Biblical Ishshah (Woman): Abigail-- An Example of Wisdom, Beauty, and Intelligence

Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.” 1 Sam 25: 32-33

God uses obedient and willing women mightily in His kingdom. This is often taught that only if a woman is in total subjection to her husband, even if he is not walking in God's will and obedience and 1 Peter 3 is quoted as the proof according to the rendering of those using it to make their point.

However, our Bible weaves together beautifully to illustrate basic principles which sometimes seem contradictory, but truly are not. It requires wisdom to pull all aspects together and watch them flow in harmony. Some either cannot or will not show this bigger picture of women and leave out these important truths.

Abigail, was known as a wise woman, of intelligence and beauty. She was married to a man named Nabal which means “folly or fool.” I guess this was a case of opposites attract and definitely a spiritual mismatch.

Nabal's own servants said he was worthless. Take note as to why Nabal is known as worthless to them, because no one can speak to him. Now as we read this chapter we realize indeed they spoke to him, but he was not a man of good reasoning and refused input from others. He was also known as harsh and evil in his dealings with others. This harsh can also be translated as hard, stubborn, or obstinate. The word given as evil can also be translated as bad, disagreeable, unkind, and unpleasant. Dealings literally means his acts, deeds, and practices. You get the picture?

A man like this is usually abusive with power over his family and employees. Abuse may be in one spectrum or many, encompassing mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual abuse.

King David is out in the fields and a feast day has arrived. He seeks from Nabal a gift in exchange for the fact he and his men have been good to Nabal's servants and flocks and even offered them a wall of protection. Nabal being a greedy man refuses and spurns David.

Fortunately, even Nabal and Abigail's servants have perceived that Abigail is wise and intelligent. So they secretly come to Abigail and tell her of the foolish decision of Nabal. Abigail immediately acts on this and goes fully against her husband's will, even behind his back, because she discerns that her husband is not obedient to God. She is wise enough to know that she cannot reason with Nabal, so she moves forward without his knowledge or permission.

In haste she goes to King David with many gifts and pleads for his mercy. She is bold and exercises one of her spiritual gifts and begins to prophecy over David. What she speaks is truth given from God. This is a woman who is surrendered to our Lord!

David had his mind made up to kill Nabal and all his household before Abigail came and spoke wisdom and prophesied over him. David, who was unlike Nabal, listens to Abigail's wise counsel and heeds it, realizing God has revealed His will through this woman.

Then David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. "Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male." So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, "Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request."”

Abigail returns home to find Nabal throwing himself a feast fit for a king and he was drunk. Abigail in her wisdom decides now it not the time to share with him what she has done. The next day she tells Nabal all and the Bible says his heart died within him and became as stone. This appears not to be physical but rather emotional and spiritual, since God has yet to strike Nabal dead. Can you imagine how Nabal probably treated Abigail in those 10 days following since his heart was now like stone? Then the Lord struck Nabal dead.

When David heard Nabal was dead he blessed the Lord. Not only that, but he sent a marriage proposal to Abigail.

Abigail is one of my favorite women in the Bible, because she chose the fear of the Lord and to walk in obedience to Him in contrast to what most of us are taught today! Yet, she is blessed with the titles of wise, discerning, intelligent and beautiful!

Father God, in the Name of Jesus, please help each of my sisters and me to choose to walk in obedience to You and Your plans. Let us reflect Your wisdom, discernment, intelligence, and beauty. Help each of us to live out our lives longing to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!” AMEN!

Are You in Denial?

As often as I open my email, Facebook, Twitter, or other account I hear women versing the promises of God. Sometimes I feel wholly encouraged. At other times, I feel entirely concerned.

Encouraged, because what an amazing God we serve that He has given us His promises to cling to when our hearts would otherwise be overwhelmed. How many of us have clung tightly to the promises in His Word while being battered in the midst of a storm? Those promises were our beacon of hope that helped us hold on!

Concerned, because too many people cease to comprehend that every promise of God is founded on a condition of obedience. When we neglect to speak about the conditions of obedience, we are like children trying to sustain good health off Cotton Candy! We want our impulses and the sweet promises. We want to claim them no matter what we are doing with our lives. It is the “best of both worlds” mentality, which Christ and His apostles warned had no part in Him!

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” Titus 1:16

My dear friends, you do not want to be one who denies God by your deeds and lack of obedience to His Word. This is the wrong type of denial for those who claim to be Christians.

Yet we are called to be in denial! “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.””

What is it to deny ourselves? It is a moment by moment choice to deny our selfish flesh and surrender our lives to Christ for His glory. It is deliberately choosing to make Jesus the LORD (Master) of your life. If Christ is truly Lord, then His character should be more and more emulated by you.

