A Letter on my Doorstep

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A Letter from God on my Doorstep

I opened the door, and there on my doorstep was a personal, handwritten note from the Lord just for me!   I quickly opened the note and read the message inside.  As I read, it took my breathe away to see how personally and consistantly the Lord leans into our lives!  

The letter was actually from a friend living in Central Asia,  she was writing to thank me for an encouragement and prayer I had written her a few weeks ago. She and a fellow worker, had recently witnessed some extremely tragic events, and our community rallied together to pray for them.  In response to the news I prayerfully scribbled a quick note on a piece of construction paper  “Balm of Gilead” because i had just published a blog post about Jesus being the Balm of Gilead.

In the thank you note I found on my doorstep, my friend expressed how much she appreciated taking the time to write and pray for them in her time of grief. She saidshe was actaully moved her to tears.  

In her note she said that about a year ago, she and her co-worker had been in Scotland raising awareness about this Central Asian nation, and in that prayer meeting The Balm of Gilead was a prominent theme, and word of the Lord.

The Balm of Gliead

I really struggled with that post about Jesus being the Balm of Gilead, because it felt like a name of the Lord that I hadn’t fully encountered, and that I haven’t intimately known.

 Another part of my struggle was that I felt that it was a revelation relevant for another era, and not my own.

When I heard the news of what was happening that day, and how it had impacted my friends, I took the opportunity to reach out because I KNEW it was a word for them.

I share this story to introduce today’s name of the Lord, and to follow up on my last post #8 Name of The Lord  The Beginning.

#9 The Name of the Lord for TodayThe Beginning and the End.  

I have been chewing on this for a few days, and I haven’t been sure how to share this revelation today’s name of the lord. When i read the Letter on my front door I knew exactly what to say.  

I ended post #8 asking the question:

If you are anything like me, the exictmenthope and exlariation of new beginnings invebality hit the resisiatnce of self-doubt and fear.  I want to invite you to check out my next post, and discover how encountering Jesus as the Beginning and the End will give you as you press through that opposition and stay the course with confidence.

Today I draw strength from knowing Jesus as the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:6) because my daily experience is that He is also the God of the middle.  

He is not just there at the Starting line cheering me on or waiting for me at the finish line.  He is with me in the race.  

As we look at the Psalms we the beautiful inheritance we have of this reality of meeting Jesus in the NOW.  As we see expressed in Ps 90:1-2

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

In my walk with the Lord, He has consistently spoken to me in personal and subtly ways through notes like I recently received on my doorstep.  

Granted this kind of experience could easily be perceived as subjective, but for me it is the goodness of God that is my dwelling place in all generations.  

Today I have confidence because I know He is in my beginnings and will be my God in the End, because He is with me now! He will always be my Dwelling Plave in every generation! 

I Just Thought You Should Know

thepracticalhistorian

On January 13, in the year AD 532 Byzantine Emperor Justinian attended a tense chariot race in Constantinople’s Hippodrome. The competing chariot teams were known simply as the Blues and the Greens, the colors they wore. But these were more than sports teams. They had become important political factions with which the people of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire identified. They had become the face which the people wore to interact with their leaders.

And on this particular January day, the people were angry. Three days earlier, some of the leaders of both the Blues and the Greens organizations were arrested and sentenced to death by Justinian for hooliganism gone too far. When two of the hangings were botched and a surviving representative from each of the Blues and the Greens was carried off to a church to seek asylum, the supporters of both groups united to petition for…

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#6 Name of the Lord for Today: The Wonderful Counselor will uphold you

writing to God
Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with My Pen (Active Prayer Series)

During our move this weekend, I unearthed this awesome find!  Meg got this for my birthday a couple years back and it has been a great resource over the years. (Meg always knocks it out of the park with Birthday gifts)  As I was flipping through the pages, I found this entry that I would like to share with you today because of it’s relevance to the Name of the God for Today theme

Prayer of Names:

O God,

if I call you Father,

will you please watch over me and those in my house,

and guard us lie a watchmen at night?

O God,

if I call you Mother,

may I curl up next to you when I have nightmares,

and will you you soothe me when i am sick?

O God,

if I call you Lover,

will you keep me company through thick and thin,

and encourage me to my best self?

And God,

if I confess that you are beyond naming,

will you please be greater than me and beyond my understanding,

so that the things I cannot fathom but so desperately want-

lion-and -lamb peace,

feeding miracles by the millions,

tears-into-joy justice-

can be conceived and built by your imagination?

Will you please be holy so that I can be human,

to the best of my ability

The Wonderful Counselor will uphold you. 

Read Isaiah 9:6

What name of God- from this passage or from you journey of faith- resonates deeply with your spirit?

Take time today to read and reflect on this scripture as well as journal those thoughts in the form of a prayer to the Lord.

 

And the effect of righteousness will be peace,and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever

Isaiah 32:17  

#4 Name of The Lord for Today: Author Revisited (Author of Life)

photo credit: TempusVolat via photopin cc
photo credit: TempusVolat via photopin cc

 

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

Acts 3:15

Good morning!  I am excited to come to these times of daily pondering the Name of the Lord.  This is a practice I have longed to do for years, but it has taken this format to actually get me into a consistent discipline!

