The Anatomy of a Lie

I’d like to explain to you the anatomy of a lie through the eyes of Elijah.

“I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets” (1 Kings 18:22, NLT).

It’s interesting in Scripture how God opens our blind eyes and allows us to see His Spirit of Truth. Here in 1 Kings 18 we find that Elijah has just begun to confront wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (yuck). Most of us recognize Elijah as the hero of the story because he called fire down from heaven…

“At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.’ Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, ‘The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!'” (1 Kings 18:36-39, NLT).

Don’t you wish you could do that in your life sometimes?

Take that horrible bosses.

Take that chronic health issues.

Take that infertility, poverty and world-wide wars.

However pure your desires may be–this guy Elijah was in tune with God. His servant.

Elijah, The Hero

1 Kings 18 goes on to say that Elijah’s big feat was far from over. The major drought in the land was about to come to an end. Elijah was praying for rain and he didn’t stop until God brought it.

“So Ahab went to eat and drink. But [there’s a big but again] Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, ‘Go and look out toward the sea.’ The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, ‘I didn’t see anything.’ Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, ‘I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.’ Then Elijah shouted, ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you! And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:42-45, NLT).

Why am I giving you all this text?

To show you the anatomy of a lie presented so powerfully in Scripture.

Never has there been a man so powerful and so in tune with God. But he fell hard. We are like Elijah. And like Peter who “walked on water” only to look at his fear and drown in the wind and the waves. We too look at our circumstances and…believe a lie.

Elijah’s Threat

“When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: ‘May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.’ Elijah was afraid and fled for his life” (Elijah 19:1-3a, NLT).

Really, Elijah? Really?

Elijah is scared of one woman who was running her mouth and it makes him–scared to death?

He just called fire down from heaven to kill 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. He should have known his God was bigger and more powerful to save and protect his life.

Elijah Believed a Lie

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (1 Kings 19:4, NLT).

I posted the other day on Twitter & Facebook that forgiveness is a choice and so is love. What other choices do we base our feelings on sometimes? I got answers from fear all the way to anger. If love isn’t a choice then so is believing a lie.

Every day believe and act on choices.

Some good.

Some bad.

It takes the power of His Spirit to discern the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. Did you catch the but? There it is again!

[Read last week’s post, “I like Big Buts” my spiritual epiphany through Acts 1]

Elijah’s Lie Exposed

Elijah replied, ‘I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.’ ‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'” (1 Kings 19:10-13, NLT).

Even when being confronted by the Lord Almighty, I Am Who I Am, Elijah believes the lie–again (see v 14).

Instead of answering Elijah’s fear the Lord says, “Go back the same way you came…Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” (1 Kings 19:15, 18, NLT).

Elijah’s Truth

In a freight or flight moment, Elijah choose to flee. Run away. And God found Him and owned His fears in a powerful display in the wilderness. God told Elijah to go back and return home. God would protect his life and not only his life but the life of SEVEN THOUSAND OTHERS.

What was that lie? Yeah…that’s right. SHUT IT!

What grossly disproportionate lie are you believing?

Our Truth

As we read from Elijah’s life, here are the Biblical steps to moving forward in freedom in Christ.

1. Confess the lie – 1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

2. Destroy the lie – 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

3. Accept the truth – John 4:24 says, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

4. Walk in freedom – 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

5. Repeat often and as necessary as the lie persists! Even if it takes days, months, or…years to believe!

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I'm Growing Up

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m growing up. I am feeling the stretch of my spiritual muscles as well as my emotional and physically muscles. “There are some shameful episodes in it; instances of meanness, unfinished tasks, weakness, and regrets. I had to ask myself, ‘If I live, who is it that I intend to be.’” (Lance Armstrong)

Do I intend to be a protege of my parents? Or me? Do I intend to please the people around me, or forge an identity all my own, while scared at the same time of learning how to fly?

One thing I’m learning is you’re never too old to be broken. Never too old to think you’re still afraid to fly. We all get comfortable. We all understand how to make the place we’re at home, but what happens when that home is threatened? By new schedules? Old frustrations? Big gaps?

The best biblical example of this is Leah. Leah was not the favorited wife of Jacob, Rachel was. Their story is found in Gen. 29-49. The thing I found most interesting while going through this study is the fact that God saw and heard Leah’s misery.

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb” (Genesis 29:31).