I am not calling you to beat yourself up here, because none of us have achieved perfection and will not until we are face to face with Christ. Yet, we are to be growing in His grace. Step back and look at the last year of your life, graph it out in your mind's eye. Are you becoming more like Christ and less controlled by the lusts of your flesh. Do you see an overall increasing in the fruit of the spirit?

The Word of God makes reveals to us the deeds that we practice if controlled by our flesh:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21

Yet if we are abiding in Christ, His spirit will be prevailing more and more against the flesh. Thus, we will produce more fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23

If the fruit is increasing in your life, you do well. If not, then it is time to cry out to the Lord to intervene. I would also suggest you find some godly, same-gender siblings for the sake of accountability. There is nothing like a sister who reminds me to put my eyes back on Christ and not my circumstances or selfish desires.

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.” Ps 119:37

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2

May we press on together toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Blessings to you!

Biblical Ishshah (Woman): The True Role of Helper/Help Meet

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." Gen. 2:18

Are you ready to embrace who God created you to be dear sister? Because I am excited to take you on an adventure into the Word of God to discover the truth about women. In our series Biblical Ishshah (Hebrew for woman, pronounced ish-shaw) we will start with the HELPER/HELP MEET.

In the Hebrew the word for the helper/helpmeet in the passages in Genesis 2 is `ezer which is a masculine noun. It has for the root the verb `azar which is also translated helper in the English.

What does that word “Help” or “Helper” mean in the Bible? Would you be surprised that it does not mean what we tend to think in our culture today?

We tend to think of the master tradesman who is the brains with the skills, who calls the shots and hires or enslaves a helper, whom is the lesser of the two. Maybe even apprentice comes to mind.

When people are told wives are created to be a helper to their husbands, an assumption is made based off our current cultural understanding of the word helper.

Let us dig into His Word to find out what a helper is. Helper is one who comes to the aid, to rescue, or deliver those in NEED of help. Does that sound like a lesser being or one further down on the totem?

2 Kings 14:26 we see that Israel is suffering because there was found no HELPER for them. In this case helper is a king, prophet, or military general who would deliver the people.

Job 29:12 speaks of the delivering the poor and the orphan who has no helper. Job was not the lesser, but rather capable of bettering the life of the poor and orphan (who had little or nothing) out of his own faithfulness and abundance.

In the Psalms, every time the word helper is used, it refers to God Himself. David recognized that he desperately needed God to help him, deliver him, rescue him, come to his aid!

In every passage in the Old Testament, the word Helper was understood to be a competent one(s) who came to the aid of the one in need of help. You were in a better position to help those who could not help themselves. Not a lesser position.

God knew from the beginning that He would create both man and woman. However, he allowed man to go for a time alone and separate to understand that He was in need of somebody to come to his aid.

Some say Eve was a helper suitable for Adam. The word that has been translated as suitable means conspicuous, in front of or corresponding to. So God fashioned Eve to come to the aid of Adam in ways that became conspicuous to him corresponding to his needs for help.

God did not create Eve to be treated as a peon. He created her from the side of Adam, not from his top to crush him, nor from his bottom to be trampled on. In every other place in the Bible the word Tsela` is never translated as RIB. It refers to the ENTIRE side, or half of the assembly/structure, even used in reference to parts of the Temple. How interesting. What if Eve was actually created from an equal half of Adam? Could it be? Do you see the Temple connection to our bodies now being His temple in the New Testament?

If God did indeed create marriage to be a three strand cord that correlates to the Trinity, then is Yahweh in this union the Father, while the husband is to be like the Son laying down his life in sacrificial love? If so, then that would mean the wife represents the role of the Holy Spirit who is also called a HELPER in the New Testament. Interesting, given the same role title, helper. Maybe even more than that, since the Holy Spirit inhabits the church, perhaps the wife is also symbolic of the Bride of Christ filled with Spirit. Think about how each role in the Trinity work in AGREEMENT to be part of the WHOLE and always with a purpose in mind.

You, my sister, were created with valuable design in the mind of God. He intentionally waited to create Eve until Adam realized he was in need of aid. He took the very side of Adam and fashioned Eve. She was an equal part of him. First the husband recognized his need for aid, then God made him incomplete without the help of his wife. A helper comes along side (never beneath) in our Bible to aid one in need.

If you are walking in singleness, all of this still applies to your standing. Equal in standing with man in the eyes of God, both are equally sinners in need of grace. You were created to be a helper to those in need of aid. There are plenty of hurting people who need the aid and compassion of a helper to lead them into truth and bandage their wounds with the healing ointment of Christ's blood.

