WHEW!!!!!!!!! What just hit me?????
After 24 hours on antibiotics, I can finally stand up on Friday, and I think I might be normal again soon, whatever that means!!!!
WHEW!!!!!!!!! What just hit me?????
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 2:32 PM
I walked into the 7-11 and grabbed a gatorade out of the back cooler. A booming voice blared over the country aisles filled with last-minute groceries. "I have three words for you ma'am." Forget the gatorade, I made a bee-line back to the counter.
Me: Yes sir? What's the 3 words? (I'm thinking---could it be "go to Austin"???)
7-11 Clerk: Gig. 'Em. Aggies. (I had on an Aggie Mom t-shirt)
Me: Oh! I thought maybe you had a word from God for me cause I've been waiting for one.
7-11 Clerk: Okay (with a very confused look on his face).
Me: He didn't tell you anything for me?
7-11 Clerk: Silence... and The Look...
Our beautiful God has given such direction to Bob and me and Britt to go to Austin to be a part of Southwest Hills Community Church. Bob accepted their gracious offer on August 3rd. He will serve the church as their Community Life Pastor. We leave tomorrow the place we have so loved for the past 33 years. I remember the day I arrived in August 1975 to attend Southwestern Seminary which I knew nothing about---nor did I know anyone. Came to follow God's call on my life. God has been so good to me over these past three decades.
Farewell to our Lake Country school friends where we have been for the past 21 consecutive years as my older three went K-12 and Britt went K-10th. Ben, Andrew, Greg, Ethan and Britt were five faithful friends to Britt since kindergarten. I cannot tell you how much we will miss you and your families! I don't know how we will make it without our LCCS family but we will trust!
Farewell to our friends of many years. We were a part of Hope Church for 27 years and my love runs so deep for so many faces I will hold in my heart forever. We will spend Eternity together!
Farewell to our Home Team who has served and loved and given to us over the past two years. Faithful couples! God offered us much through you!
Farewell to my precious niece and my awesome big sister and her beautiful children.
My sister's family has given me so much love and laughter playing games and going places. I'll cherish my vacation you gave me this summer!
Farewell to my Beth Moore Bible Study girls. I am alive in ways I have never been (and you know exactly what I am talking about!) as we studied God's Word together---Daniel, the Patriarchs, Believing God, Loving Well, Stepping Up, Breaking Free, Fruit of the Spirit, Beloved Disciple. I'll never forget week #6 of the Patriarchs back in January 2006! You all have so brought God to me!
Farewell to my Card Club of 17 years, a beautiful loyal group of women who have lavished God's love on me.
Farewelll to my faithful neighbors and the home that I adore---where my children were born and grew up.
Farewell to our Border Collie who always loved to touch us with her paw. Your caregiver will miss you! Hope we can find you a new home soon that loves you like we do! And farewell to the Club House---we'll chop down what remains of that tree house tomorrow. I can picture 10-year-old Ben and Ethan perched in the treehouse throwing about 20 balls down at Britt and Greg---dodge-the-ball-in-a-treehouse.
Farewell to all my friends who have walked beside me. I'll text you real soon! But you have to send me your cell phone # because my phone broke and I am fresh out of numbers.
I don't know how I am going to walk out of here tomorrow except for one thing---Isaiah 41:13. God will hold my hand and help me! Acts 20:24 says we don't know what will happen where we are going...could be hardships. But we go to finish our race and testify of the Gospel of Grace to people who need Him just like us. IDK but II Chron 20:12 my eyes are on our beautiful God!
And as we have prayed about answering this call, there are a few verses that God has layed in my lap that I'd love to share with you, if you don't mind. I'll leave you with my string of pearls from the Word of my beautiful God Who has wildly loved me during my stay. This I know---He has been so strong and so loving to me!
