A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Baring Arms

“Did you mean bear arms?” my spell checker asked? I don’t talk to my spell checker but yes, I meant to write it that way!

The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

Isaiah wrote this of the Lord In Is 52:10 of the restoration of Jerusalem.

Earlier in the chapter He called to them saying,

Awake, awake,
Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion;
Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city;
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
Will no longer come into you.
Shake yourself from the dust, rise up,
O captive Jerusalem;
Loose yourself from the chains around your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion.

He was calling for His people to awake and arise and go forth out of their captivity and back to Jerusalem, the city of the great King! He was announcing peace and good news and salvation to them. Even though it was their disobedience that got them where they were, here is God calling them out, calling them forth from their bonds and oppression and back to their rightful place in the world and in Him. He declares that HE has redeemed them back to Himself.

And who would dare to try to stop them? No one because the Lord Himself has bared His holy arm in the eyes of all nations!

We’ve all seen it. What do people do when they want to show you how strong they are? They roll up their sleeve and flex their bicep so that you can see and fear their strength.  That is the picture I get when I read v10. I see the Lord Himself rolling up His sleeve and flexing His holy right arm as He looks into the faces of our enemies as if He is just daring them to try to hurt one of us. He goes further and tells Israel that it is He that goes before them clearing the way AND He will be their rear guard just in case their enemies get stupid and arrogant and think that they can sneak up and recapture them. The Lord seeks to show Himself strong to His people AND to His enemies because it glorifies Him.

I take comfort in this passage of scripture. The Lord has not changed. He is still calling His people forth out of the bondages and things of this world that hold us captive. He has already proclaimed and provided peace, good news and salvation through the precious death and resurrection of His Son.

And when the enemy looms large over us, when we feel overwhelmed and overcome, the Lord is stepping in, rolling up His sleeve, barring that Holy right arm, flexing that spiritual muscle and  looking that enemy right in the eye just daring it to try something with us. This is part of our heritage in Christ. “No weapon formed against us will prosper. This is the heritage of the servants of God.” Is 54:17 When I take time to capture my thoughts and my fears and I remember that the Lord is all around me with His sleeve rolled up and His mighty arm flexed, there is peace even if the circumstances have not changed because I know that “the Lord is accomplishing all that concerns me.” Psalm 138:8 He did not forsake Israel then. He will not forsake me now.

Thank you Lord for the victory we have in Christ. Thank you that we have victory in every day and in every situation because you go before us and fight for us and you protect us from behind. We lose no ground because you are our rear guard! May my life be a testament of this so that all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God in my life!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What's Bad About Submission?

We submit to a lot of things in this life. We submit to Doctors because there is a chance that they can heal what ails us. We don’t question their intentions and although we may not like their treatments, we willingly submit to them in order to gain health. We may not enjoy the treatments but yet we endure them.  We submit to the ruling laws of our society because they keep us safe. We don’t speed in school zones, we pay our taxes, we treat other’s property with respect because the laws tell us that we must, but in the end we are the ones who benefit from it in that our children are safe, there are benefits that we enjoy as Americans that others in the world only dream of, and we have resources for living that exist nowhere in the world in such abundance. 

There is something much worse than cancer can ever be that plagues every single human being on earth. That thing is sin. Yet most are reluctant to submit to the one who can deliver them from sin and all of its consequences either because they don’t realize that the things that are plaguing them in life are a symptom of sin or they perceive His treatment as too harsh. We are willing to do whatever it takes to rid of bodies of cancer but unwilling to endure that much to rid ourselves of sin. Cancer is at the very worst temporary. When we die, it dies. Sin remains and is eternal. It would just make sense to want to rid yourself of it. 

So we see that submission in itself is not a bad word or concept. There are many benefits that it provides.  In fact many of the freedoms that we live in come as a result of submission to the boundaries that submission establishes. 

But you ask, how can submission and freedom be bed fellows? Even freedom at it’s highest level has boundaries because without them eventually unrestrained freedom will lead to bondage. Consider the alcoholic. He was free to buy and consume alcohol. But because there was no restraint in his freedom to do this, he becomes a slave to it and enters into a bondage that he cannot escape. This is the devils way. He tells us that the restrictions of God’s Word are burdensome, overbearing, and destructive to our happiness. He tells us that they bind us in the prison of the mundane, that they will keep us from experiencing all that life has to offer.  Wasn’t that his lie to Eve in the garden? He asked her “has God said?” and then convinced her that God was withholding freedoms from her that she should have. The decision that she and Adam made has adversely affected the whole of the human race since that time and will continue until sin has been obliterated from the earth. 

