A Living Sacrifice


Romans 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 8:13

for if you are living according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

I am such a hypocrite.  Daily I see where I want all of the blessings of God without anything being required of me.  I want to embrace all of his love and goodness and give Him nothing in return.  This actually puts me in the category of being an unbeliever as well.  I pick and choose the scriptures I want to live by and ignore those which speak of self sacrifice.  Jesus himself challenged anyone who would be a disciple of his to consider the cost:

Luke 14:26-35

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.   Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?  It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

OUCH!  As I re-read this passage, I see that I am also a guilty of self-idolatry.  I have myself lifted up on a pedestal and become quite indignant if anyone insults my elevated position.  Is it any wonder that most days I am miserable?  The scripture above from Romans 8 says that if I am living according to my flesh, I will die.  That death is not a future event, it’s in the now.  I fall on my own sword daily because I have lifted myself up to an ungodly position.  A place where you dare not speak to me like that!  A place where I am more valuable and worthy than the rabble around me.  A place that looks down with scorn on the broken and miserable people that I come in contact with.  A place that is full of self-righteous hypocrisy devoid of love for the very world that Jesus came to save.

What is the cost that I work so hard to avoid?   What does it mean to hate your own life?  What does it mean to present yourself as a living sacrifice?

First, it means repenting of my unbelief.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped believing that my life is not my own.  If I am a child of God, then I was purchased with the precious blood of Christ.  He bought me. His spilled blood and mangled body was the receipt for my life.  That is why we are called to remember that transaction thru the sacraments of the cup and bread.  “This do in remembrance of me, as often as you will.”  We need to take Communion more often to be reminded that our lives are NOT are own.  Christ was beaten beyond recognition; he ceased to exist in a sense.  He laid down every ounce of his own will to have the right to own us!  How dare I exalt myself above my Lord!

Secondly, it means renewing my mind and believing the truth that my life is hidden in Christ.  I embrace that my sins are hidden but recoil that my person has to be hidden.  I forget that I am a new creature and old things have passed away.  Paul exhorts us to put to death the flesh with its deeds.  I must embrace the truth of being emptied like Jesus.  I must surrender!  I must take up my cross and follow him.  A cross was meant for one thing only, to die upon.

Thirdly, I must believe the glorious truth that true life comes from this death.  Jesus shared this great mystery as recorded in the Gospel of John:

John 12:24-26

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

On my self-exalted pedestal, I am alone and have no kingdom worth.  I am tasteless salt that is good for nothing.  But, if I die to myself daily, then I have potential to bear much fruit and find eternal life NOW!

“Lord, thank you for your new mercies today.  God, change my heart that I will want to die to myself today.  I don’t want to be worthless and alone and falling on my own sword. I want to be where you are.  I want to follow in your footsteps.  I want to present myself to you God and be called a good and faithful servant.  Help me remember that you own me and help me love this broken world the way you loved me.  Help me empty myself that I might receive you to the full and be truly alive!”


Encouragement, Faith, Patience, Personal Growth

Top Ten People # 8, Gladys Aylward.

aylward4chinese orphans

Have you ever been told that you’re just not good enough?  Have teachers or other people of influence in your life told you that you are not capable of learning the subject matter and that you should abandon your studies and dreams?  Maybe these disheartening messages have come from within your own person or from others or both.  Has God called you to something that others disagree with and tell you that you’re wrong and now you are in doubt?  What if, deep down, you know your calling but obstacle after obstacle was rolled into your path?  All of these scenarios describe the challenges that faced Gladys Aylward.  Born in 1902, she was convinced from childhood that her destiny was mission work in China.  The journey to get there was an uphill battle from the start but her determination and belief in God’s calling enabled her to defy all odds and fulfill her dream.  Below are just a few of the obstacles she overcame:

  • Being small in stature and weak in constitution, she was repeatedly told she could never endure the hardships that rural Chinese life would consist of.
  • Her parents were working class people that could not offer any financial support for her dream so she went to work as a teen housemaid to save toward the cost of getting to China.  She saved for years on a meager salary to pay her own passage to China.
  • She applied to the established Inland Chinese Mission Board but was eventually released from language school after being told she did not possess the aptitude for learning Chinese.
  • She traveled alone on the perilous Trans-Siberia railway and was detained many times on her journey by Russians and others who sought to do her harm.  God protected her and she finally reached China in 1932.

