Waiting and Hoping

This morning I wake up much like most mornings- crying out for the Lord from the moment my foot hits the floor. I look around my quiet, dark, sleeping, small house and think, “Where can I go Lord to find you!? I can’t cry out real loud, I’ll wake everyone up!

I look at my closed Bible sitting there with my pen and journal and I almost don’t open it for the enemy is right there, from the moment I wake up, blaspheming my God in my ears…”He doesn’t hear you! Nothing’s going to speak to you in there! You mind as well go back to sleep!” I almost do.

My starvation for the Lord is so great I almost let my feelings override my faith. In a dry and thirsty land, when you thirst for the Lord more than cracked dirt thirsts for rain, two things happen, at least to me: I’m tempted to either make something myself that will give me some temporary satisfaction, or stop moving alltogether….to do like Haggar and just lay down in the desert to die.

This is a season of life, and it has been for the past three years, where the Lord leads me into the wilderness. Like Jesus the Spirit leads me here to be tempted by the devil to see if I’ll put my hope in God’s word, not in my feelings or perceptions, and to see if I’ll wait for the Lord and not make something happen for myself (Matthew 4:1-11).

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” – Psalm 130:5-6

The Lord does not call me to be filled right now, He calls me to be drained, to be emptied, willingly, though I could go find something to fill me up a little if I desired to.

As I spoke Psalm 130 out loud this morning I felt like I at least found a shade tree the Lord has provided for my parched soul. And as I sat under it gentle reminders and encouragement came to mind.

I remembered that it’s God’s word that is sure, not what I feel or don’t feel. I said again, “I hope in YOUR word Lord! I hope in Your word, not in feeling refreshed.”

I also remembered the story of Elisha’s widow, which comes to mind often. Though I don’t know it’s full application to my life, for some reason the Spirit keeps speaking it to me…so I’m listening.

This morning I thought, “The widow kept pouring her only source of life out (the little bit of oil she had in her house) into… empty, lifeless vessels- with no one watching except her own sons. There was no response, no encouragement, no seen by the multitudes miracle…just keep pouring. She just kept obediently pouring out her life into a bunch of borrowed jars. There was no instant abundance of food and supply filling her cabinets with every tip of the oil jar. There was simply a quiet, unseen obedience and trust in the word of the Lord that was spoken to her. She may have felt like nothing was coming of this but a bunch of oil but her feelings didn’t stop her from continuing to obey.”

I remembered this morning, as these things came to mind, that whatever the Lord has said He will do! The Lord has promised that I am complete in Him. He’s promised to finish the work He started in me. He’s promised to use everything for good to conform me to the image of His Son. He’s promised to save me fully. And He’s also promised to use me to be a rescuing help to this household. His word is true, so I’ll keep waiting on Him and not go try to satisfy myself somehow. And I’ll keep hoping in His word which is eternally true and never fails!

Lord, I pour all this out this morning and I think of Angie and her dear friend Nicole and my sister Lord. I think of the valley of Baca they walk through…the valley of weeping. Satisfy their souls Lord with glimpses of heaven. Open their eyes to see what will comfort their weeping hearts. Satisfy their longing hearts Father!

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her.”- Hosea 2:14

The Gospel

This morning I was gripped by a video I saw at Exemplify.

I hadn’t heard of John Piper (I know, you’re probably wondering if I live under a rock or something.) It’s so makes me tremble when I realize a little unknown housewife in Arizona is being burdened and praying for the same things that men of God are stepping out and preaching…and I had no idea! I’ve just been crying and praying and vidoes like the one I saw at Exemplify and this are like little reminders from God, “I’m sending out my message Sheila. Even if it seems where you are no one is preaching it, keep praying, I’m working.”

I’d encourage you to go watch the video at Exemplify and this one too. We don’t grow out of our need for the gospel. We grow up in it!!

Visit the Persecution Blog!

There are great posts from the National Voice of the Martyrs Conference over at the Persecution blog. Reading them makes me think, “Now there are the Christians with ‘a little strength’ spoken of in Revelation 3:8.

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
I’m going to have to post responses to some of the posts from the Persecution blog over at my Hebrews Thirteen Three blog! My heart is stirred in worship, sobered and moved to intercede!

