I'll end here before I lose this post for the third time. My last thought is a quote from C.S. Lewis: "When you are not sure you can trace His Hand, you can trust His Heart."
I'll end here before I lose this post for the third time. My last thought is a quote from C.S. Lewis: "When you are not sure you can trace His Hand, you can trust His Heart."
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 4:45 PM
Making new friends these past couple of weeks---it's called trials. My boys are in the driveway changing a flat...we've had more stories this week than usual. Even caught a raccoon in our attic. YUK! I could barely watch all the boys who live in my house who were ecstatic with adventure on this journey of ridding the raccoon from Rush Street as I gasped the air out of our house in horror.
Well, I just pulled together a Brandon post of this eventful weekend involving:
Britt's high school formal
Barrett capturing rocky raccoon
Britt and Dirk
Barrett's World Cup in Korea
but I can't find the camera cord so I will save the photo collage for another day.
I started a new job this week as a permanent substitute teacher with the local public school district working at different high schools where it is very difficult to secure a substitute teacher. I've been at alternative schools and special ed with the medically fragile. Needless to say, the job is challenging. I am so grateful for a full-time job. I have so many stories after one week but I'll spare you. My God has shown up for me this week in incredible ways. C.S. Lewis wrote that our God is not a static thing. He is a dynamic, pulsating Life. Almost like a drama. Almost like a dance. And I believe at this place that I am in, my beautiful God has invited me into a deeper dance with HIM. I'm so grateful to HIM for answering my prayers and I am finding HIM. Yesterday, we read a verse that said to ask God for a sign that He was present, and I did. I can't find the reference this minute. The thought came to my mind to turn on the radio. I asked God if I heard right. The thought came again and again so I dropped what I was doing and went for the radio. As I turned it on, the "DJ" announced a new unfamiliar song and the words began to flow and float and flabbergast me. "God is watching over you." God sees you where you are.
Bob is still in-between jobs. A couple of churches have been interviewing him---it's a process. My prayer for my husband is a chronological verse we read Sunday (I've jumped ahead) in Psalm 78. Just as God chose David and took him from the sheep pens, I pray that our God would take my husband from tending to his physical work to be a shepherd of people, once again. And may Bob continue to learn to shepherd with integrity of heart, with skillful hands. Psalm 78: 70-72. That's what he longs to do.
The past weeks have been difficult, challenging times, but it is our God Who is so showing up, continuing to detach us from dependence on every source of joy other than being in relationship with HIM. Not having a successful ministry. Not having our lives turn out successful. Not even healing or understanding or insight or guidance. Only God Himself can be our goal. And it is through His Providential blessings and suffering that His Spirit is moving in our lives. No easier path. No shortcuts through ByPass Meadow---remember that meadow in Pilgrim's Progress?
May we all know better how to welcome suffering, as James said, when he was inspired by God: welcome your trials as friends.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 5:31 PM
I went to pay for my gas purchase at the Quik Trip. I counted out $5 in change with trembling tears streaming down my cheeks to buy enough gas to make it home. I wasn't crying over the gas issue. I was so deeply touched by my beautiful God and you know all those tears are in His record. That's what I read last night. Psalm 56:8 Record my sorrows; list them in your record book, God.
You see, I was driving home from work this afternoon--- a sub job on this precious day, assisting in teaching students with severe cerebral palsy and it was SUCH A JOY. I so sensed the presence of my God in me to serve them. The world is not worthy of these precious ones. Hebrews 11:38. (This verse makes me think of my friend Cyd!) I held my tears until I got into my car and silently prayed for the families these beautiful kids were going home to see. Will they be cherished, adored, and treasured tonight? Yes, they will! Their Heavenly Father will do just that for them.
Back to the gas station story. I didn't count my change right. I had just come back from stopping at the eye doctor and my eyes were not seeing correctly. The clerk told me I was short. Well, I can always go check the seat of my car for coins that fell through. That sounds so pitiful. But it was all the cash I had on me. And the clerk turns to me and says---don't worry about the rest of it. Just go on....when do gas stations say don't worry about paying the rest of the money???
