Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “God”

Watch, Record, Repeat

When our son was dedicated as a baby, one thing our Pastor said has really stuck with us as we raise our children.  As he held our son, he turned to my husband and said, “He’s gonna be just like you.”  Truer words were never spoken, for they are both watching every step and recording every word, every moment…

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Me and my girl circa 2010

Recently, my girl and I ended our full day of errands and busyness with a trip to Target.  My intent was to scoop up some paper products and hand soap.  There is no way I can get in and out of Target with my girl by my side so we lingered a bit, just about every stinkin’ aisle receiving a visit and we ended up with a cart load.  As we were loading up the truck, I noticed my hand soap wedged between the side of the cart and the seat where I had my purse.  Right away I knew I hadn’t paid for it and I was immediately reminded of my daddy and the times he would return change to the store clerk, or merchandise that hadn’t been paid for.  I was wiped and the thought of trudging back to the store and standing in line for a measly $2.99 was most irritating; however, there was no way I was going to allow a bottle of hand soap to haunt me and most importantly, I didn’t want to grieve the Lord.  I figured this would be a good lesson to teach my girl, who was watching and recording my reaction.  She was impressed by my honesty and as we stood in line asked me whether I was going to tell the clerk.  “No, “I replied….”you don’t have to trumpet your honesty or your good works.  The One whose opinion of you matters most knows and that’s good enough.”  As we walked back to the car, I shared Matthew 6:1 with her “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “  Your announcement of your “goodness” is your reward, and it doesn’t match the reward we receive from the Lord.

Well, yesterday my son and I were driving and he was talking about the movie he and my daughter and their friends saw recently and he stopped midway to compliment his sister.  You see, as he saved the seats, she and her girlfriends went to the concession stand and returned with arms laden with treats, popcorn and drinks.  As she distributed the goods, she realized that she hadn’t paid for a box of candy and without skipping a beat, she returned to the concession stand to pay for it.

The best part of the story?  She never told me.

Yes, Pastor…our kids are watching and they will be just like us.  Thanks daddy!!

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Psalm 91…Fear’s Panacea

images“What you fear reveals what you value the most; what you fear reveals where you trust God the least.” Soul Detox Reading Plan (YouVersion)

Man, that quote is sobering. I read it and re-read it a few times in order to grasp its meaning and then did some soul searching. Fear is paralyzing…it is debilitating. It stops you cold and though we hear, yes we know that God has not given us that spirit, somehow being told that does not lessen its impact nor does it stamp out what causes the fear. Healing from what causes you fear is a process…it involves an intention to unmask the lie, exposing it and then dealing with it, facing it until it loses its power, and keeping it captive lest it prove to be disobedient!! So what to do? Face your enemy of fear and kick sand in its face. Then cast down any imagination/reasoning/lie that exalts itself above the knowledge of God’s word. Darkness cannot remain where light is present. In light of last week’s happenings back east and evil’s reminder that this world is getting darker by the moment, I thought I’d take a whack at fear and remind the enemy who’s the boss!!

Tonight as I was having my selah moment, I turned over to Psalm 91 and within it I saw that it was brimming with conditions, declarations, instructions, reminders and so many promises. My prayer is that you receive and apply the many promises contained therein, as you yield to their conditions. I broke it down and personalized it as follows.

Psalm 91

Condition: Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

Promise: will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty

Declaration:

  • You alone are my refuge, my place of safety; You are my God, and I trust You
  • You will rescue me from every trap and protect me from deadly disease
  • You will cover me – Your huge, outstretched arms protect me – under them I am perfectly safe; Your arms fend off all harm

Instruction: Daughter…

Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness; nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

Promise: Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, these evils will not touch me

Condition: IF I make You my shelter

Promise: no evil will come near my home

Promises:

  • For You will order Your angels to protect me wherever I go
  • They will hold me up with their hands so I won’t even hurt my foot on a stone
  • I will trample upon lions and cobras; I will crush fierce lions and serpents under my feet
  • You will rescue those who love You (I love you)
  • You will protect those who trust in Your name (I do)
  • When I call on You, You will answer
  • You will be with me in trouble
  • You will rescue and honor me
  • You will reward me with a long life and give me Your salvation

Now, go ahead…Selah!