The Lord noticed Leah’s misery. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Leah’s husband) looked down and saw a woman who was lonely and sad because her husband loved his other wife better than he loved her. So, to ease her sorrow, to provide her comfort, God gave her children–beautiful, upright, strong children, one of whom would found the lineage of the priests of Israel and another who was an ancestor of Jesus himself. (Women of the Bible, pg. 69)

Some of us have experienced deep hurt and pain. Some of us have been wounded beyond words, but instead of pointing out the obvious, let’s band together in faith, hope, and love and really do something about it. Let’s get connected. Let’s encourage one another. Let’s take walks. Let’s talk and share. Let’s pray. Let’s point each other to God, even when He is silent.

God is amazing, really–if we let Him, and if we keep walking ourselves. Faith in action. I believe a sign of maturity is acknowledging all of these pieces, laying them on the table, and processing them. In time, the correct path will emerge.

Next time you’re tempted to think you’re the only one with pain and heartache in this world, take heart and think again.

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

[Formerly Written, January 14, 2007]

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He Should Have Known Better

“On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night the Lord confronted him and was about to kill him” (Exodus 4:24, NLT).

I never really understood that passage.

I mean Moses had just been singled out (again) by God. Called. To lead the people of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt.

He was the only one besides Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to get face time with God, and yet God choose to reveal Himself as Yahweh (Exodus 3:15, NLT). Not even Abe, Izzy, or JJ got that far!!

So why in the world was God trying to kill Moses? Seriously? He should have known better.

And I quote, “Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10, NLT).

So. Yeah.

The next night, God shows up and wants him dead. What the?

I love what my notes say in the NLT Study Bible.

“But Moses could not effectively serve as deliverer of God’s people until he had fulfilled the conditions of God’s covenant, and one of the conditions was circumcision. Before they could go any further, Moses and his family had to follow God’s commands completely under the Old Testament law, failing to circumcise your son was to remove yourself and your family from God’s blessing (4:24-26, notes).

In other words, delayed obedience is disobedience.

Even though the favor and confirmation of God’s promise rested on this man, Moses still had a personal responsibility to follow through!

In other (other) words–he should have known.

God wasn’t going to waste one ounce of their precious face time to point out a spreadsheet of Moses’ sin. If that were the case he (and every one of us), would stay permanently stuck trying to achieve perfection. Unable to move forward on the journey of promise. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT).

Question: Is there an area of your life that has not yet surrendered to the Lordship and Savior, Jesus Christ?

Look at David. When confronted with his sinful pride and covering up of the fact, he confessed. God still blessed him with another son, Solomon.

Look at Esther. She stuck her teenage body out there for the kings pleasure, and somehow he choose her as the next Queen. When it came time to intercede for her people, the Israelites, she happened to be the only one able to risk her life for just one more night with the king. Coincidence? I think not.

Look at Jonah. God asked him to preach a message of repentance to a bunch of bad mamma jammas. Wretched. Horrible. People. And instead he choose to flee the scene.

We should know better when God places people, circumstances, and His promises in front of us. Hope.

Will we choose to be found faithful or wait until it’s (almost) too late?

Obey now. Obey today!

Your future and your future children are waiting.

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16:11, NLT).

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16, NLT).

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life’” (John 8:12, NLT).

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow'” (Isaiah 48:17, NLT).

“Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!” (Psalm 126:3, NLT).

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10 Tips to Renew YOUR Devotional Life

10 Tips to Renew your devotional life.

1. BE A FOLLOWER. Disciple simply means follower. It’s not a spiritual term.

QUESTION: You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).

2. DISCIPLINE TAKES TIME. Over the years I’ve discovered what works for me. Daily eVerses + Yearly devotionals + One Year Bible + journal/pen = a VERY happy Renee.

QUESTION: What have you found works best for you?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NLT).

3. IF YOU’RE BORED, GOD’S BORED. My friend Monique told me this phrase, and it’s always stuck with me. If you’re in the middle of reading your daily this & daily don’t be afraid to get creative. Try a new Bible translation, time of the day, or devotional book.

QUESTION: In the past what have you found most helpful in getting creative with changing up your devotional life with God?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts” (Exodus 31:1-3, NLT).

4. DON’T DO IT ALONE. We need community. We need people. We need help. See if one of your friends or family can keep you accountable to spend your time daily with God. If you don’t tell others, they won’t know to ask.

QUESTION: Write down the names of one or two people who help keep you accountable for reading the Word daily. If you can’t think of anyone, write down the name(s) of people who you will ask this week:

1. ______________________________________

2. ______________________________________

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT).

