Wednesday, September 28, 2022

God is Looking for Obedience not Emotions

He drew on the chalk board three doors and then he slowly went to each door and began to draw so that his hand motions matched the emotions he was describing. 

On the first door, he drew fast with large sweeping motions as he described a family with fear. Their shoulders were hunched and they walked around with worried expressions. He said, "This family was terrified they would do it wrong and not fast enough. They felt like they must hurry before the LORD passed over Egypt to take the first born son."

On the second door he drew with very slow and precise motions to make sure every part of the frame was covered. He said, "This family was subdued, quiet, focused on the details with very little interaction. This family felt that it was all about the details and getting it just right."

On the third door he slapped a quick line on the top and a quick line of each side. He shared, "It was sloppy but done with laughter and alot of noise as the family gathered."

He then drew one more door, but he didn't draw over it. He then turned to us and said, "Which families were passed over?"  Everyone agreed the first three but not the fourth.

"Why was the last door not passed over?"  

We answered, "Because they didn't obey God! God said to cover the door post with the blood of sacrifice and all doors with the covering would be passed over."

"Did the emotions matter as they obeyed? Did their emotions stop the LORD from doing what He said He would do?"

"NO!" We all cried out.

"So as you go to do ministry you will face many highs and many lows. Your emotions will want to drive you, but you must obey what the LORD has called you to do and trust that He will do as He said."

His words are echoing in my heart and mind today!

I don't even remember my professor's name! But, everytime I read this passage or let my emotions get the best of me, I remember this truth! God is looking for the one that obeys Him. My emotions do not determine God's faithfulness. God is faithful. He will do what He says. 

Today, I will remember the promise that He is my ever present help in a time of need.

How about you? Which family most represents you right now? Where do you need to walk in obedience regardless of the emotion? 

For some, it might be at the very start, believe on the LORD Jesus and you will be saved. 
Did you know that this passover moment was a foreshadowing of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and that anyone who believes in Him will have the gift of life? Regardless of your emotion your belief is like the blood covering over the doorpost when death comes it will not hold its sting. 

Shalom y'all! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Boaz Blessing

Have you ever had someone verbally bless you? 

I love it when someone blesses me. There is something special about a kind word that softens the heart. It can come through a greeting, a text, a kind word, and even a kind deed. As I studied Ruth 2, I noticed something that was profound to me. Boaz was the owner of the land and as a landowner, he had workers harvesting the fields. When I think of most bosses, I do not envision them walking into the office shouting out, “The LORD bless you!” But this is exactly what Boaz did. As he approached his workers, he shouted out a blessing to them, “The LORD bless you!” and they called out a blessing to him in response, "The LORD bless you!" 

Now, Boaz didn’t just bless his workers, but as he had a conversation with the young foreign, widowed, girl that showed up to glean with his women workers, he gave her a blessing, too. But it wasn’t an ordinary blessing. 

After acknowledging Ruth’s good character Boaz said, “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” 

I honestly had to sit on this blessing for a while as I answered the question, “What do you learn about God?” I was reflecting on Boaz’s blessing and these three words repay, reward, and refuge stood out to me. 

In order to repay someone, it implies that something that was lost will be restored. 

In order to reward someone implies that something will be given that you do not already possess. 

In order to provide refuge under His wings implies that there is the intimacy of one being held close under the protective shelter of one’s strength. 

It occurred to me that Boaz recognized that the LORD was the One that can restore what was lost, give us what we don’t possess, and provide us with safe intimate refuge as our Protector. 

Keep in mind he said this to a young woman that recently lost her husband due to illness, left her home to go to a foreign land to care for her widowed mother-in-law, and left her people’s culture and gods to follow the God of Israel, the Most High God. How little did he know that his blessing her would open the door for him to become the answer not just for her but for the whole nation of Israel and the world. 

Boaz became her husband and the father of their son, Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse. Jesse became the father of King David and King David was the grandfather of Jesus. Boaz not only provided the intimate protection that gave her refuge that was safe and secure, but he restored what was lost in her husband and gave her more in a son. 

Not every blessing we give will have such profound outcomes, but when we give a blessing, it implies that there is something to give. We must take note that the blessing comes from the LORD. He alone is the Giver of all good things even if we may become a part of the solution or answer to the blessing in time. The good gift is from Him alone. 

Some might hold back in giving blessings for fear they may have to sacrifice as part of the solution, but we must remember that if we hold back in giving the blessing then we might miss out on the greater good that will come. 

What if we all gave Boaz’s blessing to one another? 

May the LORD repay you for what you have done. 
May the LORD richly reward you. 
May the LORD give you refuge under His wings. 

Please know that it is my heart's cry over you right now! May the LORD bless you so you can go and be a blessing! 

Shalom, y’all! 

(The Ruth 2 Storyboard was created by Alice Swartz! She created it during our study and then blessed me by sharing it with me!)

Monday, September 19, 2022

Our Cedar Table

Gorgeous! Incredible! We are blown away by what our son-in-love, Zach Davy, created for us through his business Sunshine Cedar Company.