This little woman, with no aptitude or support, worked faithfully in China and rescued over 100 Chinese orphans when Japan invaded in 1938.  She took them over a mountain pass to safety and did not lose a single child even tho she herself was wounded on the trek.  She was revered among the Chinese people and became known as the, “Virtuous One.”

Gladys Aylward, thank you for your legacy of faith, hope, determination and courage.  Thank you for overcoming the mountains of “NO” in your life!  Thank you for reminding me that a calling from God does is not necessarily an easy one.  Thank you for living out a life that was totally dependent on God!  Thank you for proving that if God calls and equips, it will be enough.  Thank you for confirming that our weaknesses are not a hindrance in God’s economy or plans!

Hebrews 13:20-21

 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,  equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


At the Right Time

(a longer post)


My oldest daughter was married a couple of weekends ago at a beautiful outdoor venue.  God allowed it to be an absolutely perfect day on many different levels.  However, when we started planning this celebration, there were three major concerns.  The first was the potential for conflict between myself and my daughter.  The second was the possibility for bad weather.  Last but by no means least, was the fact that it was Easter weekend.  These three factors initially caused me great stress but God turned them into invitations to intimacy with Him.

Conflict.  If I had to use one word to describe my past relationship with my eldest daughter, it would be conflict.  We clashed over almost everything and thru the years there had been deep hurt and wounds inflicted by both of us.  While I knew that we loved each other, we just could not seem to give or receive any affection because of all the pain.  We both came out of her teen years shell-shocked and on the verge of estrangement.  This situation seemed to climax with her moving out shortly after her HS graduation to live with her boyfriend’s family in another state.  I would be dishonest if I said that I was saddened over her departure.  My husband and I were greatly relieved that a major source of conflict had moved out.  While I hated the manner in which she left, deep down I knew we both needed the separation.  If we were ever going to have a chance for healing, we needed to be apart.  I was very thankful that her boyfriend’s family had opened not only their home to our daughter, but also their hearts.  They genuinely loved her and saw the beautiful person she is.  I am forever grateful to them for giving her a safe and loving place to be.  Little by little, God began to give me a hope that He could restore our broken relationship.  He even provided for us to take a trip last summer together with her boyfriend (who shortly thereafter became her fiance) and one of her older brothers that has set us on a journey of healing.  (that trip is a story in itself that perhaps I will tell someday)

All that being said, when my daughter asked me to bring her wedding dream to fruition, I had MAJOR reservations.  Even tho we were in a much better place, I did not want for us to be in a position for potential conflict.  I knew that I could do the job as I had been in event planning and catering for years, but this was different.  This was my daughter’s wedding and there was every possibility for turmoil.  God, however, would reveal that there was also every possibility for joy and beauty.  After all, He is the living God that gives beauty for ashes.  My daughter had a very detailed outline of what she wanted and with a deep sense of humility and honor, I started praying and planning.  I prayed that God would take my efforts and fashion something beautiful for His glory and a gift for my daughter.  I sent her pictures of everything I was making and creating for her and her fiance to approve of.  Without exception, she loved everything!!  I was truly overwhelmed and God began to give me incredible joy in the process.  I would have NEVER thought it possible.  I was given a free hand to be creative and artistic and present my efforts as a gift of love to her and her fiance.  The true joy was that she was received everything in the spirit and love in which they had been created.  There were no conflicts, no clashes, no arguments.  We respectfully and lovingly traded ideas and plans and God honored my prayer.  He made it beautiful.

