800 miles away.  We have wonderful friends here who are more like family than just friends.  We have a wall hanging in our home that reads, “Friends are family one finds along the way” and we have found many family members along our way.  We will also be moving away from our sons.  Once again we will cling to the promise that the Lord will watch between us while we are apart; our flesh and blood and the family that we have found along the way.  We are so thankful that we can rest in the Lord.  What a blessing to have the Lord between you and me.