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  1. Could He have said it any more plan? "Occupy till I come."

    Occupy is a "power" verb to me. It implies standing one's ground against a force that would seek to displace. It brings my thoughts back to a time when I wrestled the Lord over moving or not moving.

    You see, in truth, there was a time when I whole-heartily despised living where we do. We live on a visually 'nice street', but the issue that tried me to the bone is that these 'nice homes' were and are inhabited by lost people who party loud and furious! I use to pray, "Lord, move us, move them, or change me, or change them, but something has got to change!"

    One morning, several years ago, the Lord slowly woke me. As I lay there in the bed, a vision unfolded. My eyes were closed, but I became aware that my physical head took on the shape and function of the top part of a lighthouse. Where my eyes would have been located, the light to the lighthouse went round and round about my head, flashing out its warning. The Lord spoke, "You are a lighthouse to people..... a warning to pending danger."

    I am just going to be real with you for a moment. As great as that sounds, I wasn't too thrilled, especially in light of my 'neighbors'. After all, they had kept me up for one too many nights partying like there was not going to be a tomorrow. "Warn them," I thought, "just let them crash!" I am sorry to say this is exactly what my immediate thought was.

    "Love thy enemy" is a TALL TALL order when the rubber meets the road! And yes, I confess I have "John" tendencies --- just pray down fire and burn them up! (Rarely a day goes by when I don't thank the Lord that I am not Father and that HE is LONG SUFFERING and PATIENT!)

    Needless to say, I spent A LOT of time on my knees crying out for forgiveness over my bad attitude and hard-heart. Aren't you glad He promised to remove the heart of stone and replace it?! I am!

    Well, soon after, the Lord began having me "prayer walk" up and down the street. I obediently walked - but praying in the Spirit because alas I had no human words of care, concern, or love to convey before the throne... none. They had simply pushed beyond my threshold of tolerance.

    One neighbor, I recall, had a birthday and threw a big party. There must have been 30 -35 people in their front yard alone. As the night wore on, they became so profoundly drunk, the "guest of honor" was screaming straight up into the midnight sky. And to make matters that much more vexing to me -- it was my birthday too -- I kid you not!! (When the Lord places His finger on an issue in one's life -- don't you know He graciously (mildly sarcastic here) brings ALL the elements together just so, such that it either makes or breaks you!!) I thought about taping her and showing her the next day just how she looked celebrating 'her day' while train wrecking mine! But I chose the "high road" and didn't.

    Anyway, I fear I digress from my point.....

    After prayer walking for months, my heart truly changed. One day as I was walking, the Lord asked me, "What would it be like to actually move?" It stopped me dead in my tracks. I remember standing there on the street, looking at the houses on my street as no longer just houses -- but picturing the faces inside those houses. I was startled to realize my countenance actually grew sad as I pondered the scope of moving. I had to acknowledge something had shifted both in the Spirit and in the physical.

    The day my husband and I made the decision to stay and add on to our home is a day I will never forget. Immediately we both knew it was the right decision. Such peace fell upon us as we made the choice to own -- truly own -- what He had entrusted to us. He was trusting us not to bail on Him until He released us. Our house no longer is something we wish to unload and flee from. No, it has become our home. I sensed, in the Spirit, roots push down deeper into the soil this house sits upon the moment we bowed the knee to His will for us to stay.

    He never promised us a bed of roses in life. Following Him is often times stretching, painful, and challenging. But if our heart is positioned to lay down our will and obey --regardless of our own emotions -- our heart is transformed through the process and what was once a burden, becomes a delight.

    Do I "fellowship" with my neighbors now? No. But I certainly see in the Spirit that that day is approaching. The one who was screaming up in the sky and causing my blood to boil on my birthday ----- well, He showed me a vision of us exercising together -- running side by side -- and laughing as we ran. Can't see that in the natural just yet -- but if you had asked me a year ago if I would still be here --- I couldn't have seen that either! All things are possible through Him! All things!

    Occupying is tough -- especially knowing we are just passing through this world and evil does their best to "displace" us and keep us ineffective. But we are to make a difference through the action of occupying. If we had bolted off this street, it would have been left in darkness for there use to be not another single Christian on it. Not one! Since this all began five or so years ago, He has moved in "reinforcements" and I am gradually seeing Him "weeding out" those that perhaps have no desire to know Him as Savior. But those that remain -- well, they are my potential brothers and sisters in Christ -- and I must treat them as such-- no, I DESIRE to treat them as such!

    We are still known as the "Jesus freaks" -- but at least we know the lighthouse is burning bright -- right?!

    So, where ever the Lord has you 'planted' for now -- I encourage you to occupy the space as Kingdom property of the Most High --- be a lighthouse --- and together we will make a difference to those looking -----

    Blessings,
    Deborah

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

     


  2. I am about to turn in this evening. It has been a very active weekend and Monday is coming up quick, but before I sign off, I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ with these words........