My God has made the dark valleys we have walked through here in Fort Worth a door of HOPE Hosea 2:15. He will drive our pegs into a firm place for us in Austin Isa. 22:23. WATCH, HOPE, WAIT ON GOD...cause He will hear me in Austin, too Micah 7:7. And when I fall, I will rise again. When I sit in darkness, God will be my Light Micah 7:8. God will take care of us on every side---He's watching my back 2 Chron 32:22. Our valleys will be lifted up and our mountains made low in order that we may know God in Austin Isaiah 40:4. Before we call to Him, He will answer Isaiah 65:24. He brought us out to bring us in Deut 6:23. Just as Ruth arrived in Ruth 2 as the harvest time was beginning, His plans are good to bring us to Himself. Stand up to your feet for I send you Ezek 2:13.
So Britt, Brooke, Blair and Barrett --- you have a new home in Austin. You've made this mom so filled with joy over the choices you've made in this house. But, as you know, our citizenship is in heaven. Keep on laying your treasures up there. And come home soon to visit your new home in Austin! I Love You, Mom And to all my blogging friends, I don't have to say so long. I'll be back on Monday for cover to cover typing from an internet somewhere in Austin! Can't wait until Thursday when I will get to say "hello" to those of you who have touched my heart in deep places. See you next weekend.
With tears freely flowing down my face, Bob and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for bringing God to us in Fort Worth. We put our hands to the plow and accept God's call to enter a new chapter in Austin. Our Phil 3:10 determined purpose is still the same---to know Him more intimately and make Him known.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 1:59 PM
I am posting early for MONDAY as we are in the process of moving and I won’t have internet access for about a week. Pray for us as we journey---I’ve had ear infections this week and power failure and business issues and then last night all three of our cars were broken into. Lost a little bit of stuff.
Thanks for stopping by for those of you who are reading the chronological readings together. We read Ezekiel 5-30 this week. Choose a question from the seven below and leave a comment as to what lingered with you as you read His Word. We read to connect with our Most High God not to solve our problems. He is so committed to you!
Ezekiel had Stunning Visions like hardly any man describes----Ezekiel saw the Glory of the LORD. He is called ‘son of man’ some 90 times in this book emphasizing his humanity in the midst of ethereal visions. His calling to be a watchman in 3:17 is a call to go and speak whether they listen or not. The price that these prophets paid to follow their message and mission is unbelievable. It does cost us our whole lives to follow God---not a social club. Ezekiel’s mission in chapter 3 was to eat a scroll on which God’s words to rebellious Israel are written, symbolizing Ezekiel’s full acceptance of the message and mission.
AM I COMMITTED to PROGRAMS, to BIBLE STUDY BOOKS, to ATTENDANCE, or AM I COMMITTED to A PERSON---AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY GOD? I Myself will withdraw my favor - Ezek 5:11.They will put on sackcloth and be clothed with terror. Makes me think of those who honor Him through attendance and commitments, yet their hearts are far away. They think their plan, their program to live right and put on sackcloth is right. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD’s wrath. Ezek 7:19.
DO YOU NEED TO BE LIFTED UP OUT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES? Beth Moore shared with me the following verse when we lost our job of 27 years on the same church staff: Ezek 8:3, that God has stretched out His Hand to me, grabbed me by the hair on my head and lifted me up. It would prove to be so very true that God lifted me up. I was so low all I could do was reach for the hem of His Garment. He so lifted me up. Beth said to me: “Your desperation is a gift.” It really was! It really is!
WHAT DO I NEED TO “LET GO” OF IN ORDER TO RECEIVE AN UNDIVIDED HEART? Ezekiel 11: 12. You have conformed to the standards of the nations around you but I’ll bring you back. You know, God knows we are all born into sin “as the sparks fly upward.” He’s looking for hearts to return and remove the idols 11:18. We will never get rid of sin in this life. Old natures are part of his design, not a surprise to Him. But oh we love the good word of Ezek 11:19 “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Repent and your sin will not be your downfall – Ezek 18:30. Get rid of the images in your mind; get rid of your idols – Ezek 20:8. Wonder what that would be for each of us? Let God purge us---we don’t have to dig deep. Let God surface in our conversations, in our minds, in our actions what we need to “let go” of.
