Thursday, August 28, 2008


"Because you have not served the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things, therefore you will serve your enemies which the Lord shall send against hunger and in thirst and in nakedness and in want of all things...."Deut. 28: 47-48

Joyfulness is a thread that runs throughout the entire Bible. God wants us to be a joyful people. Nothing quite so discourages others from desiring the Christian faith as a sour, down-in-the-dumps Christian. On the other hand, nothing makes a person want to know "what makes you tick" quite like a Christian whose joy is exuberant and contagious!

In a study I am preparing to teach in women's Bible study this fall, the author speaks about God's desire for us to be joyful. As we were previewing the tapes the other day, the author quoted several passages of scripture pertaining to joy. But as I sat there, I thought of several others that were special to me. So, I decided to see just how many verses there were about joy and copy a few to share with the women I will be teaching. I copied 6 pages of verses and that was NOT all of them!!!!!!!!! I had no idea there were so many about JOY. Obviously that was an important topic to God for Him to repeatedly emphasize it.

Many of the verses I copied I had read and knew well. The verse quoted above I did not know or ever remember reading. It's probably NOT one you learned in Sunday School. However, I think it bears memorizing for the principle laid out in it is critical to our walk as a believer.

It basically a nutshell....if we do not have joyfulness and gladness after all He has blessed us with that we will pay the consequences! So if you are having adverse circumstances in your life...if everything seems to be going wrong, could it be that you've lost your joy? Could it be that you have been SO focused on your circumstances that you've forgotten to praise the Lord in the midst of them, that you've taken your eyes off Him?

Even in the midst of trying times, we can still have JOY. We must remember that in spite of all that may be falling apart around us, we still have JESUS and that is the source of our JOY. Nehemiah 8:10 says " the joy of the Lord IS your strength". Jesus Himself is our example. Hebrews tells us "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" Hebrews 12:2.

God wants us to be a joyful people. And, we have so much to be joyful about!

Have you ever noticed how a child delights in the simplest things? I think one of the sweetest blessings of being a grandmother is just the sheer JOY of watching my granddaughter as she enjoys life! Her exuberance over the wind in her face as she swings; the glee as she chases a butterfly; the marvel as she watches a worm tunnel into the fresh dirt; the amazement as she watches hummingbirds fight for the feeder....just to name a few. Each day is new and exciting to her, full of wonderful things to discover. God wants us to be just like a little child in our enthusiam over all that He has given to us..."for the abundance of all things".

Listen to what Jesus says about JOY:

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11

"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." John 16:22

"And the disciples were filled with joy" Acts 13:52

Today I pray that you will look around you with fresh eyes and see and recognize all that God has blessed you with and..........


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7

Ever have anyone ask you "A penny for your thoughts?" A person wouldn't get much for their money some days if they asked that of me.

Isn't it amazing how our minds work? They can dig up junk from eons ago and replay on the screens of our minds. Or they can choose to wander off into the unknowns of the future with all sort of scenarios that would make the bravest hearts quiver. They can delve into the bottom of the barrel of ugliness and perverseness or as in the case of my dreams...they can rival Hollywood in the sci-fi genre!!

A sign in a business read:


This past weekend I attended the Priscille Shirer "Going Beyond" Conference with my sweet daughter (her Mother's Day gift to me:) Thanks again Sweetheart!) As always, Priscilla was AWESOME!!! We looked at Joshua 1:8 and God's' instructions to Joshua before entering the Promised Land. In this verse, God gives Joshua....and us....his plan for victory and success.
It was very simple:

Speak the Word
Think on the Word
Act on the Word
As she elaborated on each point, she made this comment about "Think on the Word":
"Our words discipline our thoughts. Our thoughts make up our belief. Your belief system becomes your Faith."
So it is vital to the health of our minds, our hearts and our faith, that we reign in our thoughts! I know that it is not always easy to do. Satan wants to take us down all sorts of sordid, unhealthy corridors in our minds. But...we do not have to follow! We can call in the re-enforcements! Paul gave us the way to do that in I Corinthians 10: 5
"Casting down imaginations [your thoughts] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

and again in Ephesians 4: 23:

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."

