SUMMER SERIES, Week 4

The Depth of God’s Love For Me

Yep, it’s Summer! There’s NO denying it!  I see my family and friends “leaving on a jet plane,” for all places warm and tropical, and I am not jealous one single bit!

Now, “flip the script,” it’s January and the Facebook posts have turned from sandy beaches to snow covered slopes. Now, I am fighting jealousy that could take a swift turn to COVETING, which is a sin! But the mountains beckon me! There is a literal call in my spirit that draws me to them. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, I LOVE every season in the mountains! Summer for me is even tolerable in the mountains. The cool mountain air, the crisp feeling in the morning as the sun rises over the mountain top. It’s still cool enough to hold a mug of steaming hot coffee in your hand and watch as the horizon turns from barely pink, to clearly golden.

Then as the sun sets, I grab a soft sweatshirt and pull it on over my head as the sun exits or the day. But nothing compares to the shiver that runs up my spine when my toes touch the icy cold water of the Sierra Mountains. 

If you are as lucky as I am to live by Lake Tahoe then you know exactly what I am talking about. The snow runoff from the Sierra mountains that surround the Lake make its water icy cold and so refreshing on Summer days. 

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. It boasts 122,160,280 in acre feet and trails only the five great lakes as the largest in volume. The depth of Lake Tahoe is what astounds me! For years there were depths no one had even measured. It is now known to come in at 1,645 feet making it the second deepest Lake in the United States. As phenomenal as this large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada is, it pales in comparison to God’s Love for me.

For years as man attempted to measure the depth of Lake Tahoe they failed to reach the bottom. It took many failed attempts and the development of sophisticated tools to find its true depth. 

This is how I feel as I try over time after failed time to understand the depth of God’s love for me.  It is so vast, so wide, so long, so high and so deep that my human brain cannot reach the bottom of it.  

It is not until my human heart connects with God’s Holy Spirit and His Truth and presence fills me, that I am able to read the words of Ephesians 3:17-19 and realize the depth of God’s great love for me.

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19

“FILLED to the measure.”  That is what my broken heart needs! That is what my frustration at being misunderstood longs to hear! That is what my disappointment and feeling of failure needs to know!  

The Love of God for me is so deep that it fills me to the measure no matter the pain, hurt or grief I feel.

TRUTH BOMB

THE DEPTH OF GOD’S GREAT LOVE FOR ME FILLS ME TO THE MEASURE!

Friend this week as we speak these words of TRUTH over ourselves may we be reminded and KNOW that God’s love for us runs deeper than our biggest fears, our most painful wounds, and our worst failures! 

So, whether you are a mountain girl like me or a beach, sand, surf and sun lover like so many others, remember God created it all, and His love for you is deeper than the deepest lake or sea.

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER SERIES, Week 3

Starting Each Day in Victory Instead of Defeat!

This is it! The “OFFICIAL” first day of Summer! You can run, but you can’t hide!

It may have been feeling like Summer for weeks now. You may have taken that plunge into the pool over and over again by now, but regardless, today is the day!

It is what is known as the ‘Summer Solstice.’ The astronomical calendar marks the first day of Summer as the Earth’s axis is pointed directly at the sun.

So what does all of this mean?

It means it’s the LONGEST AND HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR!

Now, all of the scientists in the room will point out that it could have happened yesterday on June 20th, or will happen tomorrow on June 22nd, or in fact could be today June 21st, and this is true. BUT IT’S HAPPENING! Summer is officially here!

The truth is, for someone like me, who loves the rain and milder temperatures, it can send us into the “DOLDRUMS!”

Yes, that is a real thing.

The definition of DOLDRUMS as a plural noun is:

“A state or period of inactivity, stagnation or depression.”

How do I keep myself out of the “Doldrums,” and walk in victory instead of defeat even on the longest, warmest day of the year?  

I read God’s TRUTH about me and step through the “inactivity” of the doldrums, into the “activity” of believing what God says about me.

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

I AM A CHILD OF GOD!

That TRUTH can breakthrough any doldrum we go through. We are a child of God. He is our Father, we are His sons and daughters.

I am a daughter of The King! I am a princess! I am royalty! My name is written in heaven! Someday I will live there forever with my Father, The King! 

Just read Ephesians 1 if you need any more proof.

God chose us before the creation of the world to be His sons and daughters!

My feet are too far off the ground after this proclamation, to be stuck in the doldrums of life!