WHO AM I STANDING IN THE GAP FOR IN THIS LIFE? Groan with a broken heart and bitter grief for your friends - Ezek 21:6. God is looking for a man who will build up the wall and stand in the gap – Ezek 22:30. Oh, that we would be found faithful. Not perfect with our acts together---no such thing. Found faithful to stand in the gap on behalf of our families, our friends, our world especially those who will never darken the door of a church cause of all the “spiritual talk.” Stand in the gap on behalf of your world!
WHAT LIES HAVE I BELIEVED ABOUT BEAUTY? Jeremiah, will you inquire of God for us, asked the people. It was too late. They lusted after their lovers – Ezek 23:5. They longed for the lewdness of their youth – Ezek 23:21. They believed a lie and trusted in their beauty and fame – Ezek 16:15. You lavished favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became His. You didn’t remember the days of your youth – Ezekiel 16:22. You poured out your wealth. – Ezek 16:36. Arrogant. Overfed. Unconcerned. 16:49. God says: You forgot Me. You thrust Me behind your back – Ezek 23:35. I’ll put an end to your lewdness – Ezek 23:48. This is the serious business of God as C.S. Lewis once said.
WHAT HOLDS MY AFFECTION TODAY? The story of Ezekiel losing his wife is so moving. Ezekiel had even more words come to him and in 24:21 God says I will desecrate your strongholds, your pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. Wonder what holds my affection this day as we make our final packing plans to move to Austin today? God took Ezekiel’s wife from him as a “sign” of taking away the delight of our eyes. What a price Ezekiel paid to follow God—-no price too great to follow His God. What will we do with this God we know and what He does? He’s a good God no matter what!!!! Let Him speak tenderly where we have “set up idols in our hearts” – Ezek 14:3
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE ARE THROWN INTO A PIT? The story of Jeremiah being thrown into a cistern is terrifying. No way to escape. Sunk deep in mud. No food. No light. Yet, no panic heard either. The cost to follow God as a prophet is unbelievable. We don’t have a different calling though, just a different plan that still costs us everything. Wonder what Jeremiah really thought in that cistern? Wicked King Zedekiah saves Jeremiah in 38:10. What is Jeremiah’s first words? “Oh King, if I give you counsel, you won’t listen to Me. SURRENDER!” What courage rose up in Jeremiah to speak God’s words. However, the King is afraid and can’t or won’t follow God’s plans and so the king’s feet are stuck in mud now---holy mud – Jer 38:22. God was so committed to Jeremiah in that cistern. He is committed to our joy. Committed to me and to you! The God of all pits. He was right there with Jeremiah in the most frightening situation. He’s right there where you are in the panic of your heart this day. Well, I needed to hear that!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 1:40 PM
Jason Lezak, anchor on the USA free relay team, just edged out Bernard of France to win gold, and it was an indescribable Olympic moment that we so enjoyed over here. How'd Jason do that? Did you hear us screaming in France, Barrett?
Every Monday morning, there's a few of us who have read the chronological Bible readings for the week and we share what lingers in our hearts as we have listened to His Word, His Voice. Read the questions at the beginning of each paragraph and choose one of the paragraphs below and read what touched me as I read. It's just a method to find our beautiful God on this journey. We read His Word not for answers for all our problems but to connect with The Living Word made flesh who says to each of us this very day: Jeremiah 29:14 - "I will be found by you."
DO WE KNOW THERE IS SOMEONE ALWAYS WITH US?
