Thursday, May 30, 2013

Trust In & Cry Out To The One Who Saves

While studying this morning, I found an old, dried flower tucked safely within the pages of my mom's Strong's Concordance. The petals, delicate and yellowed from age, secretly hold the story of a special moment in time. I wonder, "How long has it been here?" And "Who was the thoughtful giver of this once, vibrant flower?"

I smile as I consider the possibilities.

Perhaps my own daughter, who will soon be twenty-one, once held this flower in her tiny hands. I can see her gently picking this fragile gift and then hiding it behind her back as she runs mischievously toward her Maw-Maw.

Or maybe it was taken as a token of remembrance during the celebration of the life of my grandfather?

No matter its origin or previous owner, this flower, has been picked for me today. It is a special gift and I leave it in its place in hopes that the next recipient of this time-worn concordance might find it there.

As I peer into the scriptures, the old flower and gift of remembering are not my only blessings.

Every time I open the Word of God and choose to meditate, reflect on, and study the words found here, my heart is overwhelmed at the goodness of God. Tucked within its chapters are nuggets of wisdom waiting to be discovered and promises ready to be received and lived out.

Our Memory Verse for Week 8 of our Online Bible Study is Psalm 22:4-5. It says, "In You our Fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed."

All week I've been meditating on these verses and I've focused on:

  • Trusting and putting my confidence in God, and
  • God's ability to save and deliver.
But today my eyes were drawn to the word "cried."

"They cried to You and were saved."

I tried to picture "our Fathers" crying. Is it a sob? A boo-hoo? An overwhelming stream of tears running down their faces? Because I cry. I know what this crying thing is like.

And what is their motivation? Sometimes I cry because I'm sad. Sometimes I cry because I'm mad. And other times I cry because I don't know what else to do.

To give me a clearer picture of what exactly is going on I dive deeper into the chapter and start from verse one.

As the psalmist petitions God and questions His absence during troubling times, He reminds God that when our Fathers of long ago put their trust in Him and cried out He saved and delivered them. In other words, "Why are you not saving ME like you saved THEM?"

He continues to beg and plead his case for the next several verses but something changes in verse 22.

I believe he receives a revelation. He shifts from words focused inward to now words of declaration and praise of the only One who has the power to save him. 

"I will declare Your name! ...Praise Him...Revere Him....!"

I believe the revelation he receives is that our Fathers' crying out was not a confession or reminder to God of how terrible things were going for them (God always knows what's going on). It was a public declaring of God's sovereignty, a declaration of His power to deliver and save them no matter their circumstances. They gathered corporately and announced publicly that their trust and confidence was in God and God alone.

According to my Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word for cried in this verse is zaaq and means to shriek (from anguish or danger). And when I read further it says it is also "to announce or convene publicly:- assemble, call (together), (make a) cry (out), come with such a company, gather (together), cause to be proclaimed."

Now, as I look back at our Memory Verses for the week (Ps. 22:4-5) I have a clearer picture and I know the place of desperation and surrender our Fathers called out to God. I understand it was not in self-pity or the "poor-me-syndrome" that brought their deliverance. It was not in questioning "Why" and "Where" and "How" that they were saved.

It was a gathering together and declaring publicly their cry of surrender to God. It was in the realization that nothing or no one else had the power to save them but God.

That, my friends, is our place of deliverance.

Whatever you are going through today, remember the psalmist in Psalm 22. Turn, as he did, to words of praise and declaration of our great heavenly Father who is the only One with the power to save. Let your thoughts rest on His sovereignty and the promises found on the pages of our Bible.

His Word is true. 

His Word is powerful.

And His Word is relevant to whatever you are facing right now.

Let us cry out to our Father. Let us put our hope, our trust, our confidence in Him and Him alone. And let us proclaim together publicly that He is Lord! 

He is still a God who saves!

Father, we come to you in surrender today. We declare that You are God! We praise you now and proclaim that there is no other like You! We know that no matter what we are facing or what we are going through at this very moment, YOU never change. We cry out to You in desperation knowing that You hear us. We choose to put our hope, our trust, and our confidence in You and You alone. Thank you that peace and joy are ours. We choose to receive them today. We trust that Your plans are so much greater than we can imagine. Our hope is in You. Thank you for the amazing and unconditional love You have for us, Your children. We love You! Your will be done in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Seek First

In the middle of chaos, in the depths of heartbreak, and in the darkness of anxiety, we find an anchor in the Word of God. When I focus on His Word, His promises, His reality vs. my earthly circumstances, my heart beats in unison with His plan for me (and His plans for me are good, to give me a future and a hope Jer. 29:11). He promises that when we seek Him we shall surely find Him (Luke 11:10, Jer. 29:13). And when we find Him we find peace, joy, grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, and much more. 