Two words I needed to hear this morning

1.Stop looking for the earthquake, wind and fire Sheila…He’s in the still, small voice:

As He did to Elijah, the Lord says to us, “I’m not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. I’m in the still, small voice, just whispering My will and My Word in your heart, leading you one step at a time, one day at a time, causing the circumstances in your life to work on you and direct you and guide you.” Elijah had to learn that God was not necessarily going to work in the way, at the time, and in the manner he recommended. And so must we. I am increasingly aware of the Lord working in still, small ways – that He’s not panicking, that He’s not frustrated, that He’s not trying to bomb and blast; but that He just works in spite of me. Listen. God will speak to you as well. He will direct you through His still, small voice. (From Pastor Jon Courson on Searchlight go there for the full devotional)

2. Stop trying to prove yourself Sheila, just be humble. Be glad to be a servant. Don’t worry about “big” things. Big things happen in humble obedience:

One excuse that is a catch-all for any failure to do our jobs is “burn-out.”…One reason is lack of humility. In our anxiety to compete, to prove ourselves, to be a success as the world defines it, we are wearied and overburdened. If we sought instead only the greatness of the kingdom, we would become childlike. The truly important things are hidden from the clever and intelligent and are shown to those who are willing to come and be shown, to put on the yoke Christ bears, which is the will of the Father. (From Elisabeth Elliot’s A Lamp For My Feet)



I know, yeah, yeah, who isn’t? You ask.

No! I’m serious!!!!

I never thought I was addicted to caffiene, though I thoroughly enjoyed drinking my two cups o’ joe first thing in the morning! But the other week, when I ran out my husband mentioned, “Maybe you outta get de-caff. The caffienated stuff just upsets my stomach anyway.” So, I thought, “No problem! I don’t need caffiene!”

So I bought decaf… and the short version is, today (my first day drinking decaf, this time. This happened once before, how easily I forget!) my head is throbbing, feels like it weighs a billion pounds, and I just want to curl up in a ball and close my eyes!!!

I’m so mad! I personally hate it that something as silly as coffee can have such a HUGE effect on my body…WHEN I’M NOT DRINKING IT!!!

So that’s it! I’m gonna get through these d-tox symptoms and, LORD HELP ME, not drink caffienated coffee anymore! All I can think of is if there was ever a crisis or a reason I couldn’t get my hands on caffiene first thing in the morning I don’t want to be feeling like someone hit me in the head!

I’m not trying to be all super-spiritual and strict by not drinking coffee anymore, not at all! I just don’t want a substance to have this much influence over my body anymore, even though, Lord knows I SOOOOOOOOOOOOO enjoy hot, creamy, vanilla flavored coffee. I sure hope my body learns to enjoy decaf real soon!!!!

This morning’s meditations

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity and let me not eat of their delicacies!” ~Psalm 141:3-4

I’ve read verse 3 in the past and have prayed and thought about the Lord setting a watch over my lips to keep stuff from coming OUT of it that is not good. But this morning, in the context of verse 4 I prayed and thought about the Lord setting a watch over my lips to keep me from INDULGING it… to keep me from eating of the delicacies of this world. I’m not just talking about food, but I am talking about food too.

I believe the Lord blesses us with good things…food, clothes, cars, gas, houses…even things we don’t NEED, extras, just because He’s good. I believe He does this NOT because we’re good, but because He is, for Luke 6:35 says He is kind to the ungrateful and evil.

The difference between the wicked person (we all fall under this category apart from being made new creatures in Christ) and a disciple of Christ is OUR response to the blessings and abundance we have available to us at God’s supply. We, as Christians, have the opportunity and the calling to not INDULGE our every desire, taste bud, and fancy just because it’s available to us and we can have it. We have the opportunity to rather let something that the world does not see as valuable delight us.

Verse 5 of this Psalm says, “Let a righteous man strike me- it is kindness; let him rebuke me- it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.” Jesus is the “righteous man” and He is the Living Word of God. His word, His righteousness, even coming through a vessel that might not seem so righteous to us, rebukes and chastens, yet it is oil and annointing for us when we receive it.

As Christians, we grow, we’re strengthened, we’re anointed and empowered, and enjoy a sweetness that is unexplainable when we let the Word of God rebuke us, and be as honey on our lips and oil on our heads. For Psalm 19:7-11 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect,reviving the soul;the testimony of the Lord is sure,making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right,rejoicing the heart;the commandment of the Lord is pure,enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean,enduring forever;the rules of the Lord are true,and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold,even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned;in keeping them there is great reward.”