    You and I serve a God that redeems and does not condemn His own. "The accuser of the brethren" spends all his days discouraging and thumping our ears and hearts with all our perceived failures. But Father redeems! I think about the prodigal. He walked off, played by his rules for a time, and fell into a big pit! Thankfully, he had enough sense to return home! His father welcomed him back with open arms -- and he certainly was given more than his initial hope of just being a servant in his father's house.

    One of my best and dearest friends, Suzanne, along with her husband and their "natural" children, have lived in Uganda for about five years now. They minister to the children caught up in the "civil' war over there where a wicked woman has set herself up as "the holy spirit." This wicked woman has her hired guns who run through the villages - kidnap the children -- indoctrinate them -- and ultimately send them back to kill their parents so they have no one else to go to but her. If the children refuse, she disfigures them, she kills their parents, and then she rejects them -- leaving them helpless, hopeless, and alone. My friend, Suzanne and her husband take children as the Lord directs back to their home where they pour out Father's love of healing and hope. Before they were there, the Lord sent them to Ukraine where children are tossed out of the orphanages at 16 and onto the street -- untrained and alone. Most of them turn to prostitution to support themselves. Now, over a decade later, those very children they took off the streets are either serving in Uganda or they have stayed in Ukraine to work and see that nation healed and restored.

    Here's what I what you to hear more than anything else shared up to this point. Before He sent them out -- they lived, worked, matured in Him, and built a family here in America. Suzanne use to wonder what all the pieces of her life meant.... all the phases --- the "journeying". But if she were writing this, I know she would tell you He wastes nothing, redeems completely, and uses every life experience for equipping us for reasons we cannot begin to fathom in the here and now.

    Did she know He would call them out when their daughters were young to go to an unknown land? No. Could she have seen that all the days leading up to getting on that plane were for such a purpose? No. SHE was not the Map Holder. SHE was not the Lord. Does she know what or where He will send them next? No. But you see, EVERY element of her life has equipped her to now look into the faces of such unimaginable pain -- such darkness -- such unreal warfare -- and walk it out victoriously with Him.

    He will not send His child into battle without spending whatever time is needed to properly equip and mature His child. Only He knows the plan -- only He knows the bends and turns in the road along the pilgrimage.

    Many years ago, I had breakfast with Heidi Baker, "Mother Teresa to Mozambique". She is a blond-haired, blue-eye Texan. I gleaned so much from her that morning, but one thing I share from her with you --- "Minister to the one in front of you." It isn't where you are -- or even the 'who' that is in front of you that counts -- but are we serving exactly where He has us at this given point in time..... trusting the fulfillment of our life's call to our Creator? Do we believe Him to redeem and restore our perceived screw-ups 100%? Do we trust Him with the road map of our life?

    You see, He knows my heart is to finish well. He knows my heart is positioned to fulfill exactly why He gave me breath. He knows I so desperately want to hear, "Well done thou good and faithful servant...... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Have I always made the right choices? No. Have I intentionally turned from Him from time to time? Yes. But if I have truly bowed the knee to His Lordship, I do not have the power to trump Him and derail His call on my life. He is Lord -- and I trust His position as such. I don't live in the yesterday --- I can't redeem the past -- BUT HE CAN! He exchanges my past for purpose and redemption. He owns it. The wonder is He teaches, equips, and matures us through it all and wastes NOTHING!

    He knew I would run at times -- He knew I would make mistakes (either known or not known) -- but that doesn't change His ability to bring His call on my life to fulfillment. Once I bow the knee and accept Him not just as Saviour --- but LORD ---- that's it -- I am sealed for His purposes. So when the accuser comes -- and oh does he come -- I have learned to say, "Go talk to my Lord -- He owns it!" It shuts him up.

    HE accomplishes His will -- His way -- and at His time. I may not like it -- but that is what makes Him Lord and me His handmaiden.

    Sometimes we may perceive a detour when in fact it was the "destined" course all along.

    I know in my own early life I believed I would graduate med-school and serve the hurting of Africa. I had big dreams! But in all honesty, for me, He showed me that was never His purpose for me. It rather became my own dream out of a desperate desire to serve Him. He has since shown me what my purpose is. Bottom line, it is His will over my life I am after and that may look and come to me very different than I first thought. Only He, the Map Holder, can lead me gently from one day to the next until He leads me across the finish line fulfilled in Him. I believe Him capable of doing just that --- in all my humanity and rough edges --- refining me through it all into His Son's image.

    You and I will succeed not because of what we have done or what we haven't done -- or who we are or aren't -- but because of who HE is and the full power of His redemption and Fatherhood upon us! You need to know you will not be settling for "plan B" -- but the original, in-tack, call on your life! He wasn't taken off guard by your "away steps"! Your call is your call -- and your children's call, theirs -- both to be discovered and walk out in faith -- full of faith.

    He isn't "holding out on you" because of your past decisions -- nor did those decisions negate or remove the call you sense. Some one out there needed to hear that -- so re-read it -- out loud!

