I received an e-mail from a guy whose name I did not recognize. He was writing to ask me if I would like to blog with him. I kind of thought that the name was somebody from our church. So, I clicked on his name on the e-mail to read his profile and UH OH! 843 posts FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY appeared on my blog---I guess it was a blog takeover. I'm not sure. It was called ONE WORLD and his blog was added to mine. It was full of pornography. Instantly weird pop-up's started flooding everywhere I went on my computer. It took a few hours to get his ONE WORLD blog off of my blog but the damage was done. By the end of that night, my computer crashed. My children tell me (!) not to open up any file from anyone that you don't know. And I usually don't....but this was innocent for I thought it was a church member blogging with me. Oh dear....we are looking for someone in our city to take a look at our computer to see if anything can be salvaged----years and years of word documents and files that can't be replaced. LESSON LEARNED: I won't open anything again from anyone I do not absolutely know.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 10:34 PM
Monday, October 22, 2007
It has been such an accumulation of life over the weekend, I can't even explain it...a lifelong dream dashed, an annoying blog hostage, a hope halted, a self worth shaken, a friend's phone call of their brother's unexpected death...
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 12:38 AM
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I have to take a break from grading hundreds of papers...my Tuesday deadline looms large...
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 11:16 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 9:37 PM
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I am still reeling from Beth Moore's Session 4 of Esther last Tuesday in Houston and intro of Breaking Free and then on top of all of that I went to Beth Moore's live studio tapings at James Robison's LOI this weekend. I am so desperate for a word from my wooing God. The digital camera was on nighttime so the above pic is ethereal of Bev, Beth, Christie & Holly--- but I promise you we were all awake at every word. And the Elvis photo was totally out of this world when he sang to Beth "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me"--you know that oldie which floored the Moore girl, literally. I will long remember this week and the one-liners that linger... I wanted to share with you what lingers in my mind and heart from the five talks she gave this weekend which will become multiple tv segments, Wednesdays with Beth. Seven hours of Beth is like a very thirsty soul of mine drinking out of a fire hydrant---I got enough to taste and quench my thirst but missed a powerful lot, I'm sure, while I was being drenched with God. It was such a privilege to share this weekend with my blogging siestas, Holly from crownlaiddown and Christie...I met them in person...humble Holly has such childlike faith and such a praying heart. Christie knows what it means to take courage.
I am so "curved in on myself" in my pain and my God has so showed up to give me release not relief---still in the midst of hard times but, oh my, Luke 24:45 sums it up---my precious Father is opening my mind to understand the Scriptures a teenitsy bit more than ever.
The following thoughts are what lingers on my heart after listening to Beth teach for seven solid straight hours this weekend. Oh my! I hope I can do justice to what I heard. She opens her mouth and God fills it with Himself. Psalm 81:10. Tune in to LIFE TODAY Wednesdays with Beth and you'll be so moved by the beautiful God in this woman. I caught the fragrance of our precious Jesus II Cor. 2:14 from this intriguing life wrapped around the Mind and Heart of her God. And I am over here in Benbrook asking myself five questions tonight in response to her five talks... Am I driven by comfort or driven by Christ? What on earth do I do when I face trials today? When was the last time I repented? What words of forgiveness can I FED EX to my God's Hand? What drives me to my knees today? God has used this servant of the Word of God to bring me to Himself and I am so grateful to Him. This long post really ends here and the rest are the notes from each of those questions that gripped me. It's really for me to save and savor. Thanks so much for reading my blog. Just like you, I long to find Him ... and it's people like this beautiful lady who lead me to look into my heart and allow my merciful Lord to deal with the core of my heart. Five Questions to wonder about this stormy night in Benbrook. Five Questions to ask in the days and months and years to come, Lord willing.
Talk #1 – “Comfort”
Am I driven by comfort or driven by Christ?…compelled by the love of Christ,.II Cor. 5:13. I thought I lost my right mind March 15, 2006 but God lifted my head Psalm 3:3 and stood me up Rev 1:17,18 and He came all over me. Beth has put words to what happened to me in past 18 months---I’m not crazy…I’m crazy for Christ…out of my right mind for my beautiful Christ. Yes, I am! Beth shared Lam. 1:2. It was my story---bitter tears burned down my body; there was no one to comfort me. My beautiful God picked me up and compelled me with the Beauty of his Boundless Face. “Look into suffering” but don’t let my pain define me; don't let my story define me….it is my beautiful Lover who defines me and I can no longer be driven for my own comfort, nor for the removal of my pain, but for the release of my sovereign God…my Author who has orchestrated even this…either we are driven by comfort or driven by my crucified Christ...
Talk #2 – “Praise”
What on earth do I do when I face trials and tears?