I stopped at Target on the drive home. I knew the smell of popcorn would overtake me as I walked in. So I rummaged through all compartments in my car to find one dollar for popcorn and a coke. When I went to pay at Target's food court, it happened again. I only had half of the dollar. Let's blame it on my brand new glasses that I just picked up from the eye doctor. I haven't had real glasses since last summer when I lost them. But, the prescription is messed up. I can see far away and mid-range great, but the close up range is far TOO STRONG. They can't adjust them until next week---ouch. I have already fell once thinking a step was there and IT WASN'T. LOL. And the clerk looked at me (no tears in Target) and she said. It doesn't matter that you don't have the right amount...just go on and have it. It's only popcorn. When does that happen???
I have a special table where I stop and sit at this Target, and invite my God to say anything to me that HE wants. Can't pass it by without asking HIM to talk to me. Tonight HE said to me that "getting rid of my issues" was a false god for me. I'm trying to force things to happen. There is something I am believing that is just not true. Enter into what makes that thought of getting rid of my issues seem reasonable to me. I have to let go of wanting resolution and things to work out well with my husband and children right now. I need to trust. Attach. Let HIM strip me off of myself. Whew. I got up in peace and gratitude for it is the kindness of our God that leads us to repentance. Romans 2:4.
As I approached my car, it happened again---in the Target parking lot! Someone slipped into my hand a $20 bill and I simply lost it at that point. I am so grateful to God for providing my needs and my wants. But more than all that, I am so grateful to HIM for showing up in my life and making His Presence known. So grateful to HIM for making me holy and making me care about that, more than I care about life working out in my favor. It's okay right now, in fact it's way more than just OKAY....and I know that's God. Things are really rough right now but there is joy unexplainable. Attaching to HIM and being stripped off of myself. It's such a holy horrendously difficult desirable place to be!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 6:53 PM
"ATTACHED TO JESUS, STRIPPED OFF OF BEV"
I thought I was supposed to go to a John Eldredge talk this week but it cost $10 and we are pinching pennies. I went anyway, at the last minute, with no ticket, and no money in my wallet. As I walked in the door of an unknown Dallas church, a man approached me and handed me a free ticket without a word. Like it was supposed to be that way. I looked up to see a video screen in the hall, and the first words out of John's mouth was that he thought Jesus was saying tonight for us to "come close." That's why I was there! For my God so showed up in just two words. This week has been the most difficult battle for me, but I heard my God saying to me this week that I am not alone in this battle. Here's what lingers with me as I read the chronological Word of God this week. Share a comment with us of what lingers with you as you read the Word this week.
THE BATTLE IS GOD’S - N O T A L O N E... My beautiful God is fighting for me tonight in the midst of how the circumstances fell this week. No jobs open. In 24 hours or so, my husband's car died forever, my cell broke and he lost his, another of our cars broken into, internet suspended, some of the worst dreams I've had in ages---small things in the scheme of things, but I love I Chron. 5:20 - "They were helped in fighting their enemies because they cried out to him during the battle." We cry for mercy and He is so showing up.
WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN THE LOVE OF CHRIST? - R E L A T I O N S H I P
I Sam 15:12 - Saul set up a monument in his own honor—WHAT!!!!— and says to Samuel that he has carried out God’s instructions. “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears?” Saul, what do you want more than the love of your Christ?” Saul wanted fame, recognition, success more than he wanted God and I do believe God turned Saul over to Satan. 15:17 says "Once you were small in your eyes but no longer. I'll make something of myself, my name, my glory. Samuel replied “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Am I really being obedient or just doing the right things?
KEPT A JEALOUS EYE - N O M O R E!!!
18:9-12 Saul was angry for his people credited David with tens of thousands and Saul had only slain thousands. He kept a jealous eye! Hurled a spear at David then he feared David cause God was with David and he was successful God is not the author of evil nor brings evil. Saul brought it on himself. In 22:6, Saul says "no one tells me when Jonathan hooks up with David. None of you are concerned for me. I love the courage in Ahimelech in 22:14 when he stands up to Saul about David and his loyalty. Saul responds by killing Ahimelech, his family, the town of Nob, and 85 priests. What do I do with my jealousy? Don't seek great things for yourself.