    If you are His and His Lordship reigns in your life --- you will go across the finish line and hear Him say, "Well done..... enter into the joy of thy Lord!" because HE is the ALPHA AND THE OMEGA - and besides Him there is NO other!

    Give Him all the glory! Shout a shout of praise to our Abba Father!

    All my love,
    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

     


  3. Wow! What a show! The critics are bombing the movie to bits saying it "proselytizes" too much. Or how about the one who said it basically wasn't an "action" firefighting movie. Did they miss the theme of the movie or what?! Can we all say "MARRIAGE" together, please? MARRIAGE!

    It was awesome and we'll be purchasing it just like we did "Facing the Giants". My husband and I agree it is a movie one could watch a hundred times and the Lord would still speak afresh through it. That is the power not of man -- but of my GOD!

    Way to go Sherwood Pictures! http://www.sherwoodpictures.com/

    GO SEE IT!

    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  4. At 3:02 AM this morning, I awoke right out of a dead sleep hearing, "My Word is a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path." (Ref Psm 119:105)

    How many of you out there are struggling with something? I would not be too far off the mark to suggest 100% of us. Some struggles are more easily handled in stride than others. But regardless, if left up to us, we would avoid them at all cost.

    I have been handed something by the Lord to work my way through. In recent weeks, it has grown more difficult. It has not been pleasant most of the time. Oh, He has certainly given me landmarks to know He is in the situation. But because it is solely mine to bear, the loneliness can creep in and play a recording to the soul that is anything but healthy.

    I have shared on this blog before that years ago He gave me a vision of myself along a rocky seashore. Jesus was standing there with me. He was on one rock and I was on another. He handed me a blindfold and asked me to place it upon my eyes. Once fashioned on my eyes such trepidation overwhelmed me. "Will you trust Me?" I felt Him ask as He placed my hand in His. His promise to me was that He would tell me exactly where to place my feet such that I would not fall. With a conflict in the mind, but an unabashed love for Him, I took my first steps as He led me by His Word. I will be very candid with you -- I have never completely lost the feeling of trepidation as He showed me the vision even though my testimony is that He has never let me fall.

    I draw an interesting parallel here. We know Jesus is now in heaven, seated to the right of our Father, His Father. But John tells us, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (Ref: John 1:14) We also know that Jesus sent His Spirit at the time of His physical departure. The Bible is His Word written to and for us. When I see His written Word, the Bible, I can't help but think of Jesus, the Word made flesh. The Word also says there is to be a balance of the Word with the Spirit and the Spirit with the Word. I don't know exactly how it works -- I just know it does --- and certainly qualifies as a "WOW" for this sister!

    His Word is our map. Where the light shines, I am told to walk in that path.

    My question to you today is "Do you need a flashlight or a spotlight on your given situation?" Is the path readily made clear with a flashlight or is there fog and mist surrounding the area and perhaps a spotlight would be best? I must say at this point, for as long as I have walked with the Lord, I have never experienced Him granting to me a "floodlight", a light that spreads out and shows the surrounding areas. Nope. He is not about independence away from Him -- but dependence that draws us closer to Him. He craves fellowship with us!

    Here's the beauty of it. To the measure you ground yourself in the Word, the more secure you will be and the less trepidation you will feel. If we run here and there habitually for prayer or searching for a 'word' from a fellow believer, you can be assured the trepidation and tension you feel will return. The Lord clearly said, ""My Word is a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path." No substitutions -- no exchanges --- no shortcuts.

    It is hard. Our Lord knows right now at this exact moment I know just how life can squeeze in around a person! But I also have learned over and over again, there is nothing that will see me through like Him! Jesus is in heaven - but He left Himself two-fold here. His written Word and His Spirit. In proper balance, we can walk our rocky seashores! Dig, Siblings, dig into His Word! There are rich treasures between those precious covers!

    Do you need just a flashlight today? Are things looking good for you? Great! I give Him praise for such a report! My caution to you is to make sure your flashlight is still on regardless of the ease you find your walk in the "now" moment. (ie: Take time in the Word even when you think you could get by without it perhaps for a day or two. Take the time!)

    Do you need a spotlight? Are things just hard for you right now? No one can take His place. I know just this past week I needed to make a number of decisions. Despite my natural desire to "girl talk" everything out, I strongly sensed the Lord saying "Only Me", so I "turtled" into His presence and had a long stint of time with Him. He continues to stretch me in not just the knowledge that He is my all-sufficient One, but in action when perhaps we are so craving to talk it out with "someone with skin on" -- yet He says, "No, only Me." I must confess such training is difficult and goes against the human make-up! But alas, we must press forward. If this describes your "now" moment, STEEP yourself in the Word! It is your LIGHT!

    We are given the gift of brothers and sisters in Christ to walk beside us, to love us, and for us to love them. Praise God for such a gift! But, do not use them as a substitution for the Lord or time spent in His Word. Our fellow siblings are there to enhance our walk. But truth is no one can walk our walk with us 100% of the time but Him and nothing can light our path like the Word!

