The Word

There’s a very beautiful picture of the character of God in Isaiah, the 55th chapter. The context of the chapter is an invitation into the salvation of the LORD.

In the beauty of God portrayed in those verses, there’s one thing that pops off the page. No matter which translation I study, the words are powerful to me & they come from verse 11 where we receive a promise that God’s Word never returns void or empty & where He sends it, it will accomplish what He wants & it will prosper everywhere it goes.

Under the New Covenant of & with Christ we are reminded in John 1:14 that God sent His Word to become flesh, a human being & make His home among us by an act of unfailing love & faithfulness & through this we have seen God’s glory; the glory of the Father’s Son.

I cannot reflect on the those verses without feeling such a bittersweet string of emotions inside my heart. In my own life I feel gratitude for the ability to have the freedom to study this Word, His very Word through the Spirit’s guidance & have my life affected by the love letter written directly to me. But, at the same time I feel an ache for the lack of seriousness or validity many have created for this communication tool of life that He left for us. The Bible is consistently discarded as a mistranslated, ancient, old book that’s un-relatable. Primarily because it’s not telling people what they want to hear. When words convict, they’re instantly discarded as false.

The Ancient of Days may have left us writings that are aged, but they are anything but ancient in their delivery. It takes a lot of time, prayer, sacrifice & direction from God to hear His voice through the string that sews together the Old & New Testaments through the promises He has for us with Jesus.

People use God’s words as a means to prove they’re right instead of looking for the truth of who God is & who they are to Him. We’ve reduced teachable moments at His feet to cherry picked “verse of the day” devotionals & wonder why we’re spiritually starving & lack joy.

We find comfort in asking God, “Who Am I?” When He simply wants us to start with the declaration of who He says He is, “I AM.” The Bible WILL tell us who we are & what we should do, but we won’t find clarity in these answers until we allow them to be found 1st through the lens of who God is in character & as our Creator.

Many times we seek out scriptures to make us “feel” a certain way when we read them. We’ll tread water in the Psalms, & the Gospels, with little time in the books of the Prophets or Judges. Most of us have built our faith from the emotions we feel on any particular day & if we feel happy, we claim relationship with God; feeling low, we feel our relationship with Him is distant.

I have often told the class I teach, the heart cannot fully love who it doesn’t truly know. If we want to love God more & love Him deeper, we have to know Him personally & how to truthfully think about Him. Jesus commands us to love the LORD with all of heart, souls, mind’s & strength. We aren’t asked to love God with Beth Moore’s mind & our favorite author’s heart & the best conference speaker’s soul- we’re called to do so for ourselves.

A study of the Bible that truly equips will never lack in allowing a person to be taught to approach Scripture to hear what God says directly, not the writer’s opinions of what God says. When we allow the latter method to remain in our lives, we adopt an idea that these other people know more about the Bible than we ever could, so we stop seeking the Spirit’s direction & we resign ourselves to a stack of books, blogs & podcasts because picking up THE Book has started to cause us discomfort & struggle. We’d rather be conveniently persuaded by another’s opinions, than inconveniently taking the time to research truth on our own.

Before we can ask what the specific verses say to us, we have to ask what did they say to the original audience? To view parables, law codes, poetry, historical views or geography in a way that doesn’t frustrate & cause us to rush through, but in a way that causes us to pause & allow God to slowly humble us & explode our understanding. To give ourselves goals & time frames that invest in seeking direct curriculum, allowing ourselves to actually be lost & feel lost in the process, so He can find us.

Too often in my past I failed to embrace the struggle I was in, in Scripture & I gave up or looked for a short cut. When I realized that God was using that frustrating moment as a teachable moment, to push me a bit farther, to seek out original text or go one level deeper, it was THERE I found Him. Something beautiful about the Lord that I’d never known & in that instance I also found out things about myself. From those realities I found a new way to live & a new way to heal. A new way to approach & fall in love with the Bible.

All 66 books of the Bible tell a story about the creation, falling, redemption & restoration of humans. It’s each of their stories, but also the story of our own lives. You will find the kind of God who waits to show you His love. What I found about myself wasn’t that there was a God with unnecessary expectations for my life due to a dusty old book that kept people from “living their lives.” I found that through Jesus Christ there was freedom. And everything I needed to be free & stay free was written right there for me to know.

