I so enjoyed reflecting on Yahweh this week, that I wanted to share about Him for another day.  I ran across this song yesterday afternoon and it is a beautiful worship song so if you have time to listen today here it is:

Secondly, I am bringing out of the archives a poem/prayer I wrote several years ago about I am.  Enjoy,

Dearest Child,

What is it that you need? What is it that you are searching for?

Do you feel like your life is a mess?
I am your Redeemer.

Do you feel unloved?
I am the Lover of your soul.

Are you filled with sorrow?
I am your Comforter.

Do you feel alone?
I have promised to never leave you or forsake you.

Do you feel your story is incomplete?
I am the author and perfecter of your faith. Fix your eyes on me.

Are you afraid?
I am your Defender and Protector.

Are there situations in your life that you need to be rescued from?
I am a Warrior; I fight for you daily and will save you.

Do you feel unknown?
I have numbered even the hairs on your head ~ I know you.

Do you need to rest?
I have asked you to come to me when you are weary and I will give you rest.

Whatever it is you are facing ~ I AM.

I AM here for you to be your strong tower, a refuge. I AM mighty and the one who can and will and does fight for you daily. I AM full of love & provide a place to receive mercy and grace in your time of need.
Ask me your questions. I will answer you for


Your Heavenly Father

Redeemer: Isaiah 48:17, Jeremiah 50:34
Lover: Song of Solomon 2:14, 1 John 4:10
Comforter: Isaiah 49:13, 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5
Never leave: Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5
Fix your eyes: Hebrews 12:2
Defender: Isaiah 19:20, Proverbs 23:11
Warrior & Savior: Exodus 15:3, Isaiah 42:13, Jeremiah 20:11, Isaiah 43:11, Isaiah 45:21
Give you rest: Psalm 68:19, Matthew 11:38
Numbered hairs on your head: Luke 12: 6,7
I AM: Exodus 3:14
Refuge: 2 Samuel 22:3
Mighty One: Psalm 50:1
Gracious: Exodus 34:6, Psalm 116:5, Isaiah 30:18, Romans 8:32
Merciful: Deuteronomy 4:31, Micah 7:18, Luke 1:50, Titus 3:4-7

In Christ,

Being Invited to Know God by a New Name

Moses encountered God at the burning bush.  God audibly told Moses that He would use Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt.  If anyone should be confident he had heard the Word of God and was walking in His will it would be Moses.  It should be smooth sailing from here on out right?  God even gave Moses a few miraculous signs to confirm the deal.  Fast forward a couple of weeks.  Moses has appeared before Pharoah, and said, "Let my people go."  Pharoah said no.  The people are upset and asking Moses why he ever came and bothered them in the first place.  Now Moses himself is confused.  This is NOT what he thought would happen.

Here is Moses's conversation with God:
Exodus 5:22-23
Moses returned to the LORD and said,
“Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people?
Is this why you sent me?
Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name,
he has brought trouble on this people,
and you have not rescued your people at all.”

God's response:
Exodus 6:2b-4
I am the Lord.
I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
by the name God Almighty,
but they did not know me by my name, the Lord.

God was about to take Israel on a journey to freedom and in the process of this journey He was going to reveal Himself to them in a new way.  The Israelites had only known God as El-Shaddi/God Almighty, that He was great in power but through this journey they were going to learn to know Him in a new way as YHWH.

In a word study of YHWH you don't end up getting a clear defintion, or something you can hold onto.  But God himself defines it in Exodus 3:13-15 "I AM WHO I AM."  What does that mean?  It means God will be who He IS and that He is not defined, restricted or overwhelmed by the situations man finds himself in.  HE stands independent.  And if you continue to read Exodus 6, I AM WHO I AM is revealed by the promise of His character:  

Exodus 6:6-8
I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
I will free you from being slaves to them,
 and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm
and with mighty acts of judgment. 7
I will take you as my own people,
and I will be your God.
Then you will know that I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8
And I will bring you to the land I swore
with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.
I will give it to you as a possession.
 I am the LORD.’”
If you keep reading in Exodus you know that things still do not get "easier" from this point on.  There is a fight for freedom and an attack against it, but you also see that God is right there every step away.  I AM goes before them and with them in very tangible and personal ways.  He invites Moses and the people of Israel to partner with Him through the battle for freedom.