The second concern was the weather factor.  A South Carolina Spring can have you wearing flip-flops one day and a parka the next.  This spring mostly had us under umbrellas and wondering when the monsoon would end.  I enlisted anyone and everyone to pray for good weather but the closer we got to the wedding weekend, the worse the forecast became.  I became bold in my prayers and specifically asked for sunshine and 70 degrees for our celebration.  However, rain, rain, and more rain and unseasonably cold weather preceded the weeks before the big day.  Our only ‘Plan B’ was to rent a large tent which really wasn’t in the budget.  Being two weeks out,  I cried out again to the Lord.

Lord, you are still the same all-powerful God who spoke a word and calmed a raging storm.  You know our needs and our budget.  Help me to trust you now.  Help me to rest in your faithfulness to provide.”

I went to bed one night with God convicting me how narrow I had made my focus.  I had become fixated on the weather and was trusting in it to determine the “success” of the wedding day.  I had forgotten what this marriage was truly all about.  He also impressed upon me to turn my requests into praises.  I began to thank Him for all that he had done during so far during this journey.  I thanked Him for the gift of marriage and that intimate relationship was His idea and intent.  I thanked Him that marriage ultimately is a picture of His intimate love toward His children and the covenant He made with us to be our God and us to be His people.  I thanked him for my son-in-law.  In the past year, I had grown not only to know this young man better but to truly cherish him.  He is everything a mother could hope for in a husband for our daughter and I was so thrilled for them both.  I thanked Him for my own marriage and the picture of redemption it represented.  I repented that I had made an idol out of the weather and determined from that moment, that we would and could have full joy no matter the forecast.

The next morning, a friend of mine from California called to say she had a specific word from the Lord for me,

Angie, God wants you to know that He has seen your efforts and He is going to give you a beautiful day!”

I could not believe it!  God was speaking directly to me thru my dear friend and blessing my soul with himself!  In addition to this incredible intimacy, was He going to clear the clouds?  I FULLY believed and trusted that He would.  Later that same day, my daughter texted me with a verse that had popped on her phone,

At the right, I the Lord will make it happen!” Is. 60:22b (The Message)

We both could not believe it!  God had spoken directly to us again!  A little later on, she shared an updated weather forecast with me.  In the midst of 10 chilly and rain filled days, God had cleared the day of her wedding and it was going to be 70 degrees and sunny!

That brings us to the fact that their wedding celebration was going to be on Easter weekend.  We knew that would affect attendance and tried to focus on the fact that it would be a joyous celebration no matter what.  During the ceremony itself,  God impressed upon me that my daughter being married at Easter was NO coincidence.  Easter represents redemption and the possibility of reconciliation.  Redemption is the taking of something broken and of no value and restoring it to its original worth.  On that first Easter, God took broken humanity and our sin to the cross.  His own son bore the penalty of death that sin deserves.  He made it possible for us to be restored to our original worth and to be reconciled to Him.   On this Easter, He reminded me of the restoration that had taken place in my relationship with my daughter.  God had made reconciliation possible against all odds.  God had truly taken something that was broken and made it beautiful.

God is the faithful one.  He is the healer.  He is the redeemer and at the right time, He made it happen!


Encouragement, Faith, Reflections

Blessed are those who…

The+Beatitudes+Blessed+are+the+poor+in+spirit,+for+theirs+is+the+kingdom+of+heaven.+Blessed+are+they+who+mourn,+for+they+shall+be+comforted.As my daughter and I study the teachings of Christ, we are looking at his first public sermon which includes The Beatitudes.   Christ launches his public ministry, speaking to several thousand people, with a tender discourse full of compassion. Unlike the ‘gods’ of the day whose piety was unpredictable at best and non-existent at worst, Christ’s message speaks to the heart and not to outward behaviors. He does not chastise or encourage the hearers to work harder at being good. Instead he defines God’s intent to bless those who think themselves unworthy of blessing. Those striving souls, like me, who simply cannot work harder to be better. Those people who are so downtrodden and beaten up by life and cannot improve their outward condition much less their broken and sinful inner self.  Those who believe the goodness of God is unattainable due to poverty and being “less than” their neighbor.  Those who find themselves at war with the World and desperately long for peace.  A friend of sinners and outcasts, Christ identifies with the down and out from the beginning.  He came for me.  He came for you.
Oh, dear Lord and Savior, may I bring this hopeful message to the downcast and broken hearted, the persecuted and mournful, those who long for peace and hunger for mercy. Thank you that you did not say that you bless our doing but that you bless us in our most pitiful state of being.
Encouragement, Faith, Personal Growth, Redemption

All the Way, and then some.