5. ASK FOR HELP. Don’t be afraid to lean on your accountability partner for help. When trials come (and they will), God tangibly offers His support in the form of those who are made in His image (your friends and family).

QUESTION: Are you afraid to ask others for help?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25, NLT).

6. KEEP WATCHING! Even when we’re asking others for support and encouragement—ultimately we need to take responsibility to stand watch and keep watching for the Lord to speak to us.

QUESTION: Where do you go to watch for the Lord? Write down at least three places including your room, the outdoors, private gardens, etc.

1. ______________________________________

2. ______________________________________

3. ______________________________________

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint” (Habakkuk 2:1-2, NLT).

7. USE YOUR SENSES. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of food. I like how it fills me up, tastes good, and gives me energy. The Bible is like that too. We taste and see that God is good by spending time daily in the Word, through prayer, and meeting with others.

QUESTION: How do you use your senses to connect with Jesus daily?

Sight – ________________________________________

Hearing – ______________________________________
Touch – _______________________________________

Smell – _______________________________________
Taste – _______________________________________

 

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:33, 35, NLT).

8. FIND YOUR PROMISE. It took me eleven months and twenty-six days to find my promise of healing from God. He told me specifically “In kindness He called me to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after I have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen me, and He will place me on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10, NLT-emphasis mine).

QUESTION: What kind of promise from the Lord are you desperately searching for or have you already found one?

YOUR BIBLICAL EXAMPLE HERE: ___________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

9. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin’.

QUESTION: When was the last time you memorized a favorite passage of Scripture?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8, NLT).

10. LIVING FOR ETERNITY. God has given us every spiritual gift we need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3, NLT). Don’t let Judgment day catch you by surprise. Live each day with for eternity. Add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection, and love to your faith daily.

QUESTION: What attribute do you find most difficult and/or easy to live out loud?

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT).

NEXT STEPS:

Purchase a copy of “Faithbook of Jesus: Connecting With Jesus Daily” on Amazon and subscribe to Daily Devotionals on Air 1.com and New Living Translation Daily Devotionals.

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Affirming Our Worth

[To Find Freedom in Christ] – “Understanding your identity in Christ is absolutely essential to your success at living the victorious Christian life! The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity!” (From “Victory Over the Darkness” by Dr. Neil Anderson)

Affirming our worth is important. Every one to us need to know this isn’t about positive self-talk or even new age mumbo jumbo. This is about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), not having a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7) because there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear (1 Jn. 4:18).

Be encouraged today of your worth in Christ.

“Who am I?”

I am accepted…
John 1:12 – I am God’s child.
John 15:15 – I am Christ’s friend.
Rom. 5:1 – I have been justified.
1 Cor. 6:17 – I am unified with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 6:19, 20 – I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
1 Cor. 12:27 – I am a member of Christ’s body.
Eph. 1:1 – I am a saint.
Eph. 1:5 – I have been adopted as God’s child.
Eph. 2:18 – I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Col. 1:14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Col. 2:10 – I am complete in Christ.

I am secure…
Rom. 8:1, 2 – I am free forever from condemnation.
Rom. 8:28 – I am assured that all things work together for good.
Rom. 8:31f – I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Rom. 8:35f – I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Cor. 1:21, 22 – I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God.
Col. 3:3 – I am hidden with Christ in God.
Phil. 1:6 – I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected.
Phil. 3:20 – I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Tim. 1:7 – I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.
Heb. 4:16 – I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 John 5:18 – I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant…
Matt. 5:13, 14 – I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:1, 5 – I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
John 15:16 – I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
Acts 1:8 – I am a personal witness of Christ’s.
1 Cor. 3:16 – I am God’s temple.
2 Cor. 5:17f – I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
2 Cor. 6:1 – I am God’s co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9).
Eph. 2:6 – I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
Eph. 2:10 – I am God’s workmanship.
Eph. 3:12 – I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Phil. 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

(From “Living Free in Christ” by Dr. Neil Anderson)

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King of my Heart

[Quit Making Excuses] – “Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command.’ Samuel was so deeply moved when he heard this that he cried out to the Lord all night” (1 Samuel 15:10-11, NLT).

The other night in my quiet time I was reading through my One Year Bible and came upon the famous passage of the downfall of King Saul. I immediately thought of this verse from Deuteronomy 17:14-15, NLT that says:

“You are about to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, ‘We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.’ If this happens, be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses…”

The Lord knows the condition of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:5). In fact he is the king of my heart.

