Saturday, February 26, 2011


No...I'm not talking about the below-par, mystery food.

I'm referring to that stuff - that UNwanted stuff - that we get in our email inboxes nearly every day of our lives.

I realized, this morning, that I've done it to myself.  When I switched from my maiden-name email to my married-name email (a practical decision after my marriage, 3 years ago), I opted to retain the old as a "filter" for spam.  Why?  Because, I LOVE surveys and freebies.  However, they usually come with the "catch" of having to provide an initial email for "login."  For a while I didn't mind maintaining two emails - one for personal use, the other for fringe interest; but, I think I'm changing my mind. 

In the end, some of the websites that I frequent have convinced me to use my primary address as my point of contact or login.  Hence, I now get "spam" from those sites (which is relative, depending on the day and my level of interest in the content) everyday.  So, instead of truly filtering out the bad from the good, I simply have TWO accounts that appear to be brimming with news from friends or appreciated organizations. Yet, much to my chagrin, 90% always turns out to be a series of updates, newsletters, and coupons for which I have no interest.

I don't know if I should quit my free-on-the-web addiction or simply admit defeat and quit the foolishness of two poorly organized email boxes?!  But I am convinced of one thing: either way, SPAM is pointless!  Whether it's made of meat or trite bits of information, it has no long-term nutritional value for my head or my body.  Of this I am certain!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Don't be afraid, just keep trusting... 
Mark 5:36

In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we read the story of a man who's daughter is near death.  Desperate for a miracle, this man presents himself at the feet of Yeshua (Jesus) and begs him to come to his home and heal the girl.  On the way to the home, friends meet Yeshua and the father, informing them that the girl has died.  However, instead of changing his course of direction - becoming disillusioned or surprised - Yeshua calmly responds by saying: "Don't be afraid, just keep trusting."  

I've read this story many times, and because I know how it ends, I've always skipped over that quote.  Certainly, it was easy to count it as an obvious, insignificant statement, because like the LORD, I've always shared faith for what's about to happen (because I've read it!).  However, last night, for the first time, I read this quote through the lens of the father.  Wow!  That changed things.  Suddenly I wondered: "What kind of a response is that?!  My daughter just died?  Can you fix that?  Do you care?  How am I supposed to keep trusting, when as far as I am concerned, I've just lost someone that is most precious to me?!"

How many of you have experienced that moment with the LORD, before?  I certainly have!  It's a moment of utter confusion, disappointment, faith-testing, and brokeness: a moment in which everything you think you understand about G-d turns upside-down.  And you're left with a knot in your stomach and a head-tilted expression, not unlike that of the RCA dog.  

This has actually occurred to me MULTIPLE TIMES, in my life, and I never seem to be prepared for it.  Whether it's a relationship, a vision, a task, or a situation, I experience utter despair at the shocking reality of unexpected death.  And in that moment, Yeshua speaks (and has spoken) the same phrase to me: keep trusting.  And my response is not unlike the father.  

Why is this?

Because I am only human.  My thinking and my perspective are limited.  I am bound by the structure of life and death, success and failure, that I see all around me on a daily basis.  But G-d...

He sees and knows on an ETERNAL LEVEL: a level that allows Him to understand that LIFE and DEATH are terms HE instigated.  According to my belief (supported in scripture), G-d ALONE has the power to grant or take life.  Hence, when He is informed that there has been a death, versus being consulted, He is not shaken.  For He knows that only He has the final word on that subject.

Let's resume our reading of the story and find out what happens once our LORD arrives at the home of the family with the "dead" daughter:

When they came to the synagogue official's house, he found a great commotion, with people weeping and wailing loudly. On entering, he said to them, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn't dead, she's just asleep!" And they jeered at him. But he put them all outside, took the child's father and mother and those with him, and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, "Talita, kumi!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). At once the girl got up and began walking around; she was twelve years old. Everybody was utterly amazed.