A longer post.

moses in basket

In continuing with the idea that God often calls his children and people to go to extreme places in order to reveal himself, I want to look at the beginning of the life of Moses.

Moses was born into God’s chosen people who were enslaved by the Egyptians.  Not only were they enslaved, they were terribly oppressed.  Hard labor was forced upon them by harsh taskmasters.  The ruling pharaoh had succumbed to fear of the multitude of the Israelites living in his land.  Fearing that they might join forces with enemies of Egypt, he was determined to demoralize them with grueling work.  However, Exodus 1 tells us that the more he afflicted them, the more they multiplied and prospered.  Pharaoh’s strategy then took a cruel turn.  He would go to the source of Hebrew increase; he would eradicate the male population.  He first enlisted midwives to kill all the boy babies that they helped to birth.  Fearing God more than Pharaoh, they would not carry out his heinous instructions.  He then called upon the Egyptian general population to cast any male child of the Hebrews into the Nile.  It was during this reign of terror that Moses was born.  He was born under a death sentence.

His mother, like countless others, tried to hide him in her home.  When she could no longer muffle his cries or keep him sufficiently hidden, she resorted to a desperate plan. She covered a basket with tar and placed her tiny infant afloat among the reeds of the Nile.  This is my first point.  It was necessary for Moses to be placed all the way outside of the security of his home.  God is bigger than the safety of our homes.  Even if our children are taken away, given up, or leave on their accord, God is bigger than our homes!  God is bigger than the security we think we can provide.  What courage it took for his mother to place him there.  What courage it took to ask her daughter, Miriam, Moses’ older sister,  to stand watch at the river’s edge.  Crocodiles lurk there also and can potentially move faster than a girl who was still a child herself.  His mother’s courage and resourcefulness would bear much fruit in this story as we will see.

My second thought is that Moses was hidden in the very place that he should have been cast into!   The appointed place of execution had become his refuge.  More than refuge, the Nile became his place of rescue.

This brings me to my third point.   God can and does use anything and anyone to accomplish his purposes!  For the princess, the daughter of the very Pharaoh who issued the death decree, to discover Moses is not coincidence!  Oh I love how God writes surprising characters into his stories!  God put pity into her heart.  She recognized the baby as a Hebrew and pitied him.  She had him “drawn out” of the water and brought to her.  Some scholars have speculated that she was actually down at the river performing a fertility ritual and that Moses was seen as the fulfillment to her desire to have a child.  Fawning over the baby and declaring that she will take him as her own was overheard by Miriam.  As this scene unfolded before her Miriam, using the same resourcefulness and courage as her mother, and quickly approached the princess and arranges for a wet-nurse.  Who should it be but Moses’ own mother.  But that’s not all!  Not only did the princess consent for Moses to be taken back home and nursed by his own mother, she was going to PAY her to do it!  Only God can take our deepest point of fear, turn it around and make it a place of blessing!  To be paid to nurse your own son? Only God does things like this.

God has taken Moses and his entire family to the brink and saved him in a miraculous way.  No one in Moses’ family could imagine the grander story that God was weaving  or where this would end.  Each day with their son became precious and a time of preparation for his life in the palace.   We have the benefit of Scripture and know the entire story. However, his family was walking by faith with great uncertainty.  Each day brought them closer to saying goodbye to him again, but at least he was alive.  Each day provided another opportunity to tell him of his true lineage and heritage.  He was of God’s chosen people.

Rest assured, even when we cannot see, God is weaving a greater story.  Our darkest places of fear and doubt will become the place where God does mighty things!

Philippians 4:5-7 (NASB)

The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Encouragement, Happy Thought Indeed, Insights, Reflections

It’s all in the Bag!


