Why BB4TheLord2

Why BB4TheLord2: My first blog, bb4thelord.blogspot.com was began a couple years after I became a young widow. After ten years on that journey of widowhood, I took a break from blogging. Now the time has come to begin again. Writing is a gift God has given me and I must get back into using the gifts God has given me.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Love God

You may have heard it said, "The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother." There is a lot of truth to that. 

Yet recently my preacher said the best thing a man can do for his family is to love the Lord. Then the Lord gives that person the ability to love others with His love. This is a more powerful truth!

Tonight at prayer meeting, we prayed for God to give us a genuine love for Him. My mind instantly thought of the words on top of Jim's memorial stone "Love Christ More Deeply". And also the two engraved hands clenched in prayer. And familar tears came as memories flooded my mind: Jim on his knees pouring out his heart to God & taking us with him to the throne. I mean it would feel like we were surrounded by the presence of God and lifted up to heaven. When Jim was done, he'd rise up, telling the boys good night. Then as he walked through the doorway, he'd turn and say, "I love you, but I love God more." And down the hallway he'd walk. Then I would make the boys settle down to sleep.

Precious memories! "I love you, but I love God more." And his footsteps down the hall. One could even call it a foreshadowing. Jim wrapping us up in prayer and reminding us of the importance of loving God most, then leaving. The boys and I staying behind. 

Yes, Jim's love for God made all the difference. Not just in our lives with him. But our lives here without him. I see the influence of his love for God in my sons' lives, even my youngest son who was born after his daddy was in heaven. The prayers of his daddy's heart are immortal and the legacy of Jim's love for God lives on.

Love God.

Love Him more deeply.

It makes all the difference. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Trusting on the Backside

I have longed to go visit my old Bethel for the last several weeks. Monday I was finally able to. Actually, a situation compelled me to. So I took the short drive alone and walked down the familiar bike trail. It was a gorgeous spring day! But my body was battling sickness and my soul was weary. 

As I sat on the bench, many things tumbled out of my heart in prayer. Then it was time to listen in expectation. Only two things were impressed upon my heart:

"Trust Me on the backside."

Trusting Jesus now about Him taking care of something later, years later.

It is one thing to stay grasping Jesus' hand as you step into an unknown adventure. It is another kind of trust when you are on the backside of the desert deep in the trenches of that adventure! 

For example, Moses' faith in God as he stood before Pharoah and their showdown began was much different than when he was on the backside of the wilderness trying to lead hungry, thirsty, whiney people. 

Or the widow in Zarephath. Trusting God to provide for her and her son's daily food at the beginning of the 3 year famine was different than when Elijah asked her to use the last of it for the prophet and then make a meal for her and her son.  

I heard the news of two young families forever changed by tragedy. Two new young widows each with a couple young children. I have no idea if they are believers. I have been praying for them & their little ones with understanding and tears of remembrance. It has been 12 years. I am on the backside of one season of life and yet face another.

As the boys get older and we are heading toward the backside of their time at home, I feel my faith in God about the future being molded differently. For 147 months, the Lord has provided for our needs. He will continue to be faithful even when how He provides changes. He has helped me carry the weight of two on the shoulders of one. I have turned to many for counsel, but the ultimate decisions have rested on me. The weigh of some of them are indescribable! I know more will come. But through it all, the Lord gave me strength step by step. I feel like another mountain lies before us and the Lord says, "Trust Me on the backside."

The other whisper to my soul was "What are you believing Me for today?" Good question. 

I stood then and turned my face into the sunshine and breeze.  "I am believing You are going before me in this situation. That you have enough strength for me to make it through this day. That You are at work in all I cannot see. That You will give me the answer I need. That is what I am believing You for today."

Then I headed back down the trail to deal with what needed dealt with. One step at a time, holding my Heavenly Father's hand. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Rebuilding VI: Armorbearer

As I read through the life of David this week, a word caught my eye. Armorbearer. David not only played his harp for Saul before he did his well-known defeat of Goliath, but it says in I Samuel 16 that David became King Saul’s armorbearer.

And then in the next chapter we read Saul goes to fight the enemy. David's three eldest brothers go with him. But David goes back home to tend the sheep. Before he is gotten to play the harp for Saul, David's reputation is that he is a mighty valiant man, and a man of war. So why not keep him as an armorbearer, Saul? His age? His stature? And how did David feel? Samuel had anointed him. He got called to play for the king. He became his armorbearer. War comes and David is dismissed. Set aside.

I identify with David. I studied last year about being an armorbearer. And even posted on it. I said it then and will restated it here: “Intercessory prayer is the privilege to be another person's armorbearer.” Being a prayer warrior has been the backbone of my Christian life. Ever since I first heard the word as a young Christian, I remember thinking, "yes, I want to be a prayer warrior, Lord." And He has grown me into this act of service. Rarely do I not have people on my heart and have some kind of list I am pray through.