TRUTH BOMB

I AM A CHILD OF GOD BECAUSE THE KING HIMSELF CHOSE ME!

Walk in the victory of that TRUTH today my friend, even if it is the longest day of the year!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER SERIES, Week 2

Starting Each Day In Victory Instead of Defeat

One of the reasons Summer can be a tough season for me to navigate through is because I can wake up in the morning hot and sticky!  Do you know what I am talking about? My hair can be stuck to the back of my neck and my pajamas feel like I put them on with one of those storage bag suckers! Do you know the ones I’m talking about? You put six puffy sweaters in a bag, seal it and then attach this device that sucks all of the excess air out of the bag and renders your sweaters flat. It’s amazing and great for storage, but not so great if you are a person who feels like all of the water in your body got sucked out during the night!  

So, how do I turn this hot, sticky seemingly defeated Summer morning into a victory?

I open the Word of God and let its Truth about me, bring me victory!

TRUTH BOMB

I AM FORGIVEN AND FREE NOT BECAUSE OF WHO I AM BUT BECAUSE OF WHO CHRIST IS!

“Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1

I am not only a beloved child of God, sticky, hot and sweaty though I may be, but I am forgiven and free from condemnation! The beautiful part is, my freedom and forgiveness does not come from anything that I have done. My freedom and forgiveness comes through Christ Jesus and what He did for me!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

So, receive this free gift from God my friend, open it and walk in the freedom He has given you. No matter if you are sticky and hot through the Summer or refreshed and warmed, you are FORGIVEN AND FREE!

If that does not turn your day from defeated to victorious, NOTHING WILL!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER SERIES, Week 1

Starting each day in victory instead of defeat!

This is the first week of June and that means SUMMER! For all of you ‘Sun Soakers,’ that means extra Vitamin D as you absorb every ounce of these long Summer days.

For those of us that are PLUVIOPHILES, we just hit the pause button on happiness.

The new urban term for those who love the rain and actually find joy and peace of mind during rainy days.  

Does this mean that I cannot find joy in the sunniest of days? Absolutely NOT! I can focus my mind on the joy that Summer brings, even if it is not my favorite season.

I can look forward to early morning walks around Spring Lake, near our home, and grab a cup of iced coffee instead of hot coffee. I can BBQ dinner later in the evening since the sun is still out. I can look forward to Beach trips and longer days spent with my family. I can make frozen fruit pops and enjoy them with my feet dangling in the pool as I watch my grandkids swim and splash. I live in California, so the fact that I can get fresh fruit and veggies all year long does not change much from season to season. But red ripe strawberries do begin to appear for sale on every corner and sweet corn on the cob never tastes so good! All of these things help boost my mood in Summertime, but there is only one thing that moves me from defeat to victory, and that is GOD’S WORD!

In order to walk in victory and not defeat every day regardless of the season, I must put the word of God in my mind first and let it absorb into my heart and spirit.

So, while summer sizzles, our spirit can soar!

My blog series this summer is simple… each week I will write a word of truth about who God says we are, and I challenge you to take that word of Truth and commit it to your mind and heart with me!

First Word of TRUTH:

I am a beloved child of God held in His arms.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”  Psalm 143:8

As we step into Summer, I pray that whether you are a Lover of Sun or a Lover of Rain, you will know that you are loved by God!

TRUTH BOMB

GOD’S LOVE FOR US IS UNFAILING AND HOLDS US IN HIS ARMS!

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN/FAITHFUL GOD, Week 6

It’s Worth Repeating.

Today we close out the month of May, and the end of our “Wheelbarrow Rider Series,” ‘Faithful Women in the Bible.’

So, let me begin with a question…

What event in your life do you find yourself talking about over and over again?

Is it your wedding day, the day your child was born, the day your grandchild was born, the day you received a promotion, earned a degree or finally sunk that hole in one?  

Significant moments hold special places in all of our hearts. Sharing those memories not only brings us joy it also helps us relive the significance of the occasion.

But what about the moments, memories or occasions we’re not so proud of? What about the times we feel failure, pain, brokenness and hurt?

These are not normally the times we talk about over and over again. Unless of course we take a note from the life of our next wheelbarrow rider, a faithful woman of God who hears the words that save her life!

Whoever drinks from the water that I give will never get thirsty again.” John 4:14

This woman was not, not only NOT talking about her life with others, she was avoiding others at all costs! 

