So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her: and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” 2 Samuel 11:3-5

So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was lying down. Then she took flour and kneaded it. and made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes….Now when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing. And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.” However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Arise, be gone!” So she said to him, “No, indeed! This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me.” 2 Samuel 13:8, 11-16

I apologize in advance, as this is going to be a lengthy post. Apparently, I have much to discuss and further healing on my part. I have taken some pictures in the past few weeks that I thought were something that I would write on, but didn’t have it pinpointed until just now. As you may know by now, whenever I sit down to write, I always first pray and then ask the Lord to lead me to the scripture. Well when I opened my bible I opened it to 2 Samuel, right at the page that had a study note insert titled “Date Rape – A Tragic Encounter.” I read it, but still didn’t think I’d address this today. I flipped the page back and there read the note for “Bathsheba – Forgiven and Restored.” I love Bathsheba, but I still had no plans to address this type of circumstance (and I’ve address Bathsheba before, possibly Tamar as well – I’d have to look back in the archives). Then I went a couple pages ahead and read the note titled “Tamar – A Violated Princess.”  All the while, in the midst of reading these study note inserts, I also read the corresponding scriptures and the footnotes. So, throughout my writing, I believe that the inserts are worth copying in my text so at certain points you will be reading these as well. As I was beginning to thumb through other areas of the bible, The Lord stopped me and said these women and their stories are what I was to write on, using the two pictures that I took recently. Here is the first picture.

Snow covered hills

Here is the mundane winter scene that I encountered taking my kids to their granny’s each night over the past several months. Simple. Ordinary. But oh, you know me, not so my friend, not so. What struck me about these hills is the pure simple and regal majesty that they display. Springtime, it is preciously blooming to life. During the summer, you cannot see the outline of the hills because of the flowering of the trees. It is one big hill of green. During the fall, the foliage becomes brilliantly dressed in rich colors. But it is during the winter months, when there is a nice covering of snow that you see the outline so clearly. An elegant and graceful foundation for all that is “on the outside.”  When I saw this “clearly” I knew that I had to capture it and write about it, though I didn’t know how I would incorporate it into any scripture that I would write about, so I sat on the picture for a few weeks. But now, God not allowing me to turn from the stories of Bathsheba, Tamar, and me, I knew what to write and how to incorporate the visual with the words. The foundation of the trees is a backbone of dirt. This tremendous mound of dirt nurtures the brilliance we see each spring when the trees first flower and the green health during the summer and the vibrance of fall foliage. It is the dirt that gives the trees life and helps them grow each year. It is the dirt that is quietly hidden until the barrenness of winter is laid as if waste. During the season of winter, all things are bare and we see all the “imperfections” of the land. The parts of the earth that make the rest “shine.”

So to is it in the story of our lives. It is the dirt that makes us into the beautiful beings that we are. It is the dirt that molds our character and gives us sustenance to build upon. It is by God’s grace that we suffer and endure the winters in order to bear fruit in the springtime, health in the summer and colorful grace in the fall seasons of our lives. But we must have the barrenness to illustrate profoundly the emerging beauty. Lets just dive right in…

Bathsheba had a quiet and subtle dignity about her, even though she had to deal with things out of her control – being commanded by the king to give her body to him, the loss of her husband – at the kings command and the loss of her son – at God’s decree and being catapulted to the top ranking female in the kingdom, the Queen and Queen mother. Her world fell apart in a very short order of time. Yet through it all, through the winter season of her life, she came out shinning brilliantly with the colors of spring, health of summer and the timeless grace of fall.  Her willingness to accept what had become of her world, made her even more beautiful.  I have always loved the story of Bathsheba. I have never identified her as an adulterous, simply because it isn’t made known in scripture if she was a willing participant to David’s demands. I’m rather optimistic in assuming that she clearly wouldn’t have wanted to sin like that. (I know, we all have the sin nature and being desired by someone of that magnitude of power would be hard to resist, but let me bury my head in the sand on this one, I prefer it this way.) 😉

Bathsheba bore the sins of a king against her. She gave him a son, even though God took him from them. She willingly, as far as we can know, married the king, thereby securing the title of Queen. (How could this woman, from an adulterous affair become the queen when David already had several other wives, including Abigail, a woman with a quiet and gentle spirit and profound wisdom.) She bore the heir, the son that would be the next king. God surely showed favor to her and David. Yet, her strength and dignity that were formed in her darkest hours were covered in such beauty of her spring, summer and fall that we cannot fully see the resilience of her character under such splendor.

What was done to her was not just, not fair. What she went through, the death of her beloved and devoted husband and her newborn son was a tremendous hardship. Yet, she rose above it all. The outline was clearly visible in her winter season, where her darkest hours were present, yet she triumphed and glorified the Lord in her spring, summer and fall seasons. Before I move on to Tamar, lets take a look at the study note insert for “Bathsheba – Forgiven and Restored.”

Bathsheba was the beautiful wife of Uriah the Hittite, who was a trusted and loyal commander in the king’s army. When Bathsheba knew she was pregnant by the adulterous encounter with King david, she sent word to the king. David brought her husband home from the battle, hoping Uriah would enjoy intimacy with Bathsheba and thereby perceive himself as the father of her unborn child. When this plan went awry, David arranged for Uriah’s death on the battlefield, then sent his messengers and brought Bathsheba to his palace. Though perhaps she could have rejected the king’s initial overtures, by this point she obviously had no choice in the matter.

Did she realize that her husbands’ death was the result of deliberate orders by the king? what went through her mind on hearing the prophet Nathan’s words of judgment on the king? When David came to comfort her after the death of their child (2 Sam. 12:24), did she recoil from the hand whose lust for her had cause the death of a loyal and trusting husband and brought judgment on her child? She mourned for her husband (2 Sam. 11:26), and her heart must have broken as she held her dying baby, watching helplessly as life slipped out of the tiny body. In spite of her love and even the king’s fasting and pleading before God for his son’s life, the little one died. However, in due time, another son, Solomon, was born to her.

