Salt

saltRecently a friend was going through a difficult time in her family life. As we spoke she made the statement, “I need the community of believers right now. I need to worship with others. I have prayed, read and listened on line to worship, but I just need to experience Jesus with skin on.”

A few days later I learned that some women from her prayer group had kidnapped her and taken her out to dinner. They laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for her and simply loved her. When we spoke again she sounded very different. She had been with believers, not in a church service, but in a restaurant where they laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for each other and my friend was restored in her spirit. Her situation had not changed, but her total outlook had been refreshed and she had the courage and strength to go on.

I was reminded that years ago I made bread. I had put in the yeast, the flour, honey and oil. I had kneaded it and it rose and became five beautiful loaves of bread. The aroma filled the house and I sliced a piece right away. I watched as the butter melted and mixed with the honey on this delicious looking, amazing fresh hot bread, straight from the oven.

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WELL YUK!!! What was wrong with this bread?!

I had forgotten to add the salt. I had baked five beautiful loaves of bread. And I threw away five beautiful loaves of bread.

No salt.

Jesus told us we were to be the salt of the earth. My friend had all the ingredients to walk through this pain. She had the Word. She had the Spirit. She had Prayer. But sometimes we all just need a little salt to complete the recipe. We need the salt to make the bread of adversity  palatable. We need the salt to help us share the load so we can grasp hold of the hand of the Lord and just keep walking forward.

We all need a little salt sometimes. And at other times, we need to BE the salt. The Lord told us to bear each others burdens. The Book of Proverbs tells us that when one falls the other can lift him up.  Building community with other believers in so important in our lives. God created community in the garden. Jesus walked in community with his disciples. We were created for community. We need each other.

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So go and be salt to your world!

January 29 – Mount Tabor

Excellent for anyone pressing deeper into His presence. the signal fire has been lit for our soul to ‘go up to the mountain of the Lord!”

THE RIVER WALK

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Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? (Psalm 24:3)

Read: Exodus 8:1-9:35, Matthew 19:13-30, Psalm 24:1-10, Proverbs 6:1-5

Relate: Above there is a picture of a mountain followed by today’s verse asking who may climb the mountain of the Lord. I just want to clear up any possible confusion by saying right up front that no, the picture above isn’t the mountain of the Lord. The “mountain of the Lord” is Jerusalem. Often called Mount Zion in the Bible, Jerusalem has a much more gradual incline than this mountain pictured here. Just because the climb is gradual, however, doesn’t mean it is an easy ascent. Anyone coming from Galilee in the north to worship in Jerusalem during one of the festivals would not consider that final stretch very easy. They would head south towards Jericho and then cut west up to Jerusalem. From Jericho to Jerusalem is a…

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The Light, Hidden in Plain View

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My Christmas Décor, can you find it?

It’s hidden in plain view.

As you know we are in the middle of a big kitchen renovation. So this year my only Christmas decoration is a beautiful poinsettia. It sits perched on a box of dishes from the kitchen in the middle of the living room, along with the kitchen table, refrigerator and boxes of wood that will eventually become the floor. But today, I’ve added my Hanukah menorah celebrating the Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the temple after the Maccabeus revolt.

Interesting that John 10 mentions Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukah) to celebrate. The Light of the world standing in the middle of the Festival of Lights, but they didn’t recognize him. Hidden in plain view.

From John 1- “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not… He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

Some say Jesus was born in December. Others say that he came during the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall but was conceived in December during the Festival of Lights. Regardless of when, the fact is HE CAME. He came as the light to shatter the darkness. But the sad fact today is, just as in 32-33 AD, he stands in the midst of the brilliant, multi-colored Christmas lights and the soft light of the Hanukah candles as the Light of the world and many times still goes unrecognized as The Light. Hidden in plain view.

