Wednesday, August 9, 2017

From Glory To Glory

I've not only heard the phrase, "If it's not one thing, it's another!",  I've declared it many times. The saying is like a curse; a training of the brain to look for and expect bad things. But as I've contemplated it, I've decided the adage is biblical.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says:

 Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.

  • If it's not one's another
  • If it's not the Old Covenant (law)'s the New Covenant (grace!) 
  • If it's not death... it's life
  • If it's not's light.
  • If it's not's beauty (Isaiah 61:3)
God loves restoring and transforming from glory to glory!  It's a process of being transformed, growing in the knowledge of God, growing in relationship with God from an acquaintance, to a deep intimacy, to finally one day seeing Him face to face.  

I'm reminded of the story of Enoch.  We are told in Genesis 5:22-24 that "Enoch walked with God, and was not".  Hebrews 11:5 says "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.  Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God".  Enoch lived life well.  Now, this obviously isn't in the Bible, but here's how I imagine it happening:  Enoch walked with God each day learning to know Him in new and exciting ways, choosing to  please God, reflecting His glory.  Then one day God came to Enoch and said something like, "Enoch, you've been transformed so much, gotten to know my character so intimately, that the only thing left is to come see me face to face!"  From glory to glory. From one epiphany to the next. 

Instead of looking for the next bad thing to happen, it's time to train ourselves to look for God's goodness and then mirror it. We should be asking the Holy Spirit to teach us, allowing Him to transform us into a reflection of Him:  from one radiance of glory to another.    "If it's not one thing, it's another!" that may become one of my favorite declarations.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My sister, Becky Dietz and I were discussing the subject of Job's wife, and she had such great insight I asked her to co-author a blog with me.  I'm glad I did!  Here's the outcome of that collaboration:

Job had a pretty good life.  He was, though not perfect, a man devoted to God.  In fact, in Job 2:3 God Himself said of Job, "No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.” His reputation was infallible. Job was a man of wealth and a father to seven sons and three daughters.  His family appeared to have a happy and close relationship. They would have a feast "each on his appointed day" (probably their birthday) and invite each other to the parties.  After the feast, Job would offer a sacrifice in case any of his children had sinned in their hearts. 

Then, one day, God looks upon Job and with pride, and asks Satan the life changing question for Job. "Have you considered my servant Job?" With that simple question, Job loses everything, his animals, servants, and finally his sons and daughters.  Everything, that is, but his wife.

I had never considered before why Satan the accuser chose not to kill Job's wife.  But why kill her if you can use her?  Satan first afflicted Job with painful boils all over his body. Then he attacked Job through the words of his wife, "Why don't you curse God and die?"  Satan knows better than we do how powerful our influence is over our husbands.  Her words are actually suggesting treason against God. "Declare a rebellion and insurrection against God and His kingdom!"  

How many of you wives have ever thought, "I could do this life so much better without my husband!"?  I have. This isn't my own thought--but one the Great Insurrector put in my mind. Satan wants to divide us as husband and wife. Every single girl longs to be married and every married woman longs to do it alone. It's Satan's way of spreading discontent and disunity. (And it has been working for thousands of years!) If our marriages are a picture of Christ & the Church, Satan will do everything in his power to destroy it. 

Even though Job's wife was used by the enemy to try and cause an insurrection against God--and even against their marriage--God used her as part of the restoration process.  When God restored everything to Job, He also gave an increase.  He doubled all he'd owned...everything, that is, except children. He received exactly what he'd lost--7 sons and 3 daughters. But I like to think peace, spicyness, and allure came into his marriage in spades. After all...that's what he named his new daughters!  Job and his wife were the age of grandparents by this time.  That can bring hope into marriages which are in that stage.  I believe the marriage of Job and his wife was completely restored.  I believe it became everything God intended it to be--a picture of Christ & the Church.

*I found this photo here: and would love to give credit to whomever drew it.  If you know the artist please let me know!

Friday, July 7, 2017

God is Good All The Time!