The Samaritan Woman we encounter in John chapter 4, was going to the well to gather water, carrying her heavy water jugs and trudging the long walk during the hottest part of the day to avoid seeing or talking to anyone.

She was living a sinful life with five failed marriages and a current live-in boyfriend. She felt shame, defeat, rejection and sadness. Yet, Jesus met her where she was at!

He didn’t wait for her to “get her life together,” “change her circumstances” or “clean up her act,” He went to her and asked her to share with Him.

Their conversation was unique in every way.

If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.”  
John 4:10

First of all, Jesus is speaking to a woman alone. That was not done, and even more unique is the fact that she is a Samaritan Woman! The Jewish people, remember Jesus was a Jew, looked down on Samaritans as pagan, unclean and a threat to the pure life that Israel boasted of. No Jew would take a cup of water offered by a Samaritan! 

But Jesus did!

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”” John 4:7

Second, Jesus did not simply speak to the Samaritan woman, he had a theological conversation with her. Culturally, this was not done! Women were not seen as equals intellectually or any other way. But Jesus saw her as equal! Jesus discussed spiritual matters with her. He discussed authentic worship of God with her.

Thirdly, Jesus reveals both His humanity and divinity to her. Jesus being both fully God and fully man reveals His thirst to her and asked for a drink. And then Jesus does something incredible. For the first time and recorded record, Jesus reveals that HE IS THE MESSIAH!

Step by step, through a single conversation and communication, Jesus brings healing and hope to a desperate woman! Jesus turns the conversation from his physical need for water to the woman’s greater need for spiritual water.

Jesus said, “Everyone Who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well if water springing up in him for eternal life.

John 4:13-14

This faithful woman trusted in a faithful God! And she didn’t just keep it to herself. She jumped into the wheelbarrow and shared it with her entire town!

Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah? They left the town and made their way to him.” 

John 4:28-30

TRUTH BOMB

THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS QUENCHES OUR THIRST AND GIVES US A STORY WORTH REPEATING!

The Samaritan woman at the well certainly had a story to tell. We do too! She jumped in the wheelbarrow, shared her story with anyone who would listen and we can too! 

As we conclude our study of six faithful women in the Bible who trusted in their faithful God, my prayer is that we will become more faithful in our lives for God by their example!

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN/FAITHFUL GOD, Week 5

When has someone given you something really BIG?

I was newly engaged and had just graduated from college. My soon to be husband and I were committed to serving God full-time in the ministry. Our church had a summer program for anyone interested in overseas missions, to do a two month missions trip and serve alongside our churches missionaries. My soon to be husband, along with three other young men from our college group, signed up to go and so did I. The five of us were sent as a team to work alongside our missionaries in the country of Chile. 

I was the only girl on the team so I stayed in the host homes by myself.

I was introduced to my host family, a husband, a wife and two children. They greeted me and showed me to my room at the back of their small and modest home. The room was small and plain but was clean. There was a double size bed, and a nightstand with a lamp. And to my joy a window!

I began to form a relationship with my host family. I would get up each morning and they would all already be awake and fixing breakfast. I would come out and sit at the table in the living room with them and we would eat breakfast together. Breakfast was simple but my plate was always piled sky high with heaping mounds of mashed potatoes! PAPAS PURES’ they called them! There was very little fruit and very little meat but there was always mounds and mounds of Papas Pures’. I learned much later, as I returned to the country as a missionary myself, that fruit and meat were expensive and potatoes were plentiful and much less expensive. They were doing their best to serve me what they could!

One night it was very late as we were walking back from one of our outdoor tent meetings. The wife and children had left earlier as it had gotten very late! The husband was walking home with me. I started to walk back to my bedroom when I passed the small closet, or so I thought it was, and the curtain had been pulled back since they were anticipating the arrival of their father. I glanced in as I walked toward my room, I was in shock! The room was no larger than a closet with only one twin bed pushed up against the wall in it. The mom, and both children we’re sleeping in that one tiny twin bed. I was so stunned! My selfish, self-absorbed American mind could not wrap my thoughts around what I had seen. I shut the door to my room and started to get ready for bed. As I climbed into my bed it hit me, the father must be in that same tiny bed as well. There was only one other room in the house and it held the couch and the kitchen table. There was nothing else! They had given me their bedroom! I started to cry and don’t think I slept much that night. I kept crying out to God, what can I do for them! My Spanish at that time was extremely limited. At breakfast the next morning I thanked them profusely over and over again for how wonderfulmy warm, secure and comfortable my bed was. And then I left to meet our team.

