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Lay it Down

Remember Abraham? You know that old man you read about in the Bible who prayed for a son and finally got one so late in his life that it was laughable. Truly laughable. So laughable he named his son “Isaac” which means laughter. Do you remember how God tested him? How he told Abraham years later to walk that boy up a mountain and offer him as a sacrifice to God? Remember that? Remember thinking, “What kind of a God does that?” Maybe you didn’t think that but I will admit that I did. What kind of a God gives a gift only to take it away? That is what I sat there thinking… Until I read how in the moment of truth, when Abraham raised his arm with knife in hand, and Isaac lay there not trying to escape… In that incredibly intense moment the account goes that a hand reached down and stopped Abraham. A goat appeared in the thicket. Isaac was not to die their on that altar and Abraham had past the test.

Abraham had put down on the altar what had become the source of so much of his joy and so much of his hope. And sometimes I think God calls many of us to do just that. Sometimes I think God tests our hearts and sets us up to prove not so much to him, but to ourselves, that we are willing to lay it all down.

It may be your spouse, it may be your job, it may be your children, it may be your best friend, it may be your educational pursuit… Not sure what it is for you? Think of the one thing that you have put the most hope into, the one thing that is at the center of all your dreams… If it isn’t God… It is your Isaac. Are you willing to lay it down?

Isaac and Abraham lived on to live an incredibly blessed life. So blessed that later in the Bible you can read how God identified himself to Moses as, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” Whoa. That same man and boy that went walking up that mountain, and willingly laid it all down- God says, “I am their God.” Laying it all down always leads to life- a life more abundant, a life more blessed.

May your feet be strengthened for whatever mountain you are walking up. May your faith be assured in the goodness of God. May he be your hope. May he be your joy. May he provide for your every need as you place your life in his hands.

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Don’t Ever Forget Where You Came From Sons

Went to a baby shower tonight. Met a missionary who shared with me and my husband some of what he has seen in India…

“Ten thousand” girls and women, every night, lined up on the sides of the street, some as young as 8 years-old, for men (some women, but mostly men), to pick from.

Girls and women, lined up like some product on a shelf to be purchased and used…

Ten thousand.

And these young girls end up pregnant, carrying at such a young age the children of the men that bought, used and abused them.

(Um… Let’s shake off this thought… Move on with the night… It’s so far from us anyway. Let’s change the conversation, smile and eat pink cupcakes… Conversations changed, but I couldn’t shake it. Still can’t.)

I came home… Still thinking about it.

Rocked our baby boy to sleep still thinking about it.

I sat there, holding in my arms a tiny boy, a boy that will one day grow to be a man and all I could think to whisper to this boy was this, “Don’t ever forget where you came from.”

And when the time is right, I want to tell our boys:

Don’t ever forget where you came from. You came from a woman. You were nursed, and changed, clothed and consoled by a woman. God called you forth from a woman. Fed you from the very essence of a woman.

And this woman was once a young girl.

Don’t ever forget where you came from. For God loved you first through a woman. May you one day love Him back with all your heart and soul and mind, in the way you love a woman, sacrifice for a woman, and sanctify a woman.

For every woman and every girl was bought with a price and that price was the blood of Christ. Her worth is immeasurable, and what you do to her you do unto Him who loved her first.

Don’t ever forget where you came from, sons.

Don’t ever forget.


Please pray for the girls, the women and the men caught up in human trafficking all over the world tonight. Pray that the worth of a woman would be known in tremendous light.

 

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Pomegranates and Bells {Touching the Hem of His Garment}

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A few weeks ago our children discovered the wonder of a pomegranate. It was a neat lesson for them, but truly, I had not thought much about it since, until early this morning while reading scripture.

Did you know that the hem of the priest’s garment was described in Exodus? It is described as a pattern of “a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.” (Exodus 28:34)

A bell, a pomegranate, a bell, a pomegranate, this uneding pattern about the hem of the garmet.

The hem of the garment…

Reminded me of another story in the Bible, the story of a woman who had an issue of blood, who broke through the crowds, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was made well. (Matthew 9: 20-22)

Wide eyed this morning, my heart fixed on this:

There is a way to “stop the bleeding.”

The pattern was laid out long ago in pomegranates and bells.

Pomegranates– fruit filled with seed, extremely time consuming to eat, as each little seed needs taken out and meticulously sucked on to savor the juice of the pomegranate. Delicious and meticulous, that is the pomegranate- and incredibly similar to this: the Word of God. In fact, Jesus said the Word of God is seed. (Luke 8:11)

Golden Bells– the sound of pure joy, the sound of pure praise.

His Word, Praise, His Word, Praise…

This unending pattern…

This royal hem that can still be touched.

What is your issue today?

Break through the crowds, draw close to God, take hold of His Word, pick it apart little by little, savor and receive into your spirit every promise. Let your heart ring his praise.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

This is what stops the bleeding.

May you touch the hem of his garment today.

– Charity

 

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Keep The Faith

I have been thinking about this faith thing- this choice to stay positive- to see the good- to trust God is with us when all hell is breaking loose.

It is a fight at times- quite frankly it is exhausting at times.