MORE CONCERNED ABOUT OTHERS - S E T S Y O U F R E E!!!
20:33 Courage continued to rise up in Jonathan as he protected David from his father even to the point that he became the target for his father’s spear. Yet Jonathan was ashamed of his father's actions 20:34 and concerned for David more than he was concerned that his father tried to kill him. I would be so consumed with that. You know, when we are more concerned about others than we are about ourselves like in this story, we are really free. Jonathan helped David find strength in God. I Samuel 23:16. How beautiful!
PSALMS FROM DAVID'S PEN - L I S T E N T O M E!!! I couldn't wait to read the Word today for I have been so brokenhearted over some things that happened. I opened to Psalm 34 and it read me..."your Lord is near to the brokenhearted, those crushed." 34:18. I sobbed. No shame here. Psalm 34:5 "Those who look to me are radiant, their faces are not covered with shame. Come, my child, listen to ME. My ears have been attentive to the cries of your heart this very day. Oh My Word!
PSALM 13 - ATTACHED - N O M O R E!!!!
I attached myself to strong speakers, weighty writers, faithful friends, a stable husband, and an awesome pastor! No more! Verse 13:5 - I trust in your unfailing LOVE. The word trust in the Hebrew is “batah” and trust means “attach” in the OT. Huge paradigm shift over here. No longer attached to approval of others or for people to come through for me. And really, they are not. So, I still “wrestle with my thoughts” 13:2 and want answers from God 13:3 but no demands. Confident expectation that God will come through. David faced death when he spoke these words in this psalm. “Give light to my eyes.” 13:3. May God open all our eyes and we attach to HIM only. Keep me as the apple of your eye. 17:8 And my prayer for each of you is 17:14 - May your strong God still your hunger for He cherishes you so!!!
STRIPPED FROM "MYSELF" - G O D I S S I L E N T B U T N O T A B S E N T!!!
David felt God was far from him and silent. Psalm 22:2. Don’t we all, at times, think the same thing. God is not here. God is not good. Or this wouldn’t be happening. All my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax, melted away within me. My strength is dried up. 22:14,15. O My Strength, COME QUICKLY, to help me. 22:19. And what is our God saying back to us? Come close. No action plan just a desire for holiness. For He is delivering me from my troubles 54:7. The word “delivered” in the Hebrew means:
stripped off of myself.
Yes, that is what HE is doing to me—stripping me off of Bev. Attaching me only to HIM.
And then in the sequence of events, what happens in I Sam 24 where David has an opportunity to kill Saul, who comes unknowingly into his cave, but David is “conscience-stricken.” Forbid that I should do such a thing to God’s anointed—-the person who wants to kill me. David was attached to his King and left things in God’s hands. 22:12. Do I want to take matters in my own hands?
And the only way I can make my life work is to cry out for mercy to God Most High Who fulfills His Purpose for me. Psalm 57:2. Pour out my complaint beofre HIM and tell HIM my troubles. Psalm 142:2. I've been looking for someone with "skin on" to tell my troubles to. No more! "Look to my right and see---no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge. No one cares for my life." Psalm 142:4. God, you are my refuge. Psalm 142:5. Set me free from whatever my "prison" is that I may praise you. Psalm 142:7. Set me free!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:04 PM
UPDATE: Since Thursday, I have no e-mail access, no cell phone, no land line for those of you trying to reach me. I only have internet access. The blog is the only way you can leave me a message.
Sitting in my tornado shelter singing from The Inside OUT with my 75-pound border collie on my lap and my sweet sixteen year old boy by my side. We were just sprayed with a shower of hail ice---what was that? Of course, my boy had to keep running to the window to see the blanket of hail. They predicted baseball-sized hail so we had the candles and chairs and blankets and the boy tucked in the hall. Turned out to me more like marble-sized hail.
When the sirens went off...
Britt was driving HOME from swim practice for the first time alone behind the wheel. HE GOT HIS LICENSE!!! I was already praying for him but I must say that it drove me to deeper dependence when I heard that old-fashioned siren blare and my boy wasn't home yet. Whoa! He wouldn't answer his cell...you can't when you are 16 and driving. Would he pull over? He walked through the door and I whispered a thank you to my God!