He knows that we are human and can change our mind (1 Samuel 15:29). He knows how easily swayed by other people we are, and our desperation to please others. We desire to be King and Queen, but what about the condition of our heart?

Are we willing to accept the responsibility? To carry out the task with honor?

Do we cave under pressure?

Can we carry out the commands the Lord gives us personally to do?

What we really need is people like Samuel, AKA a harvester, who is willing to go and serve the people of the Lord by pointing out their sin. Had Samuel never gone to Saul to confront him–who knows what would have happened.

But who wants to be the bearer of bad news?

Samuel to King Saul: “Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight? What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Then, after all that Saul said he disobeyed because he was afraid.

Thankfully, we serve a God “who has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust” (Psalm 103:12-14, NLT).

Lord, help us not to judge the condition of others heart, only our own!

“Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel. Don’t judge by his [the next king] appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 15:35 & 16:7, NLT).

Dear Jesus,

You detest the sacrifice of the wicked, but you delight in the prayer of the upright. Hear my prayers oh God. I confess my sins to you for I fall so short of Your glory. What you require, O God, is obedience. Above all else, hear me and answer my prayers. Restore me so that I can be the King or Queen you created me to be. Give me a heart like King David’s. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Cheers For Change

[How to Believe Again] –“So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.” – 1 Samuel 3:9, NLT

God’s used the story of Samuel one other time in a very POWERFUL way. I remember when I was writing my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus” and how I couldn’t exercise the same kind of faith I was writing about.

I was weakened physically from working full time and writing full time (under a four month deadline of over 105,000 words). Burn out seemed imminent.

What I did not understand, however, was how much my faith would crumble. And I would lose all hope.

I did not know how to hear the voice of God because I had never been tested that way before. I didn’t know that instead of fighting it, I should have given Him cheers for change.

I struggled with verses like “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25, NLT).

I did not want to pray.

I did not want to sing.

I was afraid so I began to pray and believe again. To hope for change. In my midnight hour, God used my father to recommend a book by Bruce Wilkinson called “Secrets of the Vine.” It was in this tiny book that I learned the power of discipline, pruning, and abiding taken from John 15.

The abiding part is what killed my spirit, but it was in that season of death and dying and winter that I learned how to change. Had to change.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” (John 12:24 NLT).

Dies.

Harvest.

I recently said goodbye to seminary. Even though my original purpose for moving down to San Diego changed I still feel like it was the most fruitful season yet. I finished my second book on dating. God brought an amazing man into my life. I signed my next contract. I’m not leaving with a sense of failure and mistrust, but faith and hope (and love).

I decided to move back to Oceanside and stay with my family for the time being.

(That and I missed Pala!!!)

===

And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel… (1 Samuel 3:10-11a, NLT)

===

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NLT).

==

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NLT).

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Now!


“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (James 1:21, NLT).

Biblically speaking, it’s time to take out the trash! Now!

“Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6, NLT).

Just as you would a best friend or someone you care about.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT).

Repent and turn from your wicked ways! Forgiveness can only be found in Christ.

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24, NLT).

Who or what is your master? You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

“Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, ‘How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!’ But the people were completely silent” (1 Kings 18:21, NLT).

Well?

“For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT).

The time is now!

“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

‘It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die'” (Revelation 12:10-11, NLT).

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Truth is Death

I have been going through a study of 1 John with the New Living Translation study group on Facebook. It’s a revolutionary way to study the Bible in the 21st century. I love it. I’m learning that truth is death.

Here are six things that caught and captured my attention going through 1 John 2:

#1 – When we struggle with the Christian life we have an advocate. “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous” (1 John 2:1, NLT).

Question: Did you know you had an advocate?

#2 –Jesus is the true light. “Jesus lived the truth of this commandment (to love one another), and you are also living it. for the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8, NLT).

#3 – What do you crave? “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 John 2:16, NLT).

Question: What kind of cravings are good?

#4 – People are going to leave church (fellowship). “When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us” (1 John 2:19, NLT).

Question: What does that mean? Seriously. I want to know!!! I know I am praying for a few people who are in danger of leaving or have already left the church…ahh my heart!!

#5 – John wrote so we could know truth. “So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies (1 John 2:21, NLT).

Question: Do you know the difference between truth and lies?

