Wednesday, November 27, 2019

This Thanksgiving Commit to a BOUNTIFUL EYE

I guess it's the prerogative of bloggers to go a different direction when the season dictates such a change, right?

It's been my plan to share a little bit of what I'm learning from the book of Nehemiah, incorporating the type of "voice" we need in our country to bring the church into a season of revival.  

Oh, how the CHURCH needs a Nehemiah! 

Of course, you and I may not have big booming voices  (we may not be that kind of personality), but we can be micro-voices.

Enough micro-voices with the same heart as a Nehemiah and we can make a difference.

Enough micro-voices combining with a message of hope that centers on keeping the main thing the main thing (the gospel), and we can see true Holy-Spirit led revival.

Enough micro-voices and the issue of "deconstruction" is non-existent, and the Bride of Jesus will begin to look like she's the Bride of Jesus!

That series will start next week, and I've already asked you to join me.  I'm not looking for Readers, but Prayers.................AND, MICRO-VOICES. 


So, in line with the fact that tomorrow is THANKSGIVING, I'd like to travel the old dusty-road my mind wandered this week. It has challenged me, and perhaps you will be challenged also.  But first, from our house to yours:

A few years ago, when I was still Dean of Women at Arizona Christian University, our Student-Services-Team read a book (not remembering the name or the author, sorry) with an entire section devoted to the concept of developing a mindset of ABUNDANCE.

An abundance-mindset is (for the most part) developed over time (it's a process).

For those who have a "half-glass-full" attitude, it comes much easier.

People who live out of abundance have specific qualities about them:

* They live with an attitude of gratitude.

* They believe there is "more" always more to be gained, to be had, to be shared, to learn, to see...

* As a result, people with an Abundance-Mindset are generous.

* They share ideas.

* They freely offer to help others.

* They forgive readily.

* They welcome competition for the growth that it brings....they are risk-takers.

* They think big and are challenged by change.

* Abundance-mindset folks look for more information and are stimulated by personal growth.

* Spiritually speaking, these individuals live fully in their identity in Christ, and are convicted to live out their God-ordained calling, helping others to do the same, even if it is in competition with their calling.

* People with an attitude of abundance are people who are at REST.

Not so with those who have a SCARCITY mindset.

These words describe those with an attitude of scarcity - They are:










For these folks, there is never enough to go around...they are not enough; finances are not enough; someone might be "better" and take away their position...

They fear growth. think small, and they are never able to REST.

I DO NOT want to be known as one who thinks scarcely!

An abundance-mindset is far more preferable.

Yet, I see a lot of scarcity in me.  😢

And I wish to start that process of living out of the abundance God has placed in my life.

But God...

His desire is that we do live this way!

It's why Scriptures are filled with passages on the giving of thanks.

An abundance-mindset always starts with an attitude of gratitude. 

This gratitude helps us to see there is always more than enough.

More than enough always leads to a generous heart.

This week as I was reading through my Proverb-for-the-day (one for each day of the month), I came across Chapter 22, verse 9:

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor.

That passage led me to this one in 2 Corinthians 9:6-9.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”

A BOUNTIFUL EYE:  One who sees plenty... One who understands the good and pleasant all around him/her...  One whose heart lives in bounty, and responds with kindness.

One with an abundance-mindset!

A bountiful eye sees more.

A bountiful eye is flooded with the abundance all around... (even if it is snow, which we have in abundance at the moment).

Lord, this Thanksgiving, I lift up my prayers for a bountiful eye!

And, with it, a generous heart that reaches out to all men....

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Deconstruction. Leaving Jesus. Leaving Church. What Now?

Years ago, we took the youth group from our church in Pagosa Springs to do ministry up in Denver.

Come Sunday, we visited a local city-church with our students.

That morning, a young woman shared her difficult come-to-Jesus-journey.

She'd been raised in the church.

She participated in Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Sunday night worship (that was a thing in those days), and Wednesday night youth services.

She knew the Bible...memorized parts of it.

Her parents were active, loving, strong Jesus-followers, serving in their church.