I have just gone through several days of training for a teaching job at our local public high school. Tomorrow is my 7th day of interview/training with no pay then I can start on Monday. Losing 7 days of pay has been very difficult. I am grateful for a full-time position but when I start on Monday, I won't see a paycheck until June 31st. I have thought so many times about the story of Hannah...and Eli seeing her mouth moving. And I keep moving my mouth and listening to what God is saying to us in all of this. I can't get over the fact that Hannah walked away and was sad "no more" even though her circumstances didn't change. That's what I long for and surrender my desires to my beautiful God. I used to think I had to abandon my desires but God just wants me to yield them to HIM and His purposes.
And where I am today is such a good place, a very hard one---but I am finding my God in ways I never knew before. I want God more than I want understanding. I want God more than I want guidance. It used to be guidance was what I was after---tell me what to do God with my kids, my ministry, my problems. But, no more. It's intimacy---that's what I am after. Sure, I need guidance. Sure, I need healing. Sure, I need friends. Sure, I need answers. But, in this new place of surrender I am not demanding guidance or understanding---I am coming away with a deeper holiness and that is God!!!! I'm not responding the same to my husband, my children, my world...I am finding such a better place than ever. Titus 1:1 - we are servants of the Word of God for the faith of His people and for godliness, changed lives. I'm so indebtedly grateful to HIM!!!
I guess I can abandon my storm shelter. Makes me think of the verse we read last week that we can live under the shelter of HIS Wings. Help my unbelief. Help my fears. Deal with my striving. What a gracious, magnanimous, awesome Father and Friend we have! He's here!
Last night I went to hear John Eldredge speak in Dallas and I could have left after his first two words and walked away with such treasure. He said that he thought his talk could be summed up in two words: COME CLOSE. God so spoke to me. Reminds me of Hosea 12:6 - Look to HIM and expect HIM to do much in your life. He's waiting for you. He adores you. The verdict is already out. So wherever you are tonight as the rains come down in our town and maybe in your heart, know this. Whatever is not happening for you is not a verdict of His love. You are secure by His Work, not yours. Please continue to pray for us---I need that so. We want to hear His Voice and we are desperate. Beth Moore said to me "your desperation is a gift." That meant a lot. He's longing to have compassion on us all - Isaiah 30:18. I can't thank you enough for your prayers. My Love to you and your family, Bev
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 7:39 PM
This past week of reading the Bible has been rich, rewarding, riveting and revealing. Join us. Post a comment here about what you read. What lingers? The reading plan is listed on the sidebar. It started with an unnamed wife being layed on the threshold of her front door, left for dead. I posted last Tuesday about a sort of similar incident in my own life. God so showed up for me! We met Naomi, humble and honest, who thought God's Hand was against her but she held fast to HIM. Again, God so showed up for me in her story of dealing with her bitterness of not getting what she wanted. We met Hannah, authentic and adoring, who found peace in the midst of complaining about her unchanging circumstances. Still childless, she found her beautiful God and He was enough. God so showed up for me in this story. We read the Bible to meet our God not to use HIM to get what we want, but to find God Himself. God showed up this week as I read my Bible and it read me. Here's a thought in all CAPS and a question from the things that so spoke to me this week. Choose one of the many captions and go read those verses. I prayed for each of you who reads this post I Samuel 3:9..would you please speak to them God, for they are listening.
CONCUBINE BUTCHERED in 12 PIECES - Judges 19
Do I pretend all is well?
"Never seen such a thing in Israel” — it took a shocking revelation of a concubine being butchered up & sent to the 12 tribes to show them that they had refused to deal with the evil growing in the children of Israel.
EVERYONE DID AS HE SAW FIT - Judges 21:25
Do I go to my friends or go to my Christ?
No king to follow, so they did what they thought was right. I followed strong safe men, wise pastors for way too long in my life---no more.
RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE GOD IS - Ruth 1:7
What do I do with my bitterness?
Naomi returned to the place of provision from her God in her grief and bitterness. Ruth left her Moabite gods for Naomi's true God. Where do I turn for help--a phone call or a prayer.