Hebrews 12:6 reminds us that the Lord disciplines, rebukes…chastens the one He loves as a son.

We’re all tested in this as Christians. We’re tested at times in not having an abundance to indulge ourselves in, and in those times we see if we will trust God to supply our needs and to let Him be all we need. But in times of abundance, in times when the wicked world’s “delicacies” are at our disposal…every movie, toy, trinket, gadget, car, cup o’ joe, cake, treat, restaurant…every thing we can imagine to satiate our senses is available to us, we are tested to see if we will let the Word of God be our desire, the gold and the taste of sweet honey that our souls find treasure in .

It’s not that Reeces are bad (yum!) and a nice car is wrong. It’s about sacrifice and choosing (we do have a choice) to live a life full in the Spirit rather than stuffed in the flesh.

I think of Jesus in the wilderness, having full power and ability to say the word and create bread out of stone for himself. Nothing WRONG in doing that, but He would not indulge in what was readily available to Him because His purposes here were not to enjoy tasty bread whenever he wanted it. His purpose here was to deny Himself all the way to the cross to show us the way and to save us out of this world that is perishing.

We can’t turn stones into bread, but we can pick up a Snicker’s bar anytime we want. We can watch a movie whenever we like. We can buy ourselves a new pair of earrings when we like them. We can, it’s not WRONG, but is that our purpose here!? Has God saved us, created us new creatures and left us here in this world to indulge ourselves in delicacies?!

It’s a strike to me! It’s a rebuke to my own life! I feel like I’m surrounded constantly with “delicacies” at my disposal, but is that what I’m here for?!
God speaks Esther to my heart. And I do believe the church is an Esther in this world, not just me in my personal life.

I am in a house of an unbelieving “king” and I have much favor and honor here. I have all kinds of goodies available to me, but I also have a choice. I know of my people “out there” and of my people in the “kingdom” of my household, my children, who the enemy seeks to destroy through the “kings” of this world. Will I choose intercession like Esther? Will I spend time on my knees, will I fast, will I pray, will I risk rejection by my own “king” and by the “kings” of this world to be identified with God’s people and to seek deliverance for them? Or will I just carry on enjoying my trinkets and treasures and the feasts of delicacies that are at my disposal?

Oh, Lord, help me! Help us! Set a guard over our lips…over our appetites! Help me not to indulge myself! Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus, the one who blazed this trail of faith I follow. Help me to follow Him- He is the Way! Help me to deny myself indulgences and to pray and intercede for others instead and seek Your word- even if it’s a rebuke to me- to be my delicacy! Thank you Lord for what you provide! Fill my heart with thanksgiving when I do eat and drive and hear music and enjoy the gifts you’ve given. But help me to be wise in discerning what is just a temptation from the enemy to indulge myself in a little bread, or a little honor, or a little gadget…help me to discern the temptations and cling to Your word like Jesus!

Book finds

I have a couple of books I’ve been wanting to brag on for awhile.

First I found this book: Country Wisdom and Know-How, Everything You Need to Know to Live off the Land, at Sam’s Club the other day. I was so excited! I so want to live a “country wisdom know-how” life. I feel like I want to be a Little House on the Prairie wife but I find myself in a big city life (that rhymes…ooo, I feel a blog series or meme comin’ on). There’s great stuff for us un-educated-in-the-arts-and-sciences-of-homemaking-wives. For instance, I found a great tip on page 138 under “Breads” about how to get your bread to rise when you don’t have a “warm” place to do it that is between 80-85 degrees like your recipe says. The book says, “…place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack…” of a cold electric oven. Yeah! Now when I try AGAIN to make bread it won’t be heavy and flat- I hope! 🙂 There’s a TON of other great stuff in this book to from how to make a bird-feeder to landscaping bulbs and sharpening hand tools. If you’re a wanna be Little House on the Prairie wife like me it’s a great resource. It only cost me 12 bucks too!