    I pray my 3:00 AM visitation is of benefit to you as well! Let's stay in the Word together!

    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

     


  5. Since writing my review, I have read a number of reviews of this book. The Christian "community" is most certainly divided over this book. Most of the reviews are quick to stand up for it's 'good points' while acknowledging perhaps it has issues. There are a number of professed believers that adamantly defend the book, saying that those attacking the theology are missing the bigger picture of the "love" message. The general thought of a number of my fellow brothers and sisters seems to be a willingness to excuse the wrong or "unclear" for the sake of the over all 'good' message.

    A story comes to mind I once heard and it went something like this:

    A father was discussing with his son how much 'bad' does one justify in their life, (if you will, in their precepts). The boy wanted to justify certain things that weren't exactly right for the sake of hanging onto the perceived good. So his father made up some brownies and told the son he could have some, but one thing he should know before chowing down. He had added just one teaspoon of dog poop to the mix... just one... no big deal, right? Needless to say the son didn't eat any of them and understood his father's point.

    Do you?


    You see, you must decide for yourself if you accept the book, errors and all; just as the child must decide whether to eat the 'yummy' brownies. I would not recommend it though.

    I have been alarmed in recent days to hear my siblings saying, "Oh yeah, that's one of those books you have to read over and over to let it sink in." Sink in? Why would you want it to if not to open yourself up to a possible "re-wire" of your thinking and thus proving my opinion that this book attempts, and is succeeding, in going way beyond just fiction.

    People are adamantly defending it. If one is going to defend something, I would rather it be the Bible itself. We cannot ignore that people all over -- Christians and non-Christians alike -- are viewing it as "fact".

    The divisiveness of this work within the Body should be enough of a warning. The forums I have read on this book, no doubt, would have Father sending the bickering children to separate corners in a heartbeat with a good swat on their backsides as they went!

    From the beginning, I felt it prudent to warn my siblings. Whether you read it or not is your choice. But I strongly suggest you don't re-read and re-read it. If you do read it, make sure you put on the mind of Christ before digging in and look at the book through what the Word says is Truth -- not what the book implies as truth.

    Go in caution, my siblings! I dearly love each of you through Christ!

    And that is my closing word on the subject........

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

     

  6. I recently sat down and read The Shack. I had two people mention the book to me within a week's period and thought it noteworthy enough for me to read it.

    What I discovered contained within the covers of the book is troubling. Now before you shut me down, think twice! I challenge you to continue reading!

    If you haven't read the book, I am of the opinion that it would be wise to take a moment and read the review. No doubt you will come across someone who has read it or will recommend it to you or to someone in your family.

    Of great concern to me is the knowledge that the work has been promoted and supported by CBN, Christian bookstores, and in Christian circles both small and large. I personally know a number of people who have read the book or who are currently reading it.

    So what is it about this work that has set my red flags waving and caused me to write this for your review?

    If I had to come up with a one word adjective it would be "muddy". In part, the book appeals to the senses; what we perhaps would like to feel is truth; what sounds good. But it is my belief that much of it is not grounded in the Word. And because it does not boldly lay out the Gospel message of Christ, it will mislead countless thousands.


    I realize that it is technically "fiction". But one cannot dismiss that it takes direct aim at theology (ie: the study of God) and attempts to confront and even transform the reader's precepts of God based on the author's understanding -- not Scripture's.

    In addition, I understand that the author wrote it for his children and never thought it would be read by countless thousands. Well, fact is, it is. To me, it is being used by Satan to propagandize an inaccurate picture of God, His authority, sin, and His redemption.

    At first glance, it looks and sounds great. "Refreshing" is a word I have heard used. "Misguided" would be more appropriate. It is my strong opinion that instead of "taking God out of some box", the author has simply devised his own box (or understanding) to put God into. The work attempts to take the mysteries of God and put them into non-Scriptural contexts in order to personally help the author compute the mysteries of God and "heal".

    It's message emphasizes experiences over the Word. It has overtones of universalism as it declares Buddhists, Muslims, Democrats, Republicans, etc to all be God's children; completely counter to the Word. Perhaps it is not only what the author says, but rather what he doesn't say that is most alarming. So many subtleties add up to one major wrong turn.

    If you will permit me, I'll take just two aspects of the book that disturbed me to back my claim. Make no mistake there are more than just these two.

    First, the author's portrayal of God the Father as a woman. Point blank the Word says, "Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man....” (Romans 1:22). The third commandment expressly prohibits attempting to place God into an image of any sort. The WORD says, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24.

    Secondly, I would like to address the concept of authority. The author radically goes against the Word's teaching on this subject by implying relationships / "unity" replaces or even nullifies authority and hierarchy. The Word teaches that Christ was submitted to the will of the Father and walked out His days in obedience to that will. “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” My friend, that is authority and submission and is taught by the WORD. The book counters the concept of "hierarchy" as something evil and man made. The WORD says, "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

    I could continue. There is much of the book that is simply "off". My spirit did back flips as I read page after page of twisted concepts; the devil's speciality.


