Monday, September 20, 2010


O LORD, the God of my salvation,
I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
Let my prayer come before you;
Incline Your ear to my cry!
For my soul has had enough troubles,
And my life has drawn near to Sheol.
I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit;
I have become like a man without strength.

But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You
O LORD, why do You reject my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on,
I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.
Your burning anger has passed over me;
Your terrors have destroyed me.
They have surrounded me like water all day long;
They have encompassed me altogether.
You have removed lover and friend far from me;
My acquaintances are in darkness.

Psalm 88: 1-4, 13-18

I will never forget the events of this year.  The troubles it has presented will forever be etched in my brain. More than this, the perceived rejection of my soul by God has almost been too much to bear.  Job came to my mind many times.  With this reflection came a glimpse of hope because his faith persevered even though his woes were much worse than mine.  Those who knew him perceived his circumstances as abandonment from God.  He suffered God’s terrors in the loss of all his children, his business, and his health.  His own wife and dearest friends betrayed him in his darkest hour and taunted him to reject his Lord.  Surely his soul had experienced enough troubles and yet he never walked away from God.   For Job, the thought of walking away was incomprehensible. 
And so it is for me as well. Incomprehensible.  Although I could never walk away from the One who saved me, my choices to dwell in fear reflected an attitude of the heart that revealed to some degree that I had walked away.  I was not face down in reverence.  I was not fasting in holiness.  I was not fervently praying in expectation.  I was not trusting in faith.  I was not faithful.  There I said it.   I was not faithful. My soul was conflicted in the feeling that God’s love for me had changed.  My perceptions and reasonings went something like this…..If God was for me, our business would not be failing.  If He was for me, our family members would not be losing their battle with cancer.  If He was for me, my husband would not be battling depression from the impending deaths of his father and brother.  If He was for me, our bills would be paid.  If He was for me, we would be able to buy our own groceries.  If He was for me, my dearest friends would be rallied around me.  If He was for me, creditors would stop calling.  If He was for me, my outer circumstances would be resolved and God’s order would remedy our chaos.   This is the dangerous side of perceptions.  When they come from a spirit of depravity, they break your heart and often wound those who love you.  A spirit of depravity distorts the goodness of God and the perfection of His sovereign plans.

One of my dearest friends has been given a spiritual gift from God.  Profound revelation is coming through him on his journey to wholeness in truth.  He is a medical doctor but God has been turning his world inside out with His truths on healing.  Recently, he text me some of his insights:

“Outer circumstances  are simply and always a reflection of inner circumstances.  To change, resolve or “work out” outer conflicts to bring inner peace is a colossal waste of time and energy.  Inner conflicts arise from fear and fears always arise from mistaken perception of a lack of love.  Inner peace naturally arises when inner conflicts resolve and inner conflicts only resolve when misconception is corrected.  There is no lack of love anywhere.”

I received this word in the depths of my spirit.  I read it over and over.  I felt the Lord’s love washing over me and reminding me that He had not changed irregardless of my perceptions, irregardless of my circumstances. My conflicted soul was an unnecessary state of being.  It was the sin of my unbelief that caused my separation from God’s love.  I needed to correct my misconception.  His love for me was not lacking nor had it ever been.  God’s love is and has always been abounding, never failing, unchanging, redeeming and worthy of our praise irregardless of anything. This truth brought me peace and released me once again from the thoughts and feelings that took me captive.  In God, there is no lack of love.  His love for me and His love for you is immeasurable and pure.  This is a peace establishing, freedom generating truth.

Freedom in Christ opens the heart to hope again, to be renewed by the One who gave His life so that you may have life to the fullest. So with this reaffirmed in my heart… we are rebuilding our business, grieving the loss of our loved ones, “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, learning to laugh again, more grateful for the food He provides, opening our hearts back up to the friends that seemed absent, and getting over the shame of financial failure.  But more than this I am seeing more clearly those around me whose souls remain conflicted.  I am understanding that their outward wrath stems from inward fear and a perceived lack of love in their lives.  Their depravity is heart breaking.  As one who has been broken, I understand this.  However, there is a Savior who loves them who is heart binding.

