Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Lately, my husband has been using a new pet name for me... 
He's referring to all of the times when he's sharing something with me that he's very excited about, and my response is one of no emotion or in some negative tone.  The whole thing plays out like a sitcom episode, just like a lot of our conversations and situations now a days.  He's excited about something, so he comes in to share with his wife, and then she says something totally off base and knocks him off the wagon.  Well, I gotta admit, it's kind of funny.

On a more serious note, today I was reminded that Satan is a true kill-joy.  John 10:10 reminds us that,  "The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  While Jesus has purposed that we would have a joyful and full life, Satan does everything in his power to distort it.  While God provides us with good things, 
(Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.), Satan tries to lead us astray and into sin.  While God fulfills us with inner peace in the midst of life's storms, and promises us not to ever leave us during times of trouble, Satan looks for ways to make us feel depleted and discouraged.  
Think about it, every good thing that come from God, Satan wants to take away from you.  Every time you are closer to having the fullness of the life God has given you, Satan works harder at distracting you.  Every time you take a step of faith, Satan sets up obstacles for you.  Whenever you experience the peace that comes from resting in God's promises and trusting His word, Satan is looking for ways to mislead you.  Every time you obey what God lays in your heart to do, no matter how big or small it is, Satan is longing for the opportunity to deceive you.  In essence, when you begin to experience the fullness of the life God intended for you, be certain that Satan is not happy.

But who cares that he's not happy?!  The other day, I was having a conversation with one of my sisters.  She's recently been stepping out in faith like never before, as she's taken in five children whose mother is serving time in jail.  And so we talked about how angry Satan gets when we are trying to be obedient to God and serving in different ways.  I told her Satan is just wasting his time because we belong to God and there's nothing he can do to change that.  And then she said something that really made me laugh... She said, "You know sometimes I just tell him 'oh just shut up devil, and leave me alone!'  God's got me."

And that's the truth.  God's got us!  The abundant life He prepared for us, is ours to enjoy to the fullest.  It's ours for the taking.  We just have to dive into it and make the most of every opportunity He gives us.  

One last side note, and this one comes with a visual.  At our prayer meeting tonight, someone explained the abundant life this way.  She said, it's like when you add water to a sponge and it gets so full that it starts to overflow because it cannot continue to contain the water.... that's how our lives should be in Christ because of His fullness.  We should be overflowing with the fullness of Christ in us to the point that others get to also experience His fullness--His grace and mercy, forgiveness and love, etc..  

So much for the kill-joy!  Yes, we should be aware of him; but no, we shouldn't allow for him to take away the joy we find in the full life God offers us.

Praises on a gloomy day
saying can you reach me still?
the way you did on that day 
when I ran unto my own dead end
but you found me there still...

Praises through the teary eyes
slightly breathing but still seeing 
how you remain faithful
even when I'm unsure of you
because you surely love me

Praises in the brokenness of me
because only you remain
and your strength brings me joy
even though there's pain

Praises because I am made to praise you
in the good times and bad
because your love never waivers
and it keeps me moving toward you
where I belong

Praises on a lonely night
because you promised to never leave 
will you still hold me near?
just like on that night when my world fell apart
and you held it all together in your hands

Praises today because although I feel incapable
your love is patient
and you long for my praise
even if it's contrite
even if it's tear-stained

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Very Pushy Woman

Matthew 15:21-28 tells the story of a woman who knew "all she needed to know" and acted on that knowledge with persistence...  First of all, the odds were against her.   Although she was not a Jew, as were Jesus and his followers; in fact, she was a Canaanite--- (in the circle of gentiles, the Canaanites were considered the lowest) and obviously, culturally speaking, she really had no say and there was racial/cultural tension; she knew all she needed to know... 

She had heard about the Messiah, the son of God, and his healing power.  And she believed that this, the son of God, would be the answer to her desperate plot.  

You see, she was also a mother.... and her daughter was in desperate need of healing.  

If you are a parent, you know that whenever you see your child hurting in any way, you are willing to do anything to take away the hurt and suffering.  And there is definitely something to be said about a mother's protective nature.

We're willing to plea on our children's behalf.  We're willing to take on the blame for our child's sake.  We're willing to lose for the sake of having them win.  We're willing to sacrifice for their well being.  We're willing to trade places to alleviate their pain.  

Hence, this woman was a mother in despair for her child's well-being.  She had witnessed too many days of her daughter's torment.  Who knows how many alternatives she had already sought out to deliver her child.  Who knows how many sleepless nights she had endured watching her lifeless daughter in bondage.  Who knows...

But this woman was a very pushy woman.  She was not going to give up until her daughter was delivered.  When she first made her plea before Jesus, there was no immediate response.  You would think that considering her background and considering who Jesus was, she would simply walk back home in self-pity and surrender.  You would think that the "silent treatment" from the son of God, would have lead her to giving up.  

And yet, she knew something that most of those "followers" of Jesus did not...  
This is when my personal conviction comes in.  You see I have to confess how familiar the disciples' reaction seems to me.  In our "Christian" self-righteousness, we too are so quick to look down on the ones "from the other tracks of life" who awkwardly show up in our "Godly" circles and "holy" grounds, and who have the audacity to openly claim what we so devotedly hold on to-- freedom in Christ.  The disciples were ticked off by the woman's persistence.  Just like I've been ticked off by it.  I can only imagine their thoughts.... "who does this w-o-m-a-n think she is ?--- she isn't worthy..."  
Man, that's the tough part about being a Christian your whole life.  You tend to become territorial and forget the awfulness of what Christ kept you from.  And so you may easily take for granted that you are actually walking in Him only because of what He has done for you.  And you think that somehow you are better than the other guy.... That is what Satan loves to do with the mind of a believer.  It ultimately keeps you from serving God wholeheartedly as He wants you to.-(Luke 10:27)

-Satan loves that you go to church every week because it leads you to believe that you are serving God.  He loves that you are surrounded by good people because it gives you a false belief that you are safe from his attacks. DONT BELIEVE HIM.-

(back to the story...)
This pushy woman did not run home crying and giving up.  Instead, she knelt before the son of God and continued her plea.  And although Jesus did not quickly grant her the healing she was requesting, she did have His full attention.  She was desperate and not ashamed to show it.  And she dared to have an exchange of words with Jesus--not for the sake of argument, but because she knew that He was truly who He said He was and; as Jesus himself put it, she was a woman of great faith!

Now I wonder... what would I prefer?  To simply be called a faithless follower of Christ or a woman of great faith?  It's kind of a rhetorical question with an obvious answer.  

"But oh Lord, that I would be willing to plea before you with great faith!  That I may know all I need to know about you... so that I may seek you in all my needs regardless of who I am and what others think of me.  That I may be bold enough, even pushy enough to have faith in You no matter what.  And lastly, dear God, that I may not look down on those who come running out of darkness pleading with you because they know all they need to know about you.- Amen."

Matthew 15:21-28

The Canaanite Woman’s Faith

 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.