    "Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon


    Don't toss out critical thinking on a feeling! The Lord says to study the Word to show yourself approved. We are warned in the latter days there will come teachings that tickle our ears. WE MUST KNOW what the WORD says and stand on that as the SUPREME authority of GOD. The Shack will lead many astray from the true Gospel -- from God's truth -- from God's precepts. You can't rewrite God -- you can't reform Him into your image --- you can't rewrite His way of redemption -- you can't downplay the cross!

    He is the great I AM and those that try to add to or rewrite His Truth (ie: His Word) are promised judgment, like it or not.

    This book just has too many things left in question for my liking. When anyone brings "God" front and center into a written piece of work -- whether fiction or not -- I believe it prudent to ensure it lines up with the Word. It is my opinion I shouldn't have to re-read sections in an attempt to be okay with the points of the book. If one can "take God out of a so-called box" without violating Scripture -- go for it. But if you violate Scripture in the process -- I have to cry "foul". Too many lives are at stake to give the author the benefit of the doubt.

    Attempting to simplify or 'explain' God through a "fictional" work is dangerous business and the reader must weigh it against the real deal -- God's Word.


    "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb 4:12

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I want to emphasize that MUCH of the book I do not agree with at all. I chose TWO aspects to hit on, but there are many more -- from the exchange on the "judgement seat" -- to "seeing the dead" -- to choosing 'to go back' or join God and his daughter --- and on and on it goes. There are not just a "few" things that don't line up . Actually the inverse is true, FEW things line up with God's Word.

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

     


  7. Between the Old Testament and the New Testament, over 400 years of history took place with no Biblical recordings. During this time period, heaven went silent. Right before this stint in history, God sent Malachi to His people. Malachi rebuked God's people for their neglect of the true worship of God, and put forth a call to repentance. (May we never forget we can't "fake it" before God!) Unfortunately, they did not heed the warning and went into one of the darkest periods for the Jewish people. During those 400 plus years, some truly horrific rulers played out on the map of the world.

    Can you imagine? 400 plus YEARS! Whole generations lived and died.

    I awoke yesterday at 7:30. I opened my eyes and honestly confessed to Father, "I can't do this today." Meaning, I had no desire to pop out of bed, stir the house into action, and get off to church, as is our normal Sunday fare.

    I am one of those types of people that once my eyes open, my brain engages, and I simply cannot lay there or go back to sleep. Amazingly though, yesterday was different. Upon my true confession, I RE-AWOKE at 8:30 with His query, "Go on a walk with Me today?" Dare I say there was anticipation and excitement in His voice! I couldn't wait to bound out of bed!

    Yesterday morning, we went for an over two hour nature walk. His presence was so profoundly real. The children delighted in the fellowship of family. We fed some ducks. We looked at the splendor of the trees. We came across some furry friends. We laughed together, talked together, and walked together. I was so aware that there weren't five of us walking -- there were SIX of us walking.

    What must it have been like to live in those silent years? I cannot imagine. Truly, He is what life is all about. A church building cannot contain Him and one cannot package Him into rules and regulations. Christianity is to be a WALK with Him, an intimate and personal relationship where we share life with Him. His people were rebuked for their neglect of TRUE worship. One can't truly worship in the absence of real relationship. A relationship so special that one makes space for Him out of the routine, out of one's "plans". A relationship where you drop whatever plans there are at the drop of a hat and RUN to Him when He calls. Have you ever seen a toddler's zeal when his loving daddy arrives home after a day at work? They RUN unrestrained into his arms, THRILLED to the bone! Well, it doesn't stop there, precious one! He says He never leaves us! We can "thrill" every moment of every day with Him.... if you know Him.

    Because here's the deal:

    Once you truly encounter Him and determine to walk in relationship with Him -- nothing else will do --- nothing else even comes close to satisfying.


    Comfortable plans and laid out agendas become droll and lifeless. If we get in our heads the reality that it ONLY makes sense to follow Him because HE, as our Creator, is the only one that knows us and why we are here, we would see that our plans that drive us daily make no sense! Those plans have a false sense of pretense that foolishly say, "I know where I am heading and how to get there." I have been at this for nearly four decades. It is ONLY when I am abiding in Him that I recognize any forward movement to life's real meaning -- being with Him! I spent years being "self-reliant" though I was "saved". I went around in circles -- stupidly looking arrogant and in the "know" when I was profoundly clueless and hopelessly lost as to why He had even saved me. We get so wrapped up in seeking "purpose"--- we forget relationship with Him, in Him, is the purpose. Out of abiding, comes meaning; first because He simply loves us! But then out of the overflow, one is invited to go along with Father --- participating in Kingdom purpose -- because He would much rather share what He is doing than go it alone. Remember fellowship is not just for us! HE longs to be loved by us.


    No --- HIS WAY is the only way --- a rich abiding relationship that is secure, unbelievably adventurous, oodles of love ---- RICH -- oh so RICH!