GOD’S HAND IS AGAINST ME - Ruth 1:20
Who gets my anger?
Naomi was authentic. Call me “Bitter” for my God’s Hand is against me...and she entered her sorrow and called it what it was, bitterness, & dealt with God.
GOD SHOWED UP. MAY HE REPAY YOU - Judges 2:12
What step of surrender puts me under His Refuge?
Ruth went out to the right field (2:2) and this story makes me want to trust God for my next step. 2:12 God rewarded them by putting them under the refuge of His Wings.
NAOMI RENAMED HERSELF - Ruth 1:20
What would you rename yourself where you are today?
I've called myself “Worthless," but as I follow my Christ, my Counselor, my Creator, I call myself "Beloved" with tears running down my cheeks.
NOT BY STRENGTH OR POWER - I Samuel 2:9
Is my struggle about how strong I am?
God keeps the feet of His saints: "it's not by strength that one prevails."
GOD STOOPS DOWN FOR ME - Psalm 113:6
How is your beautiful God stooping down to you?
The One enthroned stoops down to you and me. That’s such a tender, humble thought.
LOOK BENEATH BEHAVIOR, REPENT - Judges 16:16
What is beneath that behavior and why I do what I do? What do I want more than the love of my Christ?
Delilah nagged Samson until he was tired to death (16:16). Samson’s first wife cried & pressed for 7 days (Judges 14:17). May I hear my words of manipulation to family and friends...and repent and change my direction.
SORROW-FILLED TEARS - I Samuel 1:15
Am I entering my story where I am filled with sorrow? Not despairing tears but sorrow-filled. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Hannah's sorrowful spirit poured from her broken heart to her God. She spoke out of the abundance of her childless complaint, but she walked away in peace; she was sad "no more."
HERE I AM.... I Samuel 2:3
Where am I? Where is my God?
I AM so moved by Samuel’s response as a youth to his God. “Here I am…” That phrase has meant a great deal to me this past year as I say it to my LORD a lot. God, keep arrogance out of my mouth. I Sam 2:3. Here I am because You are!
SPEAK GOD, WE'RE LISTENING - I Samuel 3:9
What is my Lord saying to me this very day?
Eli said if God calls you Samuel, then say: ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ In 3:19 Samuel never let his words fall to the ground for the want of hands to bring God to others.
NO HIDING IN HIS HEART - I Samuel 3:18
Am I skirting issues, hiding to avoid hurting others?
Samuel faced the fear and embraced it. No hiding in his heart for he spilled out the vision - 3:18. Samuel knew his words would devastate and decimate Eli.
A TRUE REPENTANT HEART - I Samuel 3:19
Am I more concerned about my love of God OR my love of family and friends?
Eli’s humble honest response: “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in His eyes.” Eli showed a repentant heart!
THUS FAR GOD HAS HELPED ME - I Samuel 7:12
Are you looking for man's help or God's help?
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us. God silenced Samuel’s enemies. I never dreamed I could be as free as I am today. Yet, there’s so much more.
W A L K BY SIGHT NOT FAITH - I Samueal 8:6
Do I want a person in the flesh to help me and come through for me?
They thought their failure was the system not their sin. They rejected God because they wanted to be like the other people. I Sam 8:6 Give us a King. They wanted a visible deliverer 8:22 in whom they could place their trust.
THE SPIRIT COMES IN POWER - I Samuel 10:9
What will I do with the success my God gives me?
You will be changed into a different person Saul. 10:9 God changed his heart. From a human perspective, Saul fully satisfied the desires of the people.
LET YOUR SIN SURPRISE YOU - I Samuel 12:23
Will YOU show us the sinful ways we are making our lives work?
"Stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! You will see your sin. It was Samuel's last words: "far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you."
QUAKING WITH FEAR, SAUL TAKES MATTERS IN HIS OWN HANDS - I Samuel 13:7
Am I looking to protect myself, my family...or am I looking to my God, inquiring of HIM?
His people quaked with fear so Saul didn't inquire of God what to do. So, God seeks a man after God's heart.
PERHAPS GOD WILL ACT - I Samuel 14:6,7
Am I moving in love, believing God will act in my behalf?