Father God, in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you for Your Word and my sisters. I ask that today you would reveal to each of my sisters, their standing and purpose in Your eyes as a helper. Help us to understand Your truth and walk in it. Let each of us serve out our purpose for which You created us. AMEN!

Is it Provision or Blessed Provision?

Yahweh-Yireh (The Lord Will Provide) is the name Abraham gave the place where he almost sacrificed his only son of promise, Isaac. On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided is a prophecy of how God would some day truly sacrifice His only Son, that we might be redeemed. Abraham had told Isaac that God Himself would provide the Lamb for the burnt offering! The ultimate provision! Did you know provision means “to see beforehand?” God knows/sees the future and thus anticipates our every need, including sacrifice and redemption!

Yet Abraham, a mere mortal with no corporate protection, knew what most exalted corporate giants do not comprehend. Obeying God brings blessed provision. My emphasis is on blessed!

This same theme was found in the story of “Faith Like Potatoes.” Angus Buchan, a hot-headed Scotsman farming in South Africa is transformed when he lives a life of obedience and faith in God. During a drought, on his farm with no irrigation, God commands him to trust in Him and plant potatoes which require much rain/irrigation. Potatoes grow underground and you cannot see if they are thriving until you dig them up.

Angus obeyed God knowing that if this potato crop failed, he would lose his farm and destroy the means of support for many. During the harvest, he was blessed with the provision of many potatoes that helped not only provide for his family and workers' families, but also for an orphanage full of children on their farm. There is much more to this story, but every detail is about their lives surrendered in obedience to God and their faith being strengthened through it, as well as all of those who came into contact with them.

Most Christians will struggle their entire life fighting against rebellion towards God. The natural, sinful urge within desires control and to exert sole authority in one's life in preference to obeying God.

We have two kinds of “Christians” with money, both receive their provision from God, yet not both are blessed by God. One type uses their money to gain control and require people to acknowledge them for their wealth and generosity. They are like the pharisee on the street giving alms for all to notice. It is for their own glory, yet cloaked in righteous deeds. The other type would rather keep secret how much they do for God, as they want Him alone to receive the glory. They are humble before God walking in obedience to His Word and experience a deeper blessing.

“...for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matt 5:45

Do we only yearn for His provision such as He gives to even the evil and unrighteous? Or do we prefer His blessing?

Many of us have heard the teachings of prosperity and they appeal to us. God wants to bless you financially if you will just tithe to their ministry! These teachers neglect to show you the thousands suffering poverty and imprisonment undergoing persecution around the world who follow Jesus passionately. The persecuted church knows more about sacrificial giving than most of us in free nations could ever fathom. Yet they are not wealthy with material provision! Why not? Does God's windows only open over the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia? Nonsense!

God said He would provide for our needs, not all of our wants and our selfish desires. When the Bible says to "delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart", one better stop and ponder this verse. If you are delighting (taking pleasure) in the Lord with your “self”, then you are surrendered to Him, not your “self.” Your relationship with Him is what brings you pleasure and delight, not the things of this world. Thus, the desires of your heart will be His desires, not all those material or selfish things. The condition of obedience comes before the promise of blessing!

Are you walking in obedience like Abraham? Do you apply faith to that obedience? Have you considered God's servant Job? Could you say, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord” in the midst of tragedy? What did Abraham and Job know that made them humble servants who would surrender all to God Almighty?

Integrity is described as doing the right thing even when nobody is looking. Obedience is doing God's will even if everybody is watching and nobody supports you or thinks is it wisdom! We have a living example of that kind of obedience in Angus Buchan and his potatoes. If we are obeying and blessing God in our daily walk, even during our petty grievances, then we are more likely to obey Him with more and bless Him even when we have less. This was the heart that was in Abraham and Job. This is the heart that is in Angus and Jill Buchan! Lord, I want that kind of heart in me!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Eph 1:3

Without Courage, Wisdom Bears No Fruit

The title of this article is actually a quote from Baltasar Gracian, a Spanish Baroque Conceptismo author who was also a Jesuit priest and teacher. He often bore courage to speak to his congregations in controversial methods to penetrate them, such as reading to them a letter from Hell. Eventually he was sanctioned and exiled by his superiors.

The Bible says, “Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.” Ps 31:24. Herein, is the key. In order to have the courage to accomplish God's mission for our life, we must place our hope in the Lord. This means by waiting on the Lord, hoping in the Lord, and expecting from the Lord that He will give us the ability and courage needed.

