An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Don't You Know Me?

"Don't you know me ... even after I have been among you such a long time?"

Jesus asked the age-old question of Philip in the book of the Apostle John (John 14:9), but the way the query of truth resonated in its quest of probing my soul, it was as if the Savior had asked the heart searching interrogation directly to me this morning. The words popped off the page and stabbed the place in my heart that needed convicting. The particular passage was a re-read on my journey through the New Testament; familiar words that speak volumes, taking on a voice of their own with each new round. This habit of daily spending time in the Word and prayer, nearly twenty years now of  a quiet corner with a cup of coffee and a worn version of Scripture, comes down to this question: Don't I know Jesus? Even after all this time?

Philip had asked for a clearer revelation. One clearer than physically walking, talking, living and doing life with the flesh and blood Jesus. As I read the account, I wondered if he had witnessed the Pharisees asking this same question, or heard Jesus' response to them. I wondered at Jesus' presumably shaking head, the hurt, the deep pain of doubt as, again, one of His own stood before him wondering if He was telling the truth.

I saw myself.

I saw my doubt.

I saw my petty requests for a clearer revelation, maybe the skies parting and a glimpse of Heaven, then I could live the rest of my life believing beyond a doubt and would get off my keester and commit my whole being, laziness and all, to being poured out as a fragrant offering to whatever the Lord asked of me. Then I wouldn't grumble or complain about the paths my Maker had wisely designed for my existence. I would happily suffer whatever was necessary for the sake of the gospel to resound loudly through my life, for the sake of the glory of God, for the anticipation of seeing His face on That Day, on hearing the longed for words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Yes, I had profoundly decided, a glimpse of the eternity where my son now resides would settle it all for me.

But then came the words... "Don't you know Me?"




Yes, I know you, Lord. You are the One who allowed me to see my son's body lying on that emergency room gurney and to praise you for it. The One who carried me through those anguishing first days of grief with an enormous outpouring of grace, a grace so thickly poured out that it could be felt, a grace that cushioned and comforted and baffled. The One who has shown me where I am with you. The One who is proving my hearts true desire. I know You.

You said that you wouldn't leave me. You said that you would send a Comforter. You said that your Word was you; that your Word was enough to sustain us to know you until we see you face to face. You said that my sorrow now would turn to rejoicing. You said that it is an honor to suffer alongside of you. You said that you are coming soon. You said that these trials are less than nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed. You said that I can trust you. You said to ask for anything in your name, and You would do it.

I ask, Lord, that Your will would be done. That Your name would be high and lifted up. That I would become less as You become more. I pray that You would be glorified and that the personal cost to my temporary life would be my least concern. I pray that You would continue to give me the eyes to see the worth of dieing to self in order to live for You, the heart to trust, and the ability to go forth proclaiming the good news so that the captives might be set free. I pray that You would get all the glory in it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spearmint Eucalyptus Goat's Milk Soap

This may be my new, all time, forever favorite scent: Spearmint Eucalyptus Goat's Milk Soap. A luxurious bar is sitting in the little blue soap dish holder next to the kitchen sink tempting me to wash my hands with it every time I get close enough for a whiff. Mmm~mmmm. With a bit of crushed chamomile flowers for added beauty and a tiny bit of scrubbing power, it's good stuff.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Winners!

Grace drew three names for the Casting Crown CD's...

Drum Roll, please...

And the winners are:

Peggy Lineberry

If you'd please leave me a comment (will not be posted) with your mailing addresses Brenda and Peggy (I know where you are, Sherry) I'll get them shipped out right away.

Thanks for playing along!
PS~ If you don't have this CD~ get it now:) It'll bless your socks off!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Come to the Well Giveaway

Three Days. 
Three Free CD's. 
Just leave a comment on this post
(with an email address if you don't have a blog for notification if you win). 
Three lucky winner's names will be drawn on Friday afternoon.
Tell all your friends!

Songs on this track:
City on a Hill
Jesus, Friend of Sinners
Already There
The Well
Spirit Wind
Just Another Birthday
Wedding Day
My Own Worst Enemy
Face Down
So Far to Find You

The giveaways are being hosted by More Glory Ministries
Winners will be drawn on Friday afternoon, March 21, 2014.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Was a Goat Farmer

But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me,
"Go, prophesy to my people Israel."
Amos 7:15

I was a goat farmer when God called me. My days enjoyably consisted of tending my flock of critters and children, gardens and home, while I pursued what I thought was a deep walk with Christ: reading my Bible, attending church and prayer services, doing my duty in the nursery. Then God showed up with reality. Eternity appeared before us with a dose of acknowledgement that couldn't be ignored. The truths that God had been laying as a foundation in my life were now called upon to be lived out. He shook my world and called me to greater desires.

When the grace of God is poured out on a person there is no going back, only going deeper and closer to that Light. The world around you dulls in the presence of Jesus and the previously glittering distractions are no longer a lure. You have no choice but to want more. Not more of the world, but more of the moments when it is all about God's glory.