Scripture Memory:  Isaiah 61:1-2a
The Spirit of the sovereign LORD is upon me. Because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberties to captives, and freedom to prisoners.  To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God.

Soul Searching Reflection:
How is your soul conflicted in the circumstances you are facing?
How has the spirit of depravity manifested itself in your assessment of situations?
Who has been wounded by your distortion of God’s goodness?
What is your greatest fear?  
What do you feel God is withholding from you?
How has your soul been impacted by a perceived lack of love in your life?  
How does the knowledge that God’s immeasurable love for you has not changed affect your perception of your situation?
What efforts will you make to replace the spirit of depravity with the spirit of gratitude?
Are you ready to re-establish hope in your heart by embracing God’s love for you?
What would your life look like if inner peace established itself from a right perspective of God’s goodness and love? 
What relationships is God asking you to restore by the power of His love?
How have the eyes of your soul been opened to God’s desire to bind your broken heart?
How does freedom from anger, bitterness, rejection, unbelief, doubts and fears appeal to your soul?
What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today? 
How does this revelation impact the condition of your soul?
What soul searching changes is God asking you to make this week?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


O LORD, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him in God.”

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the LORD with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain.
I lay down and slept
I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.
Psalm 3:1-6

Why is it so easy to judge others?   Is it human nature or human depravity that causes us to assess their spiritual status, their material status, and the caliber of their character?  Is it a learned behavior?  Is it a coping mechanism for our own insecurities?  Is it a reference point for establishing our own boundaries? Is it required of us to some degree in our responsibilities as Christians to be discerning?  These are all thought provoking questions that deserve reasonable answers.  I have been on both sides for more years than I care to admit.  Subjected to judgment within my own family, my participation in returning the same behavior supports the concept of it being a learned behavior.  This is by no means meant to place blame on those before me or to justify my participation.  It is merely an exploration of who I have been and who I dare to become.  I actually despise this about myself.  This constant internal assessment of other people’s issues, as if my soul is a wealth of health, is comical at best. 

Recently the three headed dragon of dysfunction raised it’s head again between my siblings, only this time it included me.  At one of the lowest points in my life, I now faced betrayal, judgment and extreme aloneness in the sadness it brought.  So much so, I found myself waking from mid sleep crying and wishing my “daddy” were still alive.  He had gone home to be with Jesus just three short months prior and my heart remained broken from his absence.  I just needed to experience his unconditional love and hear his sweet voice tell me he loved me one more time.  “Daddy” was my father-n-law on this side of heaven and other than Jesus there is no purer love that I have ever known.  The next day I said to my spouse, “Am I delusional to think I am the only “normal” sibling?  As I shared thoughts regarding my siblings, I asked him, “What does that make me?”  Without hesitation he responded, “Well, they say you’re the self-righteous, judgmental one.” While laughing on the outside, my soul was screaming, “Ouch!”.  I think we need to change the phrase, “out of the mouth of babes” to “out of the mouth of spouses”.  It was painful to hear but more true than I care to admit.  And since I am famous for preaching from the “accountability” soap box, it was my turn to sit before it in deep reflection.  This was not the transformation I was aiming for when I gave my heart to Jesus.  God is not glorified when others walk away feeling anything less than the glory He has for them because of my words, attitudes or behaviors.  Since the greatest of God’s commands is to “Love God and love others” then this is the standard by which I must measure myself.  It is what I will fight for when the forces of this world tell me to behave differently.  It is one of the battles I will contend with for all the days of my life; The battle between the contamination of assessment and the purity of God’s love. 

How then do we establish healthy boundaries without assessing the unhealthy?  What about our responsibility as Christians to be discerning?  How do we break generational yokes without appearing to justify self-righteousness? How do we overcome the shame of past failures in our witness and proceed on to our destined glory?

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.  I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept.  I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.  I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, who have set themselves against me round about.