Then Paul gives us the replacement for all those contrary thoughts in Philipians 4: 8:

"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatosever things are of good report...if there be any virtue...if there be any praise, think on these things."

As we go through our day today, let's monitor our thoughts. If they do not fall in line with these guidelines given to us by Paul, then IMMEDIATELY take them to Christ and allow Him to take them captive. Be vigilant! Philipians 4:8 every thought! If it doesn't fit the criteria, out it goes! Soon you will find that your day is going much better, your relationships will be better and you will be a much nicer person to be around!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word WAS God....All things were made by Him and without Him was not any thing made that was made" John 1: 1,2

"In the beginning God created the Heaven and earth.........and God SAID 'Let there be light' and there was light....

And God SAID 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters....[and it was]...

And God SAID ' Let the waters under the Heaven be gathered together in one place and let the dry land appear, and it was so....

And God SAID 'Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed after his kind and the tree yielding fruit...after his kind....[and it was so]

And God SAID 'Let there be light....and it was so...

And God SAID 'Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life and fowl that may fly above the earth...[and it was so]

And God SAID 'Let the earth bring forth the living creatures ....and it was so" Genesis 1: 1-24 KJV

The power of God's Word. God SPOKE the world into existence! Think about that for just a minute. At a point in time, God who had ALWAYS been, decided to create the earth. He literally spoke and it was so! Try to imagine that in your mind with me, if you will.

Total blackness, void of anything tangible. No light, no planets, no solar system, no stars, no moon, no ANYTHING. Just God. And then out of the blackness of nothingness, God spoke and the earth was formed, spinning perfectly on its axis out in the galaxy. And once again, He spoke and light broke the darkness wide open!! He flung the sun, the moon and the stars into that blackness and darkness was no more!

Just one word and the waters drew together into bodies of water...the seas, the oceans, the rivers. By His Word, it all came together.

He spoke again to the prophets of old and by divine inspiration, they penned the words He gave to them. We call it our Bible. We hold HIS WORDS in the palm of our hands. That powerful, life giving, world creating Word. The Word John says IS God. It is infused with Him. Can you fathom the power that we hold in our hands as we read His Holy Word?

Yet we toss it to the side amongst the newspaper, the gardening magazine, the crossword puzzle and the TV Guide. Some rarely pick it up except to dust it off and carry it to church each Sunday. That is the only time it is opened all week. Others sit it on a shelf and NEVER read it. Yet others around the globe, risk their lives to just have a copy of it and they have to hide theirs to protect it and their lives.

It has stood the test of time. Many other books have come and gone. The Bible still stands. It is notably the most read, most published book of all time. According to the Internet Public Library "No one really know how many copies of the Bible have been written, sold or distributed. The Bible Society's attempt to calculate the number printed between 1816 and 1975 produced the figure of 2, 458,000,000. A more recent survey for the years up to 1992, put it closer to 6,000,000,000 in more than 2,000 languages and dialects. Whatever the precise figure, the Bible is by far the best selling book of all time." Most other sources I checked also rated The Bible as the number one book of all time. Not surprising. Matthew 24:36 says "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

Pick up your Bible today. Recognize that it is not an ordinary book. It is the very WORD of God, the same powerful Word that spoke the world into existence and by that same Word, the earth is kept in existence. One day He will speak again, and the Heavens will open and Jesus will return!! Let's not take for granted the power of God's Word, but rather allow it to fill us and change us and make us more like Him.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Heard this song on the radio the other day and suddenly the words struck me. I want this chorus to be my about you?????????

I’ve had just enough
Of the spotlight when it burns bright
To see how it gets in the blood
I’ve tasted my share
Of the sweet life and the wild ride
And found a little is not quite enough
I know how I can stray
And how fast my heart could change
Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds onto Lord,
empty me of me so I can be filled with You
I’ve seen just enough
Of the quick buys of the best lies
To know how prodigals can be drawn away
I know how I can stray
And how fast my heart could change
‘Cause everything is a lesser thing
Compared to You, compared to You
‘Cause everything is a lesser thing
Compared to You, so I surrender all
--Chris Sligh
Empty Me from the Running Back to You album

Monday, August 18, 2008


Earlier I wrote about being alone in the pit. It IS a very lonely place no one but Jesus can feel exactly what you are feeling or experiencing. And...if it is a personal issue that you are not able to share with anyone, it leaves you to face the problem all alone...which exacerbates the whole situation.

