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Be Thou My Purity #31Days

In Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word, she uses scripture prayers for different strongholds we may be facing. She has a chapter on sexual strongholds. In the portion where she writes on the topic before the prayers, she states that she believes as the times get closer to Christ’s return we will see an increased onslaught by the enemy on sexual purity.

If we, the Church, are called the Bride and we are, then this makes good sense.

A Bride is meant to be clean sexually and devoted to her bridegroom. Scripture gives us clear guidelines for sexual purity. The Bible is not confusing if we read it entirely. Addiction is full of confusion and will justify ANY THING. Addicts always find enablers as well, who are addicted to thinking they are good. Dear Reader, if the Bible says it is a sin, then it is- no matter who we can find to back us up if we are bent on justifying ourselves.

Despite the fact, that we live in a time period of rampant sexual sin (confusion) and acceptance (enabling) of it, the Bible is clear: Sexual sin corrupts and deceives us most intimately than any other sin.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1Corinthians 6:18

This verse is not of condemnation, but of deep, deep love.

There is no way any of us are sexually pure on our own. People aren’t born bad or good. People are born with the capability to DO bad or good.

God is the only ONE who is good. This is foundational truth because if we believe we are  bad, we will act badly thinking we are a victim to it. If we think we are good, we will still act badly because we will be living from the well of pride.  Dear Reader, the truth is we are all capable of every sin. I emphasize, EVERY SIN. We are also capable of good… all the good that Jesus has prepared for us in advance. (from Eph.2:10)

Satan tells us we are unique in our sin, that our sin is part of our identity.

No, sin is part of the distorting of who we are meant to be.

I get this well because I have lived distorted. Can I get a witness? Anyone out there relate to  bondage that distorts you? Here is the truth though for anyone who repents: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.Romans 8:1- There is always a way out this side of Christ’s return. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”  Matthew 3:1

As we await the return of Christ, we too, prepare the way. If our lives and our messages conflict with John’s, we cannot profess to be preparing the same way for the same Christ as John.

And His message was repentance… think of repentance as a place. A place where all is revealed about me about you- everything is in the light- and He says, “Come”. At my lowest, when I believed if people could be thrown away I should be first in the trash, is where I began to understand His love, His grace, and His truth. He sang songs over me of peace and salvation.

He cleansed me and walked with me in those early days, now, and all the days in between. He is more faithful than I could’ve imagined. I had believed I was bad and now I was supposed to be good. I have learned and am learning still, to rest in His goodness. I love Him and long to love Him more.

I have written another verse to the song, Be Thou My Vision, asking Him to be our purity as we await His return.

Bless you, Dear Reader with the purity of Jesus given to you by His blood.

am i done yet design

In Christ Alone,

Diana

Jacked Up Places Do NOT Equal a Jacked Up God #31Days

jacked up

John the Baptist was born into jacked up times.

Remember Herod the Great?

He was the one jealous of the prophesied King to be born under a star.

He was the one who ordered the killing of the baby boys two and under.

Yes, that Herod was ruling when John the Baptist was born.

Herod was an Idumean under Roman domination, ruling over the Jewish people. Gentiles were everywhere throughout the land, ruling, and taxing the people.*

The Jewish people were oppressed IN the promised land.

And the religious leaders of the Jews? Oh! Many were blind guides, who strained out gnats and white washed their tombs of dead men’s bones keeping people from God instead of ministering God to the people.

And to show the mix up of this time period further: A movement began to search the scriptures to see what the future held. Many believed that the time had come for the Messiah.*

John grew up in the desert- He was a Levite,

a priest from the line of Aaron from the tribe of Levi FROM BOTH SIDES!

Yes, Zacharias, John’s father AND Elizabeth, John’s mother

Both descended from the line of Aaron.

He had Levite coming from both sides.

A priest with a call to prepare the way for the Great High Priest, Jesus.

Now, stick with me and listen to what Malachi, the last prophet to speak in the Old Testament before the four hundred years of silence that preceded John and Jesus’s birth says concerning the Levites. First, he admonishes the priests and then says this:

“And you will know that I have sent you this admonition

so that MY COVENANT

with Levi may continue,”

says the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY,

MY COVENANT was with him,

a COVENANT of life and peace,

and I gave them to him.

This called for reverence and he revered me

and stood in awe

of my name.”