Now we’ve discussed things that we submit to because it benefits us. That is willing submission, but not pleasant submission.  But we also submit to many things because it is pleasant to submit. 

When we meet that one special person we willingly submit to some boundaries in that relationship. For instance, I don’t flirt with men. I don’t flaunt my bodily features in front of them to gain attention. I don’t deny that person my time, my attention or my affection, no, in fact, I’m willing to sacrifice all those things for them. But as many have learned, pleasant submission is not always beneficial to us. Some relationships go sour and one or both parties suffer because we are human and flawed by that thing called sin which leads to self-worship and self-preservation and every other “self-” that there is. We can find ourselves trapped in relationships that are not good, or maybe not even safe for us any longer. 

In light of all of this I have to ask myself, what’s so bad about submitting to the one who can truly set you free? Why not willingly submit to the one whose submission will provide pleasure and complete freedom in all things?  This is hard to fathom because we have only experienced these things within the confines of human experience. God is perfect. His love is perfect. His plans for us are only for our good, joy, completion and freedom. He already is and has all these things for Himself and His only goal is to get them to us. But we see his treatments and solutions as too harsh or restrictive because we can only view them from our own human experience. Because our minds have been poisoned with that same question that God asked Eve “has God said?”, we miss out on the fullness that Adam and Eve experienced before the fall! We are no different than they were.  The same capacities and capabilities that resided in them reside in us. We were hardwired this way at creation. And once the curse of sin is removed, we can once again live in the same communion with God that they did. In fact, our communion with God through the Holy Spirit is better than what they had. It is part of the better covenant.  If that’s not freedom then there is no definition for it. Just as we are willing to submit to some initial discomfort to receive physical healing and health, does it not make sense to submit to some initial emotional and spiritual discomfort to obtain the same in all of our life? 

God has promised that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He has told us that His commands are not burdensome. 

A sled dog’s greatest desire is to be picked to be part of the sled team. When he is tied to the sled and the other dogs, he is with his master, obeying his every command. It is his greatest joy to please his master. He does not find the yoke hard or his master’s commands burdensome. In fact, he finds it quite exhilarating. When the master emerges from the house and starts to prepare the gear for the sled, the dogs go nuts in anticipation and excitement. Each one hoping that they will be part of the team that gets to slide into the yoke.

There will always be laws and rules and restrictions. Even nature itself sets boundaries for mankind that we must observe and obey or our very lives will be lost. 

So I ask you today, what is so bad about submitting to the one who can truly provide you everything that you search for in life? The one who can truly set you free!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

What 2015 taught me

I have to admit. I won't miss 2015. I'm glad to see it go. I have hopes for a better 2016.

Interspersed with all the bad, there was some good too....faithful friends, family, and most of all, a faithful God.

I learned a lot about myself, about people and about life in general this year. Many of those lessons came in the midst of pain and suffering but somehow I think they will end up being most valuable.

This year I learned...
  1. There are some things that come in life that change things forever. You just have to learn to accept them.
  2. I am stronger than I thought I was because Christ is real in me.
  3. In the midst of incredibly painful situations, there is still a hope and assurance in Christ that defies the reality of your present circumstances and that gives you strength to persevere.
  4. Sometimes you have to wage war to have peace.
  5. Sometimes you just need to cry and know that God understands.
  6. Everyday YOU make a choice to trust God and have faith or walk in unbelief and despair.
  7. God's grace is truly enough to bring peace in every storm.
  8. You never walk alone when you belong to Christ. When no one else knows your pain, Christ knows, cares and acts.
  9. God's way is better than even the most reliable advice the world might give. Listen to His voice. It won't always make sense, but it will always work.
  10. Sometimes covering a matter is better than validating your pain by telling others about it. God knows your pain. He will ease it.
  11. God did not forgive us so he could love us. He loved us so He forgave us. Forgiveness is an act of love and cannot be accomplished without love. If it's hard to forgive, than we need more of God's love in our own hearts. Then we can truly forgive.
  12. Don't exalt or debase people. We are all of equal value to God.
  13. Skilled Doctors are a blessing. 
  14. Always trust your gut. Don't ignore a symptom just because it's too painful to think about.
  15. Always tell the truth. Hiding part of the truth may provide temporary comfort but when it is fully known, the pain of it will be worse.
  16. Be angry, and yet do not sin.
  17. Healing takes time.
  18. "Your future is as bright as the promises of God."
  19. Some things are just worth fighting for, even if you think you may not win.
  20. Life is not fair. You can live right but bad things will still happen to you.
  21. Of all the things you have in life, people are the most important. Treasure them, value them, and hold them close.