If you are able to share your problem with even one person who loves you and who you can trust, you are blessed. For having someone to pray for you and to encourage you while you are there is worth more than gold.

Os Hillman, author of the popular devotional that I often quote here, wrote of this personal experience of being in the pit:

Friendship in the Pit

Os Hillman

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. - Proverbs 17:17

"I am in there again," I told my friend. "The pit."

A time when no one can cheer you up and you wonder if there ever was or is a God. Have you ever had such times? Discouragement can be devastating even to the best of saints. It can bring us so low. The writer of Proverbs phrased it well when he said, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). When we get so low that we despair of our belief, we can identify with the prophet Elijah who wanted to die after being so discouraged with life.

"I'm coming over," my friend said.

"Aw, you don't have to do that," I said.

"I'm coming over. We're going to pray."

About 30 minutes later my friend walked in the door. We sat down on the living room floor and simply lay on our backs as my friend began to pray. I didn't feel like praying. I was too deep in the pit. All I could do was listen. After awhile my friend was quiet. We both sat quietly for ten to fifteen minutes, praying quietly to ourselves. Suddenly my friend said, "First Thessalonians 5:24!"

"What verse is that?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said. "That is the verse He spoke to me."

I grabbed my Bible and looked up the verse. "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it."We laughed. Can He be so personal? Can He care that much? That night I grew more in my love of my two friends, not to mention being brought out of the pit

Do you have a friend who is there when you need somebody at any hour of the day? Are you there for your friend? Ask the Lord how you can be a better friend to someone today. Yes, being in the pit is terrible in and of itself. But to have a friend who will come along side you, pray for you, encourage you, and love you through it is a treasure of darkness that you will not fully appreciate until you are there.Some friends are "fair weather friends". They like to be around when everything is sunny and bright..when you can laugh and shop and share good times. But when you are in the pit, when you have nothing good to say because your heart is so heavy, when you can't see the sun shine...then some friends will run the other way. They do not want to help shoulder the burden. They don't want to listen to your problems. They feel they have enough of their own. But a TRUE friend is always there, always ready to listen, to love and to pray. When you hurt they hurt. Just as the saying goes "A joy shared is a joy doubled; a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved."I pray that if you are in the pit that you have a friend "who sticks closer than a brother". If you do, you are blessed with a great treasure!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Timing is everything with God. David knew a lot about timing. He didn’t like to wait and he and he didn’t like to suffer. I don’t know many people who do, do you?

I am a wimp and I do not do pain. David often pressed God to hurry with his answers…not to leave him in a painful place. He was urgent with his pleas. We can be, too. Psalm 102 : 2b says “in the day when I call answer me SPEEDILY”.

When the way is dark and the times are desperate, we need an immediate response. We need to KNOW right then and right there that God is with us, that He has not forsaken us, that He hears us. In those dark days when I pressed into Christ like never before, David once again voiced my heart’s cry to the Lord,

“Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me, my heart within me is desolate….Hear me SPEEDILY, O Lord! My spirit faileth; hide not thy face from me, lest I be like those that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning for in thee do I trust; cause me to KNOW the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will, for thou art MY God, thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of the righteous. Quicken me, Lord, for thy name’s sake, for thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies and destroy all them that afflict my soul, for I am thy servant”. Ps 143: 4, 7-12.

It is so amazing to me that my friend, David, knew EXACTLY how I felt!! I was certainly overwhelmed and my heart had never felt so desolate. The fear and anxiety was so great that I could not express it to ANYONE but God, but….that was enough. My spirit was failing and I certainly felt like I was in a pit. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get out or not. Pits are so dark and I needed to see the light of His face. I needed Him to light my candle so I would not be so afraid while I waited in that pit. I needed IMMEDIATE help. So I did run to him every morning.