God…Where Were You?

christian-in-Gods-handI, like countless people spent a pretty blue weekend.  Yet I, like the majority of those  who watched the horrific events as they unfolded was able to turn off the television set and for a few hours busy myself with errands and family matters.  Not so for those not only affected by the recent tragedy in Connecticut, but those who have been impacted by past tragedies (memories once again stirred, pain revisited)…Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and many other senseless shootings that pepper our newscasts causing us to catch our breaths once again, hug our babies once again and sadly call out to God, in some cases, only once….again.

It really angers me to hear the same people who only call out to God in order to “damn” Him now blame Him, question Him, ridicule those who still believe in Him.  The same ones who disallow Him, exclude Him, want Him out of our schools, off of our money, separated from our governmental affairs are now wondering where He was.

I have a very good idea of His whereabouts…as seen in the actions of those in and near that school.  He was in the courage displayed by the principal to stare down the shooter and shout a warning to her teachers both verbally and in her wisdom to keep the intercom open giving her teachers time to protect their children; He was in  the courage displayed by those teachers who gave their lives to protect their children; who did not allow fear to paralyze them into nonaction, but were able to protect and distract their children; who were able to usher their children to safety; He was in the school secretary who set aside her fear in order to make the 911 call (that act alone saved hundreds of lives); He was in the first responders who like the heroes they are, ran into the building while others ran out; and He remains to comfort and console those whose lives are left shattered by this evil.

No one will ever be able to offer a satisfactory response as to why God would allow such an act .  I certainly could provide a scriptural response, but would it bring peace to those whose peace has been fractured?  Maybe in time…but the question would remain….why their baby?  Would it bring understanding to those who don’t believe?  How can you explain the unexplainable, make sense of the senseless, conceive of the inconceivable?  How can you console the inconsolable?  There are no words…not mine anyway!

I do know this….the enemy aimed straight at our hearts with this one.  It was only 13 years ago that Columbine was in the news…when the unimaginable stopped the nation in its tracks as we became voyeurs to that tragedy and it seems that the enemy took his “game” up a notch when evil struck at Virginia Tech and if that wasn’t horrific enough (that event garnering the title of the deadliest school shooting in our nation’s history), the enemy, lest we think it can’t get any worse, pays a visit to the most innocent of them all.

I hate that this past weekend I had to have a conversation with my kids about steps to take in the event of a public emergency; I hate that this world has become so dark; I hate that for months we will be discussing gun control and mental illness as if any human will be able to put a plug in the many holes that have been drilled into the fabric of this society.  I hate to say that I hate that God will once again be shelved after the media goes on to the next big calamity and the churches empty once again.

I hate that there are 20 families left having to explain the effects of evil to their surviving children; I hate that there may be families whose only child was stolen from them; I hate that it took 11 minutes for hundreds of children to have their innocence stripped away. I hate that there are 27 families (including that of the shooter) who are mourning during this Christmas season. I hate that there are families who are once again reliving their own personal nightmare.

This morning I did what I do every morning.  I woke my babies up, combed my daughter’s hair, got breakfast and did the most important thing I believe I could do for them….I laid my hands on each of them and prayed that the angel of the Lord would protect them, go before them; I prayed that the wisdom from above which is pure and peaceable would be in them and that no weapon formed against them would prosper.

I hate that 20 moms won’t be able to do the same today, but instead will be making plans to bury their babies.

I’m praying for God’s peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding…that it would guard our hearts and minds; that it would guard the hearts and minds of those affected by this tragedy and of those who have been on the mend….that they maintain their peace; that we would rise up as a nation and release the word of God over our government, our schools, our churches, our neighborhoods; that we not allow fear to disable us; I pray a hedge of protection around our children and loved ones.  I’m praying that the God of comfort would show Himself strong in the lives of those who are hurting; I’m praying for healing.  God, heal our land.