“We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us and we do not know what to do but our eyes are upon You.” I Chron 20:12 “Have faith…the battle is the Lord’s.” “Keep your face up.” “Plant your feet in the battlefield…for you are a Divine Participant." “Pick up praise as your weapon. Praise with a loud voice. Every time you pray, the enemy has to listen.”
“The Spirit of my Sovereign Lord is all over me and He has sent me to bestow a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isa. 61:2 That verse is what the gracious God in Beth has done for me as I reflect on this past year doing Beth Moore bible studies.
Talk #3 – “Living Forgiving"
When was the last time I repented?
“Learn to not let offenses stick to me” (wait til you hear the Velcro roller story!)
“Empowered by God to not let an offense stick”
“It is our glory to overlook the offense”
“Take the plank out of your own eye” Luke 6:41
"Grace people with your words"
“If you see yourself under the Law, you put others under it too.”
“You know me God Psa 139:1---isn't that just amazing---we are safe with God…you know me so test me.” Psalm 139: 23
“You want something but you don’t get it cause of the desires that battle within you.” James 4: 1,2...
This talk so spoke to me about my ongoing repentance...when was the last time you repented?
Talk #4 – "Forgive”
What words of forgiveness can I "send forth" by FED EX to my God's Hand?
“Some thoughts can’t escape us for 25 years—you live with it every day.” And sometimes I think it is the absence of the thought, the absence of fear that is victory and not so...
“Each heart knows its own bitterness.” Prov. 14:10
“Devastation leads to isolation.”
“There is only One who reads our heart from the inside out.”
“Let God do it---“not relief but Release."
“Strongholds II Cor 10: 3-5 are exalted thought processes.”
“I must forgive others in the sight of Christ in order that Satan might not outwit us, for we are aware of his schemes.”
“Don’t miss the grace of your God.” Heb. 12
Beth read from her book When Godly People do Ungodly Things about the woman who married beneath herself. Beth is right, that story awakens us with the force of a tidal wave because the one in the story who beats his chest for God to have mercy on him---that husband found rest for his sin-sick soul. Just like the Son of David---“have mercy on me, my God.” But the self-righteous wife in the story made herself a dangerous transgressor in thinking she had never sinned against her family like her husband did.
Matthew 18:34, 35 so gripped me…”unless you forgive your brother this is how your heavenly Father will treat each of you---He will turn you over to be tortured.” It’s not okay with God to be unforgiving.
“Pray the Lord’s Prayer….forgive.” “Aphiemi” means send it forth to God…Fed Ex it to His Hand.” “We were meant to live a supernatural life.” “We know something we would have never known cause we made a decision to cooperate with a miracle.” “See what you despise in yourself and find the mercy of God."
Beth told a powerful story of standing alone at her father’s grave. She layed down every offense, buried it there in the grave. She stood up a grateful child, drenched in God, let it be done.
Talk #5 – “Thorn in the Flesh”
What drives me to my knees today?
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh.” II Cor. 12:7
“The knowledge of secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.” Matt. 13:11. Eyes see. Ears hear. Affected by His Presence. Something happens I can’t describe to a Spirit at Rest. Suddenly, I sense something is gonna be all right.
“I'll show Myself to you.” John 14:21
“He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45 and collect the parts of the puzzle of your life. Keep on asking Eph. 1:17 for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation to know Him better.
II Cor. 12:4 – he heard inexpressible things…something happened I can’t describe
Thorn in flesh pops our inflated ego’s. Conceit means hyperairo---to exalt ourselves.
Desperation is a strange gift. What keeps you connected with God? What drives me to my knees? Nothing like knowing God is on me. Isa. 61:1
Jer. 45:5 – do not seek great things for yourself.
You can do what you think you cannot because God’s power is on you.
I will never make it without God, He is an IV needle in my veins.
His Grace is sufficient; can’t separate grace and prayer.
Save us from sin; save us from self.
Great revelation...Not self elevation.
I don’t want revelation to cause me to be full of myself.
Beth shared how she never conquered fear of speaking…yes, it's true God doesn't give us a spirit of fear….but he can send spirits to torment us…
God’s grace is sufficient; Power is perfected in weakness. II Cor 12: 9,10 for the all surpassing power is in jars of clay.
Exodus 40:34 showed up as a powerful Presence of our present God. Our providential God is pitching the Tent of His Presence looking for humble ground. The word was made flesh---tabernacled among us. Oh my!
