Monday, July 30

An Embarrassing Moment Before a Crowd

Lift the flap of the tent of time with me and we’ll peek in...

Morning is breaking on the Mount of Olives.

A gentle breeze caresses the grass, evaporating the dew. The birds awake from their slumber with sweet songs to greet the day.

As the horizon releases the sun, soft wisps of amber, rose, coral, and tangerine mingle with the delicate blue sky.

The blush of light filters softly through the leaves of the olive trees, pooling on the ground as ethereal stepping stones, as if welcoming a special visitor to the seclusion and serenity of the mount.

And this morning, a special visitor does come. Jesus spends time in prayer with His Father, and, when He is finished, He leaves His beloved mount of prayer and strolls down to the temple.

People from all around fill the temple to sit in His presence, to listen to Him teach. He sits in their midst but is halted by a rude interruption of the Pharisees (those who are not fair-you-see) and the teachers of the Law who thrust a woman before Him.

They say, “Teacher, this woman was seized in the very act of adultery!”

Ripped right from her private bedroom and dragged into public view.

Was she still naked? And how did they find her? Did someone see her solicit her paramour? Did they peek in a window? Did they eavesdrop? Was this a set up to trap Jesus since the male counterpart of this tryst is missing?

Standing there in the midst of the crowd, she hangs her head to hide the embarrassment turning her face red. Tears fill her eyes as hatred fills her heart. Every eye in the crowd focuses on her.

These self-appointed vigilantes of virtue continue, waving rocks clutched tightly in their fists, and bracing themselves to hurl the missiles of death at her. “Moses’ Law says to stone her. What do you say?”

Ah, it is a trap. In their minds, they wonder if He will let her go, abandoning the Law, or throw the first stone, upholding the Law. They seek no justice, merely some evidence to use against Him.

No answer from Jesus. Just silence. Instead of responding, He squats down and begins writing in the dirt with His finger, ignoring their continued questions. Is He making a list of sins?

The Pharisees and teachers stand there, steaming with spite.

Jesus stands upright, looks accusingly at them all, and commands, “Whoever has not sinned, hurl the first stone!” Again, He stoops down and continues writing in the dirt. This time, it looks like He adds each of their names beside the sins.

Convicted by their consciences, they stumble over their own feet as they backtrack. One by one, they slip away, as a flurry of thuds is heard from stones hitting the ground.

As Jesus straightens up this time, He sees no one but the accused woman standing there, tears streaming down her relieved face.

“Woman, where are those who accuse you? Does no one condemn you?”

Looking into His loving eyes, she says, trembling, “No one, Lord.” Now, what will He say to me?

Gently, He says to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, now, and leave your life of sin.” And He smiles that glorious, forgiving smile at her.

With sighs of exoneration, she thanks Him profusely as she turns around to leave and start a new life.

Do you have a secret sin that would cause public humiliation for you if others knew about it? The Lord is always waiting, ready to forgive and pardon.

Jesus says to you, “Neither do I condemn you; go, now, and leave your life of sin.”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 ESV

On In Around button



Thursday, July 26

Smeared Glasses

Ackk! My glasses are dirty again!

I reach for my specially-treated, purple cloth and wipe off the yuck. How does that stuff get there? Always amazes me that it just appears.

Usually, I don’t notice that my glasses are dirty, and I don’t realize I’m squinting. Sometimes, I get a headache. The change is so subtle that it’s overlooked. After removing the film and spots from my glasses, my eyes relax and I can see better.

As Trapper John said to Radar on M.A.S.H, “Clean your glasses and you’ll know where you are!”

Aren’t we like this spiritually? I know I am. Looking through spiritual lenses, I don’t realize the build up of smudges, spots, and blemishes caused by the things I say, do, see, hear, etc. Things get blurry. And get worse. It’s like gradually drawing down a blackout shade. So imperceptible that it isn’t detected. Until it is pitch black and I don’t know where I am!

I tolerate those tiny, subtle spots and unconsciously overlook them. I end up with a squinting spirit and instead of a headache, I develop a heartache. And the disconnect from the Lord slowly takes place.

Jesus died for those spots and blemishes in the lives of His Church Bride, “He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” (Eph. 5:25b-28 NLT)

I need to ask the Lord to search me, to bring those things to my attention of which I may be unaware or have ignored. Praying David’s prayer would be a good start, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Ps. 139:23-24 NLT)

Have you been seeing clearly lately? If not, clean your spiritual lenses and you’ll know where you are!

