Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What If the Chaos Continues.

Something occurred to me today.....

I have never seen people in this country so fearful and divided on the political craziness going on.  I will be the first to admit, I don't educate and keep up on it all like I should.  I do see a few things though,  I see people praying and crying out to God in a whole new way.  I think most of it is out of fear, rather than anything else.  That's fine....God hears us no matter what our motive.

This much I do know..........

God could fix this nation in one clearing of his throat - He wouldn't even have to get up - He SPOKE the world into he could give a slight EH - EMMMMM..... and everything could be in perfect order. 

What if..........

He is watching all these people cry out to him for help and He sees the hearts and he knows that if he fixes our problems we all go on our merry way. 

What if.............

He lets the chaos continue and we cry out to God because we are even more desperate and we turn to HIM for REAL, because HE is GOD, not just because we are in a big mess. 

This much I know about myself...........

I pay more attention to God when I'm in a bad way - and when I remain in the - bad way - I often find out what I really needed was God to invade my heart, not just my problems.  He is so much bigger and better and sweeter and more wonderful than an easy simple fix to my problems. 

He is much too kind to only care about the things we can see and know and understand. 

We call ourselves a Christian nation, which would imply that we are a Christ - like nation.
Maybe He is going to do what it takes to make this title true.

Don't think for a minute that I want to see the chaos continue or don't think I claim to know or understand God's ways...His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. I know from scripture that God is much too kind and serious about his people to settle for a worldly temporary fix.  He is loving enough to do what it takes to draw HIS PEOPLE TO HIMSELF.  He will go to any length.

EVEN to the length of sacrificing His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and SAVIOR, so that
may come to HIM.

He means business.  Trusting He has this election in HIS best interest!
Praise Him in the storm.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What the....?!?!? Manna Diet.

We have lived on the "manna diet" for about 7 years.  This has not been by choice or preference but it is definitely what we have been living on.

Manna - in the Old Testament is what God fed his children as they wandered around the wilderness.
They could only gather enough for that day, or it would go bad.  If they didn't gather - they went without.  God supplied everyday EXACTLY what they needed.

This verse has recently taught me understanding of the benefits of the "manna diet."

Jeremiah 31:2 (ESV)

Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness;

We have learned about grace, the GRACE of God, the grace of His provision, protection, faithfulness and generosity, even while we are in the wilderness living on manna.

In our "wilderness" God has provided everything we need and beyond, and it has only been by His grace.  We can't take credit or criticism for it.  We have tried to take over and do it ourselves and it just crumbles; we have tried to find our own way out of it and it leads no-where.

When God was providing the manna in the desert, the people didn't know what it was. 

Deuteronomy 2:7English Standard Version (ESV)
For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”’

The people couldn't take over and change it, grow it, plant it, or store it up - it was a provision straight from heaven and always enough.

During our manna diet, I can say God has provided every time, and every time it is enough. He has blessed us generously, faithfully, beautifully, over and over for years and years.

He has taught us to trust his faithfulness; 
HE IS FAITHFUL, even when we are NOT.

He has allowed us to not only live by it,  but to thrive on it. 
Our  house, that has been a refuge and a place of learning and growing and celebrating for a lot of peeps in our family, extended family and far beyond; has all been a grace of God.

In the midst of our current wilderness journey of seven years, He has blessed us with 2 babies, 2 adopted kids, 2 marriages, 3 grands and countless trips to Uganda and Kenya and Montana and everywhere in between, all while living in the wilderness on the "manna diet."
As crazy as this sounds, God has been generous with the manna (provision) we have not just survived, we have multiplied and been blessed beyond anything we could have provided or stored up for ourselves.


What I mean by "wilderness living" is we have wondered every time one of those big things happened, babies, adoption, weddings, (anything outside of daily living) we would think.......


We can't work enough, be strong enough or smart enough to make it work ourselves. 
BUT GOD.....
 He POURS out His provision
 We stand in awe and say:

Part of the grace that we have found in this journey is that when we have tried to take on shame and blame it is pointless and takes us from thanksgiving for what God has provided to 
P = Self - pity.
      R = Self - reliance.
          I = Self - indictment.
       D = Self - damning.
        E =  Self - elevation.

We have prayed a million times for things to be different, but now we pray that when things do change, we NEVER forget the GRACE we found in the wilderness, the faithfulness of God, the grace we have learned to 

So here we are 7 years later, and we are advertising the effects of
 "wilderness living on a manna diet."
We have our house up for sale....SHORT SALE......which reminds us constantly that we have come up 

We keep asking, and are asked,
"What the manna is gonna happen - where are we going, what are we going to do, how are we going to do this?"

And then we remember AGAIN, that WE are not ......WE are going to TRUST in the ONE,
 "WHO IS!"
So, we look to the LORD and we ask, "WHAT THE MANNA.........?????" and he responds with,

"I AM!!!"

 We have no manna clue. 
 We don't know what it is, we don't know how to make it, or keep it, or save it or produce it, or find our way out.
 We know the CREATOR and PROVIDER and
 HE  IS 

Psalm 34:8English Standard Version (ESV)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
We take our Old manna diet, and let it make us New and change us. 
 We remember that no matter how hard we try to earn or produce or save up
 it's a gift from God.

 We treasure it up in our hearts and let it flow thru our lives.

His grace is all I ever need and it is enough and it never runs out.

Ezekiel 36:25-28The Message (MSG)

24-28 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

United Division

Unity and Division.

I've been thinking a lot about this in different areas of my life lately.

I'm learning to look both ways before I cross the road and step out.  If I only look one-way, in the spirit of UNITY, or live in denial (this one is my go-to) there will be DIVISION and probably a big wreck that I didn't see coming.