So Yeshua (Jesus) considered the girl as simply "sleeping" and raised her to wholeness!  He knew, all along, that He would be able to restore her life, from the snares of death, because He understood and walked in the authority given Him by His Father in Heaven.

This LORD is the SAME LORD that we serve today and He is STILL in the business of restoration: maintaining His ability to have the "final word" on whether something is dead or not.

So, be encouraged, today.  The LORD knows you.  He knows your heart and your mind.  He knows your desires and intentions.  He knows your fears and your delights and He revels in helping you become THE BEST you can be, as you serve Him on the earth.  He is aware of your successes and your failures and though He may allow things to "sleep" for a time, He Alone has the ability to declare them DEAD or ALIVE.  So, remember his words - just keep trusting - and their meaning, and allow Him to strengthen you as you wait for His arrival at the door of your disappointment.  This is what He intends your heart to hear:

Do not allow your limited understanding to distract you from the One who is control of your destiny.  I AM EVERYTHING you need and I ALONE hold the key to the LIFE or DEATH in your situation.  Place your hope in ME and I will assess the final outcome.  Until that time, do not be afraid: JUST KEEP TRUSTING and I will arrive at JUST THE RIGHT TIME to lift your "sleeping" situation to its wholeness.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To a tee

I'm reading through the bible in a year, this year.  So far, it has been an intriguing approach to my personal study, as I've always followed my own Spirit-led inclinations, or taken cues from the traditional, weekly Torah portions.  Hence, though I've read the Bible through many times, it's never been intentional and time-bound.

Today marked the completion of Exodus, for the Old Testament reading and I found myself thrilled with its simple ending.  After nearly 80 days of instruction, on Mt. Sinai, Moses returns to the people (descending from the mountain) and recounts the instruction he's directly received from the MOST HIGH G-D.  Though they began with sin and a misunderstanding of HOW to obey the orders, the final result is a people ready and "willing" (according to scripture) to help accomodate obedience to ADONAI and construct a meeting place with Him - The Tabernacle.

I love how specific the LORD is, with His blueprints and how ready Moses and his main craftsman assistance, Betzalel and Aholiab, are to do EXACTLY what ADONAI has instructed.  So, though the final three chapters are a direct repeat of G-d's instruction, they mark the specificity of obedience to the PLAN that these men took in construction of G-D's TABERNACLE.  They understood the simple key to relationship with G-d: we take OUR cue FROM HIM.  It's not - and never will be - about US.  It's ALL ABOUT HIM!  Because of their desire to please and pleasure HIM FIRST, they are successful in their attempts and efforts to construct this detailed meeting place and are satisfied and fulfilled, once it's completed.

LORD, teach us how to remain simple, in our thinking, as we serve you, remembering that if we merely follow YOUR blueprint, we can NEVER be put to shame.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Holding Fast

Yesterday, at church, we talked about our current status, within our lives, as worshippers.  Spanning the spectrum of valleys to mountain tops, everyone seemed to be at a different point, along the current leg of their life's journey.

My husband and I are once again back in the valley, ourselves, experiencing challenges that do not feel pleasant, encountering situations that do not have obvious answers.  However, we have been on the mountaintop, before, so we know that its peaks lie ahead. 

Life is a series of hills, that gradually seem to become less intimidating the longer we walk with our Heavenly Father.  And yet, each circumstance is different, requiring a new measure of faith and trust, on our part.

As I pondered my worship, yesterday, in light of my current realities, I got a picture of a mountain climber, in my head.  I was reminded that though the mountain may appear large and looming, the mountain climber takes one stretch of footing at a time, always aiming for the goal, but never losing sight of the current choice, that leads to the top.  Every step is important, each response necessary, if the challenge shall succeed.  And, at every juncture, regardless of height, the climber has the security of one thing: his rope.  This rope is the anchor, the connection to the peak, the reminder that an end IS in sight.  This rope is our faith.  When we choose to reach out, for the Hand of our Father, and trust Him for each leg of our journey, we are connected to His anchor, His rope that leads us up and out of our crisis. 