Bible study and prayer take discipline. I am not the most disciplined person in the world, but I have tried to be consistent in Bible study and quiet time throughout my life. Sometimes I’ve succeeded better than others. Now I talk to the Lord all day long, but that “quiet time” where I really get STILL before Him and give HIM time to talk to me…now that I struggle with sometimes. But during this “pit time”, I literally couldn’t wait to get to that quiet time in the morning. His word was like my lifeline. Never had it spoken to me like it did during those dark days. Never had I needed it more in my whole life. And I made a remarkable discovery. It FED me. It SUSTAINED me. It ENCOURAGED me. It STRENGTHENED me. It KEPT ME GOING. It was alive!! John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the WORD WAS GOD!!!!!!” God FED me. God SUSTAINED me. God ENCOURAGED me. God STRENGTHENED me. God KEPT ME GOING!!!!!! He caused me to hear his lovingkindness every morning and because of that I was able to trust Him for that day. Night would come and the darkness would close in on me, but then the light of day would break and I could run to Him again and once more, I could trust.

Bob Sorge put it this way in his book, “Secrets of the Secret Place”,

“..I never discovered the highest joys of the secret place until the Lord took me on an unplanned journey. He allowed a calamity to hit my life that traumatized me. My life careened out of control, and my very survival (spiritually) was at stake. Frantically, I began to claw and push my way into God’s heart, scouring the Bible cover to cover to understand His ways. It felt like I was fighting for air like a drowning man. To put it simply, I had been made desperate. It was in this desperate pursuit of God that the secret place began to blossom for me like a desert flower. What made the difference in my own journey? One word…desperation!……When you are made desperate for God , your pursuit of God takes on a different quality. When it’s personal survival that’s at stake, you begin to look at Jesus in a different way.”

My “enemies” were not only the troubles that were upon me, but the fiery darts of fear and anxiety that Satan would shoot at me every day. Enemies don’t have to come at you with blazing guns. They sneak up on you and pierce your soul when you least expect it. Satan has a whole arsenal of fiery darts that he loves to use against us. God has given us an armor to protect us (Ephesians 6), but we must also realize that God is our Defender, our Shield and our strong high tower. We can run to him and he will protect us from the enemy. But we must RUN TO Him and not try to fight the battle alone and in our own strength. We are powerless on our own against this foe. But the Lord is able to fight FOR us and He will if we run to Him.

If you find yourself in a pit that is black as night, if the arrows of the enemy are whizzing past your head or maybe even a few have found their target, RUN to the Lord. Climb up into his lap and allow him to protect you. Run to him every morning and listen for his voice of lovingkindness. He will light the way for you. He will defend you against your enemies, no matter how strong or how numerous they are. He will provide a way out of that pit for you, just press into Him and trust His way. HE IS YOUR GOD!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008


One of the worst things about being in a pit is that you are so alone. You seldom enter a pit with someone else. Even if you are going through a difficult time with your husband or wife or child, you are each in your own private pit.

No two people experience troubled times exactly the same. That is one reason families who go through tragedy are often pulled apart. One may be dealing with grief while the other is experiencing anger. Neither can understand the other. They are both crying out for understanding and help from each other, but are oblivious to the other’s pain.

Yes, the pit is a lonely place to be. David knew something of this loneliness:

O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee…
for my soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to the grave.
Thou has laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in deeps.
Thou hast put away my acquaintances far from me,
I am shut up and cannot come forth….(Psalm 88: 1, 6, 8)

I cried unto the Lord with my voice, with my voice I made
Supplication unto the Lord. I poured out my complaint before Him
I showed him my trouble….
I looked on my right hand and behold, there was no man that would
Know me; refuge failed me…no man cared for my soul…..
Bring my soul out of prison that I may praise Thy name! (Psalm 142 1-2, 5)

Sometimes the hurt you are facing is so deep and so personal, you cannot share it with anyone. In those times, you are so alone. God is the ONLY one you can go to, the only one you can pour out your complaint to. You long for someone to come alongside you, to help bear the awesome burden you are feeling, but alas, you cannot. You are alone in this pit of yours and you feel as if you will never again see the light of day.