As I studied Matthew 6:33 this week as part of our Online Bible Study, God continued to remind me that everything I need is found in Him.

"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." KJV

"But seek for (aim at and strive after) first of all His Kingdom, and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right], and then all these things taken together will be given you besides." AMP

"Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions...." The Message

"Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all the other things." GNB

We are commanded to let go of worldly cares and receive His divine care and provision. And to do this, we are told to seek Him first.

Let's get a deeper understanding of these two words by looking at some synonyms.

SEEK - try to find, search for, track down, dig for, probe for, investigate, explore, examine, inspect

When we consider these similar words we find that seeking involves more than just a few minutes of our time. In order to have a thorough investigation or examination we must invest one of our most precious commodities.

Seeking demands time spent.

And when we spend time with Jesus, we begin to know Him.

Seeking produces intimacy.

An intimate knowing. A discovering. A deeply personal union.

Not only are we to seek Him, but we are to seek Him first.

FIRST - foremost, leading, principal, main, prime, head, highest; basic fundamental, primary, beginning, starting point

God has to be our starting point.

When He becomes our beginning, our primary focus, the starting point of anything that we do or ask or seek, a shift occurs.

Seeking causes a shift:

  • from carnal to spiritual
  • from natural to supernatural
  • from earthly to heavenly
  • from temporal to eternal
When we seek first Him, His Kingdom, His righteousness...everything we have need of is counted as ours.

Maybe life has overwhelmed you this week or even this day. I, too, found myself overwhelmed and anxious over some things the last couple of days. But when I began seeking Him and bathing my mind, my heart, and my spirit in His Word, a shift occurred. Although my circumstances remained the same, my thoughts changed and I found peace and grace in the middle of my messy places. 

You can find it to.



There is nothing like His presence.  Make the choice to spend some moments alone with Him now. Your Father is waiting.

(Synonyms taken from Roget's Thesaurus 3rd Edition 1998)

Joining with Melissa Taylor and a community of women as we seek God and His Word together in our current Online Bible Study: Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. Click here to read more blogs in our blog hop.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Golden Girls Luncheon

Today I had the privilege and honor once again of being with the "Golden Girls" of Cornerstone Church (my home church). Last month we learned how to dig into God's word deeper and hear Him speak to us personally through scripture. This month we tapped into our creativity and painted His Word.



We began by seeking God and asking what He wanted each of us to paint. We worshiped and painted as an expression our love to Him. Beautiful and imperfect, like each of us, pieces of art were formed right before our very eyes.

We learned that we are each unique, created in His image, special, and chosen. At the end of our painting exercise we put all of our paintings together and created one big, beautiful masterpiece. We are each individually amazing but TOGETHER we are so beautiful, no matter our weaknesses and flaws. 


At the conclusion of our time in the classroom, each lady chose a "word" from a basket. It was incredible how God spoke to each one of us. One lady received the same word she had painted just a few minutes earlier. Another received confirmation of something God has previously spoken to her. And my word echoed what God has been speaking to me, as well. I heard exclamations, one after another, of God's goodness and love as He poured over the ladies with His promises and hope.




 His love is overwhelming.

 We finished the morning with a feast prepared by more beautiful women in the church and served by children and teens.



Thank you all for such a special day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Never Alone

Lay it down. 

Release it all to me. 

Step away and step into my presence.

A time of separation and a time of connection. 

A time of tearing down and a time of building.

These were some of the things God spoke to me years ago when He asked me to walk away from a large part of what had become my identity and comfortable place.

Sometimes He asks us to do hard things. And we don't always understand the purpose in His asking or how what He's asked us to do could be for our good. It doesn't always make sense in the moment.

But trusting Him requires surrendering our will for His. Trusting Him requires believing He is working for our good. Trusting Him requires sitting on the Potter's wheel as we take take shape in the palm of His hands. It sometimes means letting our plans and dreams die. And it takes faith.

"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Ex. 33:14

No matter where He asks us to go, He goes with us. 

On page 97 of our current study (Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles with MTOBS), Tracie unknowingly pens a part of my story:

"As we make our faith a priority and learn to trust in God's plans even if we do not understand them or like them, the doors will be flung wide open for God to enter our lives and begin His mighty work. During the wait we are called to fall on our knees just like Hannah and pour out our hearts to Him. We are each called to live life in a state of dependency on Him..."