The furniture is Amish handcrafted to the finest detail and it's made from locally sourced cedar.

The richness of the color and live edges give the table character and beauty that make you want to just look at it. It is so amazing that such beauty was hidden inside a tree. I love how God cares about details and gives beauty even in places one would never know about unless you did further inspection.

Greg and I were very sad when we realized our big round table was too big for our new dining room. God blessed us with so many divine appointments and memories that it was hard to let it go. We cherished the memories around it. It was our hospitality platform and hard to imagine anything better.

Until a conversation happened around making a table that was a part of Zach's story. What better way than to use one of his cedars for our table! It is just one more way of his family and our family becoming one.
I am being a little obnoxious in saying to the kids that I look forward to grandbabies filling up the whole bench! 

In the meantime, we cannot wait until you come and sit at our one of kind Nebraska raised cedar table. 

Your presence is requested to start our new table memories! 
Reach out to if you'd be interested in a quote for custom built cedar furniture.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Why put blood on the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe in the consecration?

Sometimes reading the Levitical law can seem daunting. Okay, maybe all of it is unnerving. This morning as I read about Moses consecrating Aaron and how he put the blood of the sacrifice on Aaron's right ear lobe, right thumb, and right toe suddenly this all made sense to me.

First, we need to know that the right hand represented the favored one. So to be on the right is favor. Whenever the right hand is referenced about the LORD it represented the strong arm of the LORD. When we ponder both of these we begin to understand why culturally the right hand respresented cleanliness or purity. What good is favor and strength if it is not done from purity? This is probably why the right hand was never used for doing unclean tasks. It was meant to be set apart. Essentially, we need to know that the right is used to symbolize favor and strength that is pure. 

The ear was marked by the blood sacrifice because we need to listen to God. If we are not tuned to Him then we can not be set apart. The whole point of consecration is to be set apart. Different. Holy. To be an instrument of God so that we can honor Him as we listen and obey.

The thumb was marked because our thumb is the appendage that makes us uniquely different than any other creature. Our thumb allows us to create, build, grasp; well, do fine motor skills that would be hard to do other wise. Our ability to create is one thing that illustrates that we are created in the image of God. 

We are also told in Scripture that God gives the Holy Spirit to the craftsman or artisan so they can create. We are inspired by created things to worship. This reminds us that we are called to not just create, build, work or serve,  but to worship as we do. But our worship should be in the One who gave us that thumb so that we can create as HE created to inspire others to worship Him alone!  Worship should never be in the object or the one who created the object. 

The right toe was covered with the blood sacrifice as a reminder to us that we are called to go. Our feet are what help us go so we can create, build, work, serve and worship. But, consider this also, our big toe is what gives us balance. Without it we cannot balance our person. 

Could it have been a physical reminder to keep things in balance as we go create, build, serve, and worship?  

Could it be it was placed on the big toe so that we must remember in all things that if we truly are set apart it should be done as an act of worship? 

I also wonder if it was done on the ear, thumb, and toe because this covers the entire person. True consecration must be whole hearted. All of you!  There is no room to say to the hand or toe that we will not do as we hear from the LORD. All three must work in a spirit of oneness.

As for the blood sacrifice, this is a symbolic pointer toward the final sacrifice that would be shed in Jesus. He is the One who died for our sins and covered us so that we may be consecrated or set apart for the kingdom of God. Because of Jesus, blood sacrifices are no longer needed because HE was God's favored one, who sat at His right hand that lived a holy and pure life. 

When I was younger reading Leviticus seemed tedious, but now that I know how to ask good questions and assimilate truths with the rest of the Word of God I see such depth and I find it affirming. 

May His favor, strength, and sacrifice be upon your right ear lobe, right thumb, and right big toe so that you are keenly aware that if you have believed in the LORD Jesus then you are set apart to create, build, serve and worship with your whole being. Amen!

Monday, September 12, 2022

What type of leader does God honor?

What type of leadership does God honor? Sometimes, it is helpful to see the contrast in a unique way.

Selfishness, disobedience, anarchy, and perversion prevailed during the time of judges. The nation of Israel was nearing the end of 400 years of the nation living by "doing what is right in their own eyes".

Judges were deliverers sent to remind, rescue, and redeem the nation during a crisis. It was during this time that we hear of a young Moabite widow named Ruth. Keep in mind that to an Israelite a Moabite was cursed by God because they attacked Israel in her wanderings. They were basically viewed as an enemy of the people of God. Yet, Ruth's loyalty and kindness stands in stark contrast to what has occurred in the last 400 years in the nation.

God has a plan and His plan is to redeem His people. His plan will prevail even if He must use a young foreign woman to illustrate the depth of His redeeming love.

It is during this time the story of Ruth rises to remind us of the type of leader God will honor.

As I reflected on two truths David Guzik said about Ruth's leadership, "Character before conduct and responsibility before results," I started pondering basic truths that must come before leadership is known. Notice that all begin with what is happening on the inside before outward results occurred.