As queen, she must have been aware of the various intrigues which occurred when david’s sons rose up against him and vied with each other to take power from the king. When David was near the end of his life, Bathsheba heard rumblings that another of David’s sons, Adonijah, had set himself up as king. Politically astute enough to realize that her own sons’ succession was in danger, she must have been grateful when the prophet Nathan presented a plan for insuring the fulfillment of David’s promise that Solomon would sit on his throne.

Realizing he must act quickly to establish Solomon as the successor to the throne in the eyes of the people, David gave instructions for the high priest to anoint Solomon as king. Solomon then served as co-regent until David’s death. As Queen Mother, Bathsheba enjoyed additional respect and exercised authority over the women of the king’s house.

Bathsheba lived long. She had been a victim of a king’s lust, a grieving mother, a political schemer, and a revered Queen Mother. Her experiences encompassed the worst and the best, the heights and the depths of human circumstance and emotion. But perhaps the notoriety of her scandalous adultery is ultimately overshadowed by her legacy as mother of the wisest of Israel’s Kings.

See also, 2 Sam. 12:15-24; 1 Kin. 1:11-31; 2:13-22.

Tamar, another woman of the bible that has fascinated me on several levels, also had a quiet dignity. Her character also was forged in the dark hours of winter. She had a gentle and quiet spirit, lived according to the law and pleaded by the rightness of it with her half brother, Amnon. First, as my regular readers my recall, I was sexually abused when I was a child, around 7 years old, by a family member. So, I really relate to her in a very unsavory way. But it is more than that. She was clearly older, of marrying age, definitely of the age of reason. She attempted to talk her brother out of sin and into a marriage instead of rape. But, even more now that I’m older and have endured a marriage symbolic of the rape of Tamar, I feel even more kinship with her. My marriage immediately started off with sex. Our first “date” was supposed to be having tea together, instead, he spent 2 hours trying to seduce me, and I eventually gave in. I should’ve done many things, but I didn’t and so here we are. We got pregnant, he despised me and the baby. He continued to use my body. He continued to “dispose of me” after each sexual encounter as if I were just filthy rags. After we got married, reasons to eventually be discussed in some future post, I’m sure, it was always the same, his sexual needs and nothing else. He loved my body, he never loved me. I’ve never been able to make him understand that either, but oh well, that doesn’t matter now, in light of our marriage; however, it does matter for my healing and to move on.

Let me explore this for a moment. As a child and sexually abused, I learned that men used women for their own personal use. I was depraved as a child. I was essentially told, as was Tamar, “shhh, don’t tell anyone, just deal with it.” I became promiscuous as a teenager and encountered more of the same, it was all about sex, every relationship. (During this time in my life, I didn’t walk with the Lord.) Once I became a Christian, I abstained from sex, as much because I knew it was wrong to engage in sexual conduct outside of marriage and serve the Lord as it was for my own personal healing. Yes, my own personal healing. I firmly believe now that sex outside of marriage really takes a toll on a person emotionally, mentally and most importantly spiritually. I had to learn how to completely trust in God for everything. By the way, I’m still learning to trust God and I’m mountains removed from when I first decided to follow Jesus 14 years ago.

Tamar was scandalized. She was put aside, never to marry, never to enjoy life as a pristine virgin princess again, only as a disgraced member of her brother Absolom’s household. King David, her father, though angry, didn’t support her and give her the opportunity for healthy healing, nor punished the heir to the throne at the time, Amnon. Absolom took vengeance on her behalf. Yes, the bible is just as messy as our lives, we are and they were completely human, dealing with our sin natures. Just as Tamar was discarded by her half brother Amnon, I, too, was discarded, not once, but over and over time after time, year after year for nearly 9 years, by the one man that should’ve loved and cared for me as if I were fine porcelain china, something to cherish, a Christian man that should’ve, known based on scriptures, how to treat and love his wife. From here, lets take a look at the other two study notes regarding Tamar.

Date Rape – A tragic Encounter

The pain of being raped while on a date evokes strong emotions such as shock, denial, shame, guilt, anger, and depression.  The woman may ask herself how she could have allowed such a situation to occur, why her judgment of character was not better, or what she did that might have cause the man to rape her. She may feel dirty or sinful as a result of the abuse she has experienced. She may also feel hostility and anger, wanting the individual to suffer as she has suffered.

The victim of a date rape needs the comfort of believers (2 Cor. 1:3,4) during the initial period of shock as she begins to accept what has happened to her. The victim must not take upon herself responsibility for the perpetrator’s behavior.

The emotional healing process nearly always includes:

1) Asking God’s cleansing for the guilt she feels, even as the innocent party (Ps. 51:10-13).

2) Forgiving the rapist for his actions lest she harbor anger that might lead to bitterness or some other destructive behavior (Gal 5:19-21; 1 Thess. 5:15; Heb 12:15).

3) Renewing her commitment to the Lord, knowing that He does not will evil upon her and that when He allows a tragedy, He is ever working to bring restoration and growth (Rom 8:28).

4) Moving forward with her life with determination to grow through this experience, allowing God to guide her as she develops relationships with other believers.

See also Gen. 34:1-4; Ex 22:16, 17; Matt. 5:27-30; 15:19; 1 Thess. 4:3-8

There is a lot packed into just one of these study notes, but here’s the other for good measure:

Tamar – A Violated Princess

Many women, though not members of a royal family, can identify with Tamar. what they have in common with her is the horrifying experience of having been raped by someone they assumed could be trusted, whether a family member, a friend or an acquaintance.