Today we are revisiting this side of the Lord where He reveals Himself as “The Author”  As I ponder the Author of our Faith, the Author our eternal salvation and the Author of Life.  I think I see the Lord as a God of the REVISIT.  

In my journey with the Jesus, he continues to have me revisit so many aspects of life, of my faith and of my salvation.  He seems to lead me back to things, to give me the benefit of getting everything I possibly can possibly draw out of each moment.  My thought process may seem a bit scattered this morning, BUT I am just intrigued by the fact that God is the God of the RE:

He is the Redeemer

He is the Rebuilder

He is the one who Reveals

He Resets

He Regenerates

He Rekindles

He Revives

He Reframes

He Renews

I could go on and on, but I am in awe of the fact that God continues to turn finality on it’s head, and brings life out of death.  As we see in the verse in Acts 3:15 God revisits the finality of Jesus death and raises him from the GRAVE!  This truth is the way God weaves the Re into our story!  He slap’s the jumper cables onto our deadness, and brings us back to life!  He revives and restores hope, confidence and purpose!

Here is a note I scribbled in my journal Sunday to help illustrate this idea more.

Father I sit in worship this morning longing to express the Joy you bring into the grind of living.  Father there are days when I get consumed with that very aspect of my day, The Grind. But You Lord, bring joy and purpose to the monotony of living life.  You Lord REFRAME the Story, you open my eyes to the the way You see things and You bring value and intention to every moment of Life!  Thank You Father, I love and celebrate You today Yahweh.

I love how the Lord diligently brings me back to the moments I have rushed past in my life, he draws me back so that I get the most out of everything He has for me.  Even my failures are not final in His hand, he rebuilds, he restores, he renews….He cares!

I guess at the end of the day, that is the take away HE CARES and he longs for us to fully know LIFE!

 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent

John 17:3

I hope todays reflection gives you courage today!  As you walk through the day and are constantly slapped but the reality of the grind, may you have the courage to embrace it all knowing the Lord is with you. He is a god that leans into your days!  He is with you!

# 3 Name of the Lord for Today: Author of Eternal Salvation

 ..though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him

Hebrews 5:8-9

Good morning!  As I go through the process of waking up today, getting caffeinated and inspired, I am reflecting of this passage in Hebrews 5. Today’s focus is on the Lord as The Author of Eternal Salvation.

For years I have been a huge fan of talk radio, and in this modern era that has morphed into a love for podcast.  I often refer to myself as a podcast junkie.  In one of the podcast that has captured my attention lately, the host interviews different entrepreneurs and innovators out there taking action, pushing the envelop, and daily expanding the horizons of possibility.  These daily dialogues have been  inspiring and are constantly challenging me to see life with a radically new mindset.

On every show he ask his guest what them held back from stepping out, taking action and risking to do what they do.  Inevitably every person will say that fear was holding them back.   When I am on the show, and asked that question I think my answer will be a little different.  For me I wouldn’t describe it as Fear (though that definitely has played a role) my hinderance for years has been that I never saw myself as “that person”.  Have you ever had that same struggle?  Have you wanted something but hit the wall of “that’s not me”  or “I am just not that person”?

Today I want to share that our creator is a God who is the author of a story that changes the way we see all of life. That moment of salvation took place in my life almost 20 years ago, but for me salvation is not simply a moment in time, it is an ongoing moment and encounter, that has drawn me closer to the author of life, that constantly renews me and my view of life.  The author of my salvation is one that sees the reality of my sin, and my isolation, yet say’s there is room for me in His heart and His purposes for the planet.

For years I never saw myself as that person.  I was aimless and grew increasingly more isolated from friends, family and ultimately God, because I lived in a story and an identity that separated from the greatest source of Life!

Today I thank Jesus for being the author of my salvation, and the way He drew me to the realization that I am that person that He loves, accepts and longs to Save!  I love that He is described as Eternal Salvation it is ongoing always fresh, dynamic  mind-blowing revelation of just how incredible He is.

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’ Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew. Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LordThe shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places.”      Deuteronomy 33:26-29

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath.Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

Isaiah 44:22-23

Follow the Arrows

Great story about avaition history in America! Well written and enjoyable!

thepracticalhistorian

As the summer wears on, and my children increasingly have trouble entertaining themselves, I find myself struck at the genius of my mother. It was well-known in my house growing up in Smalltown, Illinois, that it was a very bad idea to utter the words, “I’m bored” in front of Mom. Her response would, without fail, be, “Great! The toilets need to be scrubbed.”

photo credit: Mykl Roventine via photopin cc</a photo credit: Mykl Roventine via photopincc

But every so often, if one of us had a friend or two over to play and we found ourselves in a lull, she would take pity on us and come up with these amazingly creative ideas, from fun little games to large scale projects of awesomeness. One of my favorites was a game she resurrected from her own childhood in Even Smallertown, Illinois called an arrow hunt.