We do not know how long Mahlon and Kilion were married to Orpah and Ruth, but we do know that the family lived in Moab for ten years. Ten years they were able to show what was on the inside. Ten years for Ruth to watch and observe. Now in the moment of great grief and decision Ruth reveals what happened on the inside. The truth of her depth is revealed and her story stands judge over the nations prevailing attitude of "doing what is right in their own eyes."

The more I pondered my list started growing. Some are truths we see in Ruth. Some are truths that support what we observe in her. All are truths we must grow in.

Seek to find
Knock to open
Build foundation before reformation
Build formation before transformation
Willingness leads to opportunities
Dig roots before bear fruit
Build character before conduct
Walk in faithfulness before fruitfulness
Live responsibily before we see results
Grow in depth before breadth
Be before doing
Build the invisible before visible
Live in closet prayers before public influence

How might these character qualities influence our nation today as it faces its own "do what is right in your own eyes" attitude?

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Commanded Rest

Do you enjoy a certain type of ritual that helps you restore? I was just reading about how God gave the command in the Old Testament that after war those that killed or touched blood were to go for seven days outside the camp to be cleansed. They were to clean their weapons and leather. The thought occurred to me, I get it that they needed to protect each other from the possible contamination, but I recognized something more. In a way, it was commanded rest.

Seven days to debrief what just happened. 

Seven days to do routine activities like cleaning tools and clothes. 

Seven days of discussing with those around you what happened. 

Seven days to lament. 

Seven days to celebrate. 

Seven days to refrain from the daily grind at home and work. 

Seven days to debrief in the mind, body, soul, and spirit.

Commanded rest. It helped them get spiritually pure. 

Doesn't spiritual purity happen when we have taken the time to let our mind, body, soul, and spirit catch up with what just happened? 

The quiet rest and routine gives room for repentance, restoration, refreshment.

I recognize that the text is showing how we are to be pure before God. I also love that the practice of stepping away helps us get there. 

So, I ask again. What ritual(s) do you do that gives you time to get spiritually pure before God? When this one thing is right all the rest fall into place.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

What if..? Moses asked God

Do you ever struggle with "What if" syndrome? What if the car breaks down? What if I don't get it done in time? What if they make fun of me? What if they don't like me? What if I am not good enough? What if they dont believe me? What if it can't be fixed? What if..?

As I read Moses' conversation with God at the burning bush this morning, I noticed he said, "What if they don't believe me or listen to me?" Oh I knew he said it but it hit me hard this morning. 

Moses revealed alot in his "what if" statement. Fear! You heard me! The fear of man in particular. Even worse, he was giving more power to man not believing or listening than to God telling him that HE was sending him and would help him.

I love how in their conversation God revealed to Moses that He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present God. He reminded Moses that He was the Father of his father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

As if that wasn't enough God gave him mini miracles for Him to interact with so that he could experience before hand what HE would do through Moses before Pharaoh. 

Do you see how God revealed His character and person to Moses?


When we know and understand the character of God, how HE is bigger than creation because HE created it, we find our "what ifs" seem insignificant when we trust and obey. 

Moses went so far as to ask God to send someone else. This caused God's anger to burn, but God gave him a concession for a moment, but in the end Moses did exactly as God asked.

This gives me hope that my "what if" moments don't sideline me. They do give me opportunity to grow and know the LORD more. They become faith steps.

Father, please forgive me of my "what ifs". Help me to let go of my fear of man and help me to know You are bigger than what man says. Help me to let go of not being good enough and trust that You will give me the Words to speak. Help me to let go and just get up and go. Thank you that You are all present, all knowing and all powerful. Thank you that I can trust You to help, provide, and make a way. Help me to honor Your calling in me and through me. In Jesus name amen

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Seeing God in an Ordinary Routine

Sometimes when I drive a familiar route I go into mental autopilot and have no clue what is happening. It is terrifying to think of how unobservant I can be when doing a routine activity. I think knowing this about myself causes me concern not just on the physical danger level, but on the spiritual as well. 

As I read about Moses watching over Jethro's flocks I realize Moses was doing his routine activity. There is nothing extraordinary about watching flocks in a field. Yet, he was observant. He noticed something unusual... a burning bush that was not consumed. So he walked over to check it out. This moment of curiosity allowed him to have a conversation with God and receive a holy game plan to rescue the nation and help them to move into their promised land.

I want to be so observant! Now, don't think that I believe that in my ordinary that God plans on using me to change our nation. I do not have grandiose expectations. But I do believe that God can and will meet me in the ordinary to show Himself to me.

Because God is always the same I can trust that He will reveal His presence, His Name, His purpose, His history, His destiny, His plan, and His outcomes to me in my circumstances.

So, I find myself asking, "Are you seeing God? Are you looking for Him? Do you listen to Him? What is He revealing to you? How might the ordinary become extraordinary simply because I am willing to pause, be curious, ask, listen, and obey?

Father, help me to guard against being on auto pilot. Help me to be observant even in the ordinary so that I can be with You and how You are at work around me. In Jesus name amen