I wept at a part of the story of SM&A where the braggy King of Babylon saw 4 people in the fire. But King Neb only threw in three. That so jumped out at me and I remembered reading The Braggy King of Babylon to my kids when they were preschoolers. I took them to the Fort Worth Wildlife & Nature Park to read the golden book and act it out---thought they may remember it more that way. My 5-year-old boy Barrett pretended to be the braggy King Neb who was boasting—MINE, MINE as he overlooked a daunting valley. And my 4-year-old Brooke and 3-year-old Blair were chanting “we won’t serve your god.” And then it happened, the King saw 4 people in the fire…and that 4th person is present right here today, right wherever you are. I told my blogging friend, Jean, that HE is present with her precious grandbaby CJ in his hospital bed in Pittsburgh as this adorable little fella waits for a heart transplant. He’s right there with CJ in that hospital bed—smooth those sheets. Go look. You’ll know there’s two in that bed. How else do we make it through intense testing? Please pray for this little guy and his courageous mom & dad, Dawn and Abe.
AM I INQUIRING OF MY GOD WHEN I GET INTO TROUBLE OR INQUIRING OF MAN?
We had a business issue this week turn really sour with unexpected repercussions. We want to trust God—Daniel 3:38—like the age-old story of unashamed wild trust of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the middle of intense testing that I cannot even fathom. While I felt at times this week that I was thrown into a fire, pale in comparison to this story, SM&A were literally thrown into a fire seven times hotter than the normal fire. God is able to do anything…and even if HE does not—Daniel 3:18—we will trust HIM and wrestle through that as Jeremiah did in Jer 20:7 who says: God you deceived me. No, God didn’t deceive. Jeremiah perceived it that way. But as J wrestled with his God---even cursing the day he was born--- J realized God’s Word was like fire shut up in his bones. “A man’s life is not his own.” Jer 10:23. That’s the conclusion where I want to live moment by moment. And a verse I had not known before so spoke to me: “Senseless shepherds don’t inquire of God” about the details of their lives. Some details of our lives were in danger this week and it was so good of my God to let me see this.
AM I HONEST AND BROKEN ASKING FOR JUSTICE?
I’ve thought so many times this week about Jer 10:23, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” So why do I try to direct my own steps? I love the authenticity of Jeremiah, not just honest and vulnerable, but a broken man wrestling with God over real “heart issues.” You’ve deceived me Lord. You overpowered me. Everyone mocks me cause of what You did. Jer 20:7. And, then, a shift occurs and J brokenheartedly replies after his honest heart spills out: “Correct me, LORD, but only with justice---not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.” v.24. I proclaim destruction but the forgiving word of the LORD brings me insult. But if I think for a second not to mention or speak Your Name, “Your Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; I cannot.” The LORD is with me like a Mighty Warrior. Jer20:9. Then, J goes right back to cursing the day he was born in Jer 20:15. “Why did I come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” I love his heart, wrestling with humility and brokenness. This guy doesn't have it together.
AM I WALLOWING IN MY MULTITUDE OF SINS OR SMILING IN GRACE THAT my SINS ARE FORGIVEN?
There is something about packing up the memories of my life that make me feel regret over how I missed God so many times in walking with HIM for 33 years. And I read Jer. 14:7 and it is so good to hear “your sins testify against you” but praise God for we know in our heart that HE has done something about my sin and HIS Grace is greater than my sins. I carried you all these years when you couldn’t walk. I know the plans I have for you and your high school boy named Britt---Jer 29:11. A future and a hope for me and for you! And He seemed to say through this reading that He is sending us to another city and “My Eyes are watching over you.” Jer. 24:5,6. Watching over that 17-year-old who is leaving all his friends for uncharted waters where he is a nameless face with about 1,200 pages of summer reading to do in his last week in his childhood home---an impossible goal doled out by the schools. What does God say in these verses: Call. Come. Pray. Seek. I will be found by you in Austin. Jer. 29:14 I’ll bring you back home to Me. We may not have the assignments done; we are going to Austin to find God.
ARE WE LOOKING FOR A LIFE OF EASE?
Seems like someone is always asking Jer 12: 1 “why does the way of the wicked prosper and the faithless live in ease…” So how does the LORD answer Jeremiah? “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5.