Let's go...perhaps God will act in our behalf. And the armor-bearer says: "Go ahead. I am with you heart and soul." And God struck the opposing army with a panic.
STOP! SMALL IN MY EYES OR BIG - I Samuel 15:13
What is this bleating of sheep in my ears?
Samuel went to meet Saul who greeted him by saying: "I have carried out the Lord's instructions." Stop Saul! Once you were small in your own eyes but you pounced on the plunder to sacrifice.
TO OBEY = BETTER THAN SACRIFICE - I Sam 15:22
Who am I afraid of in my life?
Does the LORD delight in sacrifice as much as obeying the voice of the Lord. But, Saul says, I was afraid of the people and I gave in to them.
Jean sent me this quote just now..."When our deepest desire is not the things of God or a favor from God, but God Himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about me, more about Him." (Max Lucado) Hannah and Naomi crossed the threshold as they entered their sorrow with no hiding in their hearts. May we all cross today's threshold and hear the Living Word! What do you hear your beautiful God saying to you?
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 1:23 PM
Whew...what blew through Dallas last night?? A spectacular light show INSIDE my house! The lightning and thunder were maybe one second apart---dead center storm. But it was the unbelievable lightning that was breathtaking and I kept pulling the covers over my head and listening for sounds of little feet ... remembering what it was like when the kids were little and they would show up at the door terrified. But my grown children slept right through it last night! I kept plotting how I could rescue them if the house caught on fire---sometimes I am too obsessive! Let the house burn but I'm getting those kids out.
We have power but our school has none. School's out!! So, all I can do is laugh when I say, my job fell through again today. No work, no money for today. So, I came into the study to check my e-mail and found something I have been thinking about for over a month! I can't tell you how excited I am! I've been asking God to help me find this ONE QUOTE for weeks...how do you find one quote in the mass of writers??? I thought I knew the author. I've asked. I've searched. I've skimmed. I've prayed. Please let me find that quote, God! There it was this morning in my INBOX. It was from fellow blogger Jean, who has no blog, but leaves great comments where I go.
So whether it's a verse or a thought or advice or a word you want to share with me---GO RIGHT AHEAD!!!! My beautiful God is so showing up in my life to lift my head and encourage me in bleak circumstances. My job testing students with accommodations fell through cause the school can't find any power. That's never happened in 18 years in a row of going there. What's up? I don't know. All I know is this. He holds my life together as HE says in Colossians. And I believe I am seeing things I have never seen before. I am alive in ways I have never been before. There's a great quote that says I believe in Christianity, and that my God is alive in me, just as I believe that the sun has risen this morning in my city. Not only because I saw that Fort Worth sun rise, but because by it I see everything else. So grateful to Him for eyes that see beyond the moment. No way I could do that. Ephesians 1:17 - may HE continue to open the eyes of our hearts by His resurrection power that we really see life as it is and can be.
Read the next post how HE keeps speaking the same verses to me over and over.... and then you bloggers tell me the same thing and it so touches my soul! Over 30,000 verses and God lays on your heart something for me. But life is not about my story, it's about being lifted up into His story and finding HIM today. And I so want HIM more than life. May we all go "flesh" our lives out today for things of eternal value, not this life.
So what will we do on our snow day with no snow! I'm looking for a job! And, we're going to the Mavericks must-win bsketball game tonight, complimentary of some pretty wonderful folks. Britt gets to "shoot around" with the players before the game cause of some awesome contest thingy so come back tomorrow for pictures with Dirk. What a perk.
So, what's the quote you ask? Here it is. It's the last six words that stick with me. I think about those six words a lot as I reflect on my life, my motives. Sixbrandons says: May those six sink surprisingly surreptitiously into your sweet soul.
Here's the quote: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. WE ARE FAR TOO EASILY PLEASED.” C.S. Lewis
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 7:44 AM
UPDATE: I was all dressed for a potential job interview this morning for a teaching position. I even took off from my regular sub job and lost that pay for today. I called before I went to hear that the job was filled. My cell is broken and voice mail doesn't register right away so I missed their call to come yesterday. It's the third job with our local public school district that has fallen through for me. Three jobs slipped through my fingers. Disappointing to say the least. So, I lift up my head...and ask for your prayers for jobs real soon.