I don't know how to adequately describe the transformation. I don't know how to tell you what it feels like to be so close to Holiness where you are allowed to sense the very near presence of your Maker and still breathe. The day of Trent's death was a day of repentance. "I believe you now, God, help me overcome my unbelief." I thought I was living for Christ before that day. Now I only long to live for Him. To live with nothing here that I won't want to leave on the day that He calls me.

To live desperately needing God for everything is addictive and satisfying. But I don't have a need for God now in the same way that I did three years ago. I want to live where I need Him. I want my life to be poured out to walk like Jesus walked. I am excited to see how God plans to fulfill that longing in the days that I have left to live for Him alone.

"These are the words of Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up!
Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard;
obey it, and repent.
But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief,
and you will not know at what time I will come to you."
Revelation 3:1-3

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rule #1: Don't Tell the Mother of the Dead Son That She is Too Deep

It has happened before and it's happened again. And I'm sure, if I wait long enough, the words will be repeated yet a few more times. But when they come from church leadership, they send me into a tailspin of wondering how we can all be reading the same book and serving the same King.

"You're too deep. You're just zealous because your son died. Basically, shallow is okay. No point in fussing over this God stuff so much. So what if the message isn't particularly Jesus glorifying or gospel pounding, let alone if eternity is laid out clearly? The preferred hum of the lullaby is what people want, so quit rocking our sinking boat."

I wonder at these ubber-kind professing Christian folk. If the tables were changed, and if it was them rather than me waking up everyday to a child who has already faced God and eternity, if the tune would change. I wonder if they would be standing at their pulpits preaching repentance, how short life really is, how God isn't kidding. I wonder if they would preach a God glorifying gospel. I wonder if the souls in the pews would matter more.

Look at your child. Do you ever wonder about their eternity? What if it comes today? Does it break your heart or give you peace that you are fully confident of their relationship with God? Why, then, are you not on your knees right now begging for their salvation? Do the new toys or the sports events or the programs or the upcoming summer vacation plans matter more than the state of their soul?

How about your own soul? Where are you with God? Where is God with you?

Frances Chan preached a sermon some time ago titled "Lukewarm and Loving it" based on Revelation 3:15 (YouTube Link Here). "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth." We are a lukewarm nation. We are a lukewarm people. We are a lukewarm church. And we are loving it.

I came home and cried after the conversation. Not as much for my own sake, but moreso for Gods. How does a holy God feel about His children being lukewarm? How does He feel about those same children encouraging others to be lukewarm? How does He feel when it is His Son and His glory that is really being trampled on in the midst of our Sunday morning games? I can't even imagine.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Building Castles

Do not work for food that spoils, 
but for food that endures to eternal life, 
which the Son of Man will give you. 
John 6:27a

Doing crazy things like selling the farm and most of your worldly possessions in response to what you acknowledge as the calling of God opens your life up for speculation. Especially when that calling includes a double wide trailer house, the stigma of how weird you really must be can't be faked on the kind people's faces who can barely help but offering their opinion. The past few days have included more human contact than I have had most of this long, cold winter thanks to tax appointments and social obligations. Honestly, the weather was a good excuse to hide from the world and just bunker down with very few other opinions than God's.

What a strange awakening to come out of my little cocoon and get a taste of the outside world. I assumed, because of how we live, that every professing believer was actually a believer. Since my days are consumed with thoughts of God and eternity, I figured that every other disciples thoughts were, too. I spend my days thinking about how to please the Lord, what my first glimpse of eternity will be, wondering what Jesus really looks like, anticipating the full redemption of my sinful nature and the body it is trapped in, wrestling with Scripture, and longing desperately for the satisfaction of being in the presence of my Savior.

So what a shock to not find that, especially in church going folk who gather regularly on Sunday mornings. It baffles me. Makes me shake my head and wonder if I am too radical. Maybe too gung-ho about all this Jesus and salvation stuff. Maybe I am the one who has made too much emphasis on the fact that eternity is going to be such a long time. Maybe I should tone it down and just live for now, building my castles here rather than seeking to build them in Heaven. Maybe Jesus was too intent on His Father's kingdom. Somehow, I don't think so.

There is a recently signed contract to sell the farm sitting on my cluttered computer desk. Whew. Holding our breaths, realizing all the crazy emotions combined in one that this is really happening, we now wait for the end of the month when there will {Lord willing} be no more farm mortgage payments. At the same time, being cautiously excited for what the future holds and praying that it will make us available and willing for whatever God asks next, all the while believing that having less of this world will give us a greater longing for eternity.

My ever wise daughter, Alexis, calmed my frazzled response to the varied opinions on our move when she wondered out loud if others were scared that God might call them to what He has called us to, therefor it is easier to call us crazy than to wonder if God really meant that we should live wholly for Him and not invest the majority of our time, money, emotions, talents, etc., etc., in this world. After all, the rich man preferred his riches over having Jesus, she reminded me.