In Exodus 33:14-18 Moses pleads with God for His accompanying presence and asks to be shown His glory. His dependency is on God and He knows that without Him, He might as well stay home.

At the end of His response to Moses's requests, the Lord agrees to send His presence and to show His glory. Then He says, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock."

There is a place near Him for each of us. In our surrendering to His will and in the realization that we can't do what He's called us to do without His presence and His glory we assume our proper spiritual position. It is here, in this place, that we are more near God than anywhere else.

In verse 21, the word place in Hebrew is MAQOWN, which means: standing place, post, station, city, land, region, place of human abode, etc. MAQOWN originated from the Hebrew word QUWN, which means: to arise, become powerful, to be established, to be fixed, to be valid, to be proven, to be fulfilled, to persist, etc.

When we are in that place near Him, His plans and purposes for our lives begin to take shape. His plans are established. His purposes are fulfilled. And His power can be displayed through our lives.

Also in verse 21 is the word stand. The Hebrew word is NATSAB, which means: to stand, take one's stand, stand upright, be set (over), establish, be stationed, be appointed.

This word is a verb, which conveys an action or a state of being. In that place, we will stand (we must take action, DO something, and BE that which God has called us to be). It is a place of appointment with and by the King of Kings.

The Lord is calling us to Himself. As He does so, He will require things of us that are hard, scary, impossible, and beyond our human abilities. But when we wholly surrender and position ourselves in that place near Him, His presence and His glory will not only sustain us but go with us and enable us to do that which He has planned for us to do.

We are never alone in His presence. And when we don't understand why He's asking or requiring certain things of us, we can rest assured that His plans are so much greater than ours.

Today, He has called you, anointed you, equipped you, and appointed you. 

I believe that place has been created by God and is reserved for each of us. In it is found our destiny and our purpose. There, His grace is abundant to do that which He has ordained us to do. There, His goodness is undeniable. There, His glory is all consuming. It is there, in His presence, in that place that we are so near Him, that we are changed, made whole, healed, and set free! It is there, that we are able to give out what He has placed within us. 

If His presence does not go with me, I do not want to go. 

Joining with Melissa Taylor and a community of women as we seek God and His word in our current Online Bible Study: Stressed - Less Living by Tracie Miles

(Part of this post is taken from a previous post of mine, A Place Near Him)

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Though my doctor delivered a bad report and breathed out uncertainty, my God breathed life and spoke promises that couldn't be broken. I heard His voice that day on the floor of my bedroom. "I have already taken care of it," He said. And with those words my spirit rejoiced and my heart believed.

Those few months at the end of my third and last pregnancy marked the beginning of a transformation for me. After a diagnosis of melanoma, life was suddenly more precious and each day demanded celebration of the goodness of God all around me. But in the midst of celebration I was required to change. Moving forward required a thorough evaluation of every area of my life. Without change there can be no growth.

From September to December of that year I took the first steps of leaving behind a life of pleasing others and satisfying self and embraced this God I had almost forgotten.

I found  myself in the middle of a crisis but really I had been in dangerous territory for some time.

As the doctor revealed my physical condition God exposed my spiritual condition.

Eight years later my transformation continues. I still hear whispers of the enemy and feel the pull of temptation to cram my schedule so full that God gets squeezed out. And I sometimes still feel the need to seek the approval of man at the expense of pleasing God.

But I remember that place. I remember the feeling of hopelessness and overwhelming anxiety and the fear that I could never do enough or never be good enough.

And I refuse to go back there.

Instead, I continue pressing forward, facing self and pride and lies of the enemy and sin head on, determined to live in communion with my Father. To know Him and to be known by Him.

I am amazed at His love and His mercy and His grace. I am thankful that He took me right where I was and loved me enough to refuse permission to stay there.

Our current Bible study has been challenging us to once again look within and allow God to change and transform us from the inside out. All week our focus has been transformation and change. And this morning our Pastor used our memory verse (Romans 12:2) as the center of his message. And the familiarity of his words brought me to my knees at the end of the service. "In transformational holiness God's voice begins to pierce through all the distractions and craziness of the world. It is here we begin to know His perfect will for our lives," Pastor James Holt.

I love how God confirms His message everywhere we go. If we are seeking Him, we shall surely find Him.

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

(PS...My biopsy results from last week were clear! Thank you for your prayers!)


Joining with Melissa Taylor and a community of women as we seek God and His word in our current Online Bible Study: Stressed - Less Living by Tracie Miles.