Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Promise Land or Battlefield?

Trivia Question for you:

Where in the Bible is "The Promised Land" mentioned?

Don't Cheat!  No using your concordance or even

If you had looked it up, you would find the same thing I did, "The Promised Land" is not mentioned in the Bible.  Instead it is referred to as the land GOD promised.

I don't know about you, but for me this is HUGE.  Essentially, it is talking about the same place...the land GOD had promised to the Children of Israel.   The land HE set aside for them after leaving Egypt and wondering in the wilderness all those years.  It is the land the 12 spies said was flowing with milk and honey.  The land Moses and those who chose not to believe GOD were turned away from and never allowed to enter.  The land Joshua led the Children of Israel to conquer.  The land King David would one day rule.  The land in which a little town called Bethlehem would become HOLY as our LORD JESUS was born there.  The land GOD promised.

So why is it HUGE for me that it is not called "the Promised Land" in the Bible?

Because of that little tiny word in front..."The"  "The Promised Land" takes on so much meaning.  It is qualifying to the point of a one and only.  "The Promised Land" sounds like perfection...almost like Heaven here on earth.  And with that, I expect it to be...perfect...holy...without strife, or stress, or tears.
A place of peace.

I have often searched for my own "Promised Land."  My own Holy of peace.  I didn't always look for real-estate. Although, I have looked for it there too.  Mostly, it is that state of being where GOD has made it perfect for me.  My Promised Land has had many forms:

Being a missionary
Being a Seminary student
Being a writer/consultant for LifeWay
Being a wife
Being a mother
Being a military wife

None of these things have lived up to my expectations of "The Promised Land."  Each has come with it's own set of trials, and battles.

Then, I look at what GOD calls the land...."the land I have promised."  Instead of it being the end-all, and the ALL.  Instead of it being perfect, it becomes what it truly is....the place GOD promised now.

The fact that GOD promised it is beyond significant!  It means it is the place where HE wants me.  The place HE has prepared for me.  But it does not mean it is a place of peace.  My "land HE has promised" will be just like it was for the Children of Israel....a land that needs to be conquered, a land where I will have battles at times and peace at times.  A land that is not Holy but Righteous.  Holy says it is perfect.  Righteous says it is set apart by GOD.  The word Righteous itself needs an opposite to mean anything.  It needs to defeat overcome something.  Righteousness demands victory.

There is not a Promised Land...until Heaven itself.....there is a place GOD has promised to each of us.  It is is is filled with all that you need because it is filled with and through HIM.  Go in boldly!  Go in in full assurance that GOD has gone before you!  Go in and live in righteous victory.  Go into this land...
The land GOD promised!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Delayed Fairy Tale

I love fairy tales.  I still read them occasionally.  I bought Zoie a book about Princesses when she was around 7 or 8 years old.  She has long forgotten it.  Not me, I still like the stories.

So today I am going to tell you a fairy tale.
My own.
I have a secret identity.
I am the "Kudzu Princess."

Being from the south I am all too familiar with kudzu.  It is a vine like plant that is indestructible!
You can burn will sprout right back up.
You can poison will survive.
You can cut it and pull up the roots...and it will still sprout again.

It grows about 2 feet a day and consumes everything in its path.  I have seen it consume an abandoned mobile home till it was invisible.  It will cling to anything, wires, trees, walls, metal...anything.

Most people in the south hate it...I... admire it.  I want to be more like kudzu.  So I call myself The Kudzu Princess.

Today this Kudzu Princess has run straight into a two-headed giant.  It is one of the biggest and meanest giants I continue to face.  I have run from and fought this giant before.  Sometimes gaining ground...sometimes loosing TERRIBLY.

This two-headed giant I cannot defeat on my own.  I've tried.  I have used the "sword of will power," the "shield of religious works," and have even shot it with the "rifle of service" to others.  Although they have wounded the giant, the monster still attacks  It wants me to run and when I do I fall right into it's trap.

Maybe I should tell you the giant's two names.  The first head on this giant is beastly and is the one I see first. It's name is PROCRASTINATION.  I sometimes can wound it and it will disappear inside it's monstrous body.  But that is the moment that the second head shows up.  It is deceptively more pleasing than Procrastination.  This handsome giant talks in a soothing tone, and out of it's mouth comes promises of pleasure.  I find myself having a hard time resisting his alluring and hypnotic stare.  Once again I realize too late that I am trapped in the coils of LAZINESS and defeated.

Not today!  Today I prayed and asked GOD what stone did I need to throw at this two-headed giant.

I asked how to be more like King David, How to be a true Kudzu Princess.  I searched for the right stone and GOD lead me to this verse...