I also found conviction through God’s words & I think that was my biggest struggle so many years ago. I had a false mentality that what gave me instant satisfaction was more profitable than what God could provide. I came to know those things in my life that I’d white knuckle gripped, never actually gave me happiness, they just kept me bound to deeper sins. When I learned how to part with the sin(s), I learned how to see their roots & many of those roots were yoked to areas of me that had never been healed or loved in the right way; the Godly way.

Sin is an inconvenient word these days. If you are studying God’s Word & never find personal conviction re: the sin in your life, if it doesn’t change your walk, then please pray for a redirection in your journey to the cross. Any sin walls on your path will block the fullness of the blessings & the plans that God has for your life. Not many people want to bring that up because it isn’t PC, but someone who cares about you truly having a relationship with God that’s your own, will teach & direct you in a way that allows you to see/feel that for yourself.

I encourage you to seek the Bible for understanding & truth, for explanation & for clear application as to how you’ll put it into use. Let that be a prayer you repeat until it becomes a natural part of your seeking. Ask questions, “What does this say? What does it mean? How should this change me? What does this say about God?” And always make steps to pray throughout your time in the Word. You can use the acronym PART. P-raise & glorify God for what He reveals. A-dmit or confess the hindrances, distractions & sin tripping you up. R-equest assistance & forgiveness. T-hank God for all He is, all He’s done & what He’s going to do!

James 1:5 tells us that we will receive wisdom by asking our generous God for it. Prayer is the means that we implore the Holy Spirit to guide us & take up residency into our study & personal time with Him. When we commune with God through prayer & pursue Him through the Bible, He changes our desires & creates a hunger in us for more time seeking spiritual things & less time wasting ourselves to worldly desires.

As we approach this season of celebration & honor regarding the birth of Christ, let’s not forget HE was the fleshly word. His life, His ministry, His death, His resurrection & His return, turn us all back to the Scriptures. Trade the rush of the materialistic season, for the peace & small whispers of God in uninterrupted silence. Honor the wonder of the old rugged cross shaped tree before standing in awe of the dressed up, twinkling one. Remember, for most Christians the holidays bring a spiritual feeling & sense of God’s presence because people are looking hard for Him in childlike anticipation. Taking Advent journeys through Scripture, creating family moments & bonding over the Christ story, finding holy spaces to breathe in gratitude. No wonder Christmas feels so magical, because every heart is exposed in hope, love, & seeking.

However, the same feeling of December can occur in March & June & August. He’s always there, & so is the fullness of His wonder. But, we must be willing to stop running circles around the truth to grasp onto the temporary & decide to run the long race with endurance, hands wide open.

If God would’ve given us any more methods to know Him, besides prayer & the Bible, He would’ve made that known, but what was provided was done so in a way this personal, because these things can never be taken from you. No-one can take your prayer life & no-one can remove the Word of the Almighty when it becomes implanted in your soul. Before you can love, you have to know, & before you can know, you have to carve out time to be taught, & before you can be taught, you have to be emptied of yourself so you can be filled to full capacity with the Spirit’s Fruit.

My prayer today is that for you reading this, your desire for the next year will be to grow in relationship & deep love for God, maybe for the 1st time in your life. And to utilize the direct word, Spirit & prayer tools that are unlimited resources for you, personally. You can never have too much God & the more you want the more you’ll receive. The biggest gift you’ll receive this season is the blessing that awaits you when you walk into the storehouse of His provision & unwrap His will for your life.

2 Timothy 3:15-17, NLT, You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Election Woes- Who I’m Not With & Why

I’ve sat on this post for days now, weeks actually. I have prayed numerous times to post it or internalize it. One thing I know about God, & myself is this, if He continues to prompt & the fire is burning then go for it. He’ll guide the words & I won’t backspace for safety.

Due to my restraint & not firing off like a loose cannon on this page, it’s allowed me time to again pray, observe & reflect on this situation our nation has been standing in/drowning in, for some time. Whether you’re here to “elect a Messiah” or not, many of us who are considered Christian, don’t even pay our bills without praying over them, much less, turn the nation over so easily & candidly without bringing our beliefs into the picture.

Many people have approached me in person & electronically to ask my opinion- what I am going to do, who I support, why, & how I bring or leave my Christian views into perspective during this voting season. I really value people, I do. I appreciate the way they respect me & I hope I reciprocate, but at the same time I realize I do not & have not ever shared the same beliefs or opinions as the masses; I even joke that I am always the square peg never fitting in the round hole- that’s absolutely me.