Next: The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I’ve been wanting to read more. I wanted to read a book by Elisabeth Elliot and still have yet to get my hands on one but the other day while doing a search at my library, racking my brain to come up with authors of books I might want to read, I found The Great Divorce. I love C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, which I must confess, I’ve only seen the movies and have a faint memory of seeing the books on my shelf when I was a kid but don’t remember reading them. I was hoping to find that series at the library, but, surprise surprise they were all checked out. So I got the Great Divorce. I hadn’t the faintest idea what it was going to be about and was a bit disappointed that I didn’t find what I wanted, so I was a bit taken back when I cracked the book open the other day and read this (which really captivated the reader/writer/should have studied literature in me):

You cannot take all luggage with you on all journeys; on one journey even your right hand and your right eye may be among the things you have to leave behind. We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision. Even on the biological level life is not like a river but like a tree. It does not move towards unity but away from it and the creatures grow further apart as they increase in perfection. Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good. I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it connot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, ‘with backward mutters of dissevering power’- or else not. It is still ‘either-or’. If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell…. (from pgs. VIII and IX)

Wow! I can’t wait to get into this book!!!!

And lastly, I found The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. I purchased this “classic” as I’ve heard from many an honorable Christian that it’s a must have. I’ve only read a few pages and already am rejoicing and finding myself walking around worshipping the One who saved me with fresh rememberances of what the scripture tells He’s done for me!

What book finds have you found?

Why a woman found?- Some of my story

Proverbs 31:10 says, “An excellent wife who can find?” (ESV).

One day while studying this passage, Genesis 2:20 came to mind. The passage says, “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” (KJV). The similarity struck me. Both passage are seeking to find a wife/help meet for a man.

Who finds help meets? Who finds excellent or strong wives? Proverbs 19:14 says, “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord.” The LORD!!! The Lord finds excellent wives/help meets.
But wait. Is the Lord on a search, trying to find a really good wife and when He comes upon a woman who is strong and skilled He then plops her in front of a man? No! That’s not the kind of “find” I believe the Lord is talking about in these verses. For as I studied this out I kept getting drawn back to the Genesis account where after God saw that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and after He let Adam see that he was alone and didn’t have a mate, GOD CREATED A WIFE FOR HIM! God FOUND Adam a wife! And it struck me back then when I was studying this, that just as it was in the begining, it is now for those wives who are in Christ.

When we are in Christ we are created NEW creatures…it’s like creation all over again only we’re without sin.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor.5:17)

As a wife, when you are created anew in Christ, you are FOUND by God an excellent, prudent, wife!

When I studied this out I was a newly created new-creature-wife 🙂 My husband and I had just reunited after a painful 9 month seperation and near-divorce and I was falling on myself, tripping over my weakness after all we’d been through like a new baby, learning to walk. I didn’t feel like a prudent or excellent wife. But I remembered the days when the divorce was filed, and I was alone in my apartment with my newborn baby and my 20 month old, on my face, crying out to God, seeking what He would say to me. What He spoke to my heart was, “You are a wife of valor Sheila!”

I remembered the blushing of my soul. I can’t explain it, but I knew without a doubt that like Gideon, God was speaking to my heart. And I knew that just like Gideon was called a mighty man of valor and had a hard time believing it since he was hiding and in bondage, oppressed by the enemy like the rest of his people, I was being called or found- created anew- a wife of valor or an excellent wife. I wasn’t one already and God just happened upon me! NO! I was plagued by my sin, fearful and rejected. I had no evidence of this excellence God was pronouncing on me in my life.

But God spoke something to Gideon that day when He found him. He said, “Go in this might that is yours…do I not send you?” (Judges 6:14 ESV) Gideon protested in disbelief cause he showed no evidence of being a mighty man of valor, but God said, “Hey! Go! I’ve found you, I’ve made you this mighty man of valor because I’M SENDING YOU! If I say you’re a mighty man of valor, you are. My word is your might! Whoever I say you are, that is who you are!” (my paraphrase)

That’s what God did with me. While I was flailing around, fearful and haunted by my past as a wife and the perverse choices I had made, and also by the pains of rejection, God found me! And He made me a new creature!

Proverbs 31:10 goes on to say, “Her worth is far above rubies.” Which makes me think of another proverb, “The ransom of a man’s life is his riches...” (Proverbs 13:8)

A woman found by Christ, found in Christ, created by God IS AN EXCELLENT WIFE! And only a woman found by Christ can be an excellent wife. ONLY HE CAN FIND HER! And only He can make her worth riches that are above rubies. It’s the price paid to find her that makes her worth so much!