It’s in those times that you must remember you are NOT alone. God is there right in the middle of the pit with you. The treasure He gives to you in those circumstances is Himself. He has promised never to leave you or to forsake you. He will come to you and He will comfort you like no person ever could. He will feed you with his Word. He will sustain you moment by moment.

Recently a well known Christian musician, Stephen Curtis Chapman and his family, experienced a terrible tragedy when their 16 year old son accidentally killed their 5 year old adopted daughter in a driveway accident. This family knows what it’s like to be in the pit. Each of them is hurting, each of them is suffering their own private grief and pain. In an interview with Larry King, Mary Beth Chapman said that she was making it "moment by moment". She said she woke every morning and asked God to get her through THAT day. And He has. He will continue to help them as they deal with the pain of this huge loss in their lives. He will be there to help their son to heal and to forgive himself. He will be their treasure in this unfathomable darkness.

"Fear not for I have redeemed thee, I have called you by name, thou art MINE!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee…
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned;
Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee….
For I AM the Lord THY God, the Holy One of Israel,
You are precious in my sight." (Isaiah 43: 1-4)

Have you experinced Treasures of Darkness in your life? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave your stories by way of the comment button below.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I shared with you a few days ago that I had begun a series on Treasures of Darkness a while back. I am sharing some of those with you here.

I watched a replay of a broadcast with Stephen Curtis Chapman from Good Morning America earlier today. This man and his family know about walking in darkness after the tragic death of their 5 year old daughter, Maria, who was accidentally run over and killed by their older son. This family spoke of their faith and their HOPE. They are experiencing the TREASURES OF DARKNESS.

When you are in the dark, the one thing you need is LIGHT.

David and I have become very good friends. I find myself camping out with him more and more. I think I was originally drawn to him because of the simple way he expressed himself. I could relate. I didn’t need a commentary or a concordance, I didn’t need to look up the Greek or Hebrew, I just listened to what he said and it spoke to me right where I was. I could put myself right into his place. His words became mine, expressing my innermost hurts and fears. David is VERY expressive and he was never bashful about speaking his mind to the Lord. Yet for all of his assertiveness, God still called him "a man after my own heart". To me, that has to be one of the highest compliments God could ever pay anyone. I long to hear him say that about me. So I felt right at home with David and felt I could learn a lot from him. Boy!! Have I !!!

David speaks my language and I bet he speaks yours too. He is acquainted with grief, sorrow, pain, suffering, rejection, loneliness and fear, just to name a few. Have you ever experienced any of those emotions? Maybe you are in the midst of one of those right now. If so, I invite you to come with me to David’s place, the book of Psalms, and camp out with us a while. He knows firsthand what it is to walk those dark valleys. Let him encourage your heart as he has encouraged mine so many times before.

When I first learned to "press into Christ", I began to seek help and comfort from the Word like I had never done before. Oh, I had studied the Bible for many years and taught it as well. But I had never clung to it the way I did at that time. A personal crisis of such magnitude came into my life that I HAD to cling to the Lord..there were no other options. Fear gripped my heart. I literally RAN to Him. I found Him in David’s camp and there I began to stay. I remember it well, but it is forever etched also in my Bible. I began at that time to write the date out beside the verses that God was using in my life.

One of the first verses He gave me at that time was Psalm 18: 28, "For thou wilt light my candle, the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness". I was in one of the darkest places I had ever been and God was saying to me that HE would BE my light and as my light, HE would lighten my darkness. Have you ever been in the dark? The kind of dark where you can’t see your hand in front of your face? I have.

We have a farm about 50 miles from our home. There my husband and our son and son-in-law deer hunt. My husband had hunted on this land for almost 25 years when the opportunity presented itself for us to buy this place. God opened the door and we were blessed to do just that. Now in all the years that they had hunted, I had been there maybe 2 or 3 times and always in the daytime. But after we purchased the place, we fixed up a house trailer that had been left there so that we could spend time there in that quiet and beautiful place. The trailer had been vacant for almost 2 years and had even been vandalized twice. It was empty, dirty and in need of a lot of work to make it habitable again. But it was a labor of love,, so we didn’t mind. We would go up and work on it as time permitted.