A couple of years ago, my husband lost his ministry position and I went through the hardest season of my life ever. Major meltdown. I couldn't physically stop what happened to my body as the depression sidelined me. I had been an overcomer my whole Christian life or so I thought. It was as though God was bringing me to the end of myself.
I held fast to HIM who holds our lives together. I listened long for His Voice. And I heard it over and over again even as I grew physically weaker. One thing God did was to speak the same verses to me over and over from surprising directions. He's still doing it. Psalm 3:3 was a verse that my beautiful God gave me during that time---- that HE is the lifter of my head. And when I thought I could lift my head no more from the depression, He lifted it for me. And then He sent people to tell me that He was the lifter of my head.
I remember a dear friend in our Daniel study asking our Beth Moore Bible Study to come pray for her healing as she was diagnosed with cancer. We got on our faces with and for our precious friend's life. And, I remember thinking to myself, unless you lift my head, I don't know how I will make it either, God. As we walked to the door to leave, Lori's parting words to me were this: "HE is the lifter of your head, Bev." Her words fell deep in my soul as I sobbed on the drive home praising HIM for what only HE could do in my life. And He did! He lifted my head!
And it happened again and again that I would hear that verse or someone would say it to me. Many of you know that I have been sick these past weeks with my kidneys shutting down. My husband is out of work, waiting on another construction contract to come in, picking up odd jobs. When I got back on my feet, I realized how behind I am in finding my own job along with things undone. As I read the story of Gideon, I asked my beautiful God if HE would speak to me and let me know that He is near.
Someone, whom I don't know, was walking out of the door of a conference and turned around and came back inside, walked right up to me, and said that she was so impressed to approach me and tell me this: "The Lord wants me to tell you that HE is near to you." It was such a sweet moment of His Presence for me.
Then, yesterday, I received a note in snail mail from a blogger named Mary Lou, my new friend. She wrote: "I have no idea why He has impressed me to write you and you probably won't either, but I am obeying." Mary Lou shared precious thoughts with me from her own walk. It was kindness well received. Not sure why she wrote, really. That is, until she signed her name:
Mary Lou, Psalm 3:3 "He is the lifter of your head"
There are 31,240 verses and she chose the one that would fall deep in the recesses of my heart. Matthew 10:20 says that God will give you the words to speak. Just keep walking with HIM. Don't seek great things for yourself - Jer. 45:5. Don't try to find the words yourself. You really can't. Let HIM speak through you.
So what is God saying to you right now? Share with us. We'd love to hear His words to you.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 5:38 PM
Thanks so much to all of you for your kind words to me while I was really sick for a couple of weeks. It was a scary time for me fainting nine times with no control and watching my body not co-operate. I Am B A C K and I am so grateful to God for health! I started feeling a lot better mid-week but this past weekend, I took a group of high school students to Austin for a state academic competition and it set me back a little. I went through with the trip because I was paid several months ago to do it. I would have had to return the money. My husband is in-between jobs right now and I am unemployed looking for a job. Pray for me Monday as I hit the streets looking for a job.
I want to share with you five verses that linger with me as we read the Bible together this week. Today we read Judges 19 and 20, a very disturbing story about a husband cutting up his dead wife into 12 pieces and sending her as a "message" to each of the tribes. I was deeply moved by this vile volatile vicious story. My beautiful God so showed up for me tonight as I read these two chapters. He spoke His Love and His Kindness over my life as I reflected on a story from my teenage years. I will end this post with that story. Deuteronomy 33:23,24 says there is no other God who rides the heavens to help you. The word for help means "lifesaver." He saved my life as a teen. He continues to rescue me to this very day.
DO NOT FORGET
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord (Judges 3:7). They forgot the Lord their God. Oh My! So caught up in living life, they forgot about their God who had delivered them. Caught up in busyness of multiple children and multiple ministries and multiple activities. Am I hiding in the busyness of life or am I demanding things go my way. Or am I inviting my God to invade every nook and cranny of my life? Does my life invite others to take a look at my God or do I forget about HIM as I move through my day?