Last night, many of us caught the world premiere of a Hallmark movie on CBS called “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.” Based on a true story, it was about a Catholic, Polish, Social Worker named Irena Sendler who risked her life to save over 2,500 Jewish children from being persecuted and mass murdered. She led a group of Catholic, Polish women disguising themselves as nurses as they visited the Jewish ghettos pretending to prevent the spread of Typhus. They conspired to smuggle out the children of the Jewish parents who were willing.

What many of us failed to perceive was that during the time of WWII, the Catholic church for the most part still had no love for the Jews and blamed them for the crucifixion of our Messiah, believing that the Catholic church has replaced Israel in God's eyes. It was not until my generation that the Pope began seeking to restore a peace between Israel and the Catholic church.

Not only was Irena a bold and courageous woman risking her life, but she showed a love and concern that was uncommon for a despised people. Not only despised by the Nazis, but also by the Catholic church along with many others who blamed the Jews for all the problems in the world.

Somehow beyond our human understanding, God created hearts in willing vessels to love His creation according to His compassion. One person's courage stirred the boldness and benevolence in many others. Irena did not see the Jews as despised, nor did many other beautiful people in Poland and surrounding nations that took in these children and raised them as their own for a season. The Jews went through a horrible persecution during WWII, but once again, God spared their total annihilation. How many times has the Enemy tried to put an end to Israel/Judah?

Yet, God was not taken by surprise. He was prepared. In His knowing the future, He had a plan already in place. Who could imagine a Nazi controlled Catholic nation would have so many people with hearts of empathetic courage to save despised children? Apparently, the Enemy never imagined it and thus saw his plans once again thwarted by our God who is Almighty!

For the Jewish parents this was a huge struggle, to know that their children must take on “Christian” names and have the appearance, if not in reality, a conversion to the Catholic faith. They feared the loss of their Jewish heritage. Yet, Irena, as much as she believed passionately in her Catholic faith, also honored the wishes of the parents and faithfully kept a record of where she placed each of these children, in hopes to restore them to their original families someday in the future. For the adoptive families, they loved these children as their own and then many of them had to reconcile them to their original families, knowing the children they raised as Christian, might now revert to Judaism.

Many hearts were torn, but all acted out of a love greater than themselves. In all of this, without full understanding, all of these people were moved by God. Because God is able!

Today, God wants to move each of us. We need the ability and courage to fulfill His purposes for our lives. Are we hoping in the Lord, waiting on the Lord, and expecting from the Lord according to His will? Does the wisdom we gain from the Bible bear fruit? My dear ones, take courage and hope in the Lord!

Breaking News: My Days are Numbered!

“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Ps. 90:12

In the recent years, great attention has been drawn to the idea of numbering our days. Pastor Kerry Shook authored a devotional called, “One Month to Live” and country singer Tim McGraw crooned, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

Remember this song from Tim McGraw?

"I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."
An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

In Pastor Kerry Shook's book, he tries to urgently persuade you to embrace the life God has entrusted to you that you do not live out a mediocre Christian life. We should not be indifferent to the things of God except at church. Each day we should be dwelling on the purposes God has for our lives. Live for today.

This is a biblical concept. Meditate on Joshua 24:15. TODAY, you are to choose whom you will serve. In the Hebrew and the Greek this is poignant. Today is always TODAY. Not yesterday, nor tomorrow. It is the same as reading, “This very day, each day, choose whom you will serve!” I like choose as well. It means to take for oneself, to have preference, to elect. Every single day of your life, through the choices you make with your time, you reveal whom you chose to serve today.

In Ephesians 5:16, we study about redeeming time, or making wise use of time, because the days are full of labors, annoyances, and hardships and also translated as evil. Again, I love the depth of this statement. To redeem means to pay a price (with your money, time, talents, efforts, etc) to recover from the power of another! To make wise and sacred use of every opportunity! This truly sounds like the Lord gives us the occasion to employ our time judiciously to rescue others or ourselves from the power of the Devil or any distraction apart from God.

Today, I went through my own struggle. I had trouble focusing on this article and found myself wasting time on Facebook, instead of accomplishing that which the Lord has set before me. It is called procrastination. Putting off what I should be doing “in this instant” for His glory.

Dear God, please help me to number my days wisely, so that I may have Your heart of wisdom! How do you want me to spend this day?

In the Twilight of Forever

“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” Ec. 3:11

My daughters and their friends find great entertainment in the book/movie series Twilight. Why? Because it is so romantic and exciting. In the series there is Edward, the “good” vampire who pursues Bella, a beautiful human girl. A profound connection develops and a love than transcends time. Edward recognizes the “ugly” side of being a vampire and has no intention of ruining Bella by biting her. Bella however, desires more than anything, to have an eternal love with Edward, even if it means giving up her life.