Tamar should have had little reason to fear for her personal safety. She was the daughter of King david and Princess Maacah (see 2 Sam. 3:3) and the beautiful sister of Absalom. She wore the richly colored robes of a princess and no doubt lived a secluded, pampered life.

Her half brother Amnon, overcome by her beauty and his own lust, with the help of his crafty friend and cousin, concocted a foolproof method by which he could spend time alone with her. Pretending to be sick, he requested of his father King David that Tamar be the one to come and prepare a meal for him and feed him in his illness.

Having no reason to be suspicious or fearful of her own half brother, Tamar obliged by going to Amnon’s house to make breadlike cakes for him. When she offered the cakes to Amnon, however, he refused to eat them. Sending all the servants from the room, he asked that Tamar bring the cakes and feed him in the bedroom.

There, to her horror and despair, he raped her. She protested; she resisted; she begged him to to disgrace her by this shameful act. She tried persuasion; she even suggested that a request for permission to marry her would probably be granted by the king (Abraham had married his half sister Sarah; see Gen 20:12), but she could not escape his violence.

After his lust was satisfied, Amnon’s feelings changed from “love” to utter hatred and contempt. Compounding his sinful act, he had the servants throw Tamar out as if she were a piece of trash to be discarded after use.

Tamar’s grief was such that she tore her beautiful robes and put ashes on her head in grief and humiliation. Understanding the emotional damage involved in rape and the consequent necessity for strong support of its victims, we can imagine how she must have felt. Her own brother Absalom callously brushed off her experience, “Hold your peace … do not take this thing to heart” (2 Sam. 13:20). even King David, her own father, though he was angry, did nothing. While Absalom eventually had Amnon killed in retribution (2 Sam. 13:32), Tamar suffered the lifelong emotional trauma. Even though she was a princess, her royal status could neither protect her from an act of sexual violence nor provide the emotional support she needed to begin the process of healing. Countless women like Tamar have known the fear, pain, and shame of being raped by someone they trusted; and, like her, they need love, understanding, and compassion, which ultimately can be found only in the Lord, who is the “God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3; see also 2 Cor. 5:17; Heb. 4:16).

These excerpts are copied straight from the  NKJV study bible that I’ve been using lately. Now, let me conclude with another picture and a little more of my thoughts.

Grandma's Wandering Jew

I am not a green thumb by any means (I’m also not a clean perfectionist either, so please disregard any mess you may see in the background). In fact, I have killed every single plant I have ever owned or cared for, except for Grandma’s Wandering Jew. I’ve come close a few times and this is as skimpy as I’ve gotten it in the 10 years that I’ve cared for and owned this plant. But, this is one plant that I cannot kill.  I don’t think this plant thrives on neglect naturally, but the one in my care has miraculously survived for 10 years, being neglected. This plant has a special place in my heart because it was my Grandma’s. If I ever did kill it, it would be that last living tie to her that would be severed, so I am always thankful that it survives in spite of me.

But, there is something else here that I wish to share as is relates to all the aforementioned in my post. As women, as victims of abuse, we are survivors. No matter how much neglect or abuse or pain that we suffer at the hands of another, we are survivors. Not only that, just as in the first picture above, this too is the backbone of the foundation of our character. We can choose to let it eat us alive, or we can choose to hold our heads up high and be overcomers of the evil that has befallen upon us. Personally, I choose to not only survive, but to glorify the Lord with the testimony that He has so graciously bestowed upon me. How can I say that? Because just like the date rape note says, “God does not will evil upon me” and when He allows tragedy, He is ever working to bring restoration and growth.” It is in that growth that you see the spring, summer and fall seasons of my life, character and personhood. I AM  a daughter of the KING, a PRINCESS of Him most High. Yes, evil has happened to me. Yes, I wasn’t as on guard for my own wellbeing as I should’ve been, but I belong to the “Lover of my Soul.” And I am to be great in His eyes, if no other. But in the meantime, He can use my words, my testimony to reach souls that are struggling as I have done, to take heart and courage that they are not alone, to give them a hope found only in Him. As my Wandering Jew has somehow managed to survive all these years, so to have I. I may not be as lush and beautiful as I once was on the outside, but on the inside, I’m becoming more solidly bound and made perfect in my foundation, based on the only foundation of Christ. My “limbs” bare their flowers, fruit and leaves in due season, albeit differently than before. My body has changed, I no longer sport the “girlish figure” that I once did, but now I have been bestowed with more grace and wisdom from the Lord on High as He walks me through this life, hand in hand, feeding me from His lavish abundance of grace and mercy.

I am forgiven.

I am loved.

I am fulfilled and satisfied.

I am beautiful, by His grace.

I am complete in Him.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24


PS I may have to pick a new day to write as the last 2 Sundays (as well as next Sunday) have been used up with the kids daddy. As for now, this lengthy post more than makes up for the 2 missed Sundays, i’m sure, since it is so long. Have a blessed week! Talk to you soon. And as always, comments and interaction are encouraged and appreciated.


2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

Psalm 20:4 ”May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

Psalm 33:11 ”But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

Proverbs 3:6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 13:16 “All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.”

Proverbs 16:3 ”Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

Proverbs 24:27 “Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.”

Isaiah 32:8 “But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.”

Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”

Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it.”

Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’”

Philippians 3:13-14  “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 10:35-36 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
GOALS! It is what is on my mind the past few days. Somewhere along the line of my busy life I have fallen into the habit of being lazy. All of the above scriptures I copied from a blog on biblical goal setting, you can find it here (and there are more listed, but these are closer to what I want to talk about today) http://celebrateeverydaywithme.com/25-scripture-verses-on-goal-setting/.  