I opened up and told the story of my host house situation at our team meeting. The missionary there stated that I would offend them greatly if I were to try and offer the room back to them. So night after night through our mission trip, I slept in that big bed knowing they were all cramped down the hall in a very tiny one!

I cannot begin to tell you what the impact of their very BIG gift meant to me then and continues to mean to me now! I was shown not only the true gift of hospitality, but the gift of giving everything you have to someone else.

This family was committed to the missionaries there and to God’s church there. They truly believed that my team and I had come to share the good news of Jesus Christ! They wanted to give whatever they could to the cause of Christ Jesus! So that anyone who was able to hear could hear the message that Jesus saves!

The generous, selfless gift that this family gave me has impacted my life forever.

Out of having little, they gave much!

In Luke 21, we meet a faithful woman who gave even more than her bed!

The poor widow that we encounter in this chapter is an incredible example of faith. It is not because of what she actually gave, but because of her unselfish character and her faithful heart that gave everything she had to Jesus and His cause.

Luke 21:1-4

He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. “Truly I tell you, he said, “ this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

This faithful woman gave all she had! She did not hold back! She did not let the fear of not having enough or the grade of wanting more, stop her from giving everything she had.

Her giving truly reflected her faith in God!

Jesus reminded others who were standing around, that others gave “out of their surplus,“ but that her two small coins were significant to God! 

In her day and age those two small coins would have more than likely been the money that she would have used to buy bread. Her daily sustenance! It is what was keeping her alive.

She was a living example of Luke 11:3,

Give us each day our daily bread.“

We are not told this woman’s name. We are only told that she was a poor widow. Widows in this culture were often marginalized by society and unprotected. Even some of the religious leaders would have shunned her or paid her no notice.

But not Jesus, Jesus always sees! 

She was known to Jesus and He showed her that He saw her when He commended her and wanted others to notice her generosity as well!

We can learn by this faithful woman’s example that giving to kingdom causes demonstrates a consistent act of our faith and trust in God!

TRUTH BOMB

OUR GIVING IS A REFLECTION OF OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN CHRIST JESUS!

Can those in my life and around me see my faith and trust in Jesus reflected in my giving?

I know I can get better at this! I want to be a faithful example in my giving just like the poor widow was.

She is a true wheelbarrow rider who was willing to jump into the wheelbarrow of giving, even if it cost her, her last meal.

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN, FAITHFUL GOD, Week 4

Who Do You Want In Your Corner?

The popular phrase, “Who do you want in your corner,“ comes from an analogy in a boxing ring. The fighter is out in the ring, doing the best he can to stay on his two feet. If he is hit so hard that he bleeds, stumbles, needs water or encouragement to keep going, he looks to those in his corner. The corner of the fighting ring that holds his stool, water, sponges, bandages and those people who would aid him, patch him back up, hydrate him and speak the words he needs to hear to battle on!

So, I ask you, “Who do you want in your corner?“

Abigail is someone I would want in my corner!

In I Samuel chapter 25, we encounter our next wheelbarrow rider, her name is Abigail.

The Bible describes Abigail as, “an intelligent and beautiful woman.“

In contrast, her husband is described as, “harsh and evil in his dealings.

From the first few verses of I Samuel 25 we learned that Nabal is wealthy. In fact the Bible says that he is, “very rich!” The community he lives in actually calls him, “A worthless fool no one can talk to.“

From the onset we see that Nabal is a fool who needs someone able to reason with him. He definitely needed someone in his corner!

Enter David…Abigail knew God had appointed David to be Israel’s next King. David was offended by the foolishness of Nabal. David and his men had provided care and protection for Nabal’s shepherds in the wilderness. David expected some kind of thanks and a gift in return. After all, he was to be the king!

Nabal responded with nothing.

Did David shrug his shoulders, throw his hands up and say, “Oh, well, no foul no harm!” No, David slipped into one of his weaknesses, his pride.

David was angered and sent out to pay back Nabal with harm. He set out with 400 men to make Nabal pay for the evil he had done! It would take a very wise woman to right this disaster.

Abigail was the woman for the job!

I Samuel 25:23-24

“When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey and knelt down with her face to the ground and paid homage to David. She knelt at his feet and said, “The guilt is mine, my Lord, but please let your servant speak to you directly. Listen to the words of your servant.