I recently had the honor of speaking at a conference in St. Louis.  The attendees received a nice book bag as part of their registration and utilized them as they toured the vendor shopping hall.  The bags were just the right size for books and flyers and had shoulder straps to make carrying easier.

As a bag-aholic, I admired these bags from the vendor booth that I was manning.  I struck up conversation with a visitor to my booth, who of course had a bag, and we laughed at the fact that as much as I loved bags, she actually hated them!  We were both astonished by the opposing passions we had regarding bags.

She asked me, with incredulity, what I used miscellaneous bags for.  I shared with her that I keep a few in my car to use at grocery stores that don’t provide bags.  I always have a bag on hand to fill with paper, pens, and coloring books for mini road trips with my daughter.  There is always a bag ready with a beach towel for when we go swimming or on a spontaneous picnic.  We parted ways with her chuckling at the “bag lady” she had just met!

Two days later, at this conference, I was to give the first of my speaking sessions.  I always experience the normal jitters, but that morning, I was overcome with dread, sadness, and fear due to a circumstance that had nothing to do with the conference.  I poured my heart out to God.  I agreed with him that I knew He had put me on this path, but that I felt like I wouldn’t be able to walk in that day.  I was completely broken before him.  God truly ministered to me during my quiet time.  He quieted my spirit, He lifted my downcast heart and gave me the courage to fulfill my calling.

I had to man the vendor booth before my first session and was very surprised to see the lady that I had conversed with about the bags approaching me.  Her arms were full and there was a huge smile on her face.  She said, “I am so glad you are here.  I brought you these!”  Spilling from her arms were bags!  Bags of all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors fell at my feet.  There were totes, backpacks, book bags and more!  Tears started flowing and I was so overcome that I could not even speak for several moments.

There was no way to communicate to her where my heart had been hours earlier.  There was no way to communicate to her how broken and downcast I had been upon waking.  There was no way to communicate to her how God had just given to me the biggest kiss ever!  I tried to regain composure and thanked her the best I could.  God didn’t have to give me anything tangible, but in his kind regard of my state, He did.  Only God would know how much bags would thrill my heart.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.

Happy Thought Indeed, Living in Freedom, Personal Growth, Reflections

Crickets and Curriculum

Cricket isolatedbooks

As long as I have breath, I will declare that the Living God of all creation wants to be seen.  He himself said that his “eyes of the Lord roam the Earth looking for someone to show himself strong to.” (2 Chron. 16.9)  If you have eyes to see with and ears to hear with, He can be found!

Last March we became the recipients of an incredible gift, our entire curriculum for our rising 6th grade daughter.  We are a homeschool family and the estimated value of this gift is ~700.00.  When the box arrived in the mail, it was like Christmas!  My daughter and I fawned over each book and could not believe the blessing.  Just this past week, the same benefactor, the curriculum publishers, sent an additional new edition of the language arts program!  I am in awe of God’s goodness.  God sends every good and perfect gift from heaven and wants to be seen in the giving!

Now on to crickets.  I am currently Chameleon sitting for my one of my older sons.  What that entails is misting his tree twice a day, refilling is auto mister and water dish and feeding him crickets.  Yuck.  This has been a busy week and I didn’t realize we ran out of crickets.  I was concerned that Drake the chameleon was hungry and was searching frantically outside for a cricket last night.  I could hear plenty of them but none were in sight.  I stopped and prayed, “Lord, if Drake needs supper, can you help me find a cricket?”  When I opened my eyes, there was a cricket at my feet!  Only God!  He cares about chameleons.  Surely, He cares for us!

Ask him to give you new eyes and ears and a heart of child like faith to see Him everywhere.  God wants to be seen.

Failure and Success, Living in Freedom, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

God calls us to go ALL the way.


Part 1.

Looking at the saints of old, I see a mysterious and Holy pattern.  God doesn’t stop short of the miraculous.  He doesn’t go half way or do anything in a less than complete manner.  God takes his people to the very edge, He brings them to the last-minute rescue and the midnight hour desperation and then reveals himself with such power, glory and might that we are left speechless.  His plans are for his works to be displayed in such a way, so that there can be no other explanation for what has happened except that God has intervened.