God is with us in our failure just as much as He is with us in our success.  God was with us in our past just as much as He will be with us in our future.  God is in us just as much as He is around us.  He is the One who moves us forward when others say our behaviors make us unworthy to press on.  He is the One who has drawn our boundary lines in pleasant places when others don’t understand the difference in our landscape.  He is the one who lifts our head when others assess the worthiness of our soul.

Has any of this evoked something within you that you had not been able to articulate until now?

Scripture Memory:  Isaiah 43:18-19
Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

Soul Searching Reflection:

How are you assessing the people in your life? 
Are your assessments from Godly discernment or a state of depravity?
How have you been impacted by other’s assessment of you?
How has this impacted your ability to move forward in God’s plan for you?
Before today, were you aware of the battle?  How will you arm yourself for victory in the coming days?
What is God challenging you to become for His glory?
What behaviors or things in your past do you need to let go of?
What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today? 
How does this revelation impact the condition of your soul?
What soul searching changes is God asking you to make this week?

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help,
Draw also the spear and the battle axe
to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul “I am your salvation”.

Psalm 35:1-3

Why are the enemies that contend with our souls given permission to linger in our memory data base? Reflecting back on the past two years, it seems as though these enemies have battled against my soul without ceasing; Enemies such as fear, depression, despair, cancer, betrayal, hopelessness, grief, and sheer terror. Each enemy came with it’s own team of circumstances. Some knocked me out in the ring. Others roughed me up with marks of black and blue. Still others knocked me down but I got up.

The opponents that came with a team of external circumstances justified them as seemingly worthy opponents; Loss of income, family members battling cancer, chronic health issues, etc. What became most terrifying were the opponents that came with a team of internal circumstances that raged against my soul. One opposing team member questioned the authenticity of my faith. Yet, another denounced the goodness of my God. One mocked my character as a daughter of the King. Another doubted my worth as a Christian who appeared to weak to stand. As the blows kept coming, my soul despaired. In the ring, I lost consciousness of my God. I became paralyzed apart from my Healer. My breath was gone even though the very breath of God had been sealed within me.

“Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me: Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of buckler and shield and rise up for my help. Draw also the spear and the battle axe to meet those who pursue me”

In my soul searching efforts in God’s word, Psalm 35 showed me that contending with these enemies were never my battles to contend with. Should I have stepped into the ring? Absolutely! The ring represents the testing of our faith, a place where God has the opportunity to be glorified through us. My mistake was that I stepped into the ring relying on my own strength, my own skills and strategy for winning. Round One busted my lip. Round two blurred my vision when it knocked me down. Round three paralyzed me. But God, in His infinite mercy, called me to my corner and asked me if I had had enough? And as He doctored my quivering lips, my vision of who He is came into focus. My Contender, my Strength and my Shield was before me. Heart wrenching cries poured forth, “ENOUGH! Enough of me, Pappa! Save me. Just one more time Pappa. Please save me.”

“Say to my soul, “God is my salvation!”

I don’t know what you are facing today.

Maybe your soul has been knocked out in the loss of a relationship? The loss of a marriage? The loss of a loved one? The loss of a dream?

Maybe your soul’s vision has been blurred watching a loved one battling a ferocious disease? Or watching financial ruin rob you of your ability to provide food for your children? Or maybe your vision is blurred because the enemy keeps reminding you of who you were and what he says you will never be?

Maybe your soul is paralyzed by the labels this world has placed on you? Or by chronic, debilitating health issues? Or just maybe your paralysis stems from unbelief that you will ever be what God’s Word says you can be?

Is your soul ready to win? Stop contending! Step up as God’s warrior, fully trusting His power to protect you! Step aside as God’s treasured child, fully embracing His immeasurable love for you!! The battle is His!

Scripture Memory: Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for us, we need only to be still/silent.”

Soul Searching Reflection:

What are you contending with today?

What is your current posture in the ring? Are you beaten up? Knocked down? Knocked out? Are you in between rounds seeking God’s salvation?

What effects have the battles had upon your soul? Is there unresolved anger from the wounds? Is there unforgiveness in your heart?

What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today?

How does this revelation impact the condition of your soul?

What soul searching efforts is God asking you to make this week?