It makes me stop and ponder every object that I think I can't part with as we pack up this junque. "Will this go with me to eternity?" I continually ask myself as I am sorting through our possessions. Nope. None of it. Like the good folks in Hebrews who gladly gave up their belongings because they knew there were better and lasting ones awaiting them (Hebrews 10:34), I try to remember what all this stuff really is.

I remind myself to be patient as I resist the urge to build my castle here, and instead longingly look forward to a lasting castle. I don't think Jesus was kidding. He is coming soon. He does expect His children to be looking and waiting for Him. He will separate the sheep and the goats. Eternity will be a long, long time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sixteen Years Ago

But I am the Lord your God...
I cared for you in the desert,
in the land of burning heat.
Hosea 13:4a

Sixteen years ago a son was brought forth from my womb. This morning I am again recalling that day. I remember the pain and the contractions on top of contractions caused by the induction medicine that was administered because he was thought to be several days overdue. I remember the doctor who insisted that I would labor eight hours longer than I did. I remember my mother's hands braiding my hair in an attempt to soothe the pain that was so necessary.

I remember the nurses taking him from my breast shortly after he was born to administer oxygen, a foreshadowing of his life perhaps. I remember my husband stealing him back, refusing to be separated from his firstborn son.

I remember the struggle to feed him from my body over the next several months, and to draw near to him for fear of my intense love that seemed like too much. I remember the battles over his little soul in the years to come. I remember the day of his salvation, the acknowledgement of a Savior's grace, the hope of eternity in the presence of a holy God.

I remember counting his toes again on that hospital bed in the emergency room the day he died, just like the day he was born: one, two, three, all the way to ten. I remember God's grace when He gave and when He took away. This same God, who cared for the Israelites in the desert, who cared that a twelve year old boy needed a Savior, who knows the sound of a mother's falling tears.

I find this pain to be a driving force that pushes me closer to Him, not away, lest I be satisfied here in the temporary, becoming proud and comfortable and ultimately forgetting my God. This beckoning found through suffering, the hurt that penetrates so deep, is an offer to draw near to the Almighty.

The calming words of Scripture from the Sovereign One who intends to carry me all the way until I see His face has assured me that His plans are perfect. I can't see the full eternal worth of this suffering right now, but the God who called me to this trial continues to prove over and over again that He is faithful. He cares for me in the desert. In Him will I be satisfied.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bear With Me

Kudos to those who have borne with me as blog posts have been few and far between lately! Life has been a whirlwind of both emotions, time and energy the past couple of months, and trying to keep up with it all has been a challenge. My main focus has been family, which I will never regret. To pour in to the people in my life, rather than blinking lights, should be of utmost importance. I hope it is for you, too:)

The cold days of winter are slowly dragging by, but there is a hope of seeing the temps spike to twenty above this week. Then there's daylight savings time to look forward to next week with its promise of spring to follow. It has been a strange season with no goats or chicks in the basement. Every time I head down to put wood in the stove I expect to hear a blatting goat. But every time I am disappointed. It's been a surprisingly happy thing to not have a farm full of critters. It makes me realize all the more that God is leading us where He wants us to go.

Good news on the sale of the farm! If all goes as planned, we hope to have it sold by the end of the month, then rent back the house while the sewer and water are installed at the new place. Not believing anything until the day the papers are signed, though, I have resorted from getting too excited just yet and have instead focused on getting some projects finished. There are some cover updates being worked on for my book, How My Savior Leads Me, and I have also finished our family book, OurCrazyFarm. Whoo-hoo! Determined to get one more major project done during this time of respite on the farm, I now only have to finish my devotional book, then I'll feel free to be ready to start packing and preparing for the new adventure ahead of us.

God has recently given more glimpses of what that future may hold as we strive to pursue living for Him. Some possible discipleship, missionary and service opportunities have dropped in our lap for serious consideration. After much prayer we will decide if it is something that we will be ready to pursue in about a years time. The thoughts running through my brain at the major life change this would mean vary from wondering how in the world I think I could conform to extended work in a third world country, to the effect it would have on my children, to wondering how I could not show my children that any sacrifice for the sake of the gospel is worth it.

The further away that I get from the reality of Trent's death, though, the moreso I realize how unwilling I am to live a radical life for God. I have already gotten so far away from being in the midst of immense suffering, which also means not being smack in the middle of on incredible pouring out of God's grace. The further I go from there, the more complacent I see myself becoming. The value of souls lessens as I get more and more comfortable in an easy life.

On a recent road trip we listened to the book on tape, Radical, by David Platt. He touches on some hard questions for Christians about how we are living our lives. He wonders if any of us are willing to live radically for Christ. Overall, he assures the listener/reader that living a radical life is going to be worth it.

Are you living radically?

Does anybody else even consider the reality of eternity?

I often wonder what people are living for as I watch the world go by. Life changed again with a phone call this past week when there was news to inform us that Alexis had been in a three car accident. While I held my breath waiting for the outcome as Rob listened to the account, I realized just how unprepared I am of being ready to actually face God, let alone handing over my daughter. The reality hung on for several days. Everybody walked away, but we all realized how differently it could have turned out. Reality came back into focus of just how short the time is.