Monday, November 30, 2020

Abigail - an Instrument of Peace

"God has nothing to do with it!" 

I thought, "Here we go again!" Sometimes, sitting at a family table can be anything but peaceful. I remember as a young person getting all knotted up inside while trying to figure out how to bring peace, but also stand up to my uncle's aggressive logic about God, Christianity, and well me as a follower of Christ. I find myself wondering at times, What does an instrument of peace look like? As I study Abigail, I see some character qualities that birth actions worth noting. Her story is short and can be read in 1 Samuel 25. It includes a surly, foolish, drinking husband and a soon to be passionate king that defends his men's rights and a courageous servant not afraid to defend goodness to protect his people. Upon finding out that Nabal rejected the traditional gift of hospitality during sheep sheering to the shepherds who kept the sheep safe, David decided to kill all of Nabal's men for such a blatant disrespect of him and his men. Abigail, Nabal's intelligent and beautiful wife, provides us with an example of a woman that acts as a peacemaker. Abigail acted swiftly, generously, and humbly as she gathered supplies and greeted David with a bow. When she spoke, Abigail spoke of God's presence and goodness. She spoke life to David reminding him of where he had been and what he had done for the LORD. Abigail spoke life by speaking truths that came as reminders that showed the best of what had been and what will be. She acknowledged clearly the mistakes made and asked for pardon for her husband's error. She spoke with confidence in what she knew about God and David. All of this came from a heart to serve and protect. 

So, again I ask, What makes someone an instrument of peace? The person is swift to respond to circumstances. Acknowledges both the good and bad in the circumstance. Brings God into the conversation and speaks of what God has done and will do. An instrument of peace speaks with confidence in what she knows. She speaks life into the person about who they are called to be and not be! Sometimes this is easier said than done. 

I know one day, as a older teen I spoke boldly to my uncle about my belief in God. He listened and ended up saying, "Now that is a Christian I will listen too!"  When I look back, I realize that it was my confidence to speak up about what I knew that earned me his respect. He never fought with me about God again and even allowed me to talk to him about God through the years. How might you be asked to live out as an instrument of peace today? Which character qualities of Abigail do you need to grow in by acting swiftly to live them out? Praying for a humble, servant heart that acts courageously! Will you join me? 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Touched Lips

I awoke the other morning thinking of the coal that touched Isaiah's mouth. Though he did not feel his lips were worthy, his guilt was removed and he was used of God. I felt I was to share this with my church, but I didn't know what to share yet. This morning as I read Daniel, I noticed that Daniel's lips were touched in his vision. He felt so overwhelmed and he had no strength or breath. He was touched again and told, "Do not be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you, be very strong!" He was strengthened and said, "Lord, let me speak!" When I saw this I wondered, how many lips were touched in the Bible before they were sent to speak? I knew Jeremiah told the people to taste and see that He (His Word) is good, but then I found that his lips were touched as the LORD put His Words in His mouth (Jer. 1:9). God gave him the words to speak. And then I remembered how poor Ezekiel was told to eat the scroll and discover it tasted sweet, but man kind would not listen to what God sent him to say because of their rebellion. So the LORD would make his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth so that he could not speak because of their rebellion. Notice, it wasn't Ezekiel's issue, but the hearers! God would tell him when to speak again asking for people to listen. Then  I thought of Zechariah the priest and father of John the Baptist. When he did not believe that Elizabeth would have a son in old age the LORD removed his ability to speak for lack of belief until he was allowed to declare John's name. Only then was his mouth loosed by God to speak His praise. In each of these, the call is to declare the LORD'S truth. We are told in Hebrews 13:5, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess His name." This is one of the fruits we have from the Holy Spirit: fruit of repentance, fruit of righteousness, fruit of light,fruit of the spirit, fruit of wisdom, fruit of unfailing love, and the fruit of the lips. Church, do not be afraid, your guilt is forgiven when you have drawn near to Jesus Taste the Word and see that it is good then speak it. Do not worry if the people do not listen. It is their rebellion not yours. Do not let unbelief get in the way. Declare His praise and proclaim the name of Jesus!

How to train yourself to tell a Bible story

Ancient of Days

Ancient of Days... respect, honor, beauty, power, authority, justice, dominion, kingdom, judgment, reign, glory... these are a few of the words that come to mind. I have always found great comfort and deep affection for this name of God. I visualize a weathered older man with a big flowing white beard sitting and waiting for those who seek him. His lap and arms are always welcoming and his chest is the best place to rest a weary head. As my head lay upon his chest, I can hear the rhythm of his heart beat. Comforting love envelopes me and I know it is a love not just for me but for all nations. Every tongue and tribe. I am not afraid of His power or authority because He is good and He is kind. He is the Ancient of Days.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Faith Over Fear: The Courage to Fight Spiritual Battles

Turkey Escapes 2020

I heard a thud! Swoosh! "Ugh, Oh! I was afraid something like that would happen!" I quickly walked into the family room and saw the turkey in the tin but sitting on the floor by the door, but all of the brine covered my wood floor midway into the room. I ran to grab towels. Three beach towels should do! We stopped and mopped and stopped and mopped. Did you know salt brine is very quick to peel wood floors?  We redress the turkey and finally put it into the smoker. Phew!  But, No! Wait!  An hour goes by and the smoker is not getting hot enough! Two hours! Ugh! Really? Did you know that when it is cold a smoker doesn't get hot enough? So, we preheat the oven. How long do we cook it now?  Will it taste like a smoked turkey? In goes the turkey for two and a half hours at 375. Oh wait! We have to go the airport to get Grant. One will have to stay. Ugh! I said, "Hey, let's just check it and see if it is done." Greg donned the rubber gloves and pulls the 20 pound bird from the oven as the mesquite aroma from the smoker fills our senses with yumminess!  He sticks in the thermometer as we lean in looking to see, "Is it done?" Eureka! Bird one is done!  Now to make bird number two!


When Greg asked me to marry him he said, "We have synergy. We will be better together than we would apart." I confess that I did not get it fully then. Synergy did not sound like a romantic word to me! Lol! However. I have mulled on that word for over 29 years now. And wow! As I reflect on Deborah, a prophet, judge, and military leader in the Bible, synergy is the word that came to mind. I noticed that Deborah had a relationship with God that enjoyed a mutual give and take. What causes this to happen? A few words came to mind: agreement, concession, collaboration, reciprocity, and exchange. Then it hit me. She lived out a synergistic relationship with God that then allowed her to live out a synergistic relationship with others. See synergy creates unique outcomes. Together is better than apart. Without the other, you cannot accomplish what could be done. Synergy releases power and strengthens unity. This is how a community is built and as the communal relationship grows the load is lightened which gives more room to welcome others in to grow generationally. Without mutual concession and collaboration, the exchange will die. There are so many levels to this thought, What does synergy look like in my walk with God? Am I partnering with Him so He can create something unique in and through me? What about in my marriage, friendships, work, or ministry? If so, I will see a release of power, unity, community, and generational growth. Praying I live in synergistic partnership with God and others. You willing to pray that, too?