Then, befriended by some young women from  the "Unification Church" (aka: the Moonies, a religious cult that sprung up in the US from 1960-1990), she left home to join ("kidnapped" was a more accurate word), losing all contact with what was familiar and comfortable.

Brainwashed, she mindlessly followed her new "family," while her parents frantically searched, finally hiring detectives who traced her across the country, re-kidnapped her out of an abandoned warehouse, where she was living, with the help of the New York City police force, and brought her home.

After months of debriefing and counseling, the "prodigal" had returned.

What caught my attention as she spoke were these words: "What I was taught was so close to Biblical truth, I couldn't discern any difference. The teachings seemed much like the words Jesus spoke. Words of love and compassion. While I was in church often, I was always taught what to believe, but never really why I believed it." 

Here are a couple of links for those who have never heard of, or don't remember, this cult:
Link 1
Link 2


Last week, I introduced a word that seems to have become a buzzword in Christian circles as of late.

In fact, it's probably been around longer than I realize, but starting in 2018, this word has been on my radar...

It's brought no small measure of wrestling to my heart....even grief.

I've read a lot of articles in the online periodical, "Relevant Magazine" about this word...

Then,,,, as well as multiple other sites, over the last two years include many such writings on this topic...

I've seen it used in a growing number of blog posts, especially among younger generations (X'ers and I-y'ers, in particular, but don't get me wrong, it affects all age groups )...

The word is:

I may have used the word incorrectly last week.

I interpret it to mean a tearing apart in order to build something more permanent or lasting, more "fitting."

But, it's much more complicated.

The word originated in 1973 as a strategy of critical analysis.

So, it's not an old word, by any means.

When someone deconstructs something they seek to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work (literature or art), or a philosophy (a belief-system), by diving below the surface to explore where others who've created or instructed have gone wrong.

The whole idea of deconstruction is to analyze and reveal inadequacies.

It doesn't mean that those who engage in spiritual deconstruction are leaving their faith...this is a fallacy.

For many, it simply means they are on a "spiritual journey" (also a new Christian buzzword), whose end goal is to know exactly what they believe and why they believe it.

The folks on this particular journey, see contradictions between what they have been taught from Scripture and how they interpret Jesus' life and teachings.

I have ZERO PROBLEM with this...

However, the more accurate result: many leave the Church...

They want Jesus not His bride.

However, this is also reality: many have walked away from their faith entirely.

Thus my great sorrow.

What's the answer?

Before an answer can be explored, the problem must be understood.

I can't say with certainty, but somehow the words of this young woman in the story above continue to haunt me.

Many have been taught what to believe, but why to believe it is lost in translation.

Either not taught adequately, or not heard...or, there seems to be a discrepancy between what is taught and how it is lived out.

All three are problematic.

The answer, then?

Jesus' bride in America needs an awakening.

She's gotten sleepy, lazy, and compromising.

Her wedding gown is soiled and torn.

She's no longer true to her first-love.

She's hurting others, causing pain, perhaps even involved in spiritual abuse.

Let's face it, the church needs more Jesus and more accurate theology.

With the problem clear, the answer to the issue begins with revival.

A revival of being stirred back to faith...

...exploring truth, chewing on it, learning what we believe and why we believe it...

...listening to the still, small voice of God...

(really listening and not coloring what He says with our own desires and voices)...

To this end, I pray.

I pray for the Lord to send the American church a strong leader, like a Nehemiah.

I pray for men and women to rise up, who are people of great grief...

...but, men and women who are strong voices of crying out in the wilderness of faith...

...People with an aching sorrow that leads to prayer...not for prayer itself, but for solution's-sake (read Nehemiah chapter 1).

I pray for those who see the needs of the Church and form a plan of action...a God-anointed action.

I pray for God-words that are received, not just in head, but heart, and lived out of integrity, and pure-of-motive.

Most of all, I pray for the glory of God to rise up...

...that God reveal Himself to us.

When God shows up, so does revival.

We can not be in His Presence and remain the same.

We can not be in His Presence and be divided.