Ah-ha, the identical desire residing in the heart of all men. Eternity. The desire to live forever. Some will disagree, but I am of the opinion that all humans have a spiritual void motivating them to fill it. They all thirst for immortality. Not only that, but to be loved unconditionally, in spite of their character flaws. Desperately, they live out their impulses, in delusion that temporary pleasure will bring satisfaction.

Herein, is the danger to our daughters. In youth they believe a particular guy is going to fulfill that yearning they encounter within to be loved perpetually. They bait the existence of Mr. Right.

Through him, they will live on together for all of eternity in love. Repeatedly I dispel this myth. Only to find my daughter, Monique, struggling. On one hand she discerns she is too young to have a “coupled” relationship, but on the other hand she continues the hunt. With a prescription of truth in a daily dose, I try to immunize her.

Because our world is drenched in pain, I am unapologetic for my bluntness with my daughters once they hit teenage years. I disclose hard facts to them, such as “women use sex to get love,” while “men use love to get sex.” Realistically, this only tends to work for one of those two in this quest. Rarely will sex get love, but love will often get sex.

How many young women are walking wounds of betrayal? They feel devalued as a person when love was their goal. In their mission for enduring love they found what stings like infinite pain and emptiness. Even more so, we have many people that have been sexually molested and/or corrupted by insidious individuals. Cutting, suicide, affairs (either emotional or sexual), and divorce become deceitful solutions.

I surmise the divorce rate is high on the part of women, because they married their husband expecting he would complete them with his immutable love. As the blinders fall away and the emptiness became more evident, they concluded they made a mistake. Mr. Right is still waiting to be found!

The truth is out there!

However, that truth is no human is capable of making her whole. Until she discovers that Jesus Christ is her true Husband and the only Mr. Right that loves her with an everlasting love, she will continue chasing fantasies to fill-up that empty space.

As parents, it is so important that we internalized this truth and venture to discuss these movies and books with our children. Do we allow our precious ones to entertain a fantasy while embedding it within as a reality? Have we been faithful to awaken our children with the veracity of why those things entice and stir a desire within? Are we unwavering in leading our children to the only One who can fill those voids and make them whole?

Today, take the time to pray for protection of your children's hearts and minds. Make certain your children comprehend why they desire eternity and abiding love. Clarify to them who alone can provide and where they can find Him. Walk the walk with them, be their living example. Bring them to the feet of Jesus, that they may know the depth of His love and have a promise of eternity with Him set in their hearts!

Choosing Favorites From a Different Perspective

“I'm Luke Skywalker!”

“No, I am Luke Skywalker!”

“No, you can be Darth Vader!”

“NOOOO! I want to be Luke Skywalker! You can be Darth Vader or Han Solo!!!”

“Okay, I will be Luke Skywalker and you can be Han Solo!”

Sound familiar? Children arguing over which hero they will portray in their pretense of saving the galaxy from evil!

Not in my house! Not since Levi, my non-verbal son with autism, became verbal. The quarrel has changed and brought about a new dimension of strife.

Levi, instead chooses the bad guy or underdog, as the role he desires to play.


Not really!


Oh yeah!

Levi, dwells on the redeeming quality that we failed to see in that character and applies it as proof that they become commendable under his prodding. He perceives them as the character most likely to need a fan club to venture into something better. He is determined with the right input they will see the light and repent of their dastardly ways.

Honestly, what kid watches Sponge Bob and wants to pretend he is Plankton? Not just any Plankton, but a good version of Plankton? What child who loves In N Out Burger's Krabby Patties (as they are known in our household), would sacrifice to eat Plankton's chum believing Plankton would realize his value in that fellowship and come to work under Mr. Krab as a faithful and loyal worker? Is this a missionary in the making?

Herein is the strife: Levi's siblings don't conceive the villain they love to hate can be good. They want to proclaim victory over the bad guy, not rehabilitate him. They want to be heroes. Conquerors! Good triumphs over evil!

Levi's version of good triumphing over evil is not to conquer the person, but to redeem them so that only the evil inside of them is conquered, but the good is allowed to thrive.

My son's autism inspires his perspective to be quite contrary from ours. I am in the midst of learning to “hear” him. To ponder his words, because God often speaks to me through him.