So, reach up, today, dear climber and hold fast.  Remember that your Father knows you and trusts you with your current mountain.  Yes, He has the power to move it, but knows best and understands that you need the exercise of climbing OVER it to continue your journey.  Reach out for His Rope, for the Faith and Trust needed.  Climb and succeed.

Worship Me, for only this great gift can set you free from the killing love of self
and prick your fear with valiant courage: to fly in hope through moments of despair.
Worship will remind you that no man knows completeness in himself.
Worship will teach you to speak your name, when you've forgotten who you are.
Worship is duty and privilege, debt and grand inheritance at once.
Worship, therefore, at those midnights when the stars hide.
Worship in the storms till love makes thunder whimper and grow quiet, and listen to your whimpered hymns.
Worship and be free...
- Calvin Miller (excerpt from Requiem for Love)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Through His Lens...

"God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy."
- Oswald Chambers

I have been thinking, quite a bit, in recent weeks, about the eternal value of all things. It appears a lofty concept, but it is simpler than it seems. My aim has been to shift my perspective, of life and circumstance, to that of Heaven and Eternity.  It is a moment to moment, day by day adventure.

Hebrews 12:2 speaks of "...Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..." From our reading and research of historic forms of Roman torture, we know that the cross was anything but a source of joy, for its victim. However, this scripture alludes to a contrasting opinion, on the part of our Savior.

What is it that allowed Jesus the luxury of joy, in the midst of pain? Was it insanity or misunderstanding? No! It was perspective.  When Jesus looked on the cross, He did not see it merely "before Him", as the author of Hebrews mentions.  Rather, He pulled back and viewed in on the time-line of redemption.  By placing uninhibited trust, in His Father, He was able to grasp that His moment of sorrow and suffering WOULD BE but a moment, in Eternity.  And it would be worth the sacrifice, for it would allow the salvation of the world.  Gaining this understanding, Jesus was able to endure the cross, with joy, because He saw its purpose: it held value in Eternity...

While I do not condone the opinion that EVERY CHALLENGE in our lives is ESTABLISHED by God - as was our Lord's death, on the cross - I DO believe that our Sovereign Father ALLOWS challenges to help shape us.  Able to see beyond the challenge, to the character it builds, our Heavenly Father is more than happy to allow discomfort that will give us strength for the journey, and opportunity to share His view of the world.  Our REAL challenge is what we do in the midst of our crisis.  Great or small, are we more focused in using our energy to complain and stumble through our circumstance, OR are we open to getting a perspective shift?  If we are willing, God will help us pull back, as Jesus did, and see the bigger picture.  In light of Eternity and the greatness of redemption, all other suffering falls short.

For those that are currently experiencing life's greatest sorrows, this sounds insensitive and blunt.  It sounds like a Sunday-school answer: the right one, but easier said than done.  And, on many levels, that is true.  But, I have felt the pain of loss, I have lived countless moments of regret, I have experience lack of control, and I have known hopelessness.  And IN ALL THINGS, my God HAS been faithful.  IN ALL THINGS, my God HAS seen me through.  IN ALL THINGS, my God HAS strengthened my mind, equipped my hands, and motivated my heart.  IN ALL THINGS, my God, Who lives inside Eternal Perspective HAS been with me, knowing the entire time, what benefit the challenges would bring.

These words and concepts are true because they HAVE been tested and tried.  Read your Word and recount all of those who endured hardships, exponentially greater than most of our own.  They too came out on the other side and are Eternal Pillars of Righteousness, a "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) for us.  So, we are not alone.  We have the whispers of the saints sharing their testimony with us.  Hear their cries:

It's worth it...

It's worth the moment of suffering for an eternity of joy...