“I TOLD YOU SO….”

“And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart…But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”  Genesis 6:6,8

God’s eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth in order to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  His eyes settled on Noah who was doing something right.  What could that have been?  We could guess by the way he was described, that he had a relationship with God and spoke of Him freely; we could surmise that as a family man, he ran a tight ship (no pun intended, but it works:); we see that he was obedient and most likely mocked and judged; probably considered the neighborhood loon.  Chances are better than great that he was accused of being judgmental, critical, hateful; and if he would have had a Facebook page, I know he would have had only four friends…maybe seven.  But guess what…Noah was right!  I wonder if as he floated away he screamed out of one of those portholes….”I TOLD YOU SO!!!.”

I was pontificating with my sister the other day  on the phone the other day with my sister, the same one I would spend hours on the phone with cussing and carrying on about our views on life and stuff and during this conversation we touched on how far we’ve come from those days…how much our views on life and stuff have changed only because we have changed…thank God, we have changed! 🙂

I lived hard for the devil before I said yes to Christ, so it’s not surprising to anyone who knew me back then to see me live hard for Jesus now.  I was passionate about every view I pontificated about; held them hard and fast and would step up to whomever disrespected (or even disagreed with me).  A pastor I know once talked about having “bull dog faith” and he related the story of how strong his dog’s jaws were when they locked onto something.  He would play tug of war with him and his dog would be lifted off of the ground in a spin and no matter how fast he was spun, he was not going to let go of that rag.  That was me before Jesus and not much has changed, except I’m on the winning side now!

The part of the scripture above that has stayed with me since we began our study on Genesis in our bible study is how grieved God was with man.  I was touched at how God had such high hopes for man from the beginning only to have man’s incessant desire to oppose God; man’s disregard and disrespect of God; man’s desire to be like God, keep him from experiencing life as God had intended.  How sad that not much has changed and how daunting the feeling that I have that a reset or “redo” is due.  Last week we touched on the Tower of Babel and how unity which opposed God’s direction had to be broken up, but how telling the strength of unity is when God Himself said, “Indeed, the people are one and they have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.”  Oh that we (His people who are called by His name) could say that to be the case regarding the full counsel of His word now.

How grieved God must be to see the body of Christ fractured once again, looking anything but united.  How grieved must He be to know that the Bible, His word speaking to us, remains the most popular book never read; never obeyed.  How grieved must He be to hear His people say, God’s choice will be the President,  when He’s given us the ability to choose and to do so with His heart and His will in mind as WE choose.  Last I heard, God doesn’t vote.  How grieved must He be when He raises men and women of the word to declare His word fully and they don’t or are afraid to do so for fear of losing what doesn’t belong to them anyway; and even more grieved when His word is twisted and not even believed by those He’s raised to shepherd HIS people!  How grieved must He be when we thumb our noses at His word which is really clear on marriage; on killing; on Israel, the Apple of His eye.  How grieved must He be?  Only time will tell just how grieved.

I’m praying…more fervently than ever that the remnant would arise and declare His word over our nation; our families; our churches; God’s people (all of them); that the righteous would rise up and be heard; that we stop grieving God, whose hand shall remain on our country; on our families; our churches; His people (all of them) as long as He can search the world and find someone He can show Himself strong on behalf of, whose heart is loyal to Him…will that someone be you?

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.  NOW my eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.”  2Chronicles 7:14-15 AMP

Why Would God Allow That?

“Why would God allow that to happen?”  That to me is the most difficult question I’ve been asked as a Christian.  It’s easy to respond with the typical, “God’s ways are not our ways;” “God is sovereign;” “The mysteries belong to God;” or even “I have no idea, ask God” – each response acceptable but the day I fielded this question, I knew that any of those responses wouldn’t fly with this broken, young Christian woman struggling to find her way as a new believer.  I knew her continued relationship with the Lord hung precariously on whether I’d be able to offer some kind of clarity to something that had hurt her so deeply and threatened to drive a wedge between her and the Lord.