Abigail not only stands in Nabal’s corner, she steps into the wheelbarrow for him and risks her own life!

She speaks wise words on behalf of her husband. She humbles herself and demonstrates the respect toward David that her husband failed to demonstrate.

Abigail not only spoke words of wisdom to David she humbled herself by bowing before him, pleading for mercy and preparing food for he and his men! Abigail shows David the respect he is due and gives the gift to David her husband should have given.

That is someone I would want in my corner!

Not just someone who can tend to my cuts and bruises, but someone who demonstrates wisdom and action when I lack it!

In a world where most would walk past, stay quiet and pretend like they are oblivious, we could truly use God Believers like Abigail who step in to help resolve conflict!

Abigail jumps into the wheelbarrow and stands in the corner for her husband, her family, and her entire community.

Abigail made a positive difference when she stepped into the corner for her husband Nabal and helped stop the situation from escalating.

We can too!

I Samuel 25:33

Then David said to Abigail, May your discernment be blessed and may you be blessed. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand.

TRUTH BOMB

WE HONOR CHRIST WHEN WE STEP IN TO HELP RESOLVE CONFLICT!

I am thankful for Abigail and the example she sets.

Abigail‘s words both challenged and encouraged David! God wants his people to live in unity. We must pursue peaceful living and reconciliation, understanding that yes, we have differences, but we can ask for forgiveness wherever conflict exists and glorify God by striving for unity in the body of Christ.

We all need people in our corner who will encourage us to live in unity. We also need to be the kind of people, like Abigail, to stand in someone’s corner and help bring unity!

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN/FAITHFUL GOD, Week 3

FAITH THAT PRAYS

What do you think of when you hear the word WAIT?

Have you ever waited for a package to be dropped on your front porch?

Seems like, especially since Covid, we have most everything delivered to our doorstep. Literally, from dog food to donuts, it can be ordered and dropped off at your front door. 

The big difference between ordering online with front door delivery, and actually walking into a store and buying it, is the WAITING. 

I think this alone could be one of the main causes for the rise in anxiety that we’ve seen in our culture. We must wait!

Sure, it’s convenient to scroll through all the choices available, displayed in bold and bright color, while you are still in your pajamas. Problem is, as soon as you click the send button you…WAIT!

I recently found myself doing exactly what I just described. I was planning an event at church to honor our ladies. I decided on the theme, I love a good theme! Now, mind you, this was year five of planning this annual event. And the number one rule of every good theme is, “Do not repeat it!” So, scrolling for ideas is necessary. I finally found it, ‘Sweet As Can Bee.’ Did you catch that play on words there? Bee for Be, in order to focus on HONEY! After pouring out another coffee pot after another at my women’s Bible study, I realized that my ladies love Tea. And what goes better with tea than honey!

My search turned into a frenzy as I began searching every site available for honey related items. I found honey vanilla tea, honey straws, honey buns, honeycomb chocolate, and naturally the decor must match!

I quickly found honeybee napkins, swag for the photo booth and the perfect table cloths to pull it all together! CLICK SELECT AND SEND!

NOW WAIT.

I waited. 

The candy arrived first and tested my self-control. Slowly but surely items kept arriving on my doorstep. Then, they stopped arriving. There were only two items left, and they were nowhere in sight!

I waited, and I waited, and I waited!

Nothing came.

A bit of panic set in! I had no swag for my photo booth and no table cloths for my theme to be clear for all to see.

Know it may seem like a small trivial thing to pray about, but I began to pray! I wanted it to be perfect for our ladies. I needed the swag and the tablecloths so the theme would come alive!

The night before the event arrived and I was still WAITING.

I have been praying and still I was missing what I considered the two most important pieces to my plan.

Truth is, our plan is not always God’s plan!

So, because I had prayed, I was at perfect peace and let it go, right?

No, not at all, I was panicked! What can I do to make up for this terrible lack of theme?

I bought plain colored tablecloths as a back up and continued praying. I truly hoped I didn’t have to use them. At 8:35 at night the doorbell rang. My swag had arrived! I would be able to display the theme in writing across the photo booth backdrop! So, I finally stopped fretting about the table cloths?

Nope, I decorated that morning before the ladies would arrive and told everyone within earshot that my table cloths, which were perfect for my theme, had not arrived. 

The ladies arrived and the table cloths did not matter one bit. The gold ones that took their place looked great as they covered the tables where the honey treats sat. No one but me noticed the difference and the theme rang clear!