I don't think I'll ever forget it.  I won't tell his story because I don't know much of it and it isn't mine to tell.  But a small bit of the story I think is mine.  He had suffered from illness for awhile, in fact, I believe he was diagnosed just a few months before I found out that I too was being attacked by cancer.  The last Sunday that I saw him was probably his last to attend church before he went home to heaven.  He had been talking to my husband, and I walked up to greet him.  His last words to me were simple but heart felt.  He looked into my eyes and with deep peace simply said, "God is good ALL the time."  I wanted to grab his arm and talk to him.  I wanted to share what God had been teaching me thru my hardships - to truly delight in God no matter the circumstances.  I wanted to hear exactly what God had been teaching him because it was apparent he had learned some lessons as well.  However, I could tell his energy was lagging and that he needed to leave, so I simply agreed with him, God is indeed good all the time.

I saw a quote not long ago by Graham Cooke:

“If you are in mourning, you have the opportunity to worship in the most powerful way possible: lamentation. This worship isn’t done in order to have God remove the pain. It simply recognizes that God stands in the moment with us. Lamentation elevates God in the presence of our enemies. It brings out a side of God that other forms of worship simply cannot touch.”

When I choose to worship God, delight in Him, and give thanks to God in times of hardship, in times of grief and distress I believe it sends a very strong message.  A message that my church friend sent loud and clear.  It is a message that  the world, our church, our youth and children need to hear.  This ability to sincerely declare "God is good!" even during difficult circumstances proclaims to the world that God is worthy of our praise no matter what. It shows our children that God still stands with us and loves us and is truly trustworthy.  It magnifies Him.  This declaration helps people see that He is worth following for a lifetime. I think the enemy is fearful of this kind of worship because it is powerful.  

There is another powerful time of delight and worship that I think brings equally deep fear to the enemy.  A time that makes a very strong statement of God's power, love, strength and glory.  It is a time that seems to make people so uncomfortable that I've seen them gently reprimand others for it.  When God shows up and shows off with power and people declare "this is what God did for me! God is good!" well meaning friends will respond "God is good all the time" as if to say, "don't declare God's goodness during your celebration - it will make those who are going thru hard times feel bad."  (I know that isn't what all who say that mean, but many do!) Frankly, this as a lie of the enemy.  In fact, I think it is because we hesitate to declare God's miracles, His greatness in the good times that our children, our world, and yes, even our church fail to see God's power.  I think it is one reason our youth and young adults don't continue to attend church after they leave home.  Why would they follow a god that they see as powerless and unable?  Those who are grieving, in distress, and floundering NEED to be reminded that God is still in the miracle-working business, they need that hope!  I know I did and our friend reminded me even in his pain.  Let's cut the enemy off at the knees, bring satan to a place of cowering in fear because of our declaration of God's power.

Let's begin to celebrate freely!  Let me declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17)   After all, My God IS good ALL THE TIME - yes, even in my celebration.  How sad is it that I hesitate to tell good news because of other's discomfort in declaring God's glory?  Look at God's work in my life! See what He has done!  He is all powerful!  He is my Delight  in good times and bad.  He is Jehovah Rapha - The Lord Who Heals.  He is El Roi - The God Who Sees!  And this time He has seen fit to see me, to heal me!  My doctors were so sure that cancer had again attacked my body that they had plans in motion for treatments after my surgery.  BUT GOD.  On my way to the appointment to see the surgeon after surgery, I received the call that the pathology report showed no cancer.  I believe God healed me.  Since He can see me, work miracles in my life and love me, He can do the same for you -no matter your circumstances.  Just as God walked with our church friend and carried him though his time of illness, God walked with me.  God was good then and He is good now.  Praise HIM!  If I could talk to that friend again, I would thank him for so gently reminding me when he knew I was waiting and hurting -  "God is good ALL the time."

One of my favorite stories in the Bible recently has been the story of Moses in Exodus 33.  Moses was pleading for God's favor for the Israelite people and then he asks God, "Show me Your glory!" God tells Moses to come to the cleft of a rock and  passes before him, protectively covering Moses with His hand until He had passed by.  As God took His hand away Moses could see the back of God.  In Ex. 34:6-7  "Then the Lord passed by in front of him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness); keeping mercy and lovingkindness for thousands...."  I've always pictured this in my mind as God solemnly walking past Moses somberly saying "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate.....".  Then I recently heard it described another way.  Probably much more accurately than I had pictured it.  What if instead of solemnly walking by, God was jumping up and down, dancing - perhaps throwing his hands in the air celebrating Himself as He delightedly declared to Moses, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious...!!"   My challenge to you is to not be hesitant to declare God's glory in fear of hurting others, but to be like God Himself, jubilantly celebrating His glory and goodness and thereby encouraging those in pain.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

No More Manna!