And so I sat in my kitchen with Elizabeth as she flat ironed my hair, chatting away.  The conversation soon turned serious as she grew comfortable enough to drop her guard, allowing me access to a situation which threatened to alter her perception of the love of God.  I began to pray as her story spilled out….

Elizabeth was a single mother struggling to make ends meet.  Her ex-husband was paying child support which she greatly relied on, although it was still barely enough to sustain her and their daughter.  He used child support as leverage in order to get his way at every turn.  He was due to pick his daughter up on a Friday and didn’t show up when he said he would so Elizabeth put her down for the night.  The phone rang at around 9:00p.m. or so and it was him saying he would be picking her up by 10:30.  Elizabeth explained that their daughter was already in bed and he could pick her up early the next day.  He grew belligerent and insisted that he be allowed to at least see her and after a shouting match, Elizabeth relented.  She hung up the phone angry that she had given in, and feeling uneasy about him coming over.  When he arrived his motives were made clear to Elizabeth when soon after he gained entrance, he began to interrogate her regarding her male friendships.  Their exchange became violent, first with a push, which escalated to a slap and further escalated with her being raped by him.  No, she didn’t press charges…she still relied on his support and he was her daughter’s father, but imagine the shock and then utter devastation to discover that as a result of that act of violence, she was pregnant again.  There was no way she could afford another child and the thought that this child was unwelcomed pierced her heart.  She considered abortion as an alternative but before doing so, she went to her church for counsel, where she received the most ungodly counsel imaginable.  She was told that since this child was not conceived in love, it would be okay for her to terminate the pregnancy.  She left that session as confused as ever; however as confused as she was, she just knew that advice was wrong.  Unfortunately, stress did what her conscience forbid and she miscarried that baby, which took care of her immediate “problem,” while leaving her hanging on the ledge where her faith and trust in God were concerned…and here I was at the end of her story handing her tissue, poised to field the most difficult question ever!  “If God loves me, why would He allow that to happen to me?”

While she was speaking, I was praying,  seeking and inquiring of the Lord how best to respond to his daughter.  I asked her simply if she at any time had a “feeling”– church folk call it an “unction,” that she should stick to her decision not to allow him to come over that night.  “Yes,” she said.  “Did it get stronger when he appeared at your door?”  She said that by the time he appeared at the door, she was downright scared to open it.  I explained to her that I believe that was the Lord speaking to her…warning her… through that “feeling” and through her fear to open the door.  She was pensive for a few minutes and truthfully, with every fiber within me, I believed I told her correctly, but  still held my breath waiting for her reaction.  She accepted that explanation.  I also showed her how on point she was to second guess the “advice” she was given by the church counselor and explained to her how God was speaking to her in that situation.  I encouraged her telling her that God loves her; He’s speaking all the time and though she may not have heeded his warning that one fateful night, she does hear from Him, as evidenced by her decision not to terminate her pregnancy.

God is always speaking and warning, but if we don’t have “ears to hear,” then He’s speaking to Himself.  Elizabeth floated in and out of my life just that quickly and I think of her often, hoping that she’s been able to strengthen her relationship with the Lord.  She is a trophy of His grace and I pray that she is lifting His name up and drawing other women, who like her have faced difficult times, have made difficult choices, but can say that God loved them enough to show them how to be slow to speak and quick to listen; how to be led by His Spirit; how to trust Him for all that is lacking; how to rely on Him, His strength, His wisdom, His power to sustain and maintain them.

“For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”  Psalm 117:2 NIV

First a Whisper…Then a Shout!

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my sister about the warnings that we get from the Lord which usually begin with a whisper…that still small voice that we hear and if we’re being totally honest…we sometimes ignore.  That whisper we ignore until it seems that the Lord clears His throat and the whisper becomes a shout and if we are dumb enough to ignore the shout, we find ourselves drowning in “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.”