RISE LIKE THE SUN
May those who love God rise like the sun in all its power. Judges 5:31. I loved Deborah’s song of love to her King. She was so in love with HIM. May we all rise like the sun this day to love HIM.
GO IN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE
Judges 6:12 Go in the strength you have, mighty warrior. That’s what God called this scared-to-death servant who just said: Why has all this happened to us? Where are all His wonders now? God never left Gideon. God’s response was not rebuke but His presence. Go in the strength you have and I will be with you. But I am the least, the weakest, replies Gideon. I feel like Gideon so often that I am the least, worthless. I can go in the strength I have and trust God for His presence, His calling.
WAIT FOR ME GOD
Give me a sign that it is really YOU talking to me God! Please don’t go away until I come back with an offering. Judges 6:17,18 – And the Lord said to Gideon, ‘I will wait until you return.' Gideon moved and put out a fleece twice in the strength that he had. God is always waiting for us to return.
OBEY WITHOUT FEAR
Judges 6:27 Gideon did what God commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the people of the town. He obeyed when no one was looking. A heart for God obeys when people are looking and when no one is looking.
So that brings us to this vicious, vile, violent crime in Judges 19 and 20. Her husband had much time to think about what he would do with her body as he traveled back home with his dead concubine on his donkey. This priest decided how he would get the attention of each of the tribes---send a butchered part of her body to them showing them what had been done to her. Judges 19:20 – such a thing had never been done before and the response of the tribes was right when they said: “tell us what to do” to get the evil out of their midst. Finally, this atrocity attracted their attention.
Deuteronomy says any evil in Israel will be dealt with aggressively. The Benjamites had the opportunity to turn over those who perpetrated crimes. It seems that the leaders of the Benjamites protected their bad characters, their families. Other tribes overlooked it as well. But the concubine being butchered----it took this shocking revelation --- "never seen such a thing in Israel" --- to show them that they had refused to deal with the evil growing in the children of Israel. They FORGOT about their God. The tribe of Benjamin was given opportunity to turn over the evil in their city...and the leaders of Benjamin refused to turn over the men, refused to extricate and eradicate the evil. They all had a corporate responsibility to deal with the evil. This evil among them was known. The Levite could have buried his concubine and hid the story OR disclose the evil and call for a response. Thousands died because he stood up to say this evil among us is not right before our God.
We cannot sit back and watch evil move. Do I pretend that all is well when so many in our country are entertaining evil. What evil will I die for? There is a moral responsibility bigger than just my family. I cannot keep silent over evil in my own life, my family, my world. I must respond.
I want to share with you a story from my childhood. I was sixteen. I was layed on the threshold of my door one early spring morning, left for dead. It was my first prom night and I consumed way too much vodka straight out the bottle. Alcohol poisoning. Knocked unconscious. Gang rape. My date and his friends used me. I was left the next morning in my white eyelet prom dress covered with blood on my family’s doorstep still unconscious. I would not awaken for another 24 hours. My parents never took me to the hospital. They picked me up and put me in the back room hoping I would wake up. It was my decision to drink. It was my date and his friends’ decision to rape me. The rape was not my fault.
When I read Judges 19 and 20 tonight, and got to the point of the concubine being layed on the threshold, I sobbed and sobbed. But, inside of me, there is something beautiful about this story for scores of people responded to the abuse of this woman. Responded to the evil in their world and said NO MORE. You see, my God is the one Who responded to my story when I was a child. Called me by name. Called to HIMSELF. And that has been more than enough! He fights for me all my days. Deut 33: 26,27. Yes, there is no one like my God who rides the heavens to help. Underneath me are His everlasting Arms. I am secure. No longer worthless. My perception of what I think about myself is not based on what happens to me. My story doesn't define me. "Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted." (Brennan Manning)
This story so speaks to me tonight. I love what the Israelites did to the face of Evil. And I love how my God strengthens me to traipse upon the Evil that rears its head in my life. NO MORE. I do have something to offer to others even though I may feel worthless for my beautiful God rescued me from the domain of darkness and He is rescuing me all the time. Thanks be to our good God. May we not ever forget what He has done for us!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 9:10 PM