Why have I become lazy? I realized this morning that it has to do with the old adage, “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” For me, I did this for so long, coupled with my disastrous marriage, my failed career “success” and now being single with 5 children just trying to make it through the day with 2 jobs and being everything I can be for my children, I simply just don’t want to any more. I can’t do it on my own any more. I lived so long doing whatever my mind was set on that I’m tired. The problem with that is that I never relied on God, even after I became a Christian. I still did everything in my own vain. Now, I just hope to make it through one day, today, one day at a time. Since today is such a huge mountain, it is hard for me to look past that and see the distant future and all the mountains in between.

So there are things that I still want to accomplish in my life, even though I don’t see anything ever coming of these dreams right now because of the state of mind that I’m in. However, I really feel that I need to set goals to accomplish these things. I need to re-teach myself how to not only set goals, but also to take the necessary action steps to achieve these goals. I’m at a loss as to where to start and how to go about it. I’ve tried and failed at so many things, like stop drinking Dr. Pepper, my choice of poison, or to stop yelling at the kids, or any number of small seemingly inconsequential goals that I fail miserably at every time I set out to overcome them. What is my hang-up? Why am I stuck and can’t move forward? I like to be right where I am and I use the excuse that I’m too tired, I’m too emotional, I can’t deal with that right now and any other number of things.
So, I’m going to teach myself about goals. I’m going to write one big hairy goal down and a couple smaller goals. I’m going to use the SMART goal to achieve these things. I’m scared out of my mind that I will fail yet again as my history continually repeats itself in this. So, here are a few things that I’m thinking about as my first set of goals: Spend time in the word DAILY and make actionable the words that I read, becoming financially sound including being wise about my spending and only buying necessary items (my tendencies are to be spendthrift), be a better christian parent example to my kids, eat healthy including water only to drink – no soda!

What does this look like and how will I go about it, I haven’t the faintest idea. But the scriptures above are a good starting point.Proverbs 24:27 “Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.”

So, this struct me while reading it, I’m not a farmer, so how can this apply to me?  Figuratively, I need to set my goals and prepare to work towards them, then attend to the internal. First step, then action, then emotion. I believe that I’ve spoke on this before but in a vastly different sense.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it.”
It is important to write the goals down. If they aren’t written down, they won’t become realities no matter what I do to work towards them.
Isaiah 32:8 But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
So, set the goals, write them down, take actionable steps and achieve the goal, my reward.
Even though this may be trivial to you, here is one goal that is a huge thing for me and its going to be my first goal:

What one big hairy goal do I want to achieve by March 31, 2015?

I want my house to be clean and the kitchen/dinning room completed (in process of a remodel), with the continued habit of a clean house.

Why do I want to achieve it (the main reason is…)?

I’m tired of a messy, unfinished home.

How will it make me feel?

Accomplished, productive and raise my self esteem in the domestic department. From there, it’ll help me to feel like I can organize and accomplish other things outside of the domestic homefront.

What steps do I need to take in order to make it happen? (Break down into small doable steps. Columns: steps to take, when to complete by)

Steps to Take:                                        When to Complete by:

Clean one room a day to perfection       Daily

Tidy other rooms each day                     Daily

Dispose of purged items still here           March 10

Purge more items                                    March 20, March 30

Who can help you to achieve your goal? (write down names and reach out to them. Columns: Names, contact details)

Names not shown due to privacy of individuals (there are 3 women).

What do I need to do everyday to make progress?

I need to spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day working on each area noted above in steps to take.

My house has become quite the disaster, even in my book, and even though I want it clean, it doesn’t get done. It has gotten increasingly worse as time goes on, mostly because of excuses. The scripture “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,” Proverbs 29:18 hits really close to home. My vision of a house well kept has never really been a thing of import to me, until recently. And even then, it was a distant far off goal, how does a single mom with 5 youngins keep the house clean anyways? But, now, it is written down and there are actual steps to take to make it happen. Now, I have a vision, before I was unrestrained.

So this is my big hairy goal for March! When I have accomplished this, I’ll set another big hairy goal for April and so on. I will build upon each obtained goal and ultimately set my biggest hairy goal with my ministry…I need these big, little victories under my belt first and then I’ll move on to my biggest, God sized goal of beginning and building my ministry and business. (And yes, one of these will be NO MORE DR. PEPPER!) I am glad to share with you today! I hope that you find comfort knowing that even plans and goals are well when taken with scripture first and foremost as your focus.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139::23-24


And one shall say,
“Heap it up! Heap it up!
Prepare the way,
Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.”

For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy;
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And for the souls which I have made.
For the iniquity of his covetousness
I was angry and struck him;
I hid and was angry,
And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him;
I will also lead him,
And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.

“I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord,
“And I will heal him.” – Isaiah 57:14-19

Praise God that He heals us. There isn’t a single one of us that can say that we have lived a perfectly glorifying to the Lord and His kingdom kind of life. I for one have failed greatly. I must confess, I have backslid. I was on a downward spiral for over the past 5 years, with each passing moment clinging to what once was a much idolized conviction base and is now cast asunder.

The quick update of all these passing years: I am now a single, divorced mother of five young saplings (have been for over a year). Life is generally just as tough, but it is a different kind of tough. Now, instead of dealing with all the crud of a controlling husband and trying to be the perfect “love your husband to God” wife, I am trying to keep my head above the water being a good example of a Christian, a good mom and ever leaning on the Lord woman for my kids. I fail miserably everyday showing my children how a woman of God and Christian woman should be, but I will not give up.