I believe the Holy Spirit works overtime as our GPS, but what good is the GPS if it’s ignored?  Around the time of that conversation with my sister, I was experiencing a pain in my neck…a physical one:)  I don’t much care for chiropractors, but I felt if I went and had an adjustment, that my neck pain would be alleviated.  I ignored that instinct and instead tried to work out the kink myself resulting in a major “NO BUENO!!!”  When I sat down to work it out, I again had a strong sense that this was beyond my capability.  Did I listen?   My stretch resulted in a pulled back muscle which created the worst, most excruciating pain I’ve experienced since I labored with my babies…no joke!!!  My pain threshold is pretty high but this pain was red hot…searing and it had me on my knees – not a bad place to be if I could have been still enough.  After the second visit to the chiropractor, I knew I was in trouble when as a last resort, he had me lie on my back, look at a cloud image overhead and think of the word “apathy” while he pressed the area behind my ears.  He encouraged me to forgive myself and anyone who had ever hurt me.  OY!!!  He’s lucky he was no where in the vicinity of my foot, because all I could think of was him forgiving me for the swift kick I wanted to administer.

After that joke, I sat up and asked him if I should get an x-ray at the hospital and he succumbed to the pressure and said yes.  I did that and determined that it was not a misplaced rib; it wasn’t that I had not forgiven Sister Hildemayer for pulling my hair or any of the scores of “special” people who have done me wrong.  It was an inflamed muscle in my neck and upper back interacting with nerves.  Nice to know, but not even the shot and pain medication took the edge off.  Today makes two weeks and I’m blessed to report that I am well on my way for this nightmare to become a memory.

I’m into lessons because I’m convinced that things don’t just happen to happen and that I should always walk (or limp) away having learned something.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

(1) You should never look online for a diagnosis.  Good grief…doing so can convince you that the end is near or at the very least, you will have to live with pain forever.

(2) You should never apply an ice pack directly onto your skin.

(3) Ice burns!!  Who knew?  I do, now!  Grateful for long hair:)

(4) I’ll never again claim someone is “on my nerves” unless they are intensely agitating me with extreme force to the point I want to kick, scream, bite or even kill!

(5) I have the most supportive, loving, hardworking, praying husband and teammate a girl could ask for!

(6) My kids love me and boy am I needed!!

(7) You should cast down imaginations and thoughts which do not line up with the word.

(8) You should lean and rely on and adhere to the word.  He’s never let me down, has never failed me, would never abandon me.  Every night, I slept with my iPod replaying “Healing Praise,” a collection of anointed songs and scriptures on healing.

(9) You should listen to that still small voice…that whisper.  Nothing good happens after the shout.  It’s just not cute!

Would You Love Me More?

Image Courtesy of: http://jcspock.com

Would You love me more if I said more?  No daughter, just say yes to Me

Would You love me more if I did more?  No daughter, just serve Me

Would you love Me more if I tried harder?  No daughter, just believe

This dropped into my spirit today as I thought of conversation shared with a few of my sisters in Christ around a planning table.  Casual conversation in between our thoughts and plans for an upcoming gathering.  Conversations which went from funny to serious in a blink…comments which exposed hearts unearthing the possibility of healing, revealing the importance of sharing, releasing, trusting, believing.  Believing that we were safe to share.  Trusting that someone may have an answer or would agree in prayer.  Grateful that God who in His love and grace has the ability and the desire to bring people into our circles who have been there, are currently there, may be drowning there, wanna be heard from there, need to get outta there.  I love that God meets us right there and doesn’t leave us there.

Can’t wait for our next planning meeting.

How Will “They” Know

They’ll Know We Are Christians – Carolyn Arends

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord (repeat)
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side (repeat
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand (repeat)
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land 
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love

These are the lyrics to a hymn I remember singing in church as a young girl.  They came to mind as I was looking over some notes I took as I watched a documentary the other day.  I was riveted by the scenes that played before me as the heart of God – His extravagant, relentless love was displayed in scene after scene of “Father of Lights.”  Writer, Producer, Narrator, Darren Wilson grabs his camera and crew and takes us with them where we meet people committed to be the hands and feet of Christ.  People who have taken Mark 16:15 and put feet on it.  We meet Ravi in India who is awakened each morning at 4:00 and given his orders for the day by God, whom he calls Daddy and we follow him on the most amazing journey as lives are changed (I hesitate to be too specific because you have to see it for yourselves).  God at work through man!!!  We meet a family from the states who sold their home and gave away all of their possessions to move to China with their three small children in tow and no particular plan, except they heard from God; whose arms God chooses to be the ones to hug and care for children given away because of their “defects.”  We meet a dude from PA with dreads and a whole lotta love whose story of love and boldness left such a smile on my face.

