I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Exekiel 34:26
The wife of one of my long-ago pastors told a story about her rude and cranky neighbor. After a run-in with this neighbor, she reported being shocked at what had poured out of her mouth, finishing up her story with these wise words: You don’t know what is in your bucket until someone kicks it over.
Transition is good at bucket kicking. That in-between stage of “one foot in what will be and the other stuck in what was” is a stressful place. Uncertainty, impatience and anxiety spills out of our inside bucket, sometimes in a flood; sometimes in a trickle, but out it comes during times of big change.
My mother passed away in September 2017. Being without a parent has been a difficult emotional transition for me. There is no way to describe it except to say it is a very odd and disconnected feeling.
Settling my mother’s estate has been a long and challenging process, requiring me to meet and interact with relatives, lawyers, stockbrokers, real estate agents, estate sales managers, auction house movers and so on. Then, when her house sold, the closing date kept shifting around. I felt like I was chasing a broken egg across the kitchen floor. All my prayer appointments became maybes. (Thank you to all those I pray with for their patient understanding). My settled, predictable life became very unsettled.
When my mother’s house finally closed, I grieved it, unexpectedly. I had no idea what that house meant to me until I walked through it one last time. This was the house where I had visited my mother for 30 years. The house she loved. The house she died in.
So what did Sam and I do in the midst of this life transition? We bought a house! A big beautiful, sadly neglected house that we could in no way afford unless it had been sadly neglected. And guess what? That closing date is shifting around! AND the sellers are in bankruptcy, which was NOT disclosed at the time we made our offer. So, we don’t know for sure when we will be moving or even if we will be moving. And there is an enormous amount of expensive work to do on our new house. What were we thinking?!?
So here I am suspended in transition, painting the windows of our current house, getting it ready to go on market. And like a tired cranky child riding in the backseat on a too-long road trip, I’m asking the Lord: Are we there yet?
Here is how I’m handling TOO MUCH transition. Heads up: it’s not pretty.
What’s going on besides transition?
Help! Is there help with transition?
Let us pray together as we grow together, that our buckets will contain less and less of the nasty stuff and more and more of the good stuff. Because, while we are in this fallen world, our buckets will get kicked.
This time of big transition has been emotionally upsetting AND beautifully humbling. Any notion that I was a spiritual big shot full of faith and confidence is long gone. I still need a savior. And I have learned that when the challenge is big enough, what is in my bucket is going to spill out.
I bless your journey wherever you may be.
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in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
So, your neighbor has once again delayed mowing his grass until the dandelions have gone to seed. Your teen just used up all the hot water taking another hour-long shower. Your spouse doesn’t appreciate you. And the dog ate your new couch. Sunday’s sermon was about loving your neighbor, but you’re just not feeling it. What to do?
You try praying to see the situation from God’s perspective. “Lord, let me see with Your eyes.” The next thing you know, you’re yelling at your family and looking into rehoming the dog. So much for God’s perspective.
How about the sermon instructing you to have God’s heart for the lost? You pray: “Lord, give me Your heart for people.” That works until someone shoves their overloaded grocery cart in front of you in the express lane. Or a store clerk is rude. Or someone jumps you about your political views. Next thing you know you are thinking everyone needs to go to hell! So much for God’s heart.
Why doesn’t God answer when we ask for His eyes and His heart? He doesn’t answer because you and I are not capable of seeing or loving the way God does. If we saw everything the way God sees it, our heads would explode. If we loved people the way God loves, our hearts would stop. We simply do not have His capacity. So these kinds of prayers go unanswered, leaving us frustrated with ourselves and, if we are honest, with God.
So what do we do when we desperately need His help navigating challenging situations and loving people? A small adjustment to your prayers will make a huge difference.
Instead of praying for God’s perspective, pray like this: Lord, help me see that person or situation the way You want me to see it.
Instead of praying for God’s heart, pray like this: Lord, help me love others the way You want me to love them.
You and I cannot see or love the same way God does because we are finite and lack His capacity. But we can ask Him to adjust our perception and our love for others appropriately, according to our capacity and according to His will. These prayers do get answered.