One day we worked til dark and since it is old, we decided to completely shut off all electricity to it before we left for the night. When my husband, Larry, pulled that switch and all the lights went out, I’ve never seen dark like I saw dark that night!! In fact, after that, I told him that you could look up ‘DARK’ in the Webster’s dictionary and it would say "Thomas and Thomas farm"!! You could see absolutely nothing!!

So I know dark and when you are in that kind of dark, the one thing you desperately need and long for is LIGHT. When I read from David that God would light my candle, that He would light my darkness, I knew that was exactly what I needed. That verse was written on a card and hung over my sink in the kitchen for months after that. A constant reminder to me, that the darkness would not last forever. God had promised to dispel that darkness and I clung to that promise.

Are there any dark places in your life? Do you feel like the whole world has closed in around you? Do you feel like no one else on earth could possibly know how you feel right now? Maybe the pain is so great, yet so personal that you cannot even share it with your closest friend. You know what? Your closest friend knows…….IF your closest friend is Jesus! He does understand. You can pour out your heart to Him. He cares so deeply about your hurt and He longs to lighten your darkness….to BE your light. The only way out of the darkness is for someone to light your way. God will light your candle today if you will only let Him.

Monday, August 4, 2008


"My heart is sore pained within me and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest." Psalm 55: 4-6

In the movie, FOREST GUMP, Forest's friend, Jenny was abused by her father. Forest came to visit her one day and her father came outside looking for her. Jenny began to run through the corn fields, trying to hide from him. Forest ran with her, not knowing why she was running. Jenny and Forest hid beneath the cover of the dense rows of corn while Jenny prayed "Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly away, far...far...away!" She uttered the same sentiment uttered by David probably as he was hiding from Saul.

There are times in our life when we, too, just want to "fly away...far, far away". Anything to escape our circumstances. But David could not fly away any more than Jenny could, nor you and I can. So he learned what he COULD do instead. He called upon the Lord.

"As for me, I will call upon God' and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and CRY ALOUD and he shall hear my voice". Psalm 55: 16, 17

"Be merciful to me O God be merciful to me. For my soul trusts in thee; yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge until these calamities be past. " Psalm 57 : 1

"I will CRY unto God most high; unto God most High; unto God that performs all things for me." Psalm 57: 2

"Thou tellest my wanderings; put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book". [God knows every tear that falls...he keeps them in a bottle and records them in his book!! He does not overlook one single tear that you shed!!] Psalm 56: 8

"In God have I put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do to me.' Psalm 56: 11

CRY OUT TO JESUS TODAY. He hears you. He loves you. He cares about you. He knows your needs and your hurts. You are not alone.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I AM..............

In Christ I am simultaneously sinful and lost, yet accepted in Christ.

I am so bad He had to die for me and I am so loved He gladly died for me.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

---adapted from Tim Kellar from

Saturday, August 2, 2008


"And I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight....I will give thee treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places that you may KNOW that I am the Lord that calls you by name..." Isaiah 45: 2-3

God gave me this verse 7 or 8 years ago. I do not remember the circumstances around which I first discovered it, but what stood out to me most was that in our darkest hours...God would give us treasures. Now you don't normally think about discovering riches or something of value in the midst of a dark spell in your life. You are normally concerned with just getting THROUGH it and surviving, seeking answers and trying to deal with the pain. Yet God says that it is in those very hard places in our life that He chooses to bless us, to give us "treasures" and "hidden riches". It appears that we cannot attain these treasures or riches anywhere else. Not in the sunlight of beautiful, peaceful days. Not in the warm glow of the sunshine on our face when joy spills over. No, these treasures are only revealed in the darkness of the pit...the very place we least want to be.