One of the quotes from this documentary slapped me hard across the chops…”Jesus didn’t tell us to point out what’s wrong with everyone; He told us to love;  He did not want converts, He wants a bride.”  Todd the dude with the dreads said it like this, “If people can’t see Christ in you, they don’t want what you have.”

This documentary shred me, leaving me in a pool of tears.  Its beauty and rawness rang a bell deep in my soul…to be less critical, less judgmental, less quick to be “right;” less formula driven; less safe and to know more, be more, show more LOVE!  Like a child who can’t help being like their mommy or daddy, who have a great hand in forming who they are, I am committed to getting closer to my Heavenly Father…my Abba in order to acquaint myself with Him…all of Him…in order to be more like Him.  I want eyes like my Father to see as He sees; want hands like my Father to hold, touch and heal as He does; feet like my Father, in order to go and do all that my Father instructs me to do.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Moses, a Friend, and a Stranger

I have been walking with the Lord…oftentimes limping…sometimes even being dragged  for 15 years now.  Along the way, there have been people who have imparted such wisdom and have shown me such love, whose witness has impacted me, who have left an indelible imprint on my life.  There have also been people whom the Lord has used to woo me, who never knew the impact they would have on me.  They were simply living their lives (some louder than others) while I was watching and listening…while He was wooing me…drawing me.

I was probably 13 years old when “Moses” became our new neighbor.  I don’t believe I knew his real name.  My brothers named him Moses because he carried a bible constantly.  I never saw him leave the house without it and the only time he ever talked to me was to ask me whether I was saved.  Saved from what?  Naturally, we thought he was a nut.  He was bold and brash, a strict disciplinarian.  I felt sorry for his daughters.  He both intimidated me and sparked a curiosity within me and all these years later, I never forgot ole Moses.

Then there was my co-worker friend, Clare, a bubbly, charismatic, Irish Catholic girl who it seemed left one way on a Friday and came back a totally different person on Monday.  I never quite got the back story of Clare’s conversion because she simply freaked me out.  I secretly judged her while at the same time I was completely taken by her and totally intrigued.  I thought surely she was confused and certainly hell bound having left the Church, but I was so curious about this new Clare.  I wondered what happened to the old Clare.  I could not get over the change and as she spoke I thought “how in the world does she remember all those scriptures and what in the world do they mean?”  I don’t remember Clare ever trying to impose her beliefs on me although she certainly was not shy about what she believed.  She seemed so confident and knowledgeable about this Jesus thing.   We eventually parted ways but the impression she made on me was a forever one.  One thing that was undeniable about Clare…she had been touched and I saw Jesus in her eyes.  I never forgot Clare.

Years later, I was sitting by myself having lunch, in the middle of a pity party in the Plaza, when out of nowhere this young woman approaches me and takes a seat next to me.  She wore a pony tail and a smile and had a soft voice.  She began probing into my life and I wasn’t budging.  I rather enjoyed being pitiful, okay?  She finally got around to inviting me to her church.  I told her I was a Catholic (a non-church going, infertile, depressed, fighting with her husband, Catholic) but hey, I had a church..had no idea how long it had been since I’d visited, but I belonged there!  She persisted, telling me that her church meets in a gym while they are believing for a building.  I totally thought she was a part of a cult.  No thank you.  Every day after that I would duck when I saw her – even pretending to be asleep many times and this girl was relentless. She would pass by me calling my name…”Arlene, is that you…are you sleeping?  Just wanna tell you that Jesus loves you.”  Ugghhh!!!  She annoyed me…Eventually, she moved on and I never saw her again, but I never forgot her.