Then came this month. And I felt so worked over I could hardly pray for myself and the boys, let alone others. “Speak, Lord!” was my simple plea as I sought Him and waited. No other words poured out for others. I felt like the prayer mantle had been taken from me. Like I had been dismissed from being an armorbearer.  Ugh!

You ever feel like God put you on a shelf? It is a most wretched feeling. I know that the Lord loves me and He is doing a work of restoration in me. That He needed to clean me up, strengthen me, and settle me on somethings. I get that. But I so identify with David being humbly dismissed as an armorbearer and going out alone in the field waiting for God to speak.

Thankfully, gradually the Lord burdened my heart to pray for someone. Then another. And another. Slowly I felt being taken off the shelf. I finally was able to pray aloud at prayer meeting last week. And tonight I made my first prayer list in weeks.

What a privilege to pray over that list of others I am burdened for! I am not at full strength yet. I know it. My list is half the size it usually is. But I feel like the walls of my Jerusalem are almost all rebuilt and though the enemy attacks, I am stronger and not so vulnerable. And I am back at my post donning my privileged prayer mantle. Thank You, Christ Jesus!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rebuilding III: Letting Go in Faith

There is much I am being taught. I want to catch it all in words and yet as I try, the sacredness of it all is tarnished a little. But tarnished or not, I want to record it all. I don't want any of the Lord's words to me during this precious time to fall to the ground.

The Lord is the Master Conductor. He recently used a sermon about releasing the Holy Spirit and a Bible study the younger two boys are doing to once again open my eyes to truth. Last fall I wrote a post about holding everything in an open hand. The Lord took that lesson to a deeper level.

The boys were doing an indepth study on Hebrews 11, the well-known "Hall of Faith." I joined along and did my own study. As I dug deeper and sought personal application, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac grabbed my heart. Hebrews 11:17-19 "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promise offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead from whence also he received him in a figure."

Reread those verses slowly. The LORD had promised Abraham this son, he had waited 25 years for him! Through Isaac was going to come the Deliverer as well as many other descendants. This child was literally Abraham's hopes and dreams, but also the LORD's promise. We know that the LORD provided a ram in the thicket. But according to the verses in Hebrews, Abraham wasn't believing God to give him a ram in the thicket, a way to escape having to offer up his precious son. Abraham believed that though he was going to have to slay his beloved son, God would raise Isaac up from the dead to keep His word, His promise. That is incredible faith!!!

It is a Letting-Go kind of faith. Abraham let go of the promise God had given him in faith that the LORD would resurrect it in His way at His time. What went on in his heart? What words did he pray? No conversation at the altar is recorded between Isaac and Abraham. Did Isaac understand? Had Abraham explained to him before that he was a promise and through him would come a promise? I am sure this whole thing was an emotional ordeal. Yet Abraham believed that God had power over death. He could let go that which was most precious to him and the LORD would resurrect it.

Abraham had an inspiring Letting-go-kind-of-faith. Too often we have a clinging-controling-whiney faith. Our inner brat stamps it feet and says, "You promised, GOD, and it should be this way at this time" and our fingerprints are all over what is God's alone.

In my pastor's sermon about Releasing the Spirit, he said, "The Spirit won't touch what you are touching. You must surrender. Let it go for the Spirit to work upon it." It instantly made me think of Moses' rod. God commanded him to throw it down. Once his hands was off it, it turned into a snake. When God told him to grab its tail, it instantly became a rod again. It became alive when his hands were off it. Again, the lesson of letting go. But not in doubt. Letting go in belief.

This is deeper than just holding everything in an open hand. This is putting it to death in my heart. This is dying to it myself. This is imaging being at the funeral of whatever it is. And walking away from the casket. And believing the LORD will resurrect it at His time and in His way. And maybe not even while I am on this side of glory.

All this talk of death takes me back to standing alone at my Jim's casket. Everything within me wanted to crawl into that casket with him. To pull the lid down and be done. But our unborn baby within me stirred and brought reality to my mind. I had to walk away and leave my heart lying there shattered in a million pieces. It was the beginning of a long journey of letting go. Yet I will forever remember words from that night. "See you later."

I imagine Abraham's heart was saying similar words as he lifted the knife in the air believing in the God who has power over death. He believed the Almighty was going to bring life again to his son. The Almighty would bring life again to His Promise. But first he had to let go in faith.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rebuilding II: Casting Out Fear

A healthy balanced fear of the LORD is a good thing. A very good thing. But when it isn't balanced by His perfect love, it becomes twisted and a tool of the enemy, a lie.
Like this picture. It appears awesome, but it is fake. Digitally doctored up.

Like I stated in a previous post, I must not focus on one attribute of my Almighty God. I must remember ALL He is. He is my judge, and has every right to chasten me. But He is also the Lover of my Soul who loves me with an everlasting love.