I steer Levi in another direction, only when it is truly needed. God created him with autism for a purpose to serve. Sometimes his concepts unhinge me, as I don't want him to be injured or deceived by the wicked. Then I realize, it is time to hit my knees and entrust Levi to the God who designed him and open my ears and mind to what God is speaking!

I wonder how often I get so caught up in what is repulsive about a person that I miss out on the sign that they are ready to be harvested? I speculate how many times I have desired to abolish a person for their mouth that actually needed my arm to come around them and speak loving truth into their life? Did I forget the wretch I once was before the Lord redeemed me? Am I missing out on opportunity because my mind is caught up in good vs evil to the point that I forgot to love my enemy (or the gal who just slammed her shopping cart into mine and grabbed the last box of cereal I was reaching for first)? To pray for those who persecute me (or cut me off while driving)? Have I forgotten that God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (or my neighbor who let his dog loose to poop in my yard again)? Am I seeking to be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect? (Matt. 5:43-47)

When God Speaks

Have you experienced a place or time where/when you tend to hear from God? If so, I bet you seek out those junctures.

Before kids, I found that hiking in the mountains alone blessed me with coming face to face with Him. Since having my brood, it has been a challenge!

To shed some light on my prayer closet, let me illuminate the background. My house is unlike the library, nobody values silence. My husband appears to be going deaf according to the volume of our TV and his stereo. My last three children were born with higher decibel voices than those of their previous siblings.

When I try to stow away to the bathtub for peace what I receive is the agitation of quarreling children on the other side of the wall. During my expeditions to our restroom, I see little hands poking through the bottom space of our door. In my bedroom, I hear constant knocking followed by, "Mom, can I...?" God knows as much as I crave to hear Him, I just cannot in our house very often. By the time our house is quiet, I fall asleep.

I started getting up earlier, but my husband caught on and thought it meant I want to be harassed by him in the morning or sit and listen to him. I tried to explain my intentions, but to no avail.

Shhh! I have uncovered a secluded zone.

Rarely, I have escaped the madness to drive my minivan all by myself! During those times, I in fact discover God. I spend it wisely, praying to and worshiping God. Eventually, He speaks to me, often in the midst of a worship song. I am encouraged and built up in those intervals.

Recently, frequent doctor appointments have been scheduled. They are my sweet blessings in disguise. I meet with God going to and fro! Driving home yesterday I heard a song that truly ministered to me concerning the inner struggle of yearning to live for God in some moments, but choosing "self" in other moments. May I live unto GOD with every breath!

I’ve been living out of sanity
I’ve been splitting hairs and blurring lines
I am a house that is divided
In my heart and in my mind

I use one hand to pull you closer
The other to push you away
If I had two hands doing the same thing
Lifted high, lifted high

I have a broken disposition
I’m a liar who thirsts for the truth
And while I ache for faith to hold me
I need to feel the scars and see the proof

And if we just keep digging we can reach the foundation
Of our souls
And if we just keep cutting all the chains from our hearts
We’ll lose control

And it feels like giving in
It feels like starting over
It feels like waking up, and you know it’s coming
It feels like a brand new day
Open your eyes

How to Tweak a Cake!

Being a mommy affords me the opportunity to express my love through baking. When my husband and children figured out that mommy knew how to decorate cakes, but just did not like the time involved, they resisted my gestures of having the bakery make our cakes.

First, they knew Mommy could make a cake in any flavor and it always comes out moist. Secondly, they figured out that mommy can find a way to make any image on a cake, unlike the limited selection at the store. They also think homemade frosting is superior. My son with his Link cake refuses to eat cake when it is bought from a store, he just does not like it. However, when I make a cake at home, he goes back for more.

This last weekend we had birthday parties for two of our sons. One wanted a "Link" cake from Legend of Zelda. The other wanted his usual Lightning McQueen. Wilton makes a cute Disney Cars shaped pan, but I could not find Link anywhere apart from an intricate wedding cake online. So I took an image of Young Link from one of my son's games and tried to create it on the cake via my high tech drawing implement...the toothpick, followed up with an outline by number 3 tip filled with black tinted icing.

While I cannot teach you how to decorate a cake, I can share my recipes with you for making a yummy cake!

Per each cake mix, I add 3 eggs, 1/2 c. oil, 1/2 c. milk (or so), 1 small box of instant pudding (flavor is dependent on the flavor of the cake mix), and about 1 cup of sour cream (you do NOT taste the sour cream, it simply makes it moist). I beat until well blended and pour into a pan that has been brushed (using a pastry brush) with shortening and floured. I bake at 350 degrees until the cake springs back in the center when lightly pressed (longer than the time stated on the box because of the additional ingredients).