AM I A GOD NEARBY AND NOT A GOD FARAWAY?
Jeremiah knew how to wrestle with his God. My heart is broken within me…because of your holy words, God. Jer. 23:9 God responds to J. “Am I only a God nearby and not a God far away?” Here’s my paraphrase: Jeremiah, am I near to you on Sunday mornings and when you come to read my Word but far away when you drift in your mind and heart. Far away when you are distant with your husband and critical in your mind about your friends and eager to stiff arm those who ignore you? “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. I fill the heaven and the earth!
WILL I SPEAK THE WORDS GOD GIVES ME?
There’s been some criticism of the way that I use the Word of God. Maybe I’m wrong. I love the Word of God more than I could ever verbalize cause I am so in love with HIM. His Word is like my oxygen. It’s not my intent to isogete the text and lay it on any problem. It’s not a fix-it book. I have really wrestled with this issue of treating God’s words as holy based on feedback I’ve received. The Bible is not an answer book. We read to connect with the LIVING WORD made flesh who transforms us. Let the one who has My Word speak it faithfully…Is not my Word like fire and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces. Jeremiah 23:28,29. May you be found faithful with The Word that He has given you in your heart…the whispers of His Holy Spirit, our God MOST HIGH. And I end my post with the awestruck call of Ezekiel in Ezek 2:1-3 “Stand up on your feet and I will speak to you. The Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. Son of man, I am sending you. Listen to what I have to say to you. Open your mouth and eat what I give you." What do we need to "let go" of to receive His Words?
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 3:20 PM
Major life changes going on over here. I’ll be back tomorrow to blog about it. Meanwhile, a good sovereign God has so shown up this week and engineered what only He can do. Psalm 45:5 was such a word to me this week from the heart of our God as we read together the chronological Bible. I could only read and weep and linger there. We read not for insight to apply to our world to gain a better life here, but we read to connect with a holy God Who is so committed to our lives and Who really wants to know us. We read to live for another world and find HIM Here on our journey to There. So share one thing that LINGERED with you and LINK us to your post. Pick one question below and ask God what He is doing in your life. I’ve seen this week that instead of being consumed with what I need to do, I am focusing on what HE is doing in our lives---and that is a lot!
DO WE THINK TOO SMALL? God’s power is protection for the righteous and judgment for those who do not follow HIM. He doesn’t leave the guilty unpunished. The Lord is good, a STRONGHOLD in the day of our troubles---right in the midst of our confusion, betrayals, dilemmas. He is good. He cares for those who trust in HIM. Nahum 1:7 Nahum warned Nineveh with a vision of doom, “I am against you.” Nahum 2:13. Nahum describes Nineveh’s fall and the corpses of people piled high to the sky surrounded by the darkness of noon, billowing bursting clouds of black sky. It’s a dark day. Beth Moore said an interesting quote yesterday---wonder if when we get to heaven, “we will say that we should have thought bigger than we did.” You know, every day we either live for God or we live for ourselves. Every decision we move toward redemption or destruction. Wonder if we are thinking too small this day?
WHAT IF CIRCUMSTANCES PROVE GOD IS NOT GOOD?