Let’s recap…

Remember the jacked up times John the Baptist was born into? Put that together with Malachi’s prophesy and like my thirteen year old daughter would say, “Bam!”.

God’s Covenant with Levi continues with this Levi of a Levite, Mr. John the Baptist!

Would you chew on that for a minute with me? Picture God for a moment taking a divine finger and pointing at His chest every time He makes reference to Himself in that verse. Go back and read it again. Every time He points to Himself… He is talking about the God of the universe, the One who speaks and light appears, water parts, stars spread across the sky. And those words He speaks? Here’s what Isaiah proclaims:

“The grass withers the flowers fades,

But the Word of our God stands forever” 40:8

And let’s get this afresh: Jacked up places, messed up situations, evil and abuses piled high DO NOT Negate God’s Word.

Everything I may have leaned up against might have been flimsy like grass and fading like a flower. But God is a rock. I can be sure I can lean up hard against Him and He will not fall over.

His will is not always done, we know. It is not His will for a man to walk in a classroom with guns to blow away the brave that answer, “I am a Christian”.

BUT,

We can rest assured

  His purposes are NEVER thwarted.

One of His purposes is that His people trust the Truth over the fear of a gun… the rejection of man, the loud voices of doubt, unbelief, and ego.

For a little while, and in some of our places it will seem like evil has the victory.

But

He made a covenant.

He will come in and fulfill

every

bit

of

it.

He has a plan and it is already set in motion.

And Dear Reader, you and I can take that to the bank of faith and securely deposit it there.

In Memory of the Slain at UCC in Oregon

God, stir up your Word in the hearts of this Oregon community, so that they lean hard against You, the Unchanging God. Thank you for the faithful, who knew he would shoot, and said, “I am a Christian”. To You We Give All the Glory!

In Christ Alone,

Diana

* The quotes marked with an asterisk are from: The Journey Through the Bible by V. Gilbert Beers

31 Days

cottonToday is October the 1st. I have signed on to join over a thousand writers, known as 31 Dayers, to write every day in October.

My topic is purity… with a focus on John the Baptist, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the Bible. He was bold, brave, and absolutely sure of His purpose on this earth: Prepare the way of the Lord!

If he was concerned with what anyone thought of him apart from God, his life gives no indication. He was sold out, all in, and his actions testify to the fact that there was a white surrender flag firmly planted on the soil of his ego.

Each believer receives that same call of wild John the Baptist on this opposite side of His coming as we await His return. Now, collectively, we, who are blood bought, are known as the Bride of Christ- a bunch of wretched, con-artist sinners, washed clean and invited to be wild in the John the Baptist sort of way, which is the way we were intended to live… trusting and loving the One.

We are clothed in the rich robes of grace and truth becoming unified as the Bride. I can think of no other word more appropriately fitting for this Bride that awaits seeing her Bridegroom face to face than… PURITY. Purely, following Him, not seeing Him yet believing that “the pure in heart shall see God”…joined forever with her Beloved.

Join me? I would count it an honor. My fears and failures stir gently nudging me not to write, but I’m choosing John the Baptist boldness and fixing my eyes on Jesus, writing because He first loved me.

Lord, when you come we shall be like You for we shall see You as You are. We have this hope and choose to allow You to purify us. We cooperate with You, the One who is our Purity. 1John 3:2,3

In Christ Alone,

Diana

Three Stores in One Day and Back to the Right Well

Three stores today, well, three grocery stores that is.

Three-

Two on purpose, back to one because I forgot garbage bags.

“Say it with me, kids, I cannot leave the store without these five things: garbage bags, dessert, meats, napkins, and peanut butter. Anything else I can forget- not these.”

Then two of them argued over who was going to remind me about the dessert as if… I would really forget the dessert.

But the garbage bags- that’s what I really need help with remembering.

So, when I forgot, I tried to blame them because I had asked them to help, right?

But I stopped after one blame, suddenly coming to my mommy senses, and said, “It’s okay. I forgot, too”.(notice the “too”- I’m still blaming them all while taking personal responsibility- no way I was taking the full brunt of this mistake)

“I’ll just go to the store again, for the third time today”.(a bit more immaturity on my part- just a little reminder about how many times we have been to the store)” Am I the mom or the big sister? O, yes, Mom, yes that’s right.

And that’s not all I did today- I homeschooled my kids today. Yes, all three of them were educated… into this very night… educated.