God still has many names and different ways He reveals Himself to man.  One of those names remains "I AM."  He is the Great I AM who keeps His covenant of love to all generations.  Getting to know the Great I AM does not mean life will be smooth sailing, it does not mean things will get "easier."  It does mean, however, that we can rest in Him and we don't need to be overwhelmed by our situations or by the times it looks like what God has promised us isn't happening.  It means we can keep our eyes on Him and not on our situations and it means we can know Him and we can trust Him.

People often quote
Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
[This is] the Lord’s declaration.
“For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isaiah 55:8–9

as a proof that we can never know what God is going to do and so we just need to throw our hands up and accept whatever is happening as God's way.  We may not know how God is going to move through situations but we can and we do know God's character:  He is ALWAYS GOOD and HE is ALWAYS LOVING.  When we are in the midst of darkness, we do not need to embrace the darkness or say it is from God instead we need to hide in His character and ask Him to lead us through the darkness to the place of freedom.

Isaiah 43:2-3.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Perhaps you have found yourself in a situation where God promised you something, you stepped out in what He asked you and now it seems like everything blew up in your face.  May these passages of Scripture encourage you that something entirely different may be going on.  Perhaps God is inviting you to know Him in a way you have never known Him before, as the Great I AM.  The GOD who will be WHO He will be even in the midst of dark and difficult situations. The darkness is not from Him, He is not overwhelmed or confused by the darkness, but He will walk with you through the darkness to the side of freedom, because that is who HE IS.

In Christ,

A glimpse of my parenting perspective

As I have walked through life I have met a lot of people that have pain from their childhoods.  For a variety of reasons, whether traumatic or not, things happened in their youth which they have carried with them into their adulthood.  Often times their parenting styles take on nuances designed to prevent the same type of pain from occurring in their own children's lives.  The goal for them becomes creating a world where their children will be pain free.  While I, myself, have tried this and see the good aspects to it there can also be negative aspects to it as well. This style of parenting is primarily fear-motivated and ends up ignoring the role of the enemy in our lives, how to effectively fight him and how to receive healing from inevitable pain.  Also, this style of parenting can cause parents to be frustrated with themselves and feel like failures because they eventually do fall into the very patterns they are trying to avoid.  The past 8 years of my Christianity I have spent a lot of time allowing God to heal a variety of wounds in my heart.  As I have done that, I have learned more about God's heart toward me and about the enemy's strategies.  I feel like this part of my journey has also changed the way I feel about parenting.

Instead of having "avoiding pain" as our parenting goal, our goal as parents should be to train our children to see Jesus and to know how to access His TRUTH to find healing from pain. My children are still relatively young so in our lives this often translates to ending time-outs in prayer. I have learned in my own life that I cannot do the things I want or need to do without the help of Jesus and that I need to ask for His help. I've also learned that He is more than GENEROUS in providing help in my time of need. My children and I often come into His presence and learn how to rely on Him to move on from our places of need.

Formerly, I thought my goal was to be "Jesus" to my kids; that by looking through me and my life they would then be able to see God.  While the intent of my heart was good, the results were not.  This perspective often caused me to fall into anger and frustration at myself when I failed because I was not able to provide a perfect picture of God.  But God showed me one day that I don't need to be perfect, He had already provided the perfect mediator and that I kept getting in the way.  The following is what I have been learning since that day and applying in my own life.  I am not perfect.  If my children look through me first to see God there will ALWAYS be imperfection in the way and it will blur their picture of God.  How often have you heard people say they cannot understand the Father heart of God because they had an imperfect father here on earth?  The problem comes in because we are translating God first through our human perspective.  This model of parenting goes: 

Kids (see) Parents (then see) God. 
The result of this sytle of parenting is a skewed perspective of God. 

I truly believe our goal instead is to direct our children to see Jesus and see Jesus first:

Kids (see) Jesus (see) God. 

Where are we in all of this.  We are NEXT to our kids looking at Jesus. 

Hebrews 12:2a
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

We do not need to be the stepping stone to God for our children.  He is more than able to meet them directly.  Instead, we need to teach and train our children to see Jesus and to see the world as Jesus sees it.

How does Jesus see the world? "He (the enemy) has come to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a)."  But Jesus also says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to abundance (John 10:10b)."  Your children WILL have pain in this life because the enemy still exists.  If your goal as a parent is to help them avoid pain at all costs then you will end up being very frustrated because it is an impossible goal. 