Regarding politics, I have never been a registered party affiliate. I am not conservative nor am I liberal & in the 24 years I have been granted the privilege to vote, I have voted different sides many times. Often those times were a great choice & often they were not, because time always irons out the promises & the true beliefs of those we try to trust with our futures.

I have never committed to a party or their platform, because those who say they stand hardest & most tall for their people, seem to forget their words constantly. The parties are consistently riddled with controversy & people saying one thing & doing something differently, like religion, which is why I don’t follow people or idolize them. I never have & I never will.

With the start of this election however, I knew exactly what I would do & would not do. I have been firm & prayed up about my choice. The reason I am in pure confidence over my choice is due to the leading, power, & discernment of the Holy Spirit. Whether you believe that, understand that, acknowledge that, or have made your own decision based on that also- THAT is your opinion, proceed however you feel you are being led. I only hope if you are a believer that you have spent more time praying over this decision than you have arguing online or re-posting articles trying to “win” your person to the White House.

Since May, I have been teaching & studying directly from Kings & Chronicles. The parallel of Israel’s political past to America’s current standing isn’t just eerie in comparison, it’s down right prophetic in nature. I won’t type out a sermon for you, but I will say this, God gave the people what they wanted, a king as their leader. As history has shown & proven itself still, elbowing God to follow a human 1st, was & has been disastrous.

Whether you are someone desiring a “king or a queen” as our next leader just notice that the truth has been made crystal clear on both sides. You can excuse what you see & hear with a “but s/he…..” or you can push away what you KNOW is wrong morally & spiritually because you think these total strangers who desire a “crown” will do exactly what they said for you they would- you can do that all day long. And you have the right to think all of those things, BUT having a right doesn’t mean it’s right or that you’re right to overlook the obvious truths just to point your finger & laugh & say, “we won” like this is a reality show competition.

The beautiful word of God has been butchered, hacked, & cherry picked apart in anger by people who A. have no idea what they’re even quoting out of context & B. who do not spend one day applying the principles of that spoken word to their own lives & families. Trying to gain points for your person by shoving God’s word in other people’s faces is not only sinful, it’s blasphemous. It desecrates the very cause of Christ’s ministry, message, life & excruciating death.

I would like to say I can only imagine what this does to the heart of such a gracious God, but He’s unfortunately been through this desertion & face slap many, many times. Not by the unbelieving, but by those who say they live their lives serving HIM & HIS will.

There are many things that I have prayed for regarding this nation & this world, still do, but at this time I pray for the small group of us who do not stand with either candidate. I have read & heard the slander. I have seen, “but a ‘no’ vote for ___ is a direct vote for ___.” We’ve been called stupid, ignorant, enablers, I could go on, & again most of this slander & banter comes from those who proclaim Christ as their 1st leader.

We are anything but these list of criticizing labels. Completely opposite. We may just be like the 7,000 faithful who didn’t conform when Jeroboam decided to incite a new world order for Israel’s northern kingdom. (If you’re well versed & have been sharing scripture a lot lately to prove your points, then this shouldn’t stump you, being the new theologian that you are during this election cycle).

For the record, when this election started I registered for the 1st time in my life as a Republican. I did so because I truly believed in a particular candidate & I wanted to vote for him in the primary. My vote for him wasn’t about keeping someone out, it was about letting someone in who would make a difference for the future of my children. It wasn’t a competition for me. I believed not so much in him & the promises, but more so, in the heart & the focus for the direction he wanted to attempt taking the country. He made it far, but not far enough. Sabotage wears many faces, even from those who call you friend. When he failed to rise, & I saw the options we were going to be left with, I changed myself back to non party affiliate & decided I would write-in my vote & run straight ticket for one particular party.

There are thousands like me. I’ve seen you & I’ve listened to your angst. I’ve watched you grow more & more sickened by these 2 people & the hatred spewed at us & others due to their fans. But, know this, God will hear the cries of the FAITHFUL hearts. He hears our repentance on behalf of ourselves & our nation. He sees that our desperation is for unity & not to “win” anything from the desire of a selfish heart or selfish motive. He knows that trying to be an example of Christ to others every day is our goal & to one day see a revival of morality, love, & wisdom take its place over us through a leader that is an outpouring of the 9 fruit of the Holy Spirit. We WILL one day know them by that fruit.