Hugs and prayers for you,
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Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
For six days, the Lord created the heavens and the earth and all that’s in them. Then He rested. I know that most Bible teachings focus on that rest day – how and when and what’s too much and what’s too little and do we still have to observe an official Sabbath day or is that the law … yada yada yada. (You should google it. All the controversy will make your head spin).
I personally believe that the Old Testament day of rest is a little picture of the true rest that we find in Christ. In other words, we don’t have to worry about breaking the rules when we don’t rest on Sunday – or Saturday, as the case may be – from sun up to sun down. We can pick another day to relax because our rest is not in a natural day, it is in the person of Jesus Christ who has delivered us from all our desperate struggles to make ourselves pleasing to God. In Jesus and His completed work, we rest.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
So enough said about that because I want to look at the other days. The six days that God worked. If we are to rest one day, doesn’t that mean that we are supposed to work six days?
Have you ever thought about the fact that no natural creature, except humans, intentionally and unnecessarily works? They gather food and do what else is absolutely necessary for survival. Only the image of God (that’s us) is enough like God to work with some other goal in mind. Humans commonly get together in order to solve a problem or improve something. Let’s say they decide that the traffic traveling from Point A to Point B is heavy enough to warrant the construction of a new bridge north of the old bridge. So, they hire consultants and engineers who draw up plans and hire staff to construct a new bridge. Only people do that kind of thing.
So, when you work, no matter what kind of work it is – washing dishes, emptying the litter box, bagging groceries or removing gall bladders – you are behaving like the image of God. This means that work – all work from low to high – is holy.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord … Colossians 3:23
So, what does all that have to do with angels and housework? In September 2017 my mother passed away. The task of preparing her home to be sold had fallen to me. The day before, an auction company had carted off all of her remaining possessions, leaving me with a few cleaning supplies in an otherwise empty house. I don’t live in the same city, so when I discovered that the large vent covers of her HVAC unit needed to be taken off for a serious cleaning, I didn’t know what to do. The only tool in the house was a paint scraper.
I had already spent days going through her things, arranging for most to be sold; others to be set aside for family members. I had scraped up paint splatters, scrubbed bathrooms and windows, cleaned out the refrigerator and the fire place. I was weary and sad and overwhelmed. I missed my family. I was waiting for the real estate agent to come by. Then I was going home. I didn’t want to drive to the store to buy a screw driver.
So, I asked my angels a question: Are you guys able to help me clean these HVAC vents? Next thing I know, I have used the paint scraper to remove the screws holding the vents. I then washed, dried and reinstalled the big heavy things as if I were an expert at home maintenance (I am so not an expert). Looking at the sparkling clean vents, I wondered. Hmmm? What other ordinary tasks could the angels help with?
Housework is not my favorite thing. I like a clean house but making it clean isn’t fun to me. I remind myself as I scoop the litter box and wash the dishes, that all work is holy, but still … housework is not my thing. So, Sam and I were scheduled to host our small group which meant cleaning the house. Wondering if my angels could help me with the housework, I told them, “Angels. If you are able, help me clean this house.”
The next thing I know, worship music is belting out from my iPad and I am sitting on the floor hand-vacuuming the rug. Let me just say that, as a rule, I don’t voluntarily hand vacuum rugs. But here I was happily vacuuming away. I had been cleaning for hours! And I was full of energy. At 8 p.m. I finally thought to tell my angels they could stop helping me!
Curious to learn if enlisting angel-help for ordinary tasks would work for others, I passed this information to my buddy, Janie. Janie is getting her house ready to sell, so she wondered if her angels would help her paint a bedroom. Keep in mind that Janie is well into her sixties and a widow living alone. Janie reported that the room was painted in record time!
All of us face tasks that are too hard, high pressure or just boring and repetitive. But what if the angels want to give us a hand with our work? Wouldn’t that help to make work the joy that it is meant to be?
I invite you to try this, keeping in mind that work is holy. There is no honest work that is dishonorable. Not if Jesus can dress himself as the lowliest slave and wash dirty feet without losing His identity or self-respect. So enlisting the aid of your angels to accomplish your tasks in no way dishonors them.