Yet, in this life, we WILL have tribulation. So God has chosen those places to bless us and to reveal aspects of His character that we would have never learned in the sunshine. Several years ago I began writing a series on Treasures of Darkness and would like to share a few of those with you here........

One of the darkest places anyone can be is in a waiting room. I don’t know anyone who likes to wait, but waiting in a waiting room is agony, especially when you are unsure of the outcome. Have you ever been to the doctor, knowing something was wrong and fearing the worst? You sit in that chair and think about what it will be like an hour from now when you know the truth. Will you be the same or will your life be changed forever. Your heart pounds, your palms get sweaty, maybe you even shiver or shake just a little and you find it harder and harder to breathe normally. Maybe you are not waiting on news for yourself, but for a loved one. Maybe you are waiting on the doctor to return from surgery to let you know if the surgery was a success or not. Sometimes it seems the waiting will never end. You wait and you wait and you wait. Tests are ordered and you are sent home, still knowing nothing. The tests come back and they are not conclusive, so more tests are ordered and again, you wait and wait and wait. The "not knowing" is killing you.
Some times we find ourselves in God’s waiting room. It is just as dark and often as uncertain. We don’t know why we are there and we have no idea how long before the answers come. We are trying to hold on, trying to trust Him, but the longer He delays with the answers, the harder it becomes to wait.

We found ourselves in just such a waiting room back in the early 80’s. We were living in our first house, a small house on a corner lot. It was a very special house, but the neighborhood was declining and we knew we had to move. We began to talk about finding another house. There was an older home not far from us, a larger home with a big back yard and lots of trees. Larry had learned that the man was about to put the house up for sale. He went and talked to him and the man was in no hurry, so he agreed that he would not list it, but when we could sell ours, we would buy it. We got ours in tip top shape, ran an ad in the newspaper and sat back waiting on the people to flock to our sweet little house to buy it. No one called. I was shocked!! After several days, we finally got one call and made an appointment for them to come and take a look. I got everything ready. No one showed up. I was NOT a happy camper!! After several months of no luck, we decided to list it with a realtor. Again, I thought it would happen immediately. No such luck! We had a few lookers but no takers. Finally, after what seemed like months of waiting, we had a contract!!!!!! We were SO excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next morning Larry went up to the house we were planning to buy to visit the man and make him an offer. He was not gone too long until he returned. When he walked through the door, I knew that something was wrong. I could see it written on his face. "What’s wrong", I asked. It took him a minute or so to answer and all he could say was "We’re not supposed to buy that house." "What ? Why?" I asked incredulously. "I can’t explain it. All I know is that is not the house we are supposed to buy. "

Larry really could give no explanation except that when the man came to the door, Larry said that instantly he knew we were not supposed to buy that house. Well, that was fine with me. I certainly did not want to be any place that God did not want us. But now what? We had just signed a contract on our house!! We had to go SOMEWHERE. So we called our realtor and told him to find us a house. This took on a whole other aspect now. I had thought we were going to fix up an older home. Now we began looking at new houses. We saw one we really liked. It was not a lot bigger than ours, but it was NEW!! However, there was a contingency on it, so we would have to continue to wait on it. MORE waiting was not what I had in mind, but……… for a NEW house, I could be a little more patient. In my mind, I had completely moved into that house and decorated it!! I was SO excited!! This was better than I dreamed of.

Then our contract on our house fell through. The roller coaster took another nose dive. I rode that coaster for the next year and a half. It was as if God took us to every possible door, opened it just a crack and said "What do you think?" to which we would excitedly reply, "Yeah! God! That is great, better than the last offer" and then God would slam that door shut and say "Nope. This is not the one for you!" I spent a lot of time in the Word and on my knees, trying to make sense of it all. I learned a lot during those 2 years about God’s waiting room.
Finally, we had explored every option except building our own house. That had been our dream…to build our "one of these days" house. But we were so young and didn’t think there was any way we could do that at that time in our life. Yet God had opened and closed every other door. As we began to explore the possibility, we realized that, yes, that was exactly what God had in mind. It was the BEST idea yet and we could hardly contain our joy as He led us to the lot that would one day be the site of our new home!! God had saved the best til last and along the way, taught me a lot about waiting. My friend David had a lot to say about waiting. "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord."" (Ps. 27: 14) It takes courage to wait when you do not know what is around the corner. Only God can strengthen your heart and help you as you wait on Him to reveal His way.