I’m back to examining ALL of my convictions and beliefs. I’m back to scrutinizing my lack of building a relationship with my Lord. I desire a deep, soul wrenching relationship with the Lord and I can only get it when I put in the effort. So, here’s to starting over again. From henceforth, this blog and anything that I write will no longer be about my efforts to be the good wife, but to be a good mother. My daily struggles with the kids, with being poverty stricken, with working my 2 jobs and various side jobs. This will be about me striving to create the ministry that the Lord gave to me in a vision 7 years ago. This will be about who I am, where I’m going and how I’m doing. I realize that much of the past was venting and healing and coping for me. I realize that it’ll still be that, but my life has taken a huge turn. Life isn’t any easier, only less emotionally charged.

Today, I’ll just say that I am exceedingly thankful that the Lord has promised to “restore comforts to him.” One thing that I miss greatly is the companionship, even though it was nearly non-existent in my marriage. Being a divorced woman, I now come with a stigma that I can’t really explain. And with 5 kids, it is unlikely that any man would want to deal with all the ready made challenges that come with me. This and all things can be fulfilled with the Lord himself, “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!'” Lamentations 3:24.  It would be nice to have someone to walk through this life with, to share my daily experiences with, to help me, to anchor me, to let me cry on his shoulder, but Jesus is all that I need and reflecting on the scriptures will help me understand this to an even greater and deeper sense and fulfill my longing for a relationship.

Relationships! Ah, to go into depth about what the Lord has been teaching me regarding that…but that is for another day, another post.

I’m not going to write much today as it is the first day in many years, but I’ll leave with this, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because compassions fail not.”  Lamentations 3:19

The note in my bible (NKJV study bible for women) says this,

God’s faithfulness is commitment on His part and is as dependable as the scheduled appearances of the sun and moon (Ps. 89:2, 5, 36, 37).  When you wake up in the morning, God will always be there. Family and friends may disapoint; heroes and heroines may fail to live up to expectations. Nevertheless, God is ever faithful.

The root meaning of faithfulness (Heb. ’emunah) is “certainty” and “dependability.” Faithfulness describes who God is, (1 Cor  1:9). No matter what you do, God cannot be unfaithful because He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13).  He is steadfast and trustworthy. He keeps his promises (Heb. 10:23).

God’s presence is assured, even if you are unaware of it (Matt. 28:20).  His faithfulness is experienced in His protection (2 Thess. 3:3), mercy (Ps. 89:2), preservation (1 Thess. 5:23, 24), love (Rom. 8:35-39), and discipline (Ps. 89:32, 33); it is revealed in all His promises (Josh. 23:14).  What a comfort and encouragement to experience His faithfulness.

I’m so thankful for God’s goodness, grace and mercy. To think, the one that exists outside of time – the one who “inhabits eternity,” wants me to pursue Him and who pursues me, the one whose name is Holy, the one that gave His one and only son so that I could spend eternity with Him, loves me. Me, the lowliest of low, the undone, the sinful one. I humble my spirit and my heart before the Lord. Today, I begin anew, living a life reflective of the quiet and gentle Spirit of the Lord that lives within. I must have a piece of eternity inside of me, because He inhabits eternity. It is just an awesome thought to wrap my mind around. If this is really so, and the Word is infallible, then I must live my life accordingly, of which, I’m ashamed to say, I have not been doing for quit a long time in my behavior especially. Now is the time, today is the day, to start anew, to show my children what a child of God should be like.

For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy;
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Going forward, I’d like to promise to write at least 1x a week. Probably on the weekend. It will be very hard to write daily as I did when I first started this blog all those years ago. If I find that it is a breeze to sit here among the chaos of 5 kids, then I’ll attempt to write more than 1x a week. Only God knows what He has in store for me with this writing. Only He knows who my words will reach out to. I am just thankful that He has chosen to use me according to His purposes.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24


It has been a very LOOOOONG time. I am beginning a new chapter in my life and I believe that I am ready to let you back into my life! I will start writing again, maybe not daily like before, but I will be here. I have a lot of catching up to do with moderating comments and such. But, I’m here. Thanks for waiting for me to get myself back together.

I have started a new community in facebook and you are more than welcome to join me there too. I sure hope you do as I’m going to use that more for a daily interaction venue and this as more of a writing my thoughts, and you know very well how long I can be when writing. You can go like my page at this address: https://www.facebook.com/Grainoffaith

I can’t wait to interact with you more and get to know y’all better.
Have a blessed day!

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
    They will go down into the depths of the earth.
They will die by the sword
    and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
    All who trust in him will praise him,
    while liars will be silenced. 
Psalm 63

I really don’t have much to say today.  I’ve rifled through my Bible several times and nothing really stands out above another scripture for me today.  That is a little disheartening, but that is life.  I decided on this scripture because of where I am in my life.  Nothing really matters, I only want God.  I want Him close by, I want to be inundated with His presence.  Ever breath I take I want to infuse myself with His Spirit.  I can’t get enough of Him, and yet, I feel He is so far away.  I am parched for Him and nothing will satisfy me but Him.  I know that God has not abandoned me, just that I no longer feel His comforting presence.  I realize that if it were not for His comforting presence, even when I don’t feel Him, I would truly be in dire straights…this is all just a matter of perception and my perception is skewed.

I’ll type one note for today…

Note on verses 1-5

Hiding from his enemies in the barren wilderness of Judah, David was intensely lonely.  He longed for a friend he could trust to ease his loneliness.  No wonder he cried out, “O God, . . . my soul thirsts for you . . . in this parched and weary land.”  If you are lonely or thirsty for something lasting in your life, remember David’s prayer.  God alone can satisfy our deepest longings!

I’m in a time of my life where I can only cling to the Lord.  I thirst for Him, pant for Him like a deer pants for water.  Generally things are on the upswing, but I have my days, like today.  There is nothing that I can pin-point that has triggered these dismal feelings, just that I have them.  And so, I long for God, His nearness, His wisdom, His guidance, His comfort.  I just don’t want to do anything else, just be with Him, talk to Him, share with Him.  Sometimes, like today, I carry on a one sided conversation with Him just to feel close to Him.  And because I know that He is there and that He is listening to me, I can take comfort in that.  I may not feel Him, but my comfort lies in knowing He is near.