 " And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.  And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year." Joshua 5:11-12 

Can you imagine what it was like?

The Israelites had seen all but two men of their parent's generation die.  Moses was gone and they had a new leader.  At this point Joshua, with God's leading, had led the people across the Jordan River on dry land - much like Moses had led their parents across the Red Sea.  The people were told to stand 2000 cubits back from the ark (symbolizing God's presence) so that they could see the mighty work of God as He parted the Jordan for them and then cross over on dry ground. This generation had experienced God's supernatural provision all of their lives.  They had a cloud to lead them by day and a pillar of fire by night. The clothing and shoes they had never wore out even though they were wandering in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 29:5) and they had manna to eat!  

Then one day, after having eaten of the produce of the Promised Land they got up the next morning and there was no manna.  I can't help but wonder, were they scared, did they go looking for manna to gather, did they even realize it was gone?  The Bible doesn't tell us.  But I imagine they went out to gather it out of habit and came running back to camp to tell others that it was gone. Manna was a miracle they had grown used to,  but it was never God's best for them.  God's plan had been for the generation before them to leave Egypt travel to  and overtake the Promised Land, eating the fruit of Canaan.  Manna was good, but it was not the BEST that God had intended for them.  Maybe that is why their parents were not satisfied with the manna and grumbled (in Numbers 11).  It wasn't God's best and because of unbelief they had missed out!  Manna was clearly a picture of God's grace and love for the people - yet it still was not all that He had desired for them.   While they had the manna no territory was claimed, they simply survived. They had just enough manna for each day.

But now God was doing something new.  He had given this generation time to mature and prepare; now the enemy was shaking with fear because of God's work. (Joshua 5:1).  Maybe the manna being gone was a reminder from God that the wilderness journey was over.  They needed to learn a new way of relying on God.  Maybe God was saying "we are starting afresh".  God didn't stop the manna until they were able to eat without it.  They were eating Promised Land produce.  A land flowing with milk and honey - a place of overflow rather than "just enough". When they got to the place of stepping out in trust they were able to receive the new, God's best for them.  Coming out of the manna mentality, they were claiming territory in Jericho. God was using them to defeat the enemy.

To get  to the  place of "no more manna", they had to go through circumcision at Gilgal - a  an intimate, painful cutting away of the unnecessary.  A time to renew their covenant with God and step into healing. It was a time to willingly  allow the reproach of Egypt (slavery, bondage, wandering for 40 years) be rolled away by God. After the circumcision, they were then able to celebrate Passover.  

Passover was a reminder of how they were protected from the plague of the firstborn dying and being delivered from judgement.  A celebration of what God had done for them.   
Then, after Passover, after that remembering, no more manna!

The story goes on to tell us that Joshua had an encounter with the preincarnate  Son of God.  ( His identity disclosed by His accepting worship and the command "Loose your shoes from your feet").  Joshua asked the question, "are you for us or against us?"  The answer given is a little unexpected for The Lord simply answers "neither; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.”  Joshua is given an invitation to worship. “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.  THEN he was given battle plans.  What a journey!  

I think I've been asking God for manna when He wants me to look forward to the fruit of the Promised Land. I want to skip the circumcision, the fighting and the overcoming and jump right to the eating of the fruit!  How easy it is for me to lose sight of the fact that He has a plan for my best.  I want to know not only what the next step is but to see the entire map.  It is so easy to fall into complaining!    Instead God wants me to step into circumcision, an intimate cutting away, a time to renew my relationship with Him. Then the reproach of Egypt can be rolled away even BEFORE the battle is fought or victory is won.  God wants me to have a time of delighting in Him, taking off my shoes to worship before the battle plans are given.  A time to worship with a heart of gratitude.  When I'm desperate to know what the next step is, where we will be, what we will be doing,  when I'm wondering if we'll ever get out of the wilderness, instead of looking for manna I want my focus to be on the ark - standing back far enough to see where He is leading and to see His mighty works but near enough to show my trust by stepping into the river, never doubting always following.  I want to walk by faith not by sight.  No more manna mentality, I want the fruit!  I want to shout and bring down the walls!