Beth asked the live studio audience what God spoke to them at the end of the five talks and this is what they said:
there is victory in praise
be humbled by right thing
pop the balloon of thorn in flesh
bitterness is poison
move out of my comfort zone
praise when i don't know what to do
humility in marriage
He is going to come
Christian women have power
the battle is not yours
silence means Sabbath
purposes not painful
you are part of His plunder
His calling is greater than our comfort
perceive and receive
turn up the volume of praise
double coated grace & love
Thank you my most loved God for sending this servant to me this year to get me back on my feet cause when we are down before you, our Master our Maker, only You can stand us back up again. No man can do that. It's you. And you used this servant to do that for me and I cannot thank You enough my ever-present, precious, powerful Prince of Peace. You have given and are giving rest for my weary worried sin-sick soul. And I know something tonight that I didn't know before...I have something tonight, I haven't had before.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:44 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"TAKE COURAGE!" That's what my good God just spoke to my heart at my Esther bible study in Houston tonight. I want to face my fear and focus on what's more important than fear. Moving out with my good God convinced of His Great Love for even me...
Before I left for Houston this a.m., I wrote the following post for my blog. I decided not to publish the post out of fear that it wasn't good enough or I wasn't blogging like I was supposed to or it was way way too long or I had used someone's quote and wasn't original...a nagging sense that I did the wrong thing. Always feel like I am doing the wrong thing. Oh my---I can't even blog right. So I hit delete instead of enter. After sitting through the bible study on Esther tonight, I was so moved by the Holy Spirit to face my fear and I just got to a computer tonight and quickly typed the fledgling post back up. I don't want fear to control my life.
Something shifted in me tonight as I left the study and spent the next hour driving, talking and crying out to my beautiful God, alone in my SUV, following behind Tina caravaning to Galveston. I'll remember this night forever...I'll tell you another time about what I learned. It's one of those studies where God so showed up SESSION 4 of ESTHER YOU WILL REMEMBER...one decision I made tonight will alter my days to come. The bible study was on Esther 4 --- who knows if she was there in the kingdom for such a time as this? Something shifted in Esther to bring her to the brink of her decision---"if I perish, I perish." That's true courage!
So I am not hitting the delete button and here's the post that went away with fear and came back with courage...
Set my heart on Pilgrimage
Set my heart on Pilgrimage...ooohhh! Psalm 84:5
All I know is that I am so yearning for my good God and He may not be safe but, oh, is He ever good. I'm reading Psalm 84 and the pilgrimage part just jumps out at me. Psalm 84:2 says my soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord. My heart cries out for the living God. In the RSV it is translated "shouts for joy." I am at a place where I feel like I am shouting inside to my God all the time crying out for Him, and shouting for joy even in the midst of not much happening in my physical world---yet so much happening in my spiritual world. I read verses like Job 19:25-27 where Job said: "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth." And I want to stand up and SHOUT...cause I know it, I know it...and Job said, "how my heart yearns within me...I myself will see Him with my own eyes." Oh that I may see Him...
I am walking out the door on a petite pilgirmage to Houston in a just a moment to go to a Beth Moore Esther bible study. Going to Houston to experience the God in Beth Moore...and...the pilgrimage itself of what will happen when I am with Tina in her condo in Galveston talking with my good friend and experiencing my good God on an awesome Texas beach. As a Christian our pilgrimage is about going but it is also about arriving Home one day.
Someone once said that pilgrimage does not mean walking through as much as it does setting up a temporary lodging in the midst of our circumstance. A Temporary Lodging of Life. We are just passing through on our way to Home. Set my heart on my pilgrimage my dear God. For as C.S. Lewis says: we were made for another world and we are on our way Home...therefore my story doesn't define me or contain me...I am here for Him...
Here on earth we are pilgrims and the Lord's Prayer teaches us to ask for our daily bread. Sometimes my daily bread arrives with tears and fears. He's a good God but it's not the safe road that is always in front of me. Sometimes it looks like the battle I am in is a losing one. The Valley of Baca in Psalm 84:6 translates "Valley of Weeping"---and it was called that because of the Palestinian alders that weep sap in that valley. That valley is also called the Valley of Rephraim. Rephraim meant the giants in the land but they were long gone---wiped out. Someone said that Rephraim meant "ghosts" to the Hebrews cause they really remembered those giants. Do I think the safe road is no tears, no fears, no giants, no ghosts. You know C.S. Lewis' quote - He's good, but He's not safe.
Tears in what I have lost in this world
Fears of those giants in my life who are long gone yet still here like haunting ghosts.
TOUCH TASTE, TEARS FEARS, GIANTS GHOSTS, GRACE GLORY, STRENGTH STRENGTH
"Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. They go from Strength to Strength." psalm 84: 5-7
I WONDER WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR?? (Beth asked that question tonight at the bible study.)
I DON'T KNOW...