When He comes into our midst, we can safely bring truth to the table, and work our way to unity.

This is a great work.

It is a work I pray to see in churches (as well as in the individual, the CHURCH) across our country...bringing Christians to solidarity, and making the main thing the main thing: This being the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Main Thing is ALWAYS the GOSPEL of JESUS!

We can agree to disagree on the minors, but if we keep the gospel front and center...things change.

I change.

From inside out.

It may be idealistic, but it has happened before.

And, my God can do anything.

Nothing is impossible.

Join me in prayer?

And, join me in a brief look at the book of Nehemiah.

Wouldn't REVIVAL be the best Christmas gift we could give our world, fellow Christians?

Let's get on our knees!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Deconstructing What I Once Knew to Reconstruct Faith

This week a friend challenged me to rethink an aspect of the character of God I’ve held for years.

In sweetness, she expressed her disagreement that the Scriptures actually teach the position I’ve held.

It’s not a theological game changer.

However, this will give me a little different lens through which I read, and subsequently, understand portions of the Word of God.

The brave thing to do is to dig in and do some detailed study.

Instead, I find myself arguing within my own mind the reasons I believe what I think I know.

Why do I do this?

Easy answer.

Because I do not wish to deconstruct my own theology in order to reconstruct it.

I don’t (AT ALL) mind being wrong.

I am a stickler for speaking the truth of the Word of God with as much integrity as possible.

But tearing down and time consuming.

I’d rather not go to all that effort.

New just seems easier.

Like building a new house, rather than tearing down bits and pieces of the old, and re-modeling.

It’s just so messy.

Yet, as I prayed about this morning’s blog, I’ve realized this is, inevitably, what I will need to do. 



Tear down.

Build back up.

Here’s the thing that’s important, however.

I build back up in order to have a stronger faith.

I build back up in order to protect my faith in God, and my love for Jesus...really, for the Trinity’s sake... 

I build back up in order to bring GLORY TO THE GOD OF THE BIBLE.

I build back up in order that my God not be slighted, mocked, or ridiculed in any way.

It’s interesting, because this is exactly what Nehemiah did when he left Persia to reconstruct the wall that had been broken down surrounding Jerusalem.

The book that is titled by his name is what I’ve been reading and studying the last several weeks.

Nehemiah has given me a model for “reconstructing” my ideas of God’s character.

Many, it seems, are beginning to “deconstruct” their belief systems in today’s Christian circles.

I’m reading almost daily about some who have, not just deconstructed their faith, but walked away from it entirely.

A few are deconstructing, then rebuilding from the rubble, and finding new ways to live out their faith in a way that is “fitting” for them.

It’s not wrong to deconstruct, as long as we reconstruct something that is lasting, protective, and God-honoring.

So, I find myself sitting on the edge of re-thinking this one particular facet of God’s character, praying for the many who are questioning the faith-legacy passed down to them, and desiring to make changes.

As in Nehemiah’s day, I pray they rebuild their faith with the bricks of the old foundation as much as possible. 

As with Jerusalem’s wall, I pray that the temple that is their hearts, is surrounded by a strong, protective guardrail of TRUTH.

I pray they find a deeper love for the God of the Bible, the Trinity...

I pray God is glorified in the end....and as in Nehemiah’s day, I pray revival is the result.

But, the work will be messy.

The work will be hard.

The enemy will come against to distract.

In the end, I pray for zealous followers of Jesus, whose greatest goal is to bring Him glory.

This will only happen as we “deconstruct” that which we think we know, and “reconstruct” with the right materials.

A couple of days ago, the “right materials” became very clear to me, as I read Psalm 12:6:

The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

We can only re-build based on the pure, perfect, complete, faithful stones of truth: the Word of the Lord!

This is what I intend to do as I seek to discover just what God’s Word says about the God I want to know in reverence and awe.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

And, Having "Sat," Stand.... #takeyourseat (Standing as Battle-Ready Soldiers)

Today, I become the mother of a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Military.

How that happened, I will never know.

I blinked, and my baby boy with humongous brown eyes that stared up at me from the hospital bed when they placed him in my arms, turned five.