    He heard my heart yesterday morning. I wasn't saying, "I don't want You." Quite the opposite! I was declaring my heart's cry, "I want ONLY YOU!" And He showed up!

    My prayer for you this day, if you be my siblings in Christ, is that you take the time to pursue Him with your whole heart. There are a whole lot of Christians walking around feeling lost and empty! If they are like I was, it's because they have pretense that they should know how to walk; they should know what to do. I really have come to dislike the word "should". That one word heaps guilt upon my siblings.

    I tell you the truth -- all He wants is for you to be real and walk with Him, fellow-shipping together -- having real conversation -- listening to His heart and His truth spoken over your life. A REAL relationship with Him has no choice but to produce fruit and meaning! HE is life and from Him comes life; real life worth living! He can't love you any more than He does at this very second, but you will never fully know this if you walk by your plan, your thoughts, or your will.

    If this new to you -- this kind of walk I am describing -- confess it to Him. "I have no idea how to know You, but I really want to. I want to know what it is like for the God of the Universe to 'go for a walk with me'. My heart seems empty and longing for meaning, love, and worth. HELP ME!" Honesty He can work with; pretense and hiding, well, that will just take longer!

    I told my sweet sisters in the mentoring group at our church:


    The product doesn't make itself. HE makes the product.

    All He asks of His children is that we acknowledge the hindrances and sin that are in our life and then walk in relationship with HIM. He'll do the rest. Healing, true love, and purpose are found WITHIN relationship with Father. Apart from the intimate abiding, we will find ourselves owning the stuff and frustrated about what WE should do with it -- all the while shrivelling up inside under self-condemnation, striving to achieve fellowship through man's rules and church's games.

    If you haven't started a relationship with Him and you desire to do so, it truly is simple and precious. You must acknowledge you are lost -- full of sin -- and desperately need His salvation.
    First comes the understanding Jesus, Son of God, died for you. The Word says that the wages of sin is death --- but the good news is that it also says He became sin for us and died. ("For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.") He paid your price! But it did not stop with His death. The Word says He arose -- conquering sin and the grave. If you come to Him, humble in confession of your sin and humanity, He purifies you -- wraps you in His love -- thus granting you a brand new beginning in Christ. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (If you have any questions -- let me know. No pressure. I am not here to "sell" you Christianity. I am here to introduce you to my Father who is beyond awesome and always looking for lost ones to adopt and restore!)

    If you have just done this -- I welcome you into the family of God! The Word says the angels are rejoicing and Father is singing over you! I pray He gives you a deep awareness of the heavenly party that is going on as a result of bowing the knee and accepting His sacrifice that adopted you into His family!

    For all my siblings: Be real with Him. Walk with Him. Love on HIM today! He is so trustworthy and so profoundly loving -- a pure love like none other!

    Rejoice! --- You don't have to be in silence if you don't want to be!



    "Seek the LORD while He may be found;
    Call upon Him while He is near."
    Isaiah 55:6
    Blessings,
    Deborah

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  8. I truly don't care how many sisters I encountered that are broken, weary, and worn --- my message will always remain the same --- He is able! Do you hear me today? HE IS ABLE!

    "Is My hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness..."

    The most difficult thing in life is to submit to the trials that come our way with the knowledge they are molding tools. Many do not know my testimony, but they will in time to come. I have been through extreme trials, one after another, my entire life beginning with difficult birth defects. I say this so you will know I speak not from a lofty place, but from a personal walk through deep valleys.

    Our walk rests on Father as He transforms us, the broken, into His beloved redeemed. The Word says what HE begins, HE will be faithful to complete and that no man comes to Him, but that the Spirit draws him. When we gather this understanding deep into our hearts, we can then walk through uncontrollable situations with both power and compassion towards ourselves and for those around us. Father is more than able to cover and to keep that which belongs to Him as He takes us through the transformation process.

    I will never be able to fully thank Him for not leaving me in my broken state. The refining and mending process was painful, but the pain gave birth to fruit; fruit for others to pick from, to eat, and to become refreshed in Him.

    "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10

    Hang on to Him with whatever strength you can muster in the knowledge that "those who trust in the Lord will find NEW strength." I can guarantee you that HE holds on to you with far greater strength and ability than you can begin to fathom! Let Him take hold of you with His strength.

    I leave you with a visual picture today. I heard a teaching one time long ago that illumined "His hold" on us. The original words actually paint a picture not of a hand-in-hand hold -- but that of His mighty hand around our forearm with much strength. You see regardless of if you take hold of His forearm or not -- He has yours! If it was hand-in-hand depiction-- much would depend on our hand to take hold of His hand. But the Lord did not leave our safety and wholeness to us. (I am just about at shouting mode typing this!) HE HOLDS us regardless of our ability to hold onto Him back. For those of you out there beyond weary, you can greatly rejoice over this! I know. I well recall dark days not even having the strength to get out of the bed, much less hang on to Him, but He showed me He had me regardless! PRAISE HIM! PRAISE HIM!