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The question to our hearts this Christmas is “Is He still hidden in plain view in my life?” Jesus told us that WE are the light of the world. Remember singing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” In this season of lights you can let His Light shine a little brighter through you, honoring the one true light of the world. Don’t let Him stay hidden in plain view, let him shine! Make a noise. shout a praise. sing a song. ring a bell. Yes, you can do those things. But you can also speak a little kinder to that harried cashier, love a little more gently when correcting your child, hug a little tighter when greeting a loved one, smile a little brighter when greeting strangers.

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Don’t keep Him hidden in plain view, let the Light of the world shine through you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!

Ready or not, Here comes Christmas!

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Delightful mugs of cocoa in front of a lovely blazing fire while gazing at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with carols playing in the background.

Christmas cards with Mary, innocent and beautiful, Joseph, strong and watchful, and a sweet sleeping baby lying in a manger of clean straw, with angels hovering all around.christmas-manger-pictures-mucbnplx.jpg

Does this remind you of Christmases past?

Instead of the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, Mary and Joseph saw the glorious light of an amazingly brilliant star. Instead of the sounds of carols being sung by a choir, they heard the hooves of the donkey, the clatter of carts on cobblestone and the laughter of children as they traveled to Bethlehem with the crowds of people. Instead of decorated coffee mugs they drank their cool water out of …. I’m really not sure what they used for drinking. Perhaps a clay bowl or a leather wine skin or possibly a wooden cup.

Sometimes as writers we make it dismal and hard or simple and joyful. As poets we clean it up, romanticize it or spiritualize it. As artists we might paint it as a brown desert scene or with snow or with a golden glow. Basically none of us in our present day know what it was really like.  But regardless of how we imagine it, paint it or spiritualize it, the most  important fact is this: HE DID COME.

Whether it was cold or hot, dirty or clean, beautiful or just raw. HE CAME

This Christmas my house is under major renovation and my usual routine of December has been totally interrupted. Last year I celebrated each morning by drinking from a different coffee mug and remembering how I got each one. I took a moment to stop and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas and even had a prayer focus on some days. I loved reading the comments and so many joined with me each morning.

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This morning as I stood in the middle of the chaos-hammers banging and saws sawing-I realized that Christmas would not wait for me. It would still come December 25, ready or not! This year the ONLY Christmas decor I have is a few coffee cups and one poinsettia. So I have a new plan for this year. When celebrating Sabbath the Jewish people light two candles every Friday evening at Sundown. The first is to remember, the second is to observe or celebrate. My plan is to follow the Jewish example: remember and observe. At least once a day, with my cup of coffee, I will make a point to stop and remember. I will remember that although my house is a little chaotic it will come back together and be beautiful and new and different. That is what the First Christmas did: Brought order out of chaos and made all things beautiful, new and different.

This year I will observe and celebrate Christmas, even in all the mess. The word Celebrate means “to publically acknowledge a happy or significant event.” And that, my friend, is exactly what I plan to do. I will greet others with “Merry Christmas!” I will hum or even sing songs about His birth, maybe out loud in Walmart! And I will gather with friends, exchange gifts and keep a stash of cash easily accessible to give to the bell ringers of the Salvation Army. I will celebrate the most significant event in all of history: His birth, His death, and His resurrection.

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Merry Christmas!

Let’s stop, remember and observe with great gladness and joy!

Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal

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What an amazing statement. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.

This morning as I was sitting staring out into my back yard, my heart was aching for some of my loved ones who are broken, desperate and hurting. Quietly, deep in my spirit I began to hear the words to David Crowder’s song: “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.”

Then the next line came, “So lay down your burdens, come as you are.”

You know, it doesn’t matter if you are crying out to Him for the first time, struggling with an addiction or you have faithfully walked with Him for many years, there is still a place where we all come, broken hearted. Yet, in our desperate cry we hear the echo of heaven: “There is no sorrow that heaven can’t heal!” What a simple but profound statement about our magnificent savior. There really is no sorrow that He did not make provision for on the cross and in his resurrection.