Hooking up today with...
katherines corner



Monday, July 23

Are You Suffering from Wilderness Fatigue?

Out of work.
Loss of insurance.
Temperatures soar.
Bankruptcies abound.
Foreclosures proliferate.

Things are drying up all around. Feels like the hot sands of the Sahara sometimes, doesn’t it?

What drives you into the desert? What vehicle takes you for a spin to the backside of the wilderness? No, I don’t mean an SUV, bus, or pickup truck. Circumstances, doubts, fears, and disobedience drive us there. However, some of us use a dump truck!

Moses sinned by killing an Egyptian and fear of death drove him to the wilderness. And for forty years, Moses “kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian.” One day, “he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.” (Ex. 3:1 KJV)

Let’s look at that for a moment.

Kept in Hebrew means to shepherd, to tend a flock or pasture it, to graze, to rule, to associate with (as a friend), to be companions, or to be a special friend.

The meaning of led is to drive forth (a person, an animal, or chariot), lead, carry away, proceed, and so on.

The word wilderness means a pasture, open field, desert, uninhabited land, mouth, and speech. Its root word means to arrange, to speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, sing, talk, teach, tell, utter, etc.

Mount Horeb is in the Sinai Peninsula. In Hebrew, Horeb means a dry, wasted, and desolate land. So, why did Moses take the flock there to pasture them? And if kept means to graze, then there must have been fodder for the flock to feed on.

We know for sure there was a little growth…a bush.

While Moses was there, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in that bush appearing to be on fire. Moses purposely drew near the flare of this non-burning bush. After calling Moses by name, God spoke to him.

Hmmm…in the wilderness, a dry place where God communes. There, God told Moses His plan for him and encouraged him, “I will certainly be with you.” (Ex. 3:12 TLB)

Years later, Moses, speaking of Jacob, said God “found him [Jacob] in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” (Deut. 32:10 NKJV)

God met Jacob in the wilderness, encircled him, guarding him from danger, taught him, and watched over him as the little man (reflection) of His eye. And He will do the same for each one of us when we are in our own wilderness, whether self-imposed or otherwise.

* Have your circumstances created your own private wilderness?
* Have you run to the wilderness to escape the consequences of something you’ve done?
* Have you been wondering around in it so long that fatigue and thirst have set in?
* How long has it been? Two weeks, two months, two years? Or maybe it’s been twenty or even forty years like Moses?
* While in that barren place, do you hear the Lord?
* Do you listen to His plan and purpose for your life?

There is a bush burning in the midst of your situation. God’s presence burns to commune with you. Purposely turn aside from your distress and draw near to the Lord. Tune out the frazzled racket of the world to hear those sweet whispers of heaven.

Hidden in that wilderness are the words of comfort you so long to hear. God will give you springs of living water for which you have long been thirsty. He “will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Is. 43:19 NKJV)

He will encircle you with His love, guard you with His strong arms, teach you, and keep His watchful eye on you, never letting you out of His sight.

That living hope He imparts is greater than your circumstances, greater than your depression, greater than your grief, greater than your debt, greater than your yourself.

The Lord is with you, no matter how dark or how dry your situation becomes.

If you are suffering from wilderness fatigue, I pray you find that peaceful, resting place of encouragement and thirst-quenching in the midst of your circumstances. May you know God’s encircling, His protection, His teaching, and His watchful eye upon you.

Today, I am hooking up with...


Wednesday, July 18

Do You Hear Him?

Where: The mountaintop.

Who: The lucky three: Peter, James, and John.

What: Jesus leads the three on a climb up the mountainside.

A climb that will change their lives forever.

They trudge their way through trees and rocks hundreds of feet up the lofty mountain, a long and arduous climb. The men labor to breath; their lungs work overtime. Small beads of sweat expand into streamlets emptying into their beards. Their leg muscles feel heavy and begin to burn.

Each step puts more distance behind them and the swarming crowds, the hypocritical Pharisees, and the demands on Jesus.

Yet, in their climb, they enjoy softly brushed clouds against a swash of blue sky, a cooler temperature, and the fresh smell of pine trees.

Finally reaching the top, they sit down to rest and allow the gentle breeze to refresh them as they look out on the remote valley below them.

Jesus falls to His knees to pray. The disciples follow His posture, but tired from the strenuous climb, they fall asleep.

As Jesus prays, His appearance alters. A divine radiance transfigures Jesus, as if heaven has sent blazing rays of firebolts to shoot out from Him. His face glows with a dazzling luster, shining as the light of a torch; His robe glistens with an ethereal white.