    Do you see why I love Him so? I want you to learn how to draw off Him in full measure, in full awareness of His love and promise to you! You can walk through anything if you fully understand who He is in your life. Let HIM show you today! Stop the self-reliance. Stop the white-knuckling. HE HAS YOU! HE HAS YOU!

    I love you so much! And I delight to share your journey with you -- tears and all. He has taken me on a life long journey of redeeming my brokenness - right down to the physical -- and transformed me. It is my desire to walk the valleys with my siblings as He leads us to the mountain top. I cover you in prayer today, my precious siblings!

    I look forward to meeting many of you in the days to come face to face, but I greatly rejoice that those I don't meet here, I have eternity to spend with you rejoicing in what Father has done in our lives!

    Give HIM alone all the praise and adoration!
    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  9. This morning I curled up in Father's lap. It wasn't long before I found myself singing the old hymn "I'd rather have Jesus".

    You can only imagine my amazement when I turned on the computer a short time later, clicked on a Christian action group's email, flipped over to their website and onto their blog where I was met with a post oozing anger towards Christians and vehemently denying God's existence.

    What a contrast between light and dark first thing this morning!

    Then I went to His Word on the matter. He immediately took me to these words:

    "As it is written: 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.'" Romans 9:33

    Certainly the Lord is a stumbling stone and rock of offense to many people because He confronts the helpless sin nature in each of us apart from Him. Those that are determined not to believe will not believe. Jesus clearly told us that MANY would not believe, MANY would reject Him, but He came to save those that would humble themselves and call upon His name as Lord and Savior.

    Paul teaches, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (I Corn 2:14) What I read this morning on the computer certainly testifies to this truth!

    Even in the knowledge of this great truth, such hatred as I read this morning upon the computer still takes me back. Short of their humility and confession of Jesus as Lord, they will never have a sweet morning as I had with my Father. They will never know His loving embrace that wrapped me up this morning and the peace that is found only in Him. So beyond the scope of reason is the fact that I can know Someone so deeply, so intimately, who someone else completely denies is real. Oh how I grieve their blinding pride!



    In the same way God, desiring even more to show
    to the heirs of the promise,
    the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,
    so that by two unchangeable things in which
    it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge
    would have strong encouragement to take hold
    of the hope set before us.
    This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
    a hope both sure and steadfast
    and one which enters within the veil,
    where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us,
    having become a high priest forever
    according to the order of Melchizedek.
    Hebrews 6:17-20



    Go in peace today, my sibling in Christ, with the full sight -- HE IS! Amen! Praise Him that He restored your sight that you might behold HIM!
    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.


  10. I just recently sat with a very dear sister who is just plain weary and heavy with life. If you have not been at this place in life yet, rejoice! But today, we are going to be talking about ways to handle it.

    First, may I say if you find yourself at the "breaking point", don't deny it and attempt to face it with a "stiff upper lip"! You will bust your stiff upper lip when you land squarely on your face! To deny weariness when it pounds about your head and your bones ache when you attempt to roll out of the bed is to deceive yourself. Let's not fall for deception! I have different counsel that will renew you.

    Let's begin in Psalms...........


    My life dissolves and weeps itself away
    from heaviness;
    Raise me up and strengthen me
    according to Your word.
    Remove from me the way
    of falsehood and unfaithfulness,
    and graciously impart Your law to me.
    Psalms 119:28-29



    So we see hear the psalmist's honest confession to Father over his current condition....heaviness. Then we see the psalmist bring before Father a reminder: "Raise me up and strengthen me according to Your word." He also petitions, "graciously impart Your law to me." My friend, HIS WORD is something you can stand on! Every time I bring to my loving Father a reminder of His promise, I see Him smile at me. It delights Him for us to speak His Word to Him, not because He doesn't know it, but because it demonstrates to Him that we know it! You can't remind Him of something you don't know -- and you can't know something you haven't taken the time to study! Be in the WORD, sibling! Be in the Word!


    Once the psalmist refreshed himself in the Lord, we find a beautiful petition: "Remove from me the way....." This petition let's us know the psalmist recognizes that there are things that caused his weariness and heaviness. He calls them out as falsehood and unfaithfulness. Two things that will get us into the ditch quicker than anything.


    Call the thing what it is! Don't dress it up or attempt to disguise it. The entire 119 Chapter of Psalm is a beautiful depiction of absolute truth "in the raw" coupled to bold proclamations of God's ability and promise. One can never go wrong being completely truthful -- and that includes TO ourselves! Let God work and renew you THROUGH the honest confession.

    Secondly, let me address unfaithfulness, at least in part. Doing things we shouldn't... whether "noble" or not... are not helpful, but detrimental. Often times, Christians in particular will find themselves saying "yes" to a great number of things, feeling this compulsion that "doing" equals "brownie points". I have a statement I use often when I teach: "Noble things done outside the will of God are wrong! And they need to be laid down."