What does this style of parenting look like? For me it has been:
  1. Being vulnerable with God and allowing Him to heal my heart in many areas. 
  2. To learn what spiritual warfare looks like and learning how to fight it. 
  3. To take these lessons and principles I've learned and apply them practically with my children.
  4. Letting go of the concept of trying to raise children who will never experience pain.
  5. My goal instead is to raise warriors who recognize how to fight and when the pain does come, even from me, that they know who and where they can ALWAYS go to find safety and healing.
God has not asked us to be perfect parents.  He has asked us to point the way to Him, the perfect FATHER.  For me the safest place to do this from has been next to my kids, down on my knees instead of standing between Him and them.

(As a bonus: If the pain from your childhood has skewed your perspective of God, take the source of the pain out of the way and put the cross between you and them.  They weren't meant to be there in the first place.  The best step to find healing in that instance is to have YOU then THE CROSS and then the source of pain).

In Christ,

Your thoughts

I read Proverbs 4:23 the other day and I have been stuck thinking about it ever since.

Proverbs 4:23
Be careful what you think. Your thoughts run your life.

As I have been reflecting on this I've realized that my thoughts are a relatively uncontrolled area in my life. Perhaps it is a female thing but I spend a majority of my thought life in the what ifs. What if this happens, what if that. I have whole scenarios that play out and by the end my mood can be effected, usually negatively. My husband does a good job of bringing me back to reality when I do choose to share my thoughts with him. He will say, "You don't even know what will happen so why are you getting wound about it?" Well, yes I do know what will happen because I played it out in my mind:)

I have learned in female relationships not to go there with my mind because I think that is the number one way the enemy destroys relationships. We play out in our mind exactly what "she meant" by saying that and the next thing we know we will never be talking to her ever again meanwhile she doesn't even remember what she said.

So anyway, the last year has contained many days where I struggle to find the joy that used to be pretty automatic for me. God has opened my eyes this week to my thought life and has shown me that there are many areas there where I am not submitting the lies in my mind to His truth. Instead of taking my thoughts to Him I let them run and run until I end up feeling discouraged.

2 Corinthians 10:4&5
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty IN God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Our thoughts do run our lives and we can let our thoughts run us our way or God's way. He has given us a better way to live. God cares about our lives and hearts and desires that we live an abundant life. Check to see if your thought life is an area under His control.

Finally, if you also struggle with your thought life check out today's free download at Amazon for more:Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment

Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment

How to Be Strong

God has been changing a misperception I have had about Him.  The misperception has been about how we are to walk through our Christian lives.  I have walked through much of my Christian life trying to be a "Christian" for God.  I think I came to this idea because of the way we talk about church and quiet time.  We go to "church" on Sunday to be in God's presence and then we leave.  We have quiet time in the morning to meet with God and then we leave.  I walked away with the idea that the rest of the time, was my chance to "prove" to God that I can apply what I've learned to life's situations.  The result, however, was often failure.  I returned to His presence discouraged, wanting to learn how to do it better the next time.  Thankfully, God has been stripping this misperception away.  Our righteousness, our ability to walk in the things of God, comes from Christ ALONE.  And He wants to live in and through us.  We cannot enter into our battles alone and He doesn't expect us to either.  The following post concerns how God wants us to stand strong in battle.

God does not send you to the front lines by yourself.  He doesn't ask you to "get it all together" during your quiet time and then pat you on the head and send you off.  However, I think this is the impression we often get today and we end up leaving Him in our quiet times and miss the whole point of going out with Him.

Ephesians 6:1
Stand strong IN the LORD and IN HIS GREAT POWER.

Where are we to stand? IN Him.  What part of Him? His GREAT POWER.  In that place we can put on the full armor.  In a previous post, Armour, I share exactly how our armour is comprised of the very attributes of God Himself.

What else does the Bible say about battle?

2 Chronicles 20:15b
For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
Exodus 15:3
The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.
Isaiah 42:13
The LORD will march out like a champion,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.

The Lord leads the way into battle because He, Himself is the victorious warrior. His offer includes more as you can see in the following Psalm
Psalm 139:5
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

God's offer to us is 360.  He goes before us, behind us and He is next to us every step away.

When you face battles in your life remember that God does NOT expect or desire for you to fight alone (pause and take that in).  Instead, He has invited you to stand strong IN Him.  He will go before you and fight the way and He will surround you in the midst of the battle.  Take your proper place in the rank of the battle, you don't have to go about it on your own.