However, these gripping stories are also to build our faith.  Our lives are not so unlike the people of old.  Sometimes our trials bring us to very edge of disaster and if God does not work, we are done for.   If God does not part the Red Sea, we will be destroyed.  If he does not dry up the Jordan, we will drown.  God calls us to go all the way to see the miraculous.  It is necessary to go the distance. Consider this example:

Genesis 37 relates a tale of a very dysfunctional family where sibling rivalry and hatred peaked with a brother being sold into human trafficking by his older brothers.  Let’s look closer at the pattern. It was necessary for Joseph to go ALL the way down into the pit that his brothers cast him into.  There he learned that God had a plan to preserve his life.  Thru the long dark night, with each passing hour, he survived.  As dawn broke over the wilderness, he realized that his body was whole and preserved and that he had lived to see the sun’s rays pierce the darkness.  It was then necessary for Joseph to be sold into slavery and taken hundreds of miles away from his home and family ALL the way in Egypt.  On an auction block, his favored son status was stripped away and he became the property of someone else.  He had no say, no input, no nothing.  His elevated status in an affluent family was cruelly ripped away as he was inspected and chosen solely for his physical build.  His father, his family, his lineage meant nothing.  It was then necessary for him to be accused falsely and sent ALL the way to prison.  Ultimate humiliation and unfairness became his daily bread.  It was in prison, however, that he learned to trust the God of the dark.  Totally constricted and unable to dictate the terms of his life, he was helpless before God.  How easy to lose faith and hope in such a circumstance.  Who would have blamed him if he had.  The evidence, however,  tells a different story.  The evidence speaks of a young man who continued to work with excellence not to please men but God.  The way he ordered his cell, his habits, his time was of such a nature that it captured the attention of his guard.  He was then placed over other prisoners so that he could teach them the same order and habits.  But still his case and cause were overlooked.  Year after year he remained in his confinement and was able to contribute nothing to change the outcome.

What did he dream the outcome to be?  To be set free at some point and make his way back home?  To be free so that he could take revenge on his brothers?  While we are not privy to Joseph’s private thoughts and agonies of soul, we are privy to God taking him to the limit and then some.  Just when it seemed it could not get any worse, it did.  God had set an against all odds scenario so that if God doesn’t act and save, Joseph is toast.  I am sure that no matter what Joseph longed and dreamed for, he could not have imagined the outcome that God  accomplished.  He went from the prison cell to the right hand of pharaoh.  Who but God could bring such a conclusion?  Revenge to his brothers?  Joseph ended up not only saving his immediate family from starvation but the entire known world at the time.  It was necessary for God to take Joseph ALL the way so that the work accomplished was so incredible, no one could deny God.

Yes, God often calls his children to go to the brink of disaster.  But no matter where God takes us and calls us to go, we are not alone.  We have His promise never to leave us or forsake us.  If He takes us to the very edge, He is there.  We are not alone.

If you find yourself in a prison cell of unfair life’s circumstances, falsely accused and forgotten….Wait and watch.  You are primed to see a miracle.

To be continued.


Happy Thought Indeed, Living in Freedom, Reflections, value

“Arise my Darling…and Come Along”

garden path

Can you imagine any more intimate invitation than for your beloved to say, “Arise my darling, there’s something that I want to show you; come along with me.”?  This beckoning suggests that there is a hidden delight to be shared.  Perhaps it’s a surprise just for these two affectionate lovers planned by the one for the other.  As a woman who LOVES surprises, my mind imagines all sorts of treasures to be revealed.

In the Song of Solomon 2:13 (NASB), this adoring secretive call is found:

‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’

There is something to be shown and shared.  There is something delightful to behold that will be so sweet to encounter together.  There is something that the one lover has discovered and cannot wait for the other to experience.  I imagine myself placing a trembling hand with an anticipating heart into a strong waiting hand and being led to a place of utter joy.

As with most words, I want to know the depths and shades of their meanings.  So it is with this verse and I studied out a few words that captivated me.