Circumstances do not prove the goodness of God nor His Love. Josiah reigned 31 years bringing his people back to God. He was accused of opposing God cause he went to battle against the king of Egypt. “Stop opposing God, Josiah, for God is with me not with you” says the wicked king. That was not right with God, O braggy King of Egypt. The battle cost Josiah his life but we look not to circumstances to prove that God is good; to prove that God is present for Josiah and you and me; to prove that God is Love to us all. No, we look to God Himself Who promises in Psalm 81 to restore each of us with words in our mouths when we put away our idols and surrender to God. “In your distress, you called and I rescued you…I tested you…have no other gods among you…open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10
WHY IS THERE SO LITTLE HEALING IN MY LIFE? DO I HAVE MY OWN REMEDY FOR SUCCESS? Woe to Him who builds his house by unrighteousness. “I will build myself a great palace.” V. 13 There is so much more to life than security, stability, being safe in a great house. “Does it make you a king to have more and more?” v. 15 Do I defend the cause of the poor and needy? Isn’t that what it means to know God? v. 16 Is there no balm in Gilead? Jeremiah 8:22. Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wound of my people? Wonder why our healing is so little in our lives? Is it because, in Jeremiah 9:13, God says you have forsaken the Word of God and have followed the stubbornness of your heart. You’ve followed images and lies that are a fraud; they have no breath in them. Jeremiah 10:14. Only the breath of God gives life. As soon as Jeremiah spoke those words that God commanded him to say, they seized him to kill him. But the LORD had hidden Jeremiah in 36:26. We are hidden from adversity when we follow the image of God. I’ve thought so much this week about Jeremiah who was asked by God to not take a wife and to have no children. Jeremiah followed God’s plan, not what he wanted out of life. A normal guy like you and me, but a follower attached only to God breathing His Word of Life in him. Am I following images that are frauds or Friends? Am I multiplying what I think is a remedy for success but there’s no healing for you. Jeremiah 46:11. Here’s a follower who didn’t buy into the success story. In Daniel 1: 8, Daniel resolved not to defile himself by the status quo. No, he pleaded for mercy from the God of heaven. His God answered him. And Daniel’s reply? “God changes times and seasons; He sets up and He deposes. He reveals deep and hidden things to us in our darkness." Daniel 2:21,22. Praise to our God Who makes known what we ask of HIM.
SHOULD YOU SEEK GREAT THINGS FOR YOURSELF? And here is the verse that is spoken by God for all of us this very day… Jeremiah 45:5 "Should you then seek great things for yourself?" Seek them not. I read this verse as we walked into our last prayer time with our God about moving to Austin. I was feeling that we were losing so much after living in this town for 33 years. That image is a fraud. Empty breath. We go where we are called to live for God, not for this world, and to not seek great things for ourselves.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 11:49 PM
Blogger Problems Abound!!! Whoa...sorry for the delay!
Thanks so much for being a part of the Bloggy Carnival thingy...I was so surprised with so many hits. I have posted a comment on both of the winners' blogs that my random integer generator named Britt picked their number.
Mrs. Hewett won "Voices of the Faithful" and Sonya from Sonya's Happenings won "The Beloved Disciple." Send me your addresses so I can mail your books. I have posted on your blog. The deadline to hear back from you is August 16th when we move.
A blogger mentioned the word "SIMULCAST" at 6pm last night and I was out the door to find a church---I had forgotten all about signing up for it in the midst of so much going on. Found it! And did God ever show up. Beautiful words from God! Beth's teaching is like rain that falls on thirsty souls Deut 32:2.
Travis's Psalm 145 song touched me very deeply as I knelt in the back row of this huge church by myself---when I opened my eyes I wondered if everyone would still be there --- it was so beautiful bringing me to exalt my Mighty God.
Beth's words poured out in love and strength even though we were the site that lost connection for 20 minutes. From break up your fallow ground in Hosea 10:12 to the cloud of witnesses watching us to being made rich in God 1Cor 1:5, it was an evidence of the demonstration of the power of God I Cor 2:3,4.
There were two words for my heart that touched me deeply: Phil 2:17 where Beth said that after all you have been through, whatever that is, be "poured out like a drink offering" for others. What an encouragement to keep on.
And another word that especially touched me was Isaiah 50:4,5 that every morning my beautiful God wants to talk with me---He's waiting. Get up Bev! He will give me an instructed tongue, a word for the weary---and she said the word weary is defined from the gamut of rebellious to unpleasant. Even when I'm unpleasant, He will sustain me. And that happened when I walked out of that auditorium and was so tempted to be unpleasant...God stepped in to sustain and a shift occurred in my heart.
So elated to think that in a couple of weeks I'll be standing next to one of you worshipping our beautiful God!
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 6:03 PM