Three different people over many years in three different states; three memories forever etched in my heart and one big, loving, relentless God in hot pursuit of me.  Know this…someone is always watching your witness, recording your words, being impacted without your even knowing and those times that you are seemingly rejected as you share your faith, recognize that you have planted a seed and He will see to it that that seed gets watered and after the harvest, many, many years later you just might meet up again…if not here, then there for sure.  Oh happy day!!

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” 1Corinthians 3:6

Don’t Leave Me This Way

I will raise my hand and I’ll stand for You
Give up all of the plans that I planned for You
As I leave my seat and walk the aisle for You
I’m leaving my past behind
As the man of God starts to pray for me
Is that my voice I hear as I fall to my knees
Will I ever change…will the change be complete
Oh God don’t leave me this way
God don’t leave me this way
I’m confused by the things that I’m feeling today
Got me down on my knees can’t keep running away
Oh God don’t leave me this way
I will dedicate my life to You
Give You all that I have, sacrifice for You
Take this hurt, heal my pain, make me whole once again
Hear my cry, don’t leave me this way
God don’t leave me this way
I’m confused by the things that I’m feeling today
I need all that You have can’t keep running way
Oh God don’t leave me this way
Oh God don’t leave me this way
Got me doubting the things that I do and I say
Change my heart, set me free, take this burden from me
Heal me God, don’t leave me this way

I wrote this song in the wee hours as I was reading Keith Green’s biography “No Compromise” penned by his widow Melody.  She wrote about the day Keith said Yes to Christ and how she sat next to him in fear, not wanting to turn her back on her Jewish roots and wondering how he can back away from what he had learned in Christian Science.  She lamented not raising her hand thinking it was too late because the moment had passed and then continued recounting how during the week she asked questions, read the word herself and was convinced that Yeshua was in fact the Messiah and could not wait to get back to church as she said, “hoping that she would be asked to raise her hands again” only to once again be paralyzed with fear when the time came to raise her hand.

I took it a step further imagining what it would look like for that person who was in pain; who was being drawn by Him, but was unsure and afraid to make a commitment for fear that change would not follow her decision leaving her exposed and unchanged.  I admit to having similar doubts about my ability to change or be changed.  Part of me didn’t think there was anything wrong with me.  I wasn’t a bad person..so I cussed and smoked (big deal) and I probably would have been liquored up quite a bit if I enjoyed the taste more.   So I had a quick temper, could hold a grudge real good, “sorry” to me was the cuss word I never said. So?  Those were minor sins which I could deal with when I got around to church and confession.  I hadn’t killed anyone, so I was cool.  Like Melody, I was steeped in religion and the thought of change was something I had rejected.  I went to church every blue moon, was actually scared of God and figured if I left Him alone, He’d leave me alone.  All of that and everything about me changed when I said yes to Him.  Unlike the girl in my song, I said yes to Him all by myself in my bedroom.  People have challenged me asking me how saying a prayer (or reading it in my case – and it was called “The Sinner’s Prayer” which was cause for intimidation for someone who didn’t think she was a sinner…uh, that’s so negative!!) – could make a difference.  I believed what I read and I yielded my broken heart to Him and those beautiful words I read began the process of repairing all that was broken in my life and in me.  Simple words…big impact…big change.  I had a conversation with my younger brother once who accused me of having a boring life.  He said I couldn’t do anything fun…couldn’t drink, smoke or cuss.  I told him I could do all that, have an affair and kill my husband too, but the difference was, that I didn’t want to (not that I ever wanted to kill my husband, mind you)!!  🙂  Change had come…

“Change my heart, set me free take this burden from me, heal me God, don’t leave me this way; take this hurt, heal my pain, make me whole once again, hear my cry, don’t leave me this way.  He did…and He didn’t.  He’s a promise keeper!

“It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us.  This is the core of our preaching.  Say the welcoming word to God – “Jesus is my Master” – embracing body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead.  That’s it.  You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you.  That’s salvation.  With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Romans 10:8-12 The Message Bible

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