I then take dental floss or an instrument designed for cutting the cake and slide it over the top of the pan to take off the excess, so that when I flip the cake over onto its will lay even. If I want to add a filling, I either measure 1/2 way up the cake with a ruler and place toothpicks every few inches around the cake and then use dental floss to cut the cake with the toothpicks as my guides or again use the designated instrument. You can make so many different fillings, from puddings, jams, or icing. I have to admit that fillings are not necessary when you follow my above cake recipe, as the cake is so flavorful and moist all on its own.

For my decorative frosting recipe I use 1/2 cup of real butter, 1/2 cup of shortening, 1 lb of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar), 1 Tablespoon of Meringue powder (Wilton makes this), 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond extract. Blend well. Then I add some milk until I get the right consistency. Then I beat it on high for several minutes until it becomes light and fluffy! Using some butter gives it better flavor and also using the shortening keeps it from turning the frosting yellow. It still has a nice white color when finished. I love the combination of vanilla and almond extract flavors, much better than just vanilla or lemon flavors in my opinion. The meringue powder makes it fluffier, but also helps the frosting to hold its shape in decorating.

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” Dave Barry

Consuming Passion

I heard this song tonight on Air1 Radio and it really encouraged me as I go through my own struggles to put my priorities in order moment by moment, day by day. It is called The Motions by Matthew West. Matthew had to go through a surgery and a season of silence and this is his story:

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead ofgoing through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions


On the keyboard of a computer the CONTROL key AKA as CTRL is a very helpful key in many situations. Humans were made to have dominion over other things. However, when the Bible speaks of man's dominion over things, man is in reference to humans, not literally the male gender.

Unfortunately, often humans have this need to control other humans. I have watched this manifest itself over and over in not only relationships, marriages, and businesses, but even in a place where we should be free from such sin, churches. Currently my heart is broken to see so many people that I love in the midst of devastation from a branch of churches that have become corrupted with power.

I have been reflecting on the issue of control and from where it stems. It seems it is rooted in one of two issues or possibly both. When people fear losing others, they try to control them. Fear is a lack of the perfect love and trust in Christ working in a person's life. Anytime I fear anything, it is because at the very moment my eyes are off Christ and on my circumstance. But when I allow fear to turn into control, it means I have allowed that fear to consume me and have not put my eyes back on Christ. At the moment I exert control I am in sin. I am not trusting that Christ is BIG enough. It is possible that if this is my way of life to control another, that I have yet to even truly know Christ.

There is an exception. As parents we are called to exercise control of our children through training and discipline, but even that is done rooted in love for our Lord and our children. However, as adults, we are told there is only ONE mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus our Lord.

The second root of control seems to be a hunger not for the power of God to work in our lives, but rather to rule another or others with power equal to His. We often see this in husbands who seek to control their families by twisting Scriptures out of context, emotional or physical abuse, or wives who constantly employ a spirit of manipulation, etc. While this brings any of us to tears to know that another wants to take the place of the Holy Spirit, it is even more devastating when we see this on a large scale such as in a church.

God gave us offices in the church to SERVE and ENCROURAGE one another. However, many churches have allowed those offices to become agents of control in the lives of their congregation. They stumble in sin by their lack of trust that Christ can directly mediate between each human and God. They try to fill the role of the Holy Spirit instead of the office to which they claim to be called. In these churches women and children are often the first targets of manipulation. However, all the congregation are called to walk in obedience to the self-anointed prophets or whatever they choose to call themselves. The prophets seek to take the place of Christ and His Spirit in the lives of the congregation. They have become puffed up with a deceptive pride.

The control they employ to keep their congregation under their power is divisive and destructive. If a person dares to question this authority they are banished from the prophet's kingdom (the church) and their family is told to shun them, lest they be driven out too. This often leads the banished person to an entirely new set of issues, such as rejection, guilt, shame, despair, etc. If you are one of those people, let me tell you my dear friend...this is NOT the love of Jesus Christ. It is His kindness, His mercy, and His grace that leads us to repentance. Christ never abuses His power. He is the tender shepherd. He is sacrificial in His love for His sheep.

If you are in a relationship or church that is not showing you Christ's love through sacrifice, mercy, grace, and service then they are not under Christ. They are led by a different spirit, a counterfeit spirit. A counterfeit often looks amazingly close to the real thing and can be difficult to identify. But when you take an expert who knows the real thing, they can immediately recognize a counterfeit. Apart from Christ, you may talk the talk, but you cannot continue to walk the walk. Do not fear to give any church or teaching a litmus test to ascertain if it is the REAL THING! Are you spending the time to become an expert in the Christ of the Bible? Do you know His Word with the Holy Spirit as your teacher to lead you into understanding? Is Jesus your only Mediator?