And we made an advent calendar, yes, they did actually- because they are old enough to do it ALL BY THEMSELVES. Guess what?  That is the only reason so much gets done around here- cause they are big and it is not all up to me.

And… I went to the dentist.

I cooked dinner.

I did laundry.

I read, studied, and prayed.

And… I am tired.

One day and three grocery stores plus the business of a regular day and I am tired.

I don’t think I should be but I am. I’m human. Isn’t this season all about the human being tired… and the Savior coming? If I wasn’t human, then I wouldn’t be tired and I wouldn’t need a savior, a place to lay my burden.

I want to write about marriage and submission but again I am so tired… maybe if the kids would stop asking me questions…Why don’t they yell, “Dad!” in the same tone of urgency and with the same frequency?

So, instead of sitting down to write, we listened to Ann Voskamp talk about hope. We sang “O Come All Ye Faithful” together as a family. And my heart was refreshed and renewed- overwhelmed that my King is right here with tired ole’ me. Thank you, Ann. I may have had to apologize again if the lesson was up to me.

And so, tired Momma, may I remind you?

About hope. About your King and how it’s really not a big deal to go to the store three times in one day. May I remind you that without love we are resounding gongs, clanging cymbals? May I remind you that we are nothing that we gain nothing without love. (from 1 Cor. 1:1-3)

So, what does the Bible say LOVE is? Or rather who is LOVE? The Bible says God is Love. 1 John 4:7b

Our source of LOVE is God Himself… maybe little pauses throughout the day are needed to remember just that. I am loved, deeply. I can abide with Him every moment of every day because He has an open door policy for me. He is not the slave driver of my perfection… that is what I do to myself. Rather, He is perfect FOR me.

I can rest.

My kids, your kids, are watching to see if we walk through that open door He is for us… and abide… if our faith is the real deal, rubber meets the road kind of faith… Did this baby Jesus really really come and does He really make a difference?

When I find myself bent out of shape. I can be guaranteed that I am drinking from the well of me… or from other people…  that my expectations not being met.

It’s like a little red flag that signals me: You are NOT at the right well. Jesus does not serve up chaos.

On that holy night, with all the trials in the world during that particular time and the pain of labor and the mess of it in a dirty barn…the One whose name is PEACE and LOVE was born.

He wants to be with us and be our Peace and Love in our times with all our trials and in our messy barns.

So, may I remind us: Slow down, breathe deeply, and trust Jesus. He loves us. He is for us. Let’s fix our eyes on Him.

In Christ Alone,

Diana

Rest

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15 NIV (Emphasis mine)

Lord, let it not be said of us that we would have none of it.

“In Rest” by Travis Cottrell

I’ve heard You in the thunder
I felt You in the rain
I’ve met You in the turmoil
I found You in the pain

But here in the stillness
When this moment, all is well
Here I’m prone to wonder
Hear my rebel tell

Cure my heart of chasing whirlwinds
Of needing earth to quake
Of wrestling made up angels
To keep myself away

There’s passion in the stillness
There’s fire in the cloud
There’s rest that brings a man to life
There’s a voice that whispers loud

O, bid my restless wandering heart
To find its pulse in You
In stillness know that You are God
In rest You make me new

The Lord Bless you with rest, with being still, and knowing that He alone is God.

Diana

The Mud in My Hands

I wrote this in July of last year. After I hit publish… I had to make myself not go back and trash it. O to be vulnerable!… Someone very dear told me once, “Satan cannot take you out of Jesus’ hand, so he will try to take your seed”. Well, not in July and not today, not on my blog and not in my home…not taking my seed today. Trusting Him, Diana

Better Than Fairy Dust

I had two handfuls of mud to sling behind my back.

I wasn’t planning on doing any slinging, but I might need to, so I held on.

In front, I smiled and remembered. Behind, I held the mud remembering still.

I remembered the lies. The religion. The twists and turns that seemed unbelievable. The way “up front” was not part of that playing field. The way I felt so rejected, confused. The way I had watched my husband counsel and grieve in his own valley. I remembered the loneliness- the lack of the body. The realization that if I pretended and worked in the nursery and smiled, I could be “in”, but if I was me- getting freed by my King and giving back, then there were problems and not ones that wanted solutions, just problems to get rid of, to hide, to sweep under rugs.

Image, image, image ruled…

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