Just keep in mind that angels are servants and soldiers. Servants and soldiers do not take initiative. They take orders. That means that you must tell themwhat you want them to do. If you want them to help you with your housework or yard work, tell them to help you. If you want them to help you complete your paperwork or homework, tell them.
I don’t understand how spiritual beings such as angels are able to help us with natural tasks, but they are and they’re very good at it. If you decide to lighten your load by employing your angels, would you take a minute to shoot me an email about it? You might have discovered something angels are able to help with that I haven’t thought to try.
the Lord your God will bless you … in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. Deuteronomy 16:15
Hugs and blessings,
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The Anti-Holy Spirit Spirit
I wish I had shared this with you before the recent shooting in Florida. Here it is now. Please pray as the Lord leads you.
The Lord has been talking with me about three high-level evil spirits that have recently been super empowered to do great harm here in America.
Here they are:
1. The spirit of unexpected, sudden, premature death. (Usually violent).
2. The spirit of extreme division (Remove a person or group of persons at any cost – violently if necessary – and everything will be ok).
3. The spirit of obfuscation. (Intentionally obscuring and making unintelligible the truth. This goes beyond confusion. It makes the truth incomprehensible).
Whenever a group of people agree that certain evil actions are necessary to protect themselves AND when that group of people is willing to do whatever it takes to keep themselves safe, these kinds of high-level spirits become empowered to do great harm.
My intercessors think that this empowerment is coming out of Washington D.C. (and possibly Hollywood) as people scramble to escape the consequences of their actions.
Our first strategy to counter this evil spiritual activity is basic repentance. Pray like this:
Father God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I repent for myself and my ancestors for ever cooperating with, agreeing with or empowering the above spirits, knowingly or unknowingly. Forgive us for ever being willing to do anything, no matter what it is or who it harms, to hide our actions and escape the consequences of our actions. Please forgive us. In Jesus’ name I ask this.
A second strategy appears to be this:
Offering the Lord childlike, joyous praise when asking Him to destroy the plots of these evil spirits.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
Stay in joy, dear ones.
Please share so others can know to pray.
Written January 2018
On September 10th, 2017, I drove my elderly mother through pounding rain to a busy emergency department. She had been scheduled to see a cardiologist on the following day, a Monday, but Hurricane Irma had just slammed into the coast of Florida. My mother’s Alabama city was flooded with refugees, and meteorologists warned that heavy rain and tornadoes were a strong possibility even as far north as Montgomery.
The night before, my mother had slept in her recliner because she couldn’t breathe lying down. I had paced the floor that night, asking the Lord what to do. Her doctor’s appointment had been cancelled. Everything was closing down. When morning arrived, I told her that we needed to go to the hospital emergency department. She rolled her eyes, but agreed.
Eight hours later she was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and admitted to cardiac intensive care. My brother and sister-in-law took over for me and I left to get some rest.
My mother’s home was eerily empty that night. I walked in circles, living room to den, around through the kitchen and dining room, back through the living room. As I wore a path into my mother’s flooring, I asked the Lord, “Why? Why am I so anxious? Why don’t I trust you?”
The days that followed were spent in a shadowed hospital room, watching my mother rally a bit, then slide into silence. My nights were spent alone, walking my path through her desolate house, knowing what was coming. Only a few days into my vigil, the Lord spoke to me, saying “You don’t think that I am kind.”
It’s funny how you know what the Lord means even when its days later that he answers your question. The reason I was struggling with trusting him through this transition was because I didn’t believe (in my heart) that he was kind.
My mother came home on Hospice. Two weeks after our trip through the pouring rain, she passed away. Looking back, I see just how kind the Lord was to her and to me, smoothing her passage into heaven in ways that meant the most to her. She was able to live out her very long life in her own home; she died quickly – all things considered – in her right mind, surrounded by her family. She left all of her financial affairs in order; her funeral arranged and paid for in advance, so that my brother and I had very little to do.
As the days passed, I found myself thinking about the Lord’s words to me. And I began to understand how trust grows. Trust grows in response to the consistent acts of kindness performed by the other person.
