Believing the Promises of God - in His Word

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ~ Romans 4 [selected 18-21]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Walking In Your Own House?

Is your house dedicated to the LORD? How do you walk in your own house? What kind of friends do you 'hang' with or take 'counsel' from? All grammar errors aside, I was pondering this Psalm in the light of those questions for myself today. Sometimes the hardest place for us to walk blameless [upright] is in our own house. How about you?

  • Psalm 101:1-6

Of David. A psalm.

1 I will sing of Your love and justice; to You, O LORD, I will sing praise.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless [upright] life— when will You come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless [upright] heart.
3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
4 Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.
5 Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure.
6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless [ upright] will minister [counsel] to me. [emphasis mine]

Choosing JOY,


Friday, October 26, 2007

Please Be Seated!

After spending the last two hours in God’s Word, I am back at the place of this one verse that the LORD is speaking:

  • Psalm 46:10

"BE STILL and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

The best way to be attentive to the LORD – is to be still. I am to be still for at least another week. My own thoughts at this hour, however, are to plunge into an idea that I have had. I’ve thought it was a good one – with right motives – with a right heart – and yet I hear God saying, “Be still, Stephanie, sit down and listen, and LET ME ACT on your behalf.”

Look who gets fed or blessed or taught here in this passage:

  • John 6:10-11
Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. [emphasis mine]

I wonder, on that day, did the disciples ever eat any of that food? Or were they so busy distributing [even doing good] and picking up crumbs that they might never have been fed by the Master?

Our first thought – or our first reaction to something – may not always be God’s intention or even His move. Being ‘still’ for a time - sitting down – can show us if it was or it was not.

So I am choosing to be still and listen attentively, and wait first!

LORD, I’m sitting at Your feet, waiting and listening to Your voice.

Choosing JOY,


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Commissioned Oak

Psalm 46:10

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Year of the LORD's Favor

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me [Christ], because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them [us] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They [we] will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor. [notes and emphasis mine]

Romans 8:35, 38-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Choosing JOY,


Monday, October 22, 2007

Sore Thumb?

Do you stick out like a sore thumb? Does the life you live for Christ contrast that of the world? God calls us to holiness - to be set apart for Him. That looks quite different from what the world tells us life should be. Sometimes reading a paraphrase can put it into the context of our world. I don't do this often [ use a paraphrase ] but this one really helped me to grasp what this passage says. Actually, reading both make it really clear.
  • I Peter 3: 13-18 NIV Translation
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. [emphasis mine]

· 1 Peter 3: 13-18 The Message [a paraphrase]

13-18 If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath. It's better to suffer for doing good, if that's what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God. [emphasis mine]

In all that we say we must say it with utmost courtesy, gentleness and respect. But it's OK to stick out like a sore thumb to the rest of the world. We're supposed to!

Choosing JOY,


Friday, October 19, 2007

Into HIS Presence - 1 Year

At 6PM on October 19th, 2006 - one year ago today - my husband, Bob, entered into the Presence of His Savior Jesus Christ! We celebrated his home-going then - as we do now - with JOY. Bob was blessed by our 3 children and their spouses and the 5 grandchildren - all of which he was able to hold in his arms before entering the gates of heaven. We celebrated 34 years of marriage in August of last year as well!

I am posting this picture of the two of us because I wanted to stand with Bob one more time in remembering Who God is - and what God did for him those last 124 days of God's sufficient Healing and Grace in Bob's life.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Oh, how Christ's power rested on Bob those last days! As we honor his life of integrity, his gifted singing abilities, and his love for Jesus, we also bring glory and honor to the Father who saved him and chose him and allowed him to be called 'a child of the King'!

We cannot honor Bob - or the LORD more - than to print out his favorite passage from scripture which became his 'theme passage' after being diagnosed with cancer so many years ago. The cancer that he endured did not win out - God did!

  • 1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise to God for a Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [emphasis mine]

Earth is not our home - we are only passing through! Bob received the ultimate goal of his faith!

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Awaiting His Presence

  • Isaiah 55:8-9

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Yesterday... turned out to be quite a different day than we had all anticipated. I taught a Bible study in the afternoon in another's home and had expected to find my daughter and her whole family to have arrived from Florida - waiting for me when I returned to my house that afternoon. The only one there was my son-in-law, Rob.

My grandson, Drew, had gotten terribly ill in the airport when they arrived - throwing up all over so much that they had to throw away his clothes and even some of Rob's clothes that he was wearing. Becky and Rob are missionaries and were coming in to speak at my church on Sunday - as well as be home for the celebration of the 1 year marker of Bob's home going to glory. Becky had to turn around and drive home with the kids while Rob boarded the plane for NJ without any of them.