I adjure each of you to seek to become experts in Christ and His Word that we would not be deceived by the counterfeit spirits among us. I implore each of you to seek to embrace our hurting siblings that have been devastated by control in their lives and have been left with a tainted view of who Christ is. Let them see the love, grace, and tender mercy of Christ shine through us that they might get a true view of the beauty of His grace!

Christ's Blessings to you and yours,

Nature's Solution for Acid Reflux

This little beauty has been elevated to best friend level. Why? Because raw almonds have recently been helping me in ways I never imagined. I bought them to help restore my health.

However, after 4 nights of very little sleep because of the roller coaster of either taking pain pills so I can sleep, but then waking up gagging on stomach acid or not taking pain pills to keep my tummy happy, but that left me in too much pain.

I had tried every antacid on the market, but nothing was helping. My stomach and esophagus were raw constantly. Then I read that by popping 5 raw almonds into my mouth every few hours throughout the day would alkalize my acidic system. Lo and behold, it worked. I mean wonderfully.

However, my blood pressure has been climbing for the last 2 years since all my health issues reared their ugly heads. Today, at the doctor's office, guess what? My blood pressure was down quite a bit. Then I read that raw almonds can normalize blood pressure too.

Did you know the almond is NOT a nut? This came as a revelation to me. It is actually a seed inside of the almond fruit. The almond tree is related to the cherry, peach, and apricot trees. Looking at an almond blossom helps me to see the truth indeed!

What a beautiful almond blossom. It reminds me of Asian artwork. Something I am privy to since I have a daughter in love with ALL things anime, manga, and Japanese. However, my fascination is not for the same reasons. It is because once again, I am forced to contemplate if I truly believe a blossom this beautiful happened by random chance or was by intelligent design by a God who created all things for a purpose?!?!

And in that moment, fear's deathly grip on me is loosened. I stand in awe of the God who was, who is, and who is to come. In that second, I don't fear the valley of the shadow of death. The Lord's rod and staff comfort me. He anoints my unworthy head with oil. My cup runs over with His love, His mercy, and His grace. I am nothing and He is everything. I am satisfied.

The Piefect Way to Warm Your Home

Mmm, cinnamon warms our home. The aroma penetrates every nook and cranny of our hardwood floors. Brown sugar caramelizing turns patience into a virtue that is missing from my family's taste buds. I have made great apple pies for years (I used to cheat with refrigerated crusts), but in the last couple of years I have mastered the perfect flaky crust with a hint of butter and the perfect compliment of spices and sweetness to the apples. My husband no longer desires to take the pie to work to share with his co-workers. He has hoarding complex! And when I make homemade vanilla ice cream to go with it, he is quite sure our home is the entrance to heaven.

Do you enjoy making pies? If making pie crust threatens you, give Pillsbury refrigerated crusts a try. They are very good and so easy to use.

I am going to share a wonderful secret with you, I know of two blogs giving away pie making kits from Pillsbury. Nicole, over at Stay At Home Mom Reviews and Hannah, with Sherbet Blossom are both having the piefect giveaways! It will include a basket from Pillsbury that includes pie plates, pie cut outs for the crust, etc. I often use cut outs during the holidays at our home. On Thanksgiving for instance, I always cut a turkey out of the center of our apple pie. On my husband's birthday I cut Tigger out of the center of his dark cherry pie.

What is your favorite kind of pie? Anybody figure out how to make a yummy, healthy pie yet?

You Can Have Your Cake & Decorate It Too!

The hours a mother will invest to give their precious child a Birthday Cake to make them smile! Yes, I am guilty! I will spend 8+ hours making and decorating a cake if it will save us money and put glee in my child's voice when they gaze upon it for the first time.

Here is my little Tink with her Tinker Bell cake. Mind you, the brat in me compelled me to feed her a story that I was making her a WALL*E cake the entire time I was working on it. She never complained. The moment her eyes met the cake, her shrills of excitement blew out the windows of local Air Force jets flying overhead!

All of this to share with you that over at the ALL ABOUT CAKES blog they are having an amazing giveaway for those of you who long to decorate cakes and pastries, etc for your family. Rose is giving away a 200 Piece Betty Crocker® Decorator Kit. I know I would love to win this after moving from Texas to California, I found many of our household items had been destroyed from staying in a humid storage unit. I had a huge professional decorating kit that was a complete loss. I have just started buying a few tips, bags, and couplers again.

What have you done special for your family to remind them how precious they are to you?