I went to sleep last night asking the Lord what is it about me that is cloaking His presence from me.  God, in perfection, is not the problem, but me in my imperfections.  So, it is a fair assessment that I have placed the block between us.  I can accept that and I simply ask and wait patiently for God to remove that block or show me what I’m doing or holding on to that prevents Him from filling me with His radiant presence. 

Oh how I long for the feeling of His presence.  I kind of want to just stop living until I re-aquire His presence.  I want to press pause on my life and run off to be by myself until I can feel Him next to me again.  I don’t want to take another step, I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to live one more second until all things are made right in me by basking in His presence. 

That’s what I want, but that isn’t how it works.  Instead, I’ll continue to live each day, each moment, each second as if He I can feel His presence because I know that He is present.  With each step, with each second, moment and each day, I grow stronger in my faith because of believing without seeing. 

My husband and I got into a bit of an argument last night.  It really wasn’t a big thing, yet we got into it.  It is frustrating because I can see how futile these ‘little’ arguments are and yet we still do it.  I just wish we could get along better, daily.  I want so much to have a marriage relationship modeled after the marriage relationship depicted in the scriptures, but both of us get in the way.  I’m tired and just don’t want to keep plugging away at it.  It is hard to see that it is worth it.  But, I know that it is because I live my life for God’s glory, not my own.  I know that divorce will not make matters any better.  And if that ever happened, I know that another marriage, though may be easier to handle, will not be worth it either.  Only God is worth anything and living for Him is all that matters.

After little arguments like last night, I look to the end of April with apprehension!  I don’t want to live with my husband and argue with him like this on a near daily basis.  I don’t want to ‘put up’ with him.  I can’t send him ‘home’ when I live with him.  He simply drives me nuts.  I really need God to help me.  God, please instill a new and right attitude towards this whole situation.  I know that I’m incapable of doing this myself and I need you now!!!!!

Anyway, today, I simply say, “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you…”  God, I love you, I miss you and I need you.  I don’t want to live life without you.  Please rescue me from myself.  Psalm 119 is such a great psalm.  Throughout its entirety David acknowledges that he is just a man and only God can change him  from within.  I think I’m going to start reading it every day as a reminder of who God is and who I am.  I can do nothing except through the power of the Holy Living God.

Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24  I give my body to You because of all You have done for me.  Let my body be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind You will find acceptable.  This is truly the way to worship You.  I won’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but I will let You transform me into a new person by changing the way I think.  Then I will learn to know Your will for me, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2  Amen.

May God provide the increase.

Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you.   So let me bring you this complaint:  Why are the wicked so prosperous?  Why are evil people so happy?  You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered.  Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts.  But as for me, Lord, you know my heart.  You see me and test my thoughts.  Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered!  Set them aside to be slaughtered!

How long must this land mourn?  Even the grass in the fields has withered.  The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land.  For the people have said, “The Lord doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!”

“If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses?  If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?  Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you.  They plot and raise complaints against you.  Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak.”  Jeremiah 12:1-6

Hello, my friends.  It has been a very long time since I’ve sat down to write.  I’m sorry and hope you’ll forgive me.  God finally showed me a month or more ago why I couldn’t write anything on my blog lately…I have been going through a pruning season and have needed this time to re-focus on God, His Word and His Will.  I can’t claim that I’m perfectly there, but hey, its a season that we all go through from time to time, even the most seasoned Christians out there.  In any case. 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.   No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  John 15:1-4

Life is overall better.  I’ve allowed God control of my situation, though I still at times try to take control back, I won’t kid you.  Though still separated from my husband, we are beginning to get things worked out.  In fact, my lease will be up at the end of April and I will once again venture to live with him again.  We will have our fourth child in the middle of April so life is taking quite a few unexpected turns, but I’ve accepted them.  God knows what is best.

The most refreshing news, I think, is that the Lord has really worked in my heart and much of the resentment that drove me is mostly gone.  Praise God for His glorious work in me.  There are still scars that need messaged every once in a while and sometimes bitterness seeps back in, but that happens few and far between.  My husband has done a 180 and is coming back the other way.  He has acknowledged his horrible treatment of me in the beginning and is starting to show remorse for his behavior towards me and even more importantly towards our oldest child.  As most women will understand, I can handle the injustices towards me better than towards my children.

But, enough about that…lets talk about the above text in Jeremiah and why it is on my heart today (well the last few weeks to be precise).  First I’ll type in the notes from my study bible…

Note on verses 1-6

Many people have asked, “why are the wicked so prosperous?”  (See, for example, Job 21:4-21 and Habakkuk 1:1-4.)  Jeremiah knew that God’s justice would ultimately come, but he was impatient because he wanted justice to come quickly.  God didn’t give a doctrinal answer; instead, he gave a challenge:  If Jeremiah couldn’t handle this, how would he handle the injustices ahead?  It is natural for us to demand fair play and cry for justice against those who take advantage of others.  But when we call for justice, we must realize that we ourselves would be in big trouble if God gave each of us what we truly deserve. 

Note on verses 5, 6

Life was extremely difficult for Jeremiah despite his love for and obedience to God.  When he called to God for relief, God’s reply in effect was, “If you think this is bad, how are you going to cope when it gets really tough?”  God’s answers to prayer are not always nice or easy to handle.  Any christian who has experienced war, bereavement, or a serious illness knows this.  We are to be committed to God even when the going gets tough and when our prayers for relief are not immediately answered.