Awakened by the blinding light, the men shield their eyes, not believing what they see. Pinching themselves, they murmur, “Is this a vision? Are we still asleep?”

What a privileged sight for the three disciples! Privileged to see the glory that has been pulsing within Jesus’ human form, now bursting forth from its concealment. In that aurora of light, all else fades into a vaporous void - trees, rocks, grass, all blanched by the glory.

But what’s this? Squinting and rubbing their eyes, they see Moses and Elijah standing and talking with Jesus.

Moses, the representation of the Law.
Elijah, the representation of the prophets.
Jesus, standing between them, the fulfillment of both.
Oh, how He must have wanted to go back to heaven with them.

But Peter...always the impulsive Peter...sullies this hallowed moment by blurting out, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matt. 17:4 NLT)

But as he speaks, a luminous cloud overshadows them in a haze of brightness, encompassing all of them.

A mighty voice booms out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 17:5a NKJV)

The resonance of the voice cleaves through the rarefied air. The mountain quakes. The disciples slump to the ground as if struck by a bolt of lightning. Too terrified to look up.

Again, the voice, “Hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5b NKJV) And it was gone.

Jesus draws near in compassion and touches them. They feel that familiar gentle and reassuring hand on their shoulders, “Get up; don’t be frightened.”

When they look up, there is no Moses. There is no Elijah. No more bright cloud. Just Jesus, as He’s always been.

Still in a daze, they descend the mount of glory to the valley of what is to come. On their way down, Jesus says, “Do not mention to anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matt. 17:9 Amp)

Those two words, spoken in glory, echo throughout eternity, to all generations to follow, “Hear Him!”

What about us today? When the Lord leads us to the top of the mount of circumstance, to look out over the reality in the valley below...

* Do we follow Jesus’ example and pray or do we fall asleep?
* Do we enjoy the climb, or do we complain with every step?
* Does the climb change our lives forever?
* Do we listen to the Lord’s voice and consider what He says? Or does a lightning bolt have to strike us before we will listen?

In your life, do you ever climb with Jesus? What pales in the light of Christ? Do you hear Him?

Today, I am hooking up with...

Reflections of His Grace/Grace Cafe


Saturday, July 14

What Do You Dance On?

 Have you ever done the chicken dance at a wedding reception?

If so, you got out on that special foundation installed just for dancing. You scheduled time just to be there. No, not to do the chicken dance but to attend the wedding and reception. Why? To share in the joyous occasion of celebrating the marriage, right? You made time to celebrate.

What inspires and excites us to praise the Lord and dance before Him? Do we wait for special occasions, or do we schedule time to celebrate our relationship with our Beloved Bridegroom? And on what do we dance? The fragile fabrication the world offers or the firm foundation God gives us?

Christ is our Rock, our Foundation; therefore, our hearts rejoice and dance on that firm footing of faith in Him and the truths in God’s Word.

There are times for dancing, times for celebrating, as the author of Ecclesiastes tells us, “A time to laugh...A time to dance.” (Eccl. 3:4 TLB) Oh, we love to dance when there’s a good reason to celebrate, like times of triumph and happiness.

We love to “trip the light fantastic,” as the saying goes. We frolic light-footed and graceful on the peak of gaiety, but what about those other times in our lives, those times when our hearts suffer the pangs of trials and heartaches?

As the Bible says, there is also “A time to weep...A time to mourn.” (Eccl. 3:4 NKJV) But sometimes in our mourning, rather than pirouetting in twirls of glee that the Lord is with us, we spiral down into a valley of gloominess and our dancing feet feel like they are made of lead weights.

In those times of heartache, God will revive us, just as He told Israel through Jeremiah, “I will rebuild you...You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.” (Jer. 31:4 NLT)

In one of those times in David’s life, he rejoiced in the Lord, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” (Ps. 30:11 NKJV)

Another time, he said, “But let righteous people rejoice. Let them celebrate in God’s presence. Let them overflow with joy.” (Ps. 68:3 GW)

Do you set aside other activities and schedule time to be in the Lord’s presence to praise Him and celebrate with Him? Do you enjoy dancing with your Beloved Bridegroom?

Just think: when we get to heaven, we’ll dance with Him on that eternal foundation, those streets of gold. There’s a song our church loves to sing called We Will Dance. It always gives me goosebumps. If you’ve never heard it, I hope you’ll listen to it.

Sing a song of celebration, lift up a shout of praise
For the Bridegroom will come the glorious one...