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Jesus paid a lot to creat me all new! He suffered a rejected sinner’s death to make me worth more than rubies!

I was a woman lost, but now I am A woman found!

Father’s Day

I get worried. And I shouldn’t. Rather, I should pray and trust my Father in heaven for the things that burden my heart concerning my husband as the father of our children and concerning the man God gave me for a father, this Father’s day.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:4-7

Oh Lord! I don’t know how to pray, but I thank you and rejoice in how you’ve used my husband and father to conform me more to the image of your Son! I want them to know you intimately! I pray that you would reveal yourself to them and rescue them out of the things that bind them and give them ears to hear you! Quicken their hearts Father! Unless YOU draw them, unless YOU draw any man, they won’t come to you! Tenderize my earthly father’s heart and remove the dullness that deafens his spiritual ears. When he prays, answer His father…Please! Let him hear you! Don’t let go numbly on! Revive the joy of his salvation! Preserve and keep the smoldering fire and the bruised reed!

And for my kid’s daddy…Oh Jesus! You know my tears and my heart! You know my fears and my worries! I’m so lacking in faith Lord. Don’t I know that You desire more than I do, that You know what I don’t! Use my kids’ dad to conform them to the image of your Son. Guard and keep their hearts God. Don’t let the sins of their mother or father be a gateway for the enemy to hold them in bondage too! Deliver Lord! Deliver! Shine your light Lord Jesus, say, “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

Please reveal yourself as the perfect Father to my husband and my dad. Let them taste and know who You are as a dad!

I entrust my heart to you Father! And I bring you these that I love!

Go to Timothy Moms to see a great reminder this Father’s day of the love of our Father.

Why I blog

  1. 1. To open my life up to others that they might be encouraged by the grace and mercy of God. He has been faithful and has rescued my heart from all kinds of fears and the poisons of various sins. He has given me confidence in His love and I just want to share it!
  2. 2. I want to store up treasures in heaven! All my earthly riches are dust, but what I invest in souls will last forever! The currency of heaven is not gold or dollar bills, big houses or fancy clothes…in fact gold is pavement in heaven, that’s how “valuable” it is there. The currency of heaven is souls! One of the main reasons I blog is to pour out into you (whoever you are) some of the healing oil of heaven God’s poured into me. His love is like balm to my soul and a sweet perfume in my life. I can’t keep it to myself…I must share it with you. Blogging is one way I can do that.
  3. 3. To keep me honest. Whatever I say here I’m accountable before God for. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” (Matt.12:36) That makes me tremble, but I can’t use it as an excuse to not speak, because God expects me to invest what He’s given me in others. SOOOOO, prayerfully, I blog to vulnerably open my life up to others with a heart to be like Paul and say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor.11:1) Not “Follow me because I follow Christ so well.” No! Not at all! Rather, as I follow Christ I’m going to fail and stumble, stray and slip, and by opening my life up to others I allow them to see that following Christ is a daily dying to self for a long-eduring journey. I pray that through blogging, anyone who reads what I write will be able to see the treasure of Christ through my broken vessel. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor.4:7)
  4. 4. I can’t hold it in! I have to tell someone about the goodness and mercy of God and share what I’m learning as I study His word!
  5. 5. I find writing to be a worshipful and prayerful time for me. It seems I hear from God best when I’m writing. It even seems I pray better with my hands than my mouth. I don’t share it all here. In fact I keep a handwritten journal and have been since I was 8. Much of my time seeking God’s face and praying is spent with my Bible, an open journal and pen. But it also happens here at the computer. Most of it is between me and the Lord- private meeting times together. But some of it is not meant to be kept but rather to be shared and that’s what I do when I blog- share my prayerful, worshipful, meditative times and my life.
  6. 6. I enjoy the fellowship of the other bloggers who comment and who’s blogs I read. At this stage in my life I’m mostly not hanging out and visiting with people. I do get to at times but because of the calling on my life to be a witness of Christ to my own husband I seek to spend as much time as I can with him. Blogging and reading blogs allows me to fellowship with like-minded women without taking me away from my family for too long. Though, I still have to guard against that. I could easily get sucked into hours of blogging and reading blogs when I need to be snuggling up with my husband on the couch or playing with my kids on the carpet.