As I stated before, the Lord disciplines in love and for my good. But the enemy wants to twist that into a constant fear of God smacking me each time I mess up. I tend to be an overthinker. Add to this that sometimes I have a difficult time discerning what is God and what is just me, plus having been recently admonished by the Lord, I find myself bracing for consequences for having failed to listen to God, yet again.

I have been battling this unhealthy fear off and on during this restoration time. It has been stressful. Condemning. And once again my loving Father touched my life with His fingerprints. I was looking through some old sermon notes and came across the perfect answer in my own handwriting. It was about a sermon on conquering fears, I had written down "Though God chastens, He is not out to get you, waiting for you to mess up again. Because of Christ's blood, you have peace with God. Perfect love casts out fear."  Oh, the power of truth. Sunshine flooded my soul!

The notes also talked about unconfessed or condemning things from the past allowing fear to torment. So I went digging within. And I found certain past sins that though confessed and forsaken, I was still condemning myself for. I know I deserve punishment for them. And I know the Lord has had mercy and forgiven me. But the shame and guilt hung like a heavy chain around my neck. Then the Lord reminded me of my pastor's recent sermon on forgiveness. I reread those sermon notes. Oh, what words of life to me! For I suddenly saw I was struggling with forgiving myself. "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." I released that to the Lord and the weighty chain fell off. Another part of me was restored.

"Fear the LORD and depart from evil" but also remember "perfect love casteth out fear"  Soak it in like sunshine. The LORD knows every broken, sinful part of us. Yet loves us more in a moment than anyone can in a lifetime. Abide in Christ's love.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rebuilding I: With a Sword by My Side

There is a story I read the boys when they were little. Not sure of the title, but we remember the theme, "No, no, don't go, to the plain of Ono!" It was a child's rendition of Nehemiah and his struggles with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. At one point, the enemies ask to speak to him in the plain of Ono. Nehemiah doesn't go. The work he is doing is too important. The enemies tried many tactics: lying, distraction, threats, and flat out planning an assault.

Nehemiah and his people had a mind to work, despite the threat of attack. They built and restored the walls all the while with a sword by their side. That is where I am at. The Lord is restoring me. Rebuilding me. But the enemy is attacking. He is speaking sly words. He is trying to manipulate me. To get me to stop the work that is being done. He attacks with sharp accusations and fears.

"...in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." I am doing my best to stand. To run to His Word, my sword, claiming promises. Mediating on His Word and reading it more frequently and in larger chunks. I know this level of attack is only for a season. Yet it is exhausting fighting off the repeated bombardments of the enemy. Being constantly on guard, I feel like a vet with PTSD. Always in that heightened state of alertness. Most of the battle is within me. In my mind & in my heart.

Like the old hymn says:
Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave this God I love.
Take my heart, oh, take and
seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

And so I slipped my grandmother's silver heart pendent onto my necklace. Yes, Lord, into Your hands I place my heart. This restoration work is Yours. This battle is Yours too. I hid once again in Him.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Jealous God & Other Truths

During this time of heart restoration, the Lord has been repeatedly showing me the following four truths:

The most significant truth being Exodus 34:14: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” He has seared this in my mind. I must remember ALL that God is. Yes, He is Love, longsuffering, merciful, and a comforter. But He is also Jealous, holy, almighty, and a just judge. My relationship with the Almighty is sacred & He will NOT tolerate being second fiddle to any thing or any one.

Next He reminded me when He corrects me, rebukes me, and disciplines me, it is always in love and for my good. In Hebrews 12:6,10-11 He says, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth..For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby

Besides viewing the LORD as He really is, and viewing His chastening correctly, I must view sin as it really is. Sin breaks the very heart of God. In her book Holiness: The Heart God Purifies, Nancy DeMoss compares sin to spiritual adultery. "To say yes to sin is to fall into the embrace of a paramour. It is to bring a rival into a sacred love relationship." That is a powerful statement! Our world is too casual about embracing sin. Christians get too casual about sin. I get too casual about sin. And I am just as guilty of getting weaseled into the enemy's embrace. When I catch myself sinning, I need to view myself like the woman taken in adultery in John 8. Bring myself before Christ. He has power to punish, yet also to pardon and forgive. And He delights in forgiving a repentant heart. Because ultimately that is His focus, my heart.

Which brings me to the final truth the Lord has been working on ingraining in me: Faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

What I truly believe in my heart, my faith in the Lord is what pleases God. Not my actions, words, or thoughts. No matter how good or honorable. It is my faith in the Lord that makes Him smile. When I trust God, when I say in my heart "I believe You & Your Word," this is the ultimate "I love You, Lord!" When I step out in action to that belief, it is displayed as obedience. My relationship with Christ and what I am believing God for is very important to Him. 

Christ Jesus knows everything about me already and still loves me & accepts me. He is absolutely crazy! But I am eternally grateful. And I must keep in balance these four things: all that the Lord is, what His chastening really is, what sin really is, and ultimately, what faith really is.