All week I have written about how God had brought me to a place of worship with Him - like I have never known. With that phone call I didn't feel much like worship.

When I got the call just before leaving to teach that Bible study... the Lord spoke to my heart saying, "Just this morning you were praising Me for the promise of GOOD in your life. Did I change after that phone call? Am I still good? Do I still promise good to you, Stephanie? Do you still believe I AM WHO I say I AM?"

I answered, "You are still Good, Lord. Nothing has changed. I am very disappointed that they will not be here with me - but You already know that. And yes, LORD, You are still good, and You have still promised good to me."

Lastly, the Lord spoke again to my heart, "Will you still worship Me as you have all week?

At that moment I realized that true worship of Jesus Christ rests on Him alone and has nothing to do with the circumstances in my life or my feelings which change moment by moment. So... I ran to the Word - the only place I know for healing and comfort.

The Lord had given me a new song (Jeremy Camp CD - STAY) the day before which sing these words:

I Still Believe

I've never felt so torn before , seems I don't know where to start.

But it's now... that I feel , Your grace fall like rain,

From every fingertip, washing away my pain.

'Cause I still believe in Your faithfulness.

I still believe in Your truth.

I still believe in Your Holy Word.

Even when I don't see --- I still believe.

  • Isaiah 55:10-11

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. [emphasis mine]

I still believe... You are Who You say You are... and I will still worship You alone!

And Lord? Thanks for wiping my tears with Your fingertip!

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Anointed Worship

John 12: 1-3
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. [emphasis mine]

Jesus is being anointed by Mary [a woman] here in complete abandon of worship! Oh, that we might worship like this! I continue to feel like the LORD has been anointing me this week as He has cared so tenderly for me in drawing me close to Himself all week!

What a Savior, What a Friend, we have in Jesus! ...I Praise You LORD!

Choosing JOY,


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Abandoned in Worship

  • Exodus 34: 4-9

4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed His Name, the LORD. 6 And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 "O Lord, if I have found favor in Your eyes," he said, "then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance." [emphasis mine]

When God shows His glory - it requires a response from us. Moses bowed [at once] and worshiped the Lord!

  • 2 Samuel 6:12-15
12 Now King David was told, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the Ark of God." So David went down and brought up the Ark of God (representing God's Presence) from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the Ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. [emphasis mine]

David responds in abandoned worship before the Lord when the Ark of the Covenant is finally brought up correctly (God's way) to the City of David, Jerusalem.

How often do we see God's glory or are brought into His Presence? How often do we respond to it - abandoned in Worship to Him? I hope we can answer - "every time"!

Choosing JOY,


Friday, October 12, 2007

A Heart of Worship

The LORD has brought me to a place of study today and the next 7 days - of showing me TRUE WORSHIP! I believe the timing of this is totally His doing because of the year marker coming next Friday. The LORD has promised GOOD to me! He continues to be forever FAITHFUL!

· 2 Corinthians 3:3-6, 7-13, 15-18

3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Glory of the New Covenant

7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. [emphasis mine]

These are just some of the verses and passages that we discussed in my various Bible studies over the last few days. The glory of God – due only to HIM – yet HE chooses to share [in that] with us who believe in Christ Jesus as Savior.

We saw how God’s laws and commands where once (first) written on tablets of stone – showing the law as outward, hard and rigid [under the Old Covenant]. Then in the [New Covenant] it is now written on the human hearts of those who believe – showing how the law has now moved inward – by the Holy Spirit - to a soft and pliable place where God can work His purpose (and glory) in us.

Glory to God and all Praise due His Name!

Choosing JOY,


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mirror Mirror...

These next few days will be a bit more personal than usual as my family and I draw closer to that year marker of my husband, Bob's, passing into glory! With 9 days to go - God has been pouring down the rain of blessing each day.

Yesterday I had to take Bob's vehicle through Inspection here in NJ. For me - that has always been a traumatic thing - even though over all the years I can remember - we have never had a vehicle fail inspection. This year the Tahoe had a cracked mirror on the passenger side and I wondered if that would pass.

As I waited my turn in line I asked the Lord to "go before me". I asked the Lord to allow it to pass even with the crack - but then I said, "If it fails, help me in that too, that You would go before me and direct me in how to replace that mirror."

As I pulled into the first lane of the 4 lane garage I greeted the attendant and asked how his day was going. He replied in a gruff voice, "Terrible, and it's getting worse."

My heart took a back seat because it was only 11AM. He then proceeded to argue with two other men over who was taking their lunch first. The next thing I knew all three of them abandoned their station for lunch and I waited until a fourth man was pulled from another lane to inspect my vehicle. Needless to say the wait was very long. I sat on a bench talking to two other people. They left and I was alone in my seat. I prayed for the men who had been arguing. Then I asked the Lord to take away my anxiousness for my own vehicle and just give me the peace that He would go before me - no matter what the outcome.