I’ve heard many sermons on great theological truths. I have heard many anointed men and women of God releasing instruction for living and how to walk in the kingdom. I have books and files of information about Spiritual warfare, evangelism and other essentials in our Christian walk. And we DO need that information and revelation.

But when it all comes down to our basic relationship with Him, the time when it’s just you alone, when your heart is laid bare, it is this statement that brings hope at the deepest level: ‘Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. So lay down your burdens. Come as you are. To the foot of the Cross.’

Today Paris is still grieving, the world is in turmoil, human trafficking is out of control and my heart aches for all of this. But I also know of dear ones around me who are in desperate need and pain. Their pain is probably small in light of the world’s agony. But it is pain and suffering none the less.

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My heart is overwhelmed that my savior, Jesus, Yeshua, the one who loves me best, is enough. Enough for all. Regardless of how huge, how deep, how small, how quiet, desperation and heartache is desperation and heartache.

Even as these cries rise from the earth,

Heaven victoriously shouts back:

THERE IS NO SORROW THAT HEAVEN CAN’T HEAL!

So lay down your burden.

Come as you are.

Pray for Paris

As we hear the reports on the news from France we are all shocked, saddened and grieved for those who are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives on this Monday morning. I have no great words of wisdom, and so we pray.

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Fear notfor I have redeemed youI have called you by your name;  You are Mine.  When you pass through the watersI will be with youAnd through the riversthey shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fireyou shall not be burnedNor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your GodThe Holy One of Israelyour Savior;” Isaiah 43.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortressMy Godin Him I will trust.” Psalm 91

Never Let your Circumstance Dictate your influence nor your Legacy

UnknownI’d like to share with you a story of how one insignificant young girl influenced nations. She was born in a large city to a lower income family who struggled to make ends meet. After turning down a voice scholarship to The Juilliard School in New York, she eloped at age 16 with Floyd Carroll and moved to Mississippi. A year after their marriage he was in a terrible  motorcycle wreck and was in a body cast for almost a year. They moved in with his parents who really were not pleased with the marriage and certainly let Doris know this. It was quite a difficult time in Doris’ life. However, even in these uncomfortable circumstances God was moving and had a plan for Doris. She spent much time with her husband’s grandfather, Bro. Henry McCaleb, who had been a circuit ridding Presbyterian preacher. The time spent with this Godly man so enriched her life with the love of Jesus that she would never be the same. He instilled in her a zeal to reach others for Jesus and even to reach out to other nations.

After his recovery, Doris and Floyd move to their own home and eventually had four daughters. Doris was very active in her local Baptist church and became the music and choir director, but her heart was always drawn to missions. Anytime there were visiting missionaries, Doris invited them to dinner. As these missionaries told stories of their exploits for the Lord, Doris’ heart burned to go. But her circumstances denied her that privilege. After all she was the mother of four young girls and had a family to raise. But as she prayed for missionaries and dreamed about missions she imparted that love and zeal to her children. To her the highest call of the Lord was to be a missionary in a foreign land.

Doris never went to a foreign land. She never went on a mission trip, and as far as I know, she never left the United States.

BUT GOD! He brought missions to her doorstep. A young man from her home town met and married a Japanese girl and brought her home. After meeting her and discovering she did not know Jesus, Doris did not rest until she had secured a Bible in Japanese. She continued to love this young girl into the Kingdom.

And that was not the end of Doris’s influence. Her love of missions was passed on to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation.

As my sisters and I sat and talked about our mom we began to count the nations to which we, our children and our grandchildren have carried the gospel.  As of last summer, we counted over ninety nations to which Doris’s generations have gone and the story is not over. This past January Doris’s great grand-daughter, her husband and two year old son left to serve a three year commitment in a war-torn Middle Eastern nation, carrying on Doris’ legacy.

Her circumstances dictated that she stay at home and so she did. From from that tiny little hamlet this very significant woman had a dream and a Great Big God! She knew him intimately and together Doris Carroll left a legacy that only eternity will tell.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! (a little late)

Doris Carroll’s Family

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