1 Samuel 15:22  "Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams."

So the stone is OBEDIENCE. Today I am obeying and writing this blog with utmost obedience.  I will not be stalled by "Procrastination" or allured into pleasure traps by "Laziness."

I will be like kudzu and write and grow today.  I will be like King David and trust GOD with my obedience rather than false sacrifices or weapons of my own flesh.

I pray earnestly that this fairy tale will speak to you.  We all face giants who will continue to popup and try to defeat what GOD wants us to do.  GOD has not called us to fight alone.  HE has not given us the power or authority.  We are HIS servants.  We only need to be obedient.  Then HIS SPIRIT will guide the stones and kill the giants.

I discovered something else today.  Although, I was trapped in the snare Laziness set before me today,  I was deceived into choosing what seemed more fun, rather than obey and write to you.  Once I picked up that stone and obeyed, I HAD THE MOST FUN I'VE HAD ALL DAY!!!!!

I love you JESUS!
Your Kudzu Princess

Monday, October 31, 2016

What Scares Me Most'

It is Halloween.
Many people love to dress up in scary costumes.  Why is it that we like to be scared?

Haunted Houses

Horror Movies

Roller Coasters

Dangerous Sports

These activities are designed for the fear or thrill.  They entertain us. They make us scream and in many ways, once they are over, we even feel more alive.

However, the things that terrify us will never entertain us.  I am terrified of a lot of things!
Some of the usual things, such as spiders, snakes, fire, things that go bump in the night, and for me a biggie is chickens!

Yes, I said chickens!  I love to eat them. I'm just afraid of them while they are alive.

I was attacked by a mean rooster when I was fourteen.  He ripped my jeans and tried flogging me in my face.  I fought hard but was loosing the battle like the Redcoats on Kings Mountain.  Then my mom suddenly appeared and hit that old rooster with a mop.  My dad caught him and 3 weeks latter we enjoyed about 10 pounds of chicken salad.

But my biggest fear is what I am doing tonight...on this scary Halloween night...writing this blog.

Yes, writing scares the patooties out of me.

There are a ton of reasons.  All of them are wrapped up in "What Ifs?"  What if  I can't express myself correctly?  What if no one reads it?  What if they do and expect lots more?  What if I'm boring?  What if....What if....What if....?  The Goliath of these "What If Giants" is what if... I give up again....quit again...hide again?

So, I can sit here in my fear or be brave and face those "What If Giants," including my Goliath.
I am going to throw a stone at my giant Goliath.  The stone of forgiveness.  I am going to forgive myself.  I forgive myself for quiting, for leaving you readers, and for disobeying GOD.

I know HE has forgiven is time for me to forgive me too.

By throwing that stone, I am able to sit here tonight and finish this post without fear.  It doesn't matter if you read it.  It doesn't matter if you like it....I hope you do...but honestly it doesn't matter.  Tonight, it doesn't matter if my grammar is correct, or if I am communicating beautifully.  What matters is that I obey GOD and write.  I'm throwing the stone and leaving the results up to HIM.  Because it is for HIM, by HIM, and through HIM that I can even breathe and be FEARLESS and write.

Psalm 34:4 "I sought the LORD, and HE answered me and delivered me from all my fears."

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Coming Out Of The Wilderness

Last post was in 2011!
It has been a long 5 plus years!  My years of wilderness training.  Much like the children of Israel when they faced the promise land the first time, I too saw too many giants to my ministry and ran away. 
I have learned some hard lessons in the wilderness.  Lessons about faith, being vulnerable....grunt and shiver, lessons about grace, and trust.

A lot has changed.  My daughter Zoie is now a senior in high school and planning for college.  Mike is a VA Chaplain and a chaplain in the Army reserves.  We are living in Ohio....very different from SC...but we love it!!!!

But most of all I've changed. 

In this new adventure with this old blog....I'd like to share with you not only lessons from the wilderness but also the real me.  Not the blogger me.  Not the minister's wife me.  Not the scared to let you see my mess me.  It is through those weak and messy times I have come to understand that JESUS loves to shine in and through us.  So truthfully, in hearing my stories, and seeing my messes, you will see HIS perfection, HIS grace. I want you to know that if HE can love this messed up girl who desperately wants to walk in pretty shoes, then HE loves you too!

The giants are still in the promised land.  I am trusting GOD to help me select the stones and like my hero David, trust HIM to deliver the blows. 

Pray for me as I write here.  Pray as I share my story....HIS story. 

I will commit to come here, I'll bring my coffee, my Bible, my sense of humor, my faith, and my fears....but most of all I'll bring my my true love...JESUS