After a half hour, it made it to the end when I heard the man clicking a paper punch. I realized at that moment that it did not pass - something. When I came around the man simple said, "Just your mirror lady, everything else passed, you just gotta get that cracked mirror replaced."

I had wanted this to be fixed and over - instantly - but it was not. As I climbed back in the Tahoe, I thanked the Lord for the rest of it "passing" and then asked Him once again to help me to find out how to get a replacement.

I asked a few people's advice and most said to call auto reclyclers for a cheaper part. I did that this morning 5 times- each one telling me the same story, "No, lady, we don't have one and you have to order a new one with the whole mirror (box and all). The cost is $100 or more."

Rather than getting upset, I stopped to pray once again, "Lord, this is not going as easily as I had hoped but I know you have it all worked out for my good. Please direct me and show me who to call next." I thumbed through the yellow pages once more and saw one with the name CROWN Auto. There was something about CROWN that stood out. When I called - a man told me that he could not even order it BUT... he advised me to call Mainland Plate Glass Co. nearby. I was quite familiar with them as we had used them for many glass needs over the years because Bob had worked around the corner from them and used them quite often for needs on his job. When I called a woman answered and pleasantly told me it would cost $30 and they would cut and install a new mirror on the old one. She said the inspection stations refer them there all the time for the same thing.

I jumped in the Tahoe and asked the Lord to go before me again - then I added that if there was anything I could do to share about Bob, that God would open the door for that.

A man greeted me at the door and asked what I needed. I showed him the mirror. "I was hoping you could fix this," I said.

"I'd love to fix that for you today, have a seat, it will take few minutes, " he said as he explained how he would do it. Fifteen minutes later he appeared with a new mirror. I told him it was hard to get off the vehicle and I was fearful of trying to hook it back on properly - to which he offered to do it for me (not his job). Done!

The lady who spoke with me over the phone came out to take my payment. I thanked her for taking the time to do such a small inexpensive job. Then I said, "You know, my husband, Bob came in here for the last 40 years to get work done and he always recommended you because of your price and your speed at doing the work." I thanked her again for all her help and told her how much all the other places wanted to charge. She smiled and slipped into the back room to complete my transaction. I thanked her again as she handed my the receipt. My car was parked right out front and as I got in and started the vehicle another older man came running out waving at me. I did not know him so I hesitated opening the window on the other side to see what he wanted but the Lord seemed to tell me it was OK.

"Is this the mirror we fixed for you?" he asked. I told him it was. "I knew your husband for many years. He was a good, kind man. I always liked him. I was sorry to hear about his passing last year," he said as tears welled up in his eyes (and mine).

I thanked him for taking the time to tell me that as we chit-chatted a bit longer. As I drove away the tears just poured down my face. I had wanted an "instant fix" yesterday which would have still left a broken mirror - but God wanted to fix the mirror and add a blessing to it! I needed to be reminded (today of all days) the kind man I had been married to for 34 years, a man of integrity, that followed him all the days of his life.

  • Titus 2:11-12
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ... [emphasis mine]

The Grace of God taught Bob. He lived it - waited for it - and received it!

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Whispers of His Word

Today has become a day of “settling in with the Lord” – through calming and quieting myself before Him today! He has spoken volumes in the whispers of His Word.
  • Exodus 33:14-18
14 The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
15 Then Moses said to Him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"
17 And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."
18 Then Moses said, "Now show me Your glory."
[emphasis mine]

As long as this chapter (33) has been my favorite one in the entire OT – I did not recall the reasons God gave Moses for why He finally agreed to go with him. Perhaps I need to read it and reflect upon it more often.

Moses asked for God's Presence to go with him and the people. God was pleased with Moses and Moses asked persistently. This is the very thing I asked the Lord about this past week and even today. He continues to give the same response even while I fear failure to obey Him. When I ask for His Presence - He continues to go before me in all that I do!

I also asked the Lord a few weeks ago – that when that time comes – when I am really in His will doing what pleases Him the most – that He will bring the rain that is so needed here in our area. It began raining an hour ago - a beautiful steady rain – soaking the earth – bringing new life to what needs to grow!

God is faithful and worthy to be praised!
May glory and honor be His - now and forever!

Choosing JOY,


Isaiah 55:8-11 - as a follow up!

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tweaking Can Cost You!

I was amazed as I studied this passage again today about Moses. When you first read it - it doesn't seem like such a big deal that Moses attempted to "tweak" God's command (for whatever reason). Then again... perhaps it is a big deal! At least God thought so!