God had heard my prayer and He answered it! He knew what I needed, far beyond my knowledge of thinking I did.

While I was WAITING, He brought what I needed, the words of my theme, the swag for the photo booth at the last minute, in the final hour. He wanted me to keep waiting, keep praying, and most of all keep trusting Him! I needed to remember it was all about showing the women they were loved and not about a THEME.

Comedy Relief/Side Note…

The day after the event, the table cloths were WAITING on my doorstep!

God really does have a sense of humor!

The woman in the Bible who encourages us to pray as we WAIT, and demonstrates incredible faith in doing so is Hannah.

She is not only Faithful in Waiting, she is also faithful in prayer!

In the book of I Samuel we encounter the story of Hannah. She was married to Elkanah. She was not his only wife, but Elkanah actually had two wives. The name of his other wife was Paninnah. Paninnah had children and Hannah did not. Hannah was childless and her heart was broken over it.

I Samuel 1:10

Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.

Hannah was waiting for some thing that she grieved over and had no control over. Hannah‘s greatest desire and what she longed for most and waited for, was out of her control. All she could do was grieve, wait and pray.

Through tears and pain she had pleaded with the Lord. As she waited and prayed and nothing came, she made a vow to God.

Making A vow, she pleaded, “Lord of armies, if you will take notice of your servants affliction, remember and not forget me, and give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.

I Samuel 1:11

Hannah’s faithful life reminds us that God cares about our prayers and He is faithful to respond! 

TRUTH BOMB

No prayer to God goes unheard or unanswered!

Even when God does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to He hears our requests, loves us deeply, and answers them according to His great wisdom.

God knows what is best and right for us. His greatest desire for us is that we grow closer to Him! 

I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked Him for, I now give the boy to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27-28

God hears our prayers my friend! He answers each and every one of them according to his great will, plan and purpose. His plans and purposes are always best for us!

So even when the “tablecloths” arrive the day after, God knew the swag needed to arrive the day before.

Let go of the “ tablecloths” of life, the things we think are important, and cling to the “swag,” the words God deems important! 

I pray this encourages you to keep praying through the difficult issues in life, like Hannah did, and let go of the unimportant pieces that can be let go of!

We really do need to learn to laugh at life circumstances when we can! 

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN, FAITHFUL GOD Week 2

Anyone need encouragement?

Yes, please, I need it by the truckload! Just back up the truck and dump it all over me!

Sign me up! Show me where the dotted line is and I will put my signature on it! Plug me in and feed it to me intravenously! I need it on repeat and auto pay! I need it all the time, consistently and at times, moment by moment! I run on it, live through it and find my inner strength in it. Bring on the encouragement! Please don’t hold back!

That is my cry. How about you?

Are you ready for our next “wheelbarrow rider?” This woman of faith not only jumps in the wheelbarrow, she stands firm and strong inside of it with both feet firmly planted.

I am excited to introduce you to (drumroll please, as my grandson would say)

DEBORAH!

Today we move from the book of Joshua to the book of Judges to find our next woman of Faith! Deborah challenges us to be FAITHFUL as we become encouragers who encourage others to be FAITHFUL in who God made them to be.

In Judges 4:1-5 _we are introduced to the only female judge mentioned in the book of Judges. She was full of wisdom, confidence and leadership. 

Her wisdom is on display as she sits in a position traditionally held by men only.

“Deborah, a prophetess and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at the time.

She would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to settle disputes.”  

Judges 4:4-5

Deborah’s FAITH in who God made her to be was strong. She willingly “gets into the wheelbarrow” and uses her gift of wisdom to direct and guide others in God’s path.

This assuredly makes her a “wheelbarrow rider” as this position is traditionally held by a man.

Her confidence is clearly seen as she calls Barak, the leader of Israel’s armies, to remember the call God put on his life.

“She (Deborah), called Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “Hasn’t the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you: “Go, deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men…”  Judges 4:6-9

The FAITH of Deborah, displayed in her confidence in what God had commanded, allowed her to boost the FAITH of another, Barak!

Deborah did not only display her FAITH in God and His call on her life and the life of another, but she demonstrated even greater FAITH as she encouraged Barak through God’s call on his life!

Her Leadership is not only demonstrated as she encourages another into exercising their FAITH, Deborah is willing to put her FAITH into action! 

“Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go…, “I will gladly go with you she said.” Judges 4:8-9 

Deborah steps into the wheelbarrow with him and encourages him to live out his FAITH in God!

Because of the encouraging FAITH of Deborah we not only have one “Wheelbarrow Rider,” we have two!

TRUTH BOMB

OUR FAITH IN GOD LIVED OUT IS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO THOSE AROUND US!

Who needs your FAITH demonstrated through encouragement today? 

Who in your life encourages you by their FAITH and steps into the “wheelbarrow” of life alongside you? 

Let’s ask God to help us encourage those around us and thank Him for those who FAITHFULLY encourage us by their FAITH!

See you back here next week as we uncover our next wheelbarrow rider.

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN, FAITHFUL GOD

FAITH…what an obscure word! Such a “church” word, right?

Not necessarily! 

Have you ever heard the famous story of the European tight rope walker?

The famous European tight rope walker had reached such heights (no pun intended, but I am married to the king of puns), that he believed it was time to take his talent to a new level! As the crowd roared and cheered as he began to step out onto the tight rope strung high between two skyscraper buildings, they noticed he was pushing some thing out in front of him! They realized it was a wheelbarrow. The man yelled down, “Do you Believe that I can push this wheelbarrow across this tight rope?” The roar of the crowd rose to an even higher level as they screamed and shouted, “ Yes, we believe!” Then as the roar of the crowd quieted, he asked another question, “If you believe, then who is willing to get into the wheelbarrow?” 

Silence came over the crowd. 

No one got in. They were not willing to put their faith into action!

REAL FAITH MOVES INTO ACTION!

Beyond simply believing something is true, we must move past that belief into action.

It is not enough to simply say we believe it, we must demonstrate what we believe!

No one will question the words that we say when they are made true by our actions!

Easier said than done, right?

It is no wonder this phrase is so popular and commonly used.

I am going to take the next six weeks and attempt to increase my faith and possibly yours, if you are willing to take this journey with me, as we look at six women in the Bible who were willing to jump into the wheelbarrow of life!

They did not simply say they believed they actually put their faith into action instead of merely talking about it!

Our first “wheelbarrow rider” is Rahab. We find her story in the book of Joshua. Rahab demonstrates courageous faith in the face of fear.

Rahab is a citizen of the godless city of Jericho. She is no ordinary citizen, she is a prostitute. She is literally known as and referred to by the title, “Rahab the Prostitute.”

The life she lived was not hidden in the dark. She was known by the people of Jericho as a woman who engaged in sex for money. She would be plagued with terms such as cheap, loose, corrupt and even perverse! The world she lived in would not see her as valuable, rather they would devalue her and deem her unworthy and even profane.

Then, something miraculous happens, she encounters the Living God through those living out His Truth and through the testimony about Him.

Rahab‘s fear of the condemnation she knows is due her given her sinful life, is transformed into a healthy fear and respect for The God Who Saves!

He saved his people from Egyptians and parted the Red Sea to do it! He also empowered them to defeat to Amorite kings!

Joshua 2:9-11

Rahab said to them, I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, The two Amorite kings you completely destroyed a cross the Jordan. When we heard this we lost heart and our courage failed, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below!

Rahab had a FEAR of God. Because of what she had heard and was given testimony about. She believed in who God was and what he had done. 

Her FAITH moves into action as her FAITH moves from knowledge into trust in what He can do!

Rahab understands God could punish her sinful lifestyle due to His power. 

But when her FAITH turned from a healthy fear and understanding of who God is and what he can do, to a FEAR of God‘s love and desire to forgive our sins and set us free, it changed everything! She believed God wants to set us free and give us worth, value and meaning! That FEAR became a fueled COURAGE to act in a way that put her FAITH into action!

She says it herself…

“‘According to your words, so be it!’ She sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” 

Joshua 2:21

The Scarlet Cord was the sign of Rahab’s FAITH in God put into action.

She had moved from a FAITH in the knowledge of who God was, into a FAITH of fear and reverence for what God could do! And she put that faith into action!

TRUTH BOMB

OUR FAITH IN GOD SPEAKS LOUDEST THROUGH OUR ACTIONS RATHER THAN OUR WORDS!

The same can happen for us! Does our FAITH speak through our actions, or does it remain shallow in our words alone? 

Let’s move into action my friend!

He is worthy, faithful and true!

Can’t wait to see you back here next week as we look at our second woman who jumped into that wheelbarrow!

Speak Truth Love