At five, he declared he would grow up to be a "missionary to the outfitters and the hunters in the high country."

I blinked again, and with certainty, this little man knew he'd be a basketball star (in fact, he could outshoot any high school player on our Rift Valley Academy team in Kijabe, Kenya).

When he informed us, as a senior in high school, that the military caught his eye, we were flabbergasted.

Then 9-11.

Then Iraq.

Then whatever-it-is-he-does-now (I don't ask as I don't wish to die).

This soldier-son has always had a tender-tough heart.

The people of this country are fortunate to have him stand in their defense.

He loves his Lord, his family, and his country in that order.

He will lay down his life for any of the three.

Many of those who swear an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States share that blessed burden.

Any time I spend any amount of time on a military base, I'm quick to leaking eyes and grateful heart.

It's a different world.  A different culture.  Even the language is different (they speak "acronym").

When I sit at the King-Table with followers of Jesus who do military-life, I'm reminded that we need all sorts of followers with different skill sets.

We need go-ers, like the Royals I mentioned last week.

We need stay-ers...who serve in the market place.

We need battle-ready followers, as well.

Not just those in the official positions of the armed forces, but in the Lord's army.

In recent months, I've never been more aware of the spiritual battle that is around us.

I've seen the ploys of the enemy first hand.

Sometimes, I haven't even recognized them for what they were.


Back in August, I went to speak at a very familiar location where I spend a week every summer.

It is so familiar, it's like a "second summer home."

But, it was the first time I've been at my second-summer-home without my husband.

They picked me up from the airport....dropped me off at the same cabin I stay in every summer...gave me meal tickets to the same dining hall where I always eat...and the morning routine was exactly the same as any other summer-morning.

However, from the moment I entered my cabin, the strangest sensation came over me.

I wanted to study for the first session where I'd be sharing the gospel.

I couldn't.

I can't explain what had come over me.

It felt like a heavy blanket of grief had been draped over me.

That is the closest I can come to describing what was happening.

I'm definitely not a cryer...not even when there is a huge emotional hurt in my life...but, that night and into the next day, I wanted to just sit and weep.

The thing is that there was absolutely no reason for this response.

I went for a long walk.

I prayed.

I spent the morning listening to praise music.

I kept trying to pick up my notes to study....and, I JUST COULDN'T.

It took me hours to realize that this was a ploy from the enemy to distract.

Never before has an attack hit me in like fashion.

That's what made it so difficult to recognize.

However, our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion --- seeking.

He uses a lot of similar tactics, how they are played out is different.

He distracts.

He discourages.

He plants seeds of fear.

He intimidates (especially by threatening our identity in Christ).

He ridicules.

He threatens failure.

He entices with compromise.

And, we must be on our toes.

As Jesus-followers, we must be battle-ready-warriors.

Just as our esteemed United States Armed Forces.

We must be at the ready with a go-bag at a minutes notice.

Just like those who sat at the King-Table, like the Knights of Arthur's round table - ready to fight for the Kingdom at a minutes notice.

Quick to respond.

Quick to stand against the enemy.

As I've learned what it looks like to take my seat in the heavenlies with Christ, I recognize that this is a subsequent outflowing of being seated.

Once we capture what all it entails to sit, the Lord wants us to walk out our calling in Jesus.

By sitting, He prepares us for His work.

By working, we become prime targets for the enemy.

So, then we stand!

We need do nothing else.

To stand means I rise up in the authority of the King who has placed me at His Table.

To stand means I declare the battle has already been won.

To stand means I hold out my weapon of faith, and raise my sword of Truth, and watch the enemy fall, because he is already defeated and just needs to be reminded of it.

So, today, on this particular military base, in this particular celebratory season, I'm convinced of the need for those who are battle-ready to stand on behalf of this country.

I am thankful for men and women who will stand for right that evil will not prevail.

As followers of Jesus, may we do the same!

Let us be quick to stand firm against the wiles of the enemy!

In doing so, we are battle-ready....but, may we all maintain a tender-tough heart!