  • Numbers 20:6-12
6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD'S presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in Me enough to honor Me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." [emphasis mine]

God said, "Speak to that rock." - Moses struck the rock twice instead. His speech to the people makes it seem like he [Moses] is the one who is bringing the water from the rock - rather than God. God - needed to show Moses and the people Who was in charge [the Holy One of Israel] and Who was providing the water they needed. It seems like such a little thing [of disobedience] yet look what it cost Moses (vs12). And God kept His Word. Moses never did enter the Promised Land.

I know I often fail to take God at His Word - or obey exactly as He says. I know I have done just that - tried to "tweak" God's commands thinking it's no big deal. I hope that the next time I face a clear command of the Lord - I will think twice (beforehand) about the consequences that could follow my "tweaking".

  • Matthew 5:37
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Choosing JOY,


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pleasing God!

Deuteronomy 28:1-14

Blessings for Obedience

1 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

9 The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear[respect] you. 11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.
12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. [emphasis mine]

Even with all the blessings God will pour out for my obedience - I want a willing heart to be obedient - for one reason - to please the Lord my God!

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Work in Progress

I have been studying the life of David since the day after Christmas last year. Every time I finish one area of study on him - the Lord brings another. I have observed often how necessary it is for me to see the relationship that David had with God (the good and the bad parts) in order to see Christ in my own life more clearly.

I have been challenged this week to ask myself this question. What is it that hinders me from that pure and intimate relationship that Christ so desires?

That poses a second question. What must be stripped away, pruned back severely in my life so that I see, hear and feel nothing by HIM?

The thing about David is that he did not become the King over Israel in an instant - not even in a decade. Why? Because he was a work in progress. God had many things to teach David - about life - about the Kingdom - about his enemies - about God Himself - about prayer - and especially about David's own weaknesses. That takes time.

I keep coming back to this one passage that David wrote. This is actually the 2nd time in the same Psalm that he says these words. He begins with them too.
  • Psalm 62:5-8
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. Selah [emphasis mine]

I thought about how early in life God called and anointed David to be King - yet it was years before he actually took that position. Again, he was a work in progress with much to learn.

Beth Moore points this out in her study guide, A Heart Like His:

"We often want to be called of God, then ushered painlessly into a position of service and honor, miraculously possessing the character our callings require.... God often works the same sequence in us that He worked in David:

1. He calls us.
2. He prepares us.
3. He uses us.
4. He prepares us some more.
5. He uses us some more.

... He will continue to work in us until we see His face, because that's the ultimate moment for which He's preparing!"

God says David was a man after God's own heart - yet we see him fail miserably in life many times. Sound familiar? It sure does in my life. Until we see His shining face - we are a work in progress. I want to enjoy Him on the journey and trust Him through it!

Choosing JOY,


Monday, October 1, 2007


I had the privilege last Saturday to speak at our annual Women's Fall Luncheon at the Historic Smithville Inn right here in Southern New Jersey for a group of 110 ladies.

I was one of three speakers along with a lovely group who shared their gifts in music. The event took months to plan and seemed to fall apart the week before. BUT GOD...(I love those words) had His plan all along! He was faithful - as always and all we had to do was TRUST Him!

Then... we watched as God truly was the Master Conductor that day of a great orchestra of women. Each did their part, keeping a close eye on the Conductor's hand as He led us to play the magnificent symphony He had planned! What a day. Our theme verse is on the photo (Romans 15:13).

Here are my cliff notes as I was the last of the speakers tying it all together.

Our theme was: HOPE AGAIN!

Have you lost all hope? Are there giants in the land where you live ; things we carry with us wherever we go - pushing them down - yet feeling helpless to defeat them?

We all have them:

Our past...our diseases—
our fears— our divorces—
our victimizations— our traumas—
the death of a parent—
the death of a spouse—

the death of a friend or sibling—
the death of a child
our addictions of every kind—
or even - our own sin….

What is YOUR Goliath? How do we respond to them? How do we gain HOPE AGAIN to overcome them?

  • Psalm 62: 5-8 says:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
[emphasis mine]

3 Principles in finding HOPE AGAIN:

#1 = PRAYER = "Prayer... activates what God has already purposed in your life!"

  • Jeremiah 29:11-12
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.


  • Hebrews 13:15
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His Name. [Italic mine]

Praising God... beats the devil at his own game. It's the very thing he hates the most because he can't make a move toward us when we praise the Name of Jesus Christ!


  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

There is no other substitute, no other book , no other place where the warm breath of God can leap off the page - into the heart of you and me.

All 3 bring the very PRESENCE of GOD!

Are you ready to find HOPE AGAIN?
You can - in GOD ALONE!

Choosing JOY,