There is so much to continually learn  and grow and correct, but if we wait until we have it all figured out, we will never get anywhere because we will stand on the side and never step out. 

Image result for picture of a crosswalk

Here is some areas I've stepped into the crosswalk or sometimes it feels like the crosshairs, and in the CROSS - ing, I'm learning in a few different areas in my life about UNITY / DIVISION.

ADOPTION:  I love love love adoption for so many reasons.  I feel completely blessed to be a part of it, BUT, there are a zillion problems with every part of it.  I used to get all defensive if someone pointed out or asked questions about the "hard or broken" parts of adoption because I felt I had to stick up for it, even if that meant "covering" the truth about the "hard and broken" parts.  I finally came to understand that I could acknowledge and admit to the "hard and broken" parts, and love it and believe in it at the very same time.  Being honest gave me the freedom to be truly passionate and LOVE in TRUTH.  I began to see how God uses the "hard and broken" parts as much or more as the fun and easy parts.

PARENTING:  I love my kids more than words could ever express.  I know they are each my greatest gifts and greatest blessings of my life. I am thankful and humbled by these gifts; they are also the highest calling that the Lord has placed in my life to serve Him. The thing is....,  there are days when my heart just sings with joy as I attend to each and every need and mess that they bring to my day.  There are also many days when I am totally convinced that I am messing them up more than I am cleaning up their messes! And that my friends, is a LOT of messy messed up peeps.
 I WANT to anticipate each morning with excitement and joy as we wake up and face another day, but the TRUTH of the matter is,  I approach most nights with joy and relief, because it means we have all made it thru another day.  Sometimes I feel most blessed by my kids when they are sleeping and they are quiet and still and peaceful and they are not needing anything from me and not making any messes.

 My kids can make my chest feel like it will explode with love that I can't even contain, and they also make my head feel like it might explode.

I have lived in denial, at the DIVISION within myself of the different kinds of explosives brewing in me....I felt guilt for being more excited for the nighttime sleepy heads than the daytime busy bodies.
 I wanted to LOOK like an amazing mom and have all my BLESSINGS be lined up in a neat and tidy row.

 I now understand that I do significant damage to their hearts and mine when I am working on the outside appearances while denying inside issues.  I have tried to cover up with activities and fun snacks and awesome mom LOOKING moments.  It turns into a vicious cycle of prep, perform, clean up, prep, perform, clean-up....repeat, no real life, just motion. When I'm locked in the vicious cycle of appearances I get tired and dizzy,  The inside work seems harder, and takes longer to see results, but when the inside is worked on, the outside looks good.  When we tend to those hearts and love from the inside out, and stop covering up, but digging IN deep, we can see TRUE beauty even in the midst of the mess.  I can acknowledge when my head is near explosion levels and I can adjust accordingly, rather than covering it in activities and snacks that light the fuse.
 We can be great moms and love our kids and our mom-jobs; we can be really super good at it, AT THE SAME TIME we can admit that there are days it feels like our little gifts of life are squeezing the life CLEAN out of us,

RACE:  When I acknowledge that there is a BIG racism problem in our country, people get crazy quiet or crazy mad, and then I post something about the awesomeness of police officers and people go "like" crazy.  Did it ever occur to people that you can acknowledge racism and respect and appreciate law enforcement
 Why does it seem there has to be DIVISION.
 Either you are for one and against the other?
 That is not truth or unity.  TRUTH is...there is racism and awesome police
 ****BOTH**** !!!
  People think if we are for one or expose one we hate the other.....NOT TRUE.  We can be UNITED and acknowledge the TRUTH and respect and appreciate the law.

POLITICS:  I tried to watch the debates the other night and could only make it about 15 minutes.  It is supposed to be a time to hear questions and answers and gain understanding so that people can vote or UNITE with the candidate that they want to lead this country.  There is such division  and denial as to what the issues  at hand are, even if there is an issue, let alone the priorities of the issues, and then you have the "history" of the candidates and what they have said and done or stood for or stood against; they don't even acknowledge factual historical events...there's so much lying and slander to sort through and no clear answers.   The crazy part to me, as a non political person, is that in order to want to lead this country, you must be committed and care about this country (right?)....but it sure doesn't seem that way, when all we hear are lies and slander.  I would think these candidates were not only from different parties, but different countries or different planets all together.  Where's the UNITY in the United States? I know there will always be different sides....but it seems, if we could just AGREE and ACKNOWLEDGE what the "issues" are, and how we got here..... then we could hear how each candidate wants to address them.
 I don't know......I turned it off (denial).

Criminals hung on both sides of the CROSS, on either side of Jesus, and one side admitted he needed help and that he was in the wrong, and he landed in Paradise....the other remained in denial and rebellion and ended up in hell.

Jesus is in the business of exposing the heart - the truth.  People that would look so put together and cleaned up on the outside, but are blinder than bats and meaner than snakes, he would call OUT - he exposed them. The people that came to him and admitted they needed HIM, they needed healing or asked him questions so that they may understand; He would heal the ones that admitted they had a problem and he taught the ones who wanted to learn, and he exposed the ones who appeared nice and neat but inside were evil.

Nicodemus was a pharisee in the Bible that came to Jesus to ask some questions in the cover of night because he was afraid to break from the UNITY of the Pharisee brotherhood.  He didn't want to stand out and cause DIVISION.  He came to Jesus and asked questions and got some real hard honest answers that could save his life and the life of his friends.  Wouldn't he want that for his fellow Pharisees? 
 Wouldn't that be worth risking DIVISION to bring TRUTH.

Maybe if we were brave enough to bring questions to the light, uncover the truth, and admit there is a problem and ask for HELP, things could get better, we could be healed in our lives, in our homes and our families and our churches and our communities and our country. 

 1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 

1 Peter 4:8 (ESV) Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.