We will dance on the streets that are golden,
The glorious bride and the great Son of man;
From ev’ry tongue and tribe and nation
We’ll join in the song of the Lamb.
Bride, your Bridegroom waits to dance with you!

* Today, I celebrate, with my hubby, our 46 th wedding anniversary. Thank you, my dear sweet one, for every year. I love you!

** This post is part of the monthly blog chain. This month’s topic is celebrate. Please check out the other great posts in the right sidebar.


Tuesday, July 10

Digging Up Graves!

 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
(Col. 3:3 NKJV)

I died!

Yup. I died.

The old self? Buried. Left behind. Forgotten.

“My old self has been crucified with Christ.” (Gal. 2:20a NLT)

Calvary’s cross lays atop that grave of the old me and I’ve said toodles!

The new me? Alive and hidden in Christ.

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20b NLT)

And if you are in Christ, your old self is dead and buried also, right? “Your old, evil nature died with Him and was buried with Him.” (Col. 2:12 TLB)

Therefore, you and I are “a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV), because “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.” (Gal. 5:24 NLT)

But are we content to leave well enough alone? Nooooooo! We have to go get our handy-dandy, Lowe’s special, heavy duty, grave-diggin’ shovel and dig up our old selves again because self wants to come out and play.

Oh, we welcome that rugged cross to rest upon our sins, but we won’t let it rest upon our nature.  

Paul assures us through his letter to the Roman church “that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Rom. 6:6 NKJV)

Unfortunately, after becoming a new creation in Christ, that old man has a stubborn propensity for raising his ugly head and yoo-hooing us from the grave. He likes to dangle his friends...impure thoughts, words, attitudes, sights, and feelings...right before our eyes.

And what do we do?

Yup. We reach for the shovel handle and start digging to accommodate him!

Then, we find ourselves saying...

“Well, halllloooo there, old pal negative attitude!”
“Howdy there, pardner selfishness!”

“Welcome back, ol’ addiction!”
“Glad to see ya, lust!”

But if “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you,” then, “dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.” (Rom. 8:11a, 12 NLT) Because “now you are free from your old master, sin” (Rom. 6:18 TLB), so “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” (Gal. 5:16 NLT)

Therefore, no more reaching for the shovel! No more grave digging!

And “That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.” (Rom. 6:12-14 Msg)

Do you have a handy-dandy, Lowe’s special, heavy duty, grave-diggin’ shovel?



Friday, July 6

Heart's Need

Today, it was necessary to reach in the archive grab-bag and pull out an oldie. Hope that's okay...
One day in my quiet time, I read the following in one of my devotionals…

“Never a heart’s need that I could not comfort and soothe.”

I said, “Lord, if this is true, then why do I sometimes feel as though You are not there?”

He answered, “My dear one, I have been here all along, through it all. I’ve been here by your side, though unnoticed. I've been here, holding your hand, though not felt.

“I’ve been here, hovering over you like a mama bird over her chicks, even though the rush of My wings went undetected. I’ve been here in the blackest hours, shining My light, though its radiance went unseen because hurt and pain had shut your eyes.

“I’ve been here, through the floods of adversity, rowing your boat for you through all those uncharted waters.

“I am the Navigator. I know where we are going. It is your job to sit still before Me and trust that I know best. Don’t rock the boat by telling Me where you want to go. Just let Me take you to the place best suited for you.

“Ride quietly and trust Me and we will reach our destination much more quickly. Don’t be a hindrance to the One who knows the way. I will not steer you wrong nor will I allow the waves to overtake you. Just trust Me, because I love you.”

“Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still. Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:28-30 AMP)

~In your difficult circumstances, may the Lord bring you out and steer you to that safe haven.


Tuesday, July 3

Still Waving!

Okay. This idea came from Susan on her lovely site Between Naps on the Porch, one of my favorite sites. She used her wonderful tablesettings for this idea but I kinda stole , er, borrowed it from her...with her permission, of course. {{wink-wink}}

Still waving...

As the British launched the Battle of Baltimore at nearby Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key was detained by enemy troops on a ship eight miles out, watching the brutal battle and waiting. Though it was raining and the firing created a lot of smoke, Key saw the “rocket’s red glare” and “the bombs bursting in air.”

All through the harrowing night, anxiety filled all the people, as they nervously waited the answer to one question: who won?

It was only at dawn’s early light that Key saw the red, white, and blue, the star-spangled banner, flying high over Fort McHenry. And then, the words began to flow...

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Still waving...

Happy Independence Day...from our home to yours...