#6 – Remain. Remain. Remain. Remain (2 John 2:24 (twice), 27, 28, NLT). Using the NLT Interlinear I was able to find some really powerful spiritual truths for our lives:

First: Remain translated in the Greek is “μένω (meno, 3306)”:

[a] lasting, [he] remained, [while] remaining, an enduring [one], are waiting, are you staying, continues, does remain, he remained, he remains, he stays, he was living…

Did you catch that? He was living. I cannot believe it, but remain is also found in John 11:5-6. “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.”

Lazarus died during those two days.

Question: What things in your life are you currently dying to?

Remain where you are. Isn’t that the single, most powerful and yet impossible task Jesus gives us? And not only that but Jesus was given…

The same Greek word remain is also found in Matthew 26:38, “He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me'” (NLT).

Jesus died for us. Not only does Jesus ask us to remain through difficult circumstances, He lived it also!

Therefore…”This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NLT).

Dear Jesus,

Help us in our unbelief. There are cravings of the flesh that tear us apart. Show us the truth from the lie, and may we understand our unique place in the Kingdom of God as Your child. Help us to remain in fellowship with You so that when You return, we will be full of courage and not shrink back from You in shame. Amen.

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Whom do you follow?

“Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch” (Luke 6:39, NLT)?

Today’s blog inspiration comes from a number of places.

#1 – Editing my dating & relationships book for Harvest House

#2 – Study of 1 John 1

#3 – Personal reflection & quiet time

#4 – Time spent with my boyfriend.

#5 – Remembering my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus.”

Recently, I was convicted and encouraged by the “blind leading the blind” passage. What a great representation of examining the self, right? David was personal with God; that is why I believe He was called a man after God’s own heart. He continually asked God to “search” his heart (Psalm 139:23-24). David’s impact on the Israelites went deeper than just a king, but through knowing God he was able to leave an eternal blessing and dynasty (2 Samuel 7:29).

Which begs the question: Do you know whom you follow?

“If God has yet to give you that insatiable hunger for the truth of His Word, I would plead with you now to seek such a thing from Him. Why must I ask God instead of simply pursuing such a desire out of my own heart? For the same reason you don’t get married after the first date, because the heart is all-together deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), to seek such a thing on your own will lead you into the grave danger of finding a hunger to study the Scriptures as an end in itself which has no meaning and no value. No, instead, let the Lord teach you that all study of the Scripture must have its end in knowing the author more intimately and deeply. If we study the Bible as an end then we make the same mistake as the Pharisees who knew the Old Testament very well, but did not know the author” (Marc Fisher).

As much as I have enjoyed getting to know my boyfriend and spend time with his family this weekend, I realized something much deeper in my soul. Time spent with God is worth more than any human being. When I don’t desire Him more than anyone else, there’s something wrong with me!!!

Do I know the Scriptures more than God, Himself?

Do I follow God closely enough to hear him say with my own ears?

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21, NLT).

I find it interesting that John the Baptist’s disciples came over to Jesus to personally ask him if he was the Messiah they were looking for or should they expect someone else (Luke 7:20)?

Personally expect. Did you catch that?

When we encounter God personally.

When we get to know His character.

When we know the power of His Word.

I can say that now because I’ve lived it. After I wrote my first book, “Faithbook of Jesus” I caved. My body was so broken. Panic attacks left me bed ridden for a long time. Here I had just written over 105,000 words (that’s roughly 636 pages double spaced or 300+ pages printed). My knowledge of Scripture had overgrown my ability to rest in Him. To abide.

I was this sad, scared little girl who didn’t know how to climb up on the lap of her Father God and cry out to Him.

I was too blinded by my own insecurities instead of searching for the author, Himself. It wasn’t until I fully surrendered and let my career die to spend enormous amounts of time with Him that I got it.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Luke 12:33-34, NLT).

Was I still scared to death how I was going to recover? Yes.

Was I wondering where my next paycheck was coming in? Yes.

Was I wondering if my career in ministry and writing was over? Yes.

“Go back to John [the Baptist] and tell him what you have seen and heard–the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cursed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me‘” (Luke 7:22-23, NLT).

Sometimes the author God asks us to do things that are FAR beyond our comfort zones. Sometimes He doesn’t even give us all the answers. He simply asks us to wait in trust. To obey Him even when we can’t see, touch, taste, feel, or hear him.

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him” (1 John 1:1-2, NLT).

“Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:5, NASB).

Dear Father,

May our joy be complete because we know YOU and not just Your Words. Help us to better know the author–YOU. We ask you to pour out your Spirit on our heart, mind, and soul. Teach us how to love you and love others we pray. Amen.

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