I’ve oftentimes thought of this text during my struggles in these past several years, and know it doesn’t sound very comforting to think that things will get worse.  But, God has never promised to eliminate our hardships, only that He will be there with us as we walk through them.  In the past year and a half, the only real desire I have had was to ‘go home’ with the Lord.  I’m tired of this life, of trying to figure things out, of trying to do God’s will and continually failing at every turn and in between the turns.  I’m just tired.  I’ve often asked God ‘why?’  As far as a typical day goes, most of the time I feel life is meaningless.  The only thing that really matters is God. 

I spoke with a dear sister this weekend and my conversation with her touched on all this and that is why I’m writing about it today, it is fresh on my mind.  As I told her, the only thing that really matters is that God knows my heart, He knows I am tired and just don’t want to be here anymore, and He knows that I know that He is God.  I’ve asked God to take me home, but I remain.  I have recognized that God is God and have kept Him in the proper place but that doesn’t take away these feelings.  As I encouraged my sister, in times like these, as long as we are real and keep God in His proper place in our lives – leaving God as God – then we are not wrong to be tired, or to want to go home with Him.  Being completely transparent with God and yet acknowledging God makes us humble by default.  It shines the spotlight on how futile life really is unless all things are done for God and through God.  Everything, absolutely everything in life should be done for the glory of God. 

I can’t say that I understand what God really meant when He answered Jeremiah.  I know that I certainly don’t want to ‘race against horses.’  Life has already been exhausting enough, I certainly don’t want more of the same.  Yet, I believe that God has me here for a reason still and that I have to learn that every moment of my life depends solely on the grace of the Lord. 

I was thinking this morning about my ‘plight.’  All of my life, and I would venture to guess that this is the case for most of us, I have lived in my ‘comfort zone.’  In fact, I can look back and see that I never want to leave my comfort zones, especially the older I get and each time I move into a new level of comfort, it is because God has uprooted me and I’ve settled in another plot, so to speak.  God has never wanted me to stay in my comfort zone.  At each stage, I’ve been forced out and then I’d settle, then I’d be forced out again, and resettle.  It would be so much easier if I would just let God plant me instead of making Him uproot me every so often to do His will, things would be much easier on me.  But, no, I’m rather hard headed and pretty darn stubborn about doing things my way. 

Well, I don’t have much more time today, so I’ll have to finish writing for now.  I’m sorry my thoughts are rather hodgepodge today, and it is my prayer, as always, that God will use me to reach those who need to hear what He has to say.  I know that even when I may not make sense, God’s spirit can help you understand and know what He is trying to tell you. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24  I give my body to You because of all You have done for me.  Let my body be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind You will find acceptable.  This is truly the way to worship You.  I won’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but I will let You transform me into a new person by changing the way I think.  Then I will learn to know Your will for me, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2  Amen.

May God provide the increase.

Again I say, don’t think that I am a fool to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish person, while I also boast a little.  Such boasting is not from the Lord, but I am acting like a fool.  And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too.  After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with fools!  You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face.  I’m ashamed to say that we’ve been too “weak” to do that!

But whatever they dare to boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I dare to boast about it, too.  Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.  Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.  Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.  I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.  I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?

If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.  God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying.  When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.  I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.  2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Well, I cried to the Lord in my prayer today before I opened my bible and then here was the passage I opened to.  Lets see what we get from here and see how we can apply it to our lives. 

I cried today because I know the work that God has cut out for me.  I know what He wants me to do with my life…bear in mind, I don’t know the minute details, but He has shown me several things about where my life is heading.  And as these thoughts crossed my mind in my prayer this morning, I felt so completely inadequate and utterly weak and unable to accomplish the tasks set before me.  It seems impossible for me to get from where I am now to where I know that I will be one day.  But, then, as Paul has said, ‘when I am weak, then I am strong.’  I don’t know how, when or where all the things that the Lord has shown me will take place, but I know that they will come to pass.  So, with that little side note…lets take a look at the scripture and even the notes from my study bible.

One thing that comes to mind immediately is that Paul uses the terms fool and foolish.  He was asking his listeners to hear him just as they would entertain the follies of a foolish person, at least for a time.  Naturally, with that word, I’m sure you came to the same scriptural thought that I did…

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.  Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.  God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.  As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.  1 Corinthians 1:26-29

And then in another passage…

Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.  1 Corinthians 3:18-19

I wrote once about this back in January of 2008.  God Chose the things the world considers foolish 1 Corinthians 1:27  You might find it interesting reading, but don’t feel obligated.  Paul goes on to recount a list of reasons why he had credibility and authority.  Many times I have read this passage and thought that Paul has a little bit of pride, but today, it struck me a little different.  He says that it is foolishness for him to recount these things, to continue on like he does, and in many ways, it is true, especially from the world’s perspective.  Who cares?  No one really cares about all the trials and hardships that this one man faced, even though he was a child of God. 

Yet, today, I see this passage as a comfort.  Along the same lines of yesterday’s post, I feel like I’ve done more whining and complaining than turning folks to Jesus and His saving power.  Yet, reading this scripture, I realized that it is important to share our trials, sometimes listing them as a laundry list so that other Christians can be strengthened and non-believers can align themselves correctly with the one true God and see that He loves them, even in their hardships because He loves those who are devoted to Him.  Yes, that is foolishness to the world.  absolutely… How about a note or two now?  (Remember, the notes from my bible are in green and my words are always in black.)

Note on verses 22, 23

Paul presented his credentials to counteract the charges that the false teachers were making against him.  He felt foolish boasting like this, but his list of credentials would silence any doubts about his authority.  Paul wanted to keep the Corinthians from slipping under the spell of the false teachers and turning away from the Good News.  Paul also gave a list of his credentials in his letter to the Philippians (see Philippians 3:4-8).