The Lord didn’t want me to be upset with myself because I struggled to trust him during that time of transition. He knows that I cannot grow trust by simply deciding to grow it; any more than I can grow sunflowers without first planting sunflower seeds.
No significant person was consistently kind to me during my childhood. As a result, trust was never produced within me. By the time I received the Lord, I was a completely unchurched young adult. When I became involved in a church, I was rigorously taught that I had to trust God. That God would reward my trust with the blessings that I desperately needed. Sort of like a system of exchange. I pay God for his blessings with trust. No trust. No blessing for me!
If you think about it, that kind of doctrine makes God look bad. I try to be kind to everyone all the time. They don’t have to pay me for it.
Now there is a time to choose to trust the Lord. To make the decision to believe his word; to walk his path. And that choice is crucial to our maturity. But there is a deeper trust. One that can only grow through relationship. That kind of trust makes us settle down in green pastures.
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest … Hebrews 4:11
So here is what I am learning. Kindness – God’s consistent acts of kindness towards me – is the seed that produces trust. I cannot grow it by myself. But I can participate in the process by asking him to make me aware of his kindnesses. In this dark world, it is so easy to focus on all the bad stuff. We need his help to see the good stuff he is doing for us.
(He) raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7
Blessings and hugs,
(Written January 1, 2018)
For the Lord is going to destroy Babylon, and He will make her loud noise vanish from her. Jeremiah 51:55
In his famous epic poem, Paradise Lost, 17th-century poet, John Milton, named the capital of hell Pandemonium. The word pandemonium means a wild uproar or a scene of unrestrained chaos and tumult. In Psalm 64, David beseeches the Lord to hide him “from the tumult of evil doers.” Tumult, according to Dictionary.com, means a “violent and noisy commotion caused by a crowd or mob.”
That we need to be hidden from tumult became clear to me while I was watching a football game between the University of Alabama and Mississippi State University. I’m not a huge football fan, but when you live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where college football reigns supreme it’s difficult (Ok. Impossible) to resist the tug of Roll Tide.
Inside their own stadium, Mississippi State has a tradition of ringing cowbells during games. Never was this tradition entered into with more determination than when they played against #1 Alabama. Mississippi State fans deliberately, and in unison, aimed those cowbells as a weapon against the Alabama team. Just imagine the noise in a stadium capable of seating over 60,000 people, half of whom are armed with cowbells. The resulting cacophony was deafening and deeply disturbing to my spirit.
But it’s just a football game and so what? Right? Except for this: Sound. Ephesians 2:2 names Satan “the prince of the power of the air.” Sound travels on air. Sound waves. What happens when humans join together to create a specific sound? When we worship together, in unison, we are joined by holy angels as we release life and blessing into the atmosphere.
So, what happens when we humans agree to make a weapon out of sound? Do demons join with us? I think they do.
Mississippi State was ranked #16 at the time of the game. (They were ranked #24 going into their bowl game yesterday). Alabama was #1 or 2 depending upon which poll you like. Alabama had injuries going into the game, but nonetheless they struggled in a way not seen before, gasping out a last-minute fourth-quarter victory. Today, Alabama will play Clemson to decide who will compete for the national championship.
Those were some powerful cowbells. As I considered the cowbells later that evening, the Lord directed me to repent of ever using sound as a weapon. He had me include using sound to manipulate, control, disturb or hurt. I obeyed and also repented on behalf of my ancestors. Then something extraordinary happened. As long as I can remember I have heard discordant noise, racket in my ears, even when it should have been quiet. The noise stopped after I prayed, and it has not returned.
In all likelihood you are like me. You have misused sound and you have ancestors who have done the same. Here is how I prayed:
Lord, I repent for ever misusing sound. I repent for myself and on behalf of my ancestors. Please forgive us. I ask that you remove any devices, objects or structures that have resulted because of the misuse of sound. Please cleanse and restore my ears as well as any part of me corrupted by the misuse of sound. Please cleanse and restore my tribal line as well. Teach me to use sound according to your will and your design. In Jesus name. Amen.
Blessings to you on this very first day of 2018!