But, in the meantime some of us can only say, “Your will be done, Lord, this is what they asked for.” Emotions always run ahead of rationalism. Our country is currently a group of believers who are completely living the opposite of James 1:19,20. A nation not on a rock, but sinking sand.

I have multiple reasons for not supporting either candidate. You can throw your eggs in the abortion & gay rights basket all you want, but the Republican representative never speaks of either on your behalf or your belief. The only thing he ever says when addressing the Supreme Court seat vacancy is the 2nd amendment. If you vote for the left you know it’s a vote for pro-choice that’s obvious, but if you say you’re primary reason for Trump is due to his promise to appoint a conservative, then ask yourself why he didn’t bring up either of your abortion OR gay rights topics in either Presidential debate. Just consider that if those are your hinges.

Unless you’ve been a victim of sexual assault, like myself, it doesn’t matter what year it was, it never goes away. You do not understand the magnitude of words unless you YOURSELF have walked through a trauma. I don’t care what that trauma is, if you have one you know how it feels to not be understood, believed, or taken seriously. Especially if it’s an anguish where someone put themselves on you or in you when you did not welcome them. When they used the experience to turn around & shame you through this so called, “locker room talk,” then you would get it through your minds that this isn’t just a group of crazy feminists with an agenda to crucify a man- it’s a group of victims who knows good & damn well the difference between banter & admittance.

I also know good & well that Hillary Clinton’s husband, an accused rapist, is not running for office…. etc. etc. But, again for these victims, there are numerous accusations, payoffs, & court records that show she had a hand many times in silencing these women. Which again, is one of the many reasons I won’t support her either. To say, “I don’t believe you,” to Trump’s accusers or Clinton’s, screams so loud in my ears that I cannot bear it.

I am glad she forgave her husband. I am glad that Trump’s wife forgives him. You should be glad that I have forgiven the predators in my life, but the only ones who deserve that apology are the victims of their heinous actions & based on the hurt still circulating by all of their accusers, I see that has not occurred.

My job as a voter has zero to do with “forgiving” these people. My job is to trust the qualifications of the choices before me & I do not trust either. No amount of conversation, arguing online, reading of articles, prayer, or fingers in my face will ever change that.

And lastly, my son spent 8 years in a locker room with sports. He’s a 19 year old college fraternity member. My husband has spent 27 years playing, coaching & associating with rugby; many locker rooms. He’s a 44 year old man. As we speak, my daddy is 65 years old & my grandpa in his 80’s. I can promise you one thing right now- not all men behave the way these other men do. And if you are surrounded by men who shrug this off or categorize all men in this group, there’s not a flag that gets any redder. If you love them, you should make sure they seek some help- especially if they have daughters who’s reputation & safety could lie in the hands of future men who feel they have the right to grope/kiss/grab/take advantage of their female bodies, only to become locker talk & unbelieved.

Donald Trump was 60 when he made these remarks/admittance. Where new, not so new, accusations have surfaced to him, like Bill & Hillary’s have, their ages were spread across the board. There is no limit to how old they were or any excuse for how young they were.

I can tell you this, the men I referenced above that are in my life also span several age groups & generations. All 4 of them are zero for zero for rape, assault, p*ssy grabs, forcing their mouths & hands on women or using this type of language to criticize women in a sexist, misogynistic way. So don’t ever give me or any other smart woman or man this line of garbage re: age or decades.

That’s where I stand. I am not trying to get likes, win friends, convince you to change your mind, etc. I assume you’re already concreted into your decision either way. Again, that’s your right & this is mine.

I also did not welcome or invite a debate. I do not want your negative emails, comments, or posts. I don’t want to hear it. This is my blog & I appreciate you reading it, I have not however welcomed you to throw your energy into being hateful & hate filled. It’s likely you have a platform or your own way to post your opinions, so go have fun doing that in your space, not mine. I won’t have it & I will remove, delete, & block anything I don’t feel is right or appropriate. You have been warned.

In the weeks ahead & years that follow, I don’t know what will happen, but I know what we’re left with as a nation of divided people will be hard to repair. Evangelical leaders, churches, schools, men & women all over the country are in a cycle of anger & rage right now & I just pray that God does in the hearts of humans what only He is capable of healing. Otherwise who’s in office will never matter if we’re a nation who is at war with one another.

God bless y’all & God bless America…. please. Thanks for reading.