In Christ,

The Ministry of Jesus

The events in China due to the One-Child Policy are heart-breaking and at times it is possible to get discouraged and lose hope.  But when we stop to consider the heart and mission of God we can press forward.  Hebrews 12:1 states:

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

One of the “witnesses” to encourage us can be found in the life of Gladys Aylward.
In case you don't know anything about Gladys here is a little information.  Gladys was a missionary to China.  She went to China out of obedience to a call from the Lord without support from anyone.  She went through extreme hardships and trials to get herself to China.  One trial was walking through Siberia in the middle of winter by herself for 3 days straight.  Needless to say, she almost died.

I wanted to share one story from her life that captured my heart and totally confirmed and revealed to me the power of the ministry of Jesus:

Isaiah 61: 1-3 &; Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

Gladys had come to China without the ability to speak Chinese and without a backing from a missionary organization.  The missionary she had been working with died and so she found herself all alone in China.  She owed money to the Madarian, which was like the governor of the land, and she didn't have any money to pay him.  One day  he came to see her, and her Chinese companion fled because he thought Gladys was going to be arrested for not paying her taxes.  What happened next, was absolutely astounding.  The Mandarian came to her asking her to do a job for him.   This was amazing first of all because it provided the money she needed and secondly because of the job she ended up doing.  He was commanding her to go throughout the land and enforce a new law that had come from the head government.  It was commanded that all girls under the age of 12 could NO LONGER have their feet bound.  It was her job to make sure every village in her area was following this rule.  She informed the Mandarian that she would be preaching the gospel while she performed her task.  He said it was fine.  He gave her second in command status for that area and her word was to be followed.  She had the government's permission and support to travel throughout the land preaching the gospel and unbinding little girls feet breaking a horrific tradition that had gone on for generations!

The story recollected the first time she entered a home to unbind feet.  She sat down on the ground and took a little girls foot and began to unwind the cloth that had her feet bound so tightly in half.  The foot was completely white.  She began to massage the feet of the little girl and the blood began to flow again.  As she came into people's home with the authority of the government she also had the opportunity to share about the God who loved them so much that He sent His one and only Son so that they could be free.

Do you remember the ministry of Jesus, to set the captives free?  For generations Chinese women were in captivity and extreme pain because of this horrible tradition.  How beautifully appropriate that a daughter of the King of Kings would be called out to break this terrible curse in such a beautiful and personal way.  I don't know why generations of Chinese women had to endure the pain and why freedom didn't come earlier.  I just know and can see that WHEN the ministry of Jesus is given the chance to come it is done in a most glorious and beautiful way.

What I've learned from reading Gladys' story is that it is WORTH pushing through the pain and the hardships that try to stop us from going where God has asked us to do.  It is WORTH being a willing vessel and that Jesus will use us to bring His freedom to the captives.

The ministry of Jesus is still in effect today and His ministry flows out of His people.

Let it flow.
In Christ,

Book Review: Which None Can Shut

I recently had the opportunity to do a book review for the book:Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God's Miraculous Work in the Muslim World by "Reema Goode."  Imagine a place where becoming a Christian is a punishable crime—and your own family exacts the punishment. Where those who spread the gospel among locals are deported if discovered. Where converts to Christianity face persecution, isolation, or even death as the price for their faith. “Reema Goode” and her family are Christians working in a closed Middle Eastern country where all of these things are true. Yet they are also firsthand witnesses of a whole new trend that is taking shape in missions to Muslims. Despite all obstacles, God is opening miraculous doors in the Islamic world, where an unprecedented number of Muslims are becoming followers of Jesus. In this powerful collection of personal stories, Reema takes us deep inside her Arab neighborhood to show how God is opening doors in just one of many Islamic communities. As she walks us through everyday life in a Muslim town, she reveals the diverse, creative, unexpected, and thrilling ways God is reaching her neighbors with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.”—Revelation 3:8

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone.  All I can say is, that it is an incredible story of the power of God working in the Muslim world.  This book provides a wonderful testimony of God moving through relational evangelism to share His love with others.  Reema tells her story in an easy to read way.  There is much to glean in this story about how to walk with God and share His love with others in any country or culture.  It is an incredibly encouraging and inspiring book.

In Christ,

I received this book for free from Tyndale Blog Network.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Daily Prayer

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