  • Ripened – to embalm, as in the air, with a sweet aroma; to make spicy; to ease harvesting.

This actually led me to look the meaning of embalm.

  • Embalm – to fill the air with a sweet fragrance.  To preserve from decay.
  • Fragrance – a savoury smell; a soothing odor; the technical term for a sacrifice to God.
  • Blossom – a tender state; the peak period of development; the flower of a seed plant.
  • Given – to assign; to bestow, to cause, to permit. To stretch out. To deliver up. To assign.
  • Darling – attendant maiden, companion. An endeared person.  A particular favorite.
  • Come Along – to walk, to travel, to run, to go up and out.  To move in a constant direction or path.  To be in the company of another.

As you can see, this verse begins to explode with depth and richness.  This is just like God.  The first glance is breathtaking and sweet.  However, the longer you look, the more you study Him out, there are unsearchable riches to be found.

Look and listen for his invitation today.  See what delights He wants to show you.  Take His hand and breathe deeply the sweet fragrance of His being.

You are His darling.

Failure and Success, Living in Freedom, Patience, Personal Growth

“I Your Teacher”


Isaiah 30:20-21…..”I your teacher will no longer hide myself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher and your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it” whenever you turn to the right or left.

What does it look like to be in the Holy classroom of God?  I am sure it looks differently for different people but here is what it looks like for me.  I might be listening to a sermon, a friend, or even a stranger when a truth gem is exposed.  Its beauty begins to resonate deep within my soul and I know God has spoken.  I usually journal these nuggets of gold and meditate on them for days and weeks.  I find that over the course of those next days and weeks, I will hear the same truth in varying ways.  God will keep instructing me and reminding me of what He has said.

Like all good teachers, an opportunity to practice the truth ALWAYS follows the instruction.  What good is anything learned if you cannot use it in everyday life?  So it is with God, he does not waste His words, instruction or his time.  If He has been so intentional as to instruct, He has a purpose in it.

Several weeks ago I heard a message that contained more truth nuggets than I could write down.  I jotted down what I could and have actively thought on what I couldn’t.  Here’s the gist of what I was instructed in:

  • The fear of the future is often worse than the future.

Anytime God gives the command, “Do not fear”, it is ALWAYS coupled with a why not to.  For example:

Joshua 1:9 (NASB)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When we face our fears because of the realization that the God of the Universe is beside us, then we can take steps forward in faith and courage.  Personal victory has the potential to unleash corporate blessings. Consider the personal victory of David against Goliath.  The outcome had actually been dictated by the giant; whoever was victorious, their nation would enslave the losers.  David’s victory was applied to the entire nation of Israel!  He declared that he had come in the name of the Lord; he was living in faith and gained a courageous victory!

  • Do not entertain any thought reduces God or your position in Him.

1 John 4:1 (NASB)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…
Our loving Father does NOT use discouraging or despairing language with his children.  If you hear any “head talk” that is hopeless, filled with failure and fear, rest assured it is from our enemy and NOT our Father.  Years ago, our pastor at the time, gave me some very good practical advice for when the enemy was on the attack in my mind.  He encouraged me to say aloud,
“My Father said I am not to talk to strangers.  You are a stranger and if you want to talk about me, go see my Father!”
We are the sheep of our Father’s pasture.  We hear and know His voice.  Make truthful declarations to yourself and others about His character, His love, His power, His faithfulness and His glory.  What God has revealed to us in His written Word is for our instruction.  His past works declare who He is, not who He was!  Read and be encouraged and declare who our God is.
So, true to form, God gave me these nuggets and has also given me a test.  From where I am standing, the bay has emptied and a tsunami has formed and is poised to come crashing down.  However, by God’s grace, I will look beyond the wave to the creator of the wave.  The wind and waves still know His voice.  I know His voice.
Friend, if you also find yourself in God’s Holy Classroom, you are not alone.  He is right there with you as well as countless other saints who are in similar trials.  Remember that God is for you and me and has purpose in our tests:

James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
God desires that we lack in nothing and be perfect and complete!  What a good, good Father He is.