I don’t think I have any authority and I don’t list my credentials either.  But I do try to be transparent, and in that I find that God grants authority to my words because they resonate with my readers.  My sins, my screw-ups and my daily living is nothing to boast of and I certainly couldn’t claim that I’ve lived a life like Paul and endured the kind of pain and torture that he did, yet God gives a certain understandable quality to my posts that I couldn’t relay no matter how hard I tried.  I’m certainly not Paul, but God has and continues to use me just as I am, no matter how foolish I sound or act…God uses me.  I’ve already said much about this before the note, so let’s move on, shall we?

Note on verses 23-29

Paul was angry that the false teachers had impressed and deceived the Corinthians (11:13-15).  Therefore, he had reestablished his credibility and authority by listing the trials he had endured in his service for Christ.  Some of these trials are recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 14:19; 16:22-24).  Because Paul wrote this letter during his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-21:17), his trials weren’t over.  He would experience yet further difficulties and humiliations for the cause of Christ (see Acts 21:20-22: 22:24-30).  Paul was sacrificing his life for the Good News, something the false teachers would never do.  The trials and hurts we experience for Christ’s sake build our character, demonstrate our faith, and prepare us for further service to the Lord.

There is only one thing that I want to point out in this note and talk about a little bit.  Paul was sacrificing his life for the Good News, something the false teachers would never do.  You don’t know how many times I’ve seen this in my husband and others who say that they are Christians and love the Lord with all their heart.  I can’t say that I’m perfect, so I’m sure that there are times when I fit into this category too.  But, whenever we are unwilling to yield or forego something that we want for the benefit of another, we are like these false teachers.  When we cannot extend even the slightest mercy towards others and give them the benefit of the doubt and help them in some way, then we are not putting God’s kingdom first and are living only for ourselves.  If God’s kingdom reigns in our heart on a daily, even on a minute basis, then we will have tendencies to think of ourselves first, almost always.  When God’s kingdom is in our hearts and His Sovereignty is running our thoughts and hearts, then we will speak and act from that viewpoint and not one from the worlds.  I feel like I’m talking in circles…May God provide clarity to you.

Note on verse 25

Sea travel was not as safe as it is today.  Paul had been shipwrecked three times, and he would face another accident on his voyage to Rome (see Acts 27).  By this time, Paul had probably made at least eight or nine voyages.

Note on verses 28, 29

Not only did Paul face beatings and dangers, he also carried the daily concern for the young churches, worrying that they were staying true to the Good News and free from false teachings and inner strife.  Paul was concerned for individuals in the churches he served.  If God has placed you in a position of leadership and authority, treat people with Paul’s kind of empathy and concern.

I would only add to this note that it doesn’t matter if you have a position of leadership and authority like Paul, but you should treat everyone with Paul’s kind of empathy and concern.  Does it make your heart break when you see a believer fall?  Does it make you cry out to God when you see a person profaning God?  Does it make you want to get up and do something for the Good News when there is so much evil and vile things in this world today?  Do you pray for the unsaved?  Listen up folks, these are your sisters and brothers.  Maybe for their sins they don’t deserve God and heaven, but are we to judge that?  No!  If God loved us enough to send His only Son (John 3:16) while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), then who are we to say that other sinners aren’t worthy enough for God’s love?  Get with it people, get real!  Jesus came to serve, not be served.  He came to give us an example of how we are to live in this world right now for His kingdom.  We are only passing through, and we should be trying, reaching out to those in darkness and allowing God’s light to shine through us to them so that they can be saved.  We don’t have to be in a special position to do this, we simply have to be in a place where God can use us and He is so powerful that no matter where we are or what we are doing, He can use us for His glory.  Never forget that!

(Sorry for that little rant there…I’ll step down from my soap box now…)

Note on verses 32, 33

King Aretas, king of the Nabateans (Edomites) from 9 B.C. to A.D. 40, had appointed a governor to oversee the Nabatean segment of the population in Damascus.  Somehow the Jews in Damascus had been able to enlist this governor to help them try to capture Paul (see Acts 9:22-25).  Paul gave a “for instance” here, describing his escape from Damascus in a basket lowered from a window in the city wall.  Paul recounted this incident to show what he had endured for Christ.  The false teachers couldn’t make such claims.

The only thing I have here is that we shouldn’t limit false teachings to false teachers.  The devil is a sneaky and vile creature.  He can use even the most devout brothers and sisters that you know for his purposes.  That is why it is imperative to us as believers to ‘study to show ourselves approved.’ (KJV, but the NLT says this…) Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15  In other words, we are to ‘rightly divide the Word of truth,’ (again the KJV).  The only way to do this is to read the Word ourselves and see if what we have heard is, in fact, what is in the scriptures.  I could say all kinds of things, but maybe not get a few things quite right.  Then it is not only your responsibility to test what I say against the scripture, but also you must tell me where I have been mislead.  I welcome comments, but all to often, with the exception of my normal readers, I don’t get too many comments.  So, I trust in the Lord that whatever I say, He can help my readers understand.  I know that He does.  I also know that if I say something that isn’t quite right, God will help those that get it and help them to find the real scriptural truth.  My God is greater than any foible that I could possibly find myself in.  Thank goodness for that!

Okay, I’m on another soapbox…I’ll just simply close for today.  God is Sovereign!  That is a most magnificent thought!  Besides Christ shedding His blood and atoning for my sins, which is the most significant thing, I love the knowledge and comfort that the thought of God is sovereign brings to me and my wellbeing.

Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24  I give my body to You because of all You have done for me.  Let my body be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind You will find acceptable.  This is truly the way to worship You.  I won’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but I will let You transform me into a new person by changing the way I think.  Then I will learn to know Your will for me, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2  Amen.

May God provide the increase.