The idea was that one person (or one team) would take…

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Revo’s from Meg on “The Book Thief”

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Last night Ken and I watched The Book Thief.  If you have not seen the movie, it is definitely worth your time!  It is a tear-jerker so be prepared. Don’t worry I don’t think my post will be much a of a spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie.  If you do see the movie though it will more context of what I am trying to say in this post.  Here is a quick plot summary for this must see movie.

In 1938, the young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery by the tracks and Liesel picks up a book, “The Gravediggers Handbook”, which was left on the grave of her brother and brings it with her. Liesel is delivered to a foster family in a small town and later she learns that her mother left her because she is a communist. Her stepmother, Rosa Hubermann, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather, Hans Hubermann, is a simple kind-hearted man. Liesel befriends her next door neighbor, the boy Rudy Steiner, and they go together to the school. When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel becomes an obsessed reader. During a Nazi speech where the locals are forced to burn books in a bonfire, Liesel recovers one book for her and the Major’s wife Ilsa Hermann witnesses her action. Meanwhile Hans hides the Jewish Max Vandenburg, who is the son of a deceased friend that saved his life in the war, in the basement of his house and Liesel becomes his friend. One day, Rosa asks Liesel to deliver laundry to the Major and Ilsa invites Liesel to go to her library and tells that she can visit her to read whenever she wants. But in times of war there are many threats and the lives of Liesel, her family and friends will never be the same.

– Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The narrator in the movie is actually ‘Death’.  I know it sounds morbid, but the personality of death in this movie is not like the Grim Reaper.  This personality manifests as a voice telling the story of how he comes for each one, and how they GO with him. He shares their last thoughts and feelings as they transition from this life.   By the end of the movie, I was actually quite annoyed with the smug attitude that comes with Death, because in the end he always wins no matter how much we fight.

Lately fear and death have been pestering me.  Mostly at night as soon as my head hits the pillow, FEAR comes and gives me more fear of losing more than we already have, and Sadness comes reminding me of all the dreams that have seemingly died, and once again Fear overwhelms me with the idea that all the choices we have made in following Jesus will all have been for no point and our lives, and our kids lives, are just going to end in ruins.  Then for the first time in my life the fear of dying came over me.  I can remember feeling like I will be alone and forgotten in my death, and that I was not relevant to anyone anymore.

So needless to say watching Death parade itself in this movie triggered a lot in me last night  After watching the movie, I began to journal and tell Death what I actually knew to be true, but for some reason had not been PROCLAIMING.  I told Death, yes you come to kill, steal and destroy and it seems you have the final word over everyone’s life, but actually you don’t.  When you come for me,  He will be right there with me.  And then I began to praise Jesus as I was talking to death saying….

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Where can I  flee from Your Presence?

If I go up to the heavens, You are there.

If I make my bed in the depths(Sheol), You are there!”

Psalm 139:7-8

When I finished praising Jesus, I said to death,  ‘Yeah you know the one I am praising right now because He defeated you-yes, you took Him but don’t you remember He rose again-He is the Living One, the Resurrection  the Life.  And when I am afraid again of the power you hold, I will comfort myself with the very words of my Savior as He says,

“Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.

I am the Living One and I was dead

and behold I am Alive for and ever!

And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Rev 1:17

And again when I lay dying I will again take courage with theses words from the Living One,

“I will ransom them(you) from the power of the grave;

I will redeem them(you) from death.

Where, O death, are your plagues?

Where, O grave, is your destruction?”

Hosea 13:14

Then I still heard Death gloating because of how many he still holds so I just pointed to the end of the story where it says, that “death and Hades gave up the dead,” and then were given the opportunity to stand before their maker.  And then the best part I showed him was where it said,

“Then death and Hades were  thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:14

And you know even when I showed Death his fate, he was still quite smug because of all the damage he has done in people’s lives and will continue to do until “that day.”  So I began to search the scriptures to find God’s answer to him and I came across this beauty!

“Since the children have flesh and blood,

He too shared in their humanity so that by His death,

He might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is the devil

and FREE THOSE who ALL THEIR LIVES WERE HELD

IN SLAVERY BY THEIR FEAR OF DEATH.”

Hebrews 2:14-15

Again, I spoke to the enemy of my soul, the devil, the one who holds the power of death, that  where you enslaved me with the fear of death, Jesus is setting me FREE from that fear and EVERYONE ELSE who puts their hope in Him!  And then I reveled in the Truth that the reign of death is almost over because a new heavens and a new earth is coming and I took great joy in reading,

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men,

and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them

and be their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

THERE WILL BE NO MORE DEATH,

or mourning or crying or pain,

FOR THE OLD ORDER OF THINGS HAS PASSED AWAY!”

Revelation 21:4

So, where you Death have filled my heart with the fear of being irrelevant and forgotten, you will reap what you have sown because one day your reign will end and you will be the one who is not relevant anymore! And until that day,  as I tolerate your reign, I will tell Everyone of your coming demise and let you know that to me, you are only the vehicle for me to finally see my Savior face to face!