BUT I DO KNOW THAT I JUST JUMPED IN WITH BOTH FEET TO FACE A FEAR AND POST WHAT I WAS AFRAID TO SAY...THERE...I SAID IT...I WONDER WHAT I AM REALLY AFRAID OF? i think maybe i am afraid to fail again since my husband lost his ministry job...but I recognize that a little COURAGE IS RISING UP IN ME that could only come from my good God...Let my heart not be afraid,
by Bev Brandon
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 12:16 AM
Sunday, October 7, 2007
When I find something that I super like, I just keep doing it over and over. If it's listening to Paul Baloche's "What Can I Say?" or Chris Tomlin's whole album See The Morning, I'll listen over and over and over. I found a new thing this weekend that I probably did more than 25 times...even closer to 50 times. I ran through a seven foot tall tunnel. It was a quite quiet old galvanized steel foot tunnel that brought you under a well traveled road.
I kept running through this dimly lit tunnel over and over and over again. I'd run through and ask my God to meet me and He would.
I'd run through and pray for my friends like you. I'd run through and listen to my God. Sssshhh. I'd run through and tell Him how marvelous He is. I'd run through and pray for whomever He laid on my heart. I'd run through and listen back. I'd run through and get real quiet in my heart. I'd run through and pray out loud with a reverberating voice. I'd run through and listen to His Word. I'd run through and listen to "You Dance Over Me" over and over. I'd run through and stand still. And I came back the next day and did it all over again. I found my tiny tunnel stretching over twenty yards or so while Britt and I were at a USA swim meet this weekend in an unfamiliar place to me. These swim meets last the whole day to swim 3 events that last only a couple of minutes or sometimes sixty seconds so spectators have a lot of free time. Tunnel time.
The tunnel was a pipe of steel material arranged in uniformed ridges and each ripple was bolted down twelve times. Arranged perfectly to accommodate serious runners and not-so-serious joggers. There was that word popping up again---arranged---I have been thinking about that word for two weeks after a conversation with a friend who told me that my God will give me new friends, new travelers of the heart, but it won't be as arrangeable as it has been in the past which wasn't really arrangeable anyway. What kept coming to my mind is this...sometimes, even unaware, I am trying to arrange my friendships, arrange better circumstances, arrange my day to get better results, arrange my life to make it better, arrange ministry success...all the while my God is saying "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33 I wonder if that verse is what inspired C.S. Lewis to write: "You can't get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first."
I don't want to live in control of my family, my friends, my ministry, my money, even my Maker. As if I really think that I am in control of my life. I long to get in on what my beautiful God is arranging in my life. I long to live my life under the control of the One who is arranging all things for His Glory.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Our sophomore son couldn't wait to dig into the macaroni & cheese at supper tonight accompanying the King Ranch chicken casserole---even though he had downed a foot-long BMT subway sandwich right before swim practice tonight. He lives hungry. You should have seen the look on his face after one bite of the mac & cheese. "What's wrong?" I protectively asked. You see, the other night he mentioned that my couscous dish tasted like it had cleaning agent on it. Now, the child usually doesn't complain about food at all. The husband never complains about any food. But, tonight would be different. Bob quickly tasted the macaroni & cheese dish and gagged but very humbly kept on trying to eat it with a scrunched up look. "Oh dear, what have I done wrong. How do you mess up Velveeta Macaroni & Cheese out of the box? I followed the directions to the "t." " I could feel my culinary insecurities rising inside. They began smelling the concoction and asking me all kinds of questions of what I did. The sophomore son solved the situation at hand. It was Blair's fault---his sister and recent college graduate who came home from college with the food left over in her kitchen pantry. Of course, the valued Velveeta box had never been opened...but sleuth Britt figured out that some perfume must have spilled into the box permeating the sealed uncooked macaroni. You see, Blair just loves perfume...and I do remember the box of unused perfumes and bath products coming in the door with the box for the kitchen. It was a kind gesture from the college grad to donate to our kitchen but perfumed macaroni will permeate our brains forever...and we may never be able to eat macaroni & cheese again... and, I think we'll be smelling a few more dinners before we eat them. And my God helped me to laugh at myself rather than take the self-obsessed path with how I performed. I'm beating myself up less these days and that's good. I've been asking myself this week---am I self-obsessed or God-obsessed? Am I more concerned with allowing my family to touch my soul and touch theirs or is this about looking good, feeling good about myself. Oh well, one might say it was only macaroni and cheese...but too much of what I think is tied to how I perform or connect with others or what I look like. God, please deliver me from my self-obsessed soul. We tried to decipher which perfume it was...but couldn't unpack the fragrance. Sure enough, the box in the trash can smelled like HUGO... how will I look and live today... self-obsessed or God-obsessed?
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 7:54 PM
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:43 AM
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 6:20 AM