But when I consider the alternative- to wallow in frustration and sorrow, to believe (and essentially put faith in the fact that) I am weak and situations are hopeless- there is no choice really but to have faith in what has time and time again proven to be true:

That God is with me, fighting with me, moving mountains for me and strengthening me to stand.

Perhaps you need that reminder today too.

If you are weary from the battle today- I want you to know I am praying for you. I am praying that your faith would continue to be mighty and that you would be able to cast off every vicious doubt and lie that is fired your way.

And I want you to know that I, and many, many other believers in Christ, we are with you in this thing.

And you know what? We are winning. God is winning. Faith is winning. Every time we say, yes to God, the light is winning- refusing to be overtaken by the darkness. It is a fight. But we ARE and we WILL win.

Our victory is not evidenced by our health.

(Remember Jesus? He was winning. He was sinless. But it didn’t look like it he was winning on that cross, did it? And you know what else? He was praying for others! In the midst of what looked like total defeat he was praying for others.

You- dear friend, dear reader, dear brother or sister in Christ- you keep praying for others even when it looks like you are being defeated.)

Our victory is not evidenced by the amount of money in our bank account.

Our victory is evidenced when we refuse to put on self pity, and when we refuse to curse God, but instead keep putting on praise.

Yes, acknowledge the doubts and the frustrations, after all, there is no faith where there is no doubt.

But never allow Satan’s wardrobe of pity to remain on your shoulders. We are called to put on praise.

Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

And as my dear sister in Christ reminded me, “Gotta let go of the ashes before you can have the beauty.”

And ashes always come from a burning up of something.

So if you are feeling the burn, be encouraged because beauty is coming.

Beauty in fact, is already here. Because you are here, still standing, still choosing faith in the midst of every doubt and seeming failure.

You are still here and God IS with you.

Keep the faith.

That is what matters most.

 

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Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done

There is a certain prayer that has been heavy on my mind lately, perhaps because Halloween is right around the corner.

It is probably one of the most prayed prayers I have heard, as it is part of the ever-popular “Our Father” prayer.

The specific words that have been heavy on my heart in this prayer are these:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
(Matthew 6:10)

His will- on earth- as it is- in heaven.

Clearly, our world is far from heaven.

And as I consider this prayer, my heart gets heavy.

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What would that look like?

What am I doing here that I cannot imagine I would be doing there?

What could I be doing here that I can imagine would shine glimpses of life there?

That is what I have been asking myself lately.

And I pray that those who I love will really consider that with me.

Let us consider, “Is this truly your will, Lord?”

And let us pray and walk out this prayer:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

May heaven touch earth as we do.

 

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Yes, Step into the Middle of the Mess

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She walks out of her room,
Dirty diaper in hand.
For reasons that I,
Cannot comprehend.
Onto the floor falls her waste.

And there she is,
This daughter of mine,
Covered in poop,
One more time,

Another miss.
Another mess.

Another chance,
For me to step,

Closer to your heart.

I feel you whisper,

Step,

Step closer to a love,
That changes.

Step closer to a love,
That endures the stench.

Step closer to a love,
That washes clean.

Step closer to a love,
That covers.

Step closer to a love,
That says, ‘Try again.’

Yes, step.
Step into the middle of the mess.”

So I step.

And I feel your heart.

He is sitting at the table,
Pencil in hand,
Needing help on a problem,
He cannot understand,
Calling for me to come.

And there are dishes in the sink.
There are crumbs on the floor.
There are so many messes,
My attentions have implored.
But I feel you urging,

“Stop and step.

Step into the middle of the mess.

Because in the messes,
I still speak.

In the messes,
I still teach.

In the messes,
Is where I long to be.

So step.
Step into the middle of the mess.”

So I step.
And I feel your heart.

Later in the evening,
I fill a request,
To accompany my husband,
And try my best.

So I find myself,
Back behind a line,
Messes around me,
Yet one more time,
Cleaning and cooking,
Lending a hand,
Speaking a language as best as I can,
Seeing broken people as they stop by.

And I feel you whisper,

Yes, you have stepped.
You have stepped into the mess.

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps pouring.

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps cleaning,

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps serving,

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps standing.

You have stepped where I step,
Into the middle of mess.”

Now, I don’t know what mess,
May surround you today.
But I want to challenge you,
In this very same way,
To step.

Step into the middle of the mess.

Step where your Savior,
Has stepped for you.
Step where he daily,
Continues to.

Step where you will find His rest.

Yes, Step into the middle of the mess.

John 3:16
For God so loves the world…

He stepped.

 

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For the Husbands

Can I be honest? I love Jesus and I know he loves me. Still, I cannot deny that my heart bubbles over with joy on the days that my husband goes above and beyond to show his love and desire for me. It makes me smile a little bigger. Laugh a little louder. Walk a little taller. Speak a little softer. It just does.

And so today I write this to the husbands out there: If it seems your wife has not been smiling as big lately. Her laugh has not been as loud. Her walk has not been as tall. Her voice has not been as soft. I want to encourage you to do something: Today, go above and beyond to show her your love and desire for her. In doing this you reflect God’s love for her. See if it doesn’t make the change you desire.

Ephisians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

 

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