Another good friend, Isaiah, gave me the words I most needed and clung to, however, as we waited on our housing miracle. "Therefore will the Lord wait THAT (here’s the object of the exercise) He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will HE be exalted that He may have mercy upon you…blessed are all they that wait on the Lord,." Is 30: 18. This verse gave me hope because it gave me a reason why God was not answering my prayers as quickly as I wanted. Isaiah told me that God wanted to be gracious to me. Honestly, sometimes I didn’t feel like "gracious" was the word I would have used to describe how it felt while I was waiting on Him. SLOW would have been more like it. Why was it taking God so long? Why did we have to ride that roller coaster up and down so many times? But, looking back, I can see that God was testing us to see if we would just give up and do our own thing, or continue to wait on Him. We kept waiting and He blessed…He was GRACIOUS to us. But as much of a blessing as it was, it was not just for our benefit. It was so that HE could be exalted and glorified in that blessing. We didn’t deserve that.

I could hardly believe we were building it even after it was almost completed. My good friend, Patt, would come over and she was SO excited for us. I can remember her asking me "Do you just keep pinching yourself to be sure it’s real? " She also asked me several times if I were not excited because she said SHE seemed more excited than I was. I told her that I was just being cautious. I didn’t want to get too excited and too attached, just in case things did not work out after all. I said that up to the day we moved in. I just couldn't believe it was happening!! God is SO good!!!!!!! He definitely deserved ALL the praise and Honor and Glory for our being in that house!!

One of the biggest pitfalls of being in a waiting room is that you get so caught up in waiting for results that you miss all the treasures God has for you on the journey. Well known author and speaker, Jennifer Rothchild, describes this best in her book Lessons Learned in the Dark,

"...there are three kinds of waiters.....first there is the worried waiter. If you took a snapshot of her you would see her wringing her hands and pacing the floor...then there's the wishful waiter. She never lives in the present moment because her energy is tied to WHAT IF, not to WHAT IS. She spends most of her time speculating on what it will be like when the wait is over, and until then she just aimlessly tries to get through each day. Finally, there is the wise waiter. She’s focused on God's face, not on His hand..not on what He will do for her, how He will take care of her situation, or when He will end her wait. She is waiting only on God, and she is present, peaceful and productive. What kind of waiter are you? Are you present where you are, or do you pine away over things that are not? Are you wringing your hands, or bending your knees? Are you waiting on GOD ALONE or waiting for the waiting to end? Many of us spend our lives "in the meantime" waiting for something we want or need.....We endure the wait, [just to receive the prize]...Sometimes the wait is more difficult for the prize is greater. For some of us the prize is healing, For others it is deliverance from suffering, for many the lifting of heavy financial burdens. The prize is often the thing that keeps us faithful while we wait. But what if all our joy isn't reserved for the award ceremony? What if there is something deep and precious in the in-between times? If our focus is on the prize ALONE, we can't help but see the waiting as a trial and when we do, we can miss the joy of the journey and overlook the TREASURES along the way."

It is important therefore, that while we are waiting, we do not lose our balance by trying to look behind us at how things used to be nor by craning our neck to see what lies ahead. Rather, we must look UP into the face of the one who holds our future and holds our hand along the journey.

Remember no matter what type of waiting room you are in, you are never in it alone. God will give you everything you need while you are there. He will give you strength, courage and perseverance under the pressure. Just press into Him. HE will strengthen your heart until the answer comes IN HIS TIME and along the way, He will reveal to you "treasures of darkness" that will be worth all the waiting.

If God has shown YOU treasures of darkness, I'd love to hear from you. Please contact me through the COMMENT tab below and share with me how God has given you Treasures of Darkness.

Friday, August 1, 2008


This is an amazing performance by a youth group performed to one of my favorite songs, WHO AM I, by Casting Crowns. Hope you enjoy!!