It's worth the pain, the struggle, the confusion, the frustration...

It's worth becoming closer to Him, so that on "the other side" we might be more like Him...

It's worth it, now that we are In Eternity...

Are you willing to let go and pull back?  I know I want to...

Father, load me in your great slingshot and let me borrow your glasses...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The GREAT LIGHT that dispels darkness...

In Psalm 27, David begins with a statement of testimony: a declaration of WHO he KNOWS GOD TO BE and WHO GOD HAS FAITHFULLY BEEN.

ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear;
ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

A closer examination of the Hebrew words, in this passage, give an understanding of something far great than we are able to obtain, in English. Loosely re-translated, it may read something like this:

The Most Holy God becomes light, for me: opening space to bring deliverance and liberty from the tight, restricting things in my life. Therefore, I have no reason to be of afraid of anything! He will illuminate and open every dark place, for me. God Almighty is my safe refuge of defense, so why should I tremble before anyone but Him?!

What an incredible statement of faith! What an incredible knowledge of God!

If David wrote no more than this opening verse, it would be a fabulous foundation, to challenge our faith and walk, with God. To have already answered the questions that these statements hush is to understand (with all one's being!) a core attribute of God. If we could but grasp the simply stated truths of these words, we may avoid time wasted on worry, doubt, fear, and the bad choices that come from such broken patterns of thinking. We may have opportunity to live lives of victory, freedom, joy, and abundance, because we know that God is truly in control.

Teach us, Lord!

Speak...Your servants are listening...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Last night, I observed my third Passover Seder in Florida. For a third, consecutive year, I found myself leading family, and friends, through this annual tradition of liturgy: observing my favorite Feast of the LORD, acknowledging and appreciating His wonderful redemption story.

Though it is traditionally a man who leads this service, I have taken the role as "head," because in my circle, I have more exposure to these practices and observances, than others. This reality has been received, with great humility and initial insecurity. After all, with only 14 years of knowledge, how could I possibly know enough to teach (let alone lead) such a rich moment, in our calendar year?

And yet, year after year, G-d has proven to be faithful to be the Instructor: the true LEADER of the evening. He has taught me new layers of truth and insight, in my preparation, enriching what I already value about my faith.

The journey has been a delightful one, and as new ideas are already being birthed for the future, I look ahead with great anticipation. I love knowing that "it has only begun."

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Master of the universe,
who has kept us alive and sustained us and enabled us
to reach this time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I am FINALLY clearing my voice mail archives, on my cellphone. Due to beloved messages, from my husband, prior to our marriage, I have not had space on my voice mail, for nearly a year! This has become a point of frustration for those that are unable to leave messages, except by text.

Friends and family have told me, repeatedly, to transfer the sound clips to a file, on my computer. And, now, I've done it. What fun to go back and recall all of the wonderful moments and feelings associated with falling in love. I still pinch myself, knowing that I'm married to my best friend, but there's something about reliving the "early moments" that make my love feel rejuvenated and refreshed. I think TRUE LOVE is the most amazing miracle God created. It is renewed, daily, and takes on greater strength and meaning, with every year.

I am blessed beyond measure!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How He Loves...


After years of struggling to figure out the root of many of my issues, I believe that the answer came today, in worship. The words to the song, below, were a point of recognition for me:

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

by David Crowder

I don't accept the LOVE OF GOD, like I should. I feel so unworthy. And, I am. But that doesn't stop Him from loving. So, I am left with the choice to either ignore His Love and get by, on my own, which contradicts all that I believe, or I can learn to just RECEIVE, and in reception of God's Pure Love, I may find wholeness, healing, and security...those things which I constantly struggle to maintain. Why? Because I keep trying to find them outside of Perfect Love.

God, I want you and I need you, desperately. Interrupt my ignorance and pour out your Love. Bathe me, cleanse me, heal me, surprise me. Show me Your Love, once more. I am ready to KNOW IT!!!