    Few people today live their life with "margin" or better understood as the concept of balance. What would happen if.........
    Running around "doing" when He has not specifically asked you to lay your hands to something will suck the life out of you in rapid fashion. Be careful what you say "yes" to! Go before Father and ask Him, "Is this something you desire of me?"

    ...... we truly lived life with Him being FIRST through our ACTIONS?

    Come one now -- remember --- honesty pays off!
    It brings forth GROWTH!

    A foolish man gets up with a pre-set agenda and "tackles" the day.
    A wise man starts the day out with Him
    and then commits to walk the day out the way HE directs,
    not according to their own thoughts or their own plans.


    I have shared in the past that I truly consult the Lord at the beginning of every day concerning my daily details. If He does not give me permission to scrub the toilets, I don't scrub the toilets. That is not to say the toilets won't get scrubbed at some point. They just won't get scrubbed on my time-table. It is a radical adjustment to live life in such a manner in the beginning, but completely freeing and ordered once the skill is learned. And if there is one thing I know, it brings a sense of balance and removes the compulsion to "preform" or strive in my own efforts. Again, let me be perfectly clear -- we each have "duties" that must be done (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) in order that we live, but WHEN we are to do them will determine the degree of balance and ease by which they are done.


    Let me give you another example that happened just recently. I was emailed last Monday about attending a small group from our church on the upcoming Sunday evening. I couldn't think of a reason to say "no", but then I asked the Lord. I immediately felt arrested by the Spirit and held off my answer. Two days later, I received an email from someone that I needed to spend time with. When they suggested times, their only availability was Sunday evening. I rejoiced that the Lord had led me in this way, for yet again, He directed my path. But it only occurred when I consulted Him. Don't miss this pivotal point! How many "divine appointments" have we missed by not consulting Him on seemingly meaningless things? Let's be found faithful before Him, laying down our agendas and our thoughts, and doing what HE desires; ONLY then will we find our "tanks" full and the "ease" of going in His power.

    Loving you, my sibling in Christ,


    Deborah

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.


  11. I was out this morning for a meeting and a few errands. While in my car, I turned on the radio to a Christian station. The radio had not been on but for a few minutes when I heard the conveyance of what I am about to share. The radio station was relaying that a church out West had actually brought in a "sample" of the world and "polled" them in front of the members of the church. The leadership asked them probing questions about Christians -- more like opinion questions like how we, as Christians, could improve. One of their responses relayed was "Be less judgemental and listen." Then it was wrapped up with the church's leadership's ultimate "motive": To get their congregation to ask what Jesus would do, or better put -- how could the answers from the lost shift the Christian's behavior. There was a strong implication that the members of this particular church should listen to the "world's" answers and follow the "world's" advice so that the world could be "reached" for Jesus.

    Are they serious? I felt such a drop in my spirit that I had to turn the radio off.

    I had just left a meeting where, in part, we were talking about the Church's roll in America. May I just say strongly --- IT IS NOT TO PLACATE TO THE LOST.


    Christ NEVER polled the lost to see what He could do better. Nor do we find any evidence that the apostles "polled" the lost for how they could better reach the world for Christ. To do so is nonsense and evil! It is taking something holy, set apart, and bringing it before swine.


    The church out West asked the world "how can we be better liked by you?"

    I am not interested in being liked. I am interested in being used as a tool in Father's hand to confront the sin nature in those I meet. If they desire freedom, I introduce them to the One who can set them free. If they mock or ridicule me, I leave them in their desired darkness and move on.


    We, Christians, need to get it in our minds we are not going to be liked by the world, nor is it the Church's responsibility to save all people. Paul speaks that where he went he brought the awareness of death to the spiritually dead and life to the spiritually living. He did not say it was his responsibility to make the dead living or make the dead like him. His duty was to boldly speak forth The Truth.


    In a world where "truth" is thought to be relative, of course The Truth is going to rub the world the wrong way. I say "Let Him!" HE wants them to squirm in His presence. Let's never forget the Holiness of God Almighty! He is not to be watered down -- but boldly proclaimed to the world!

    The Church, who is IN HIM, is intended to be a bright CONFRONTATIONAL light to the world...... set apart for HIS glory. Many churches are way too preoccupied with keeping the members happy and attendance numbers up instead of preaching the truth and permitting the Spirit to truly confront our corruption!

    Just this past month, it came to my awareness that a mother's son was run off from her church's youth group because some misfits in the group are being "tolerated" instead of confronted and corrected. So sad!

    Have some in church leadership abdicated their protective role such that the wolves are permitted to run the sheep off from the flock in the hopes that leadership can make a wolf a sheep? If so, they are devising their own path -- and dare I say -- their own ruin! Paul said to the church of Corinth that if they permitted such behavior within the church, the whole church would be corrupted; for certainly Christ would have run the wolves off and protected the sheep!

    I have never been more dismayed at modern American Christianity. You want to know why we aren't effective anymore? Because we have prostituted ourselves before the world in a ridiculous attempt to be liked.


    "Your own wickedness will correct you,
    And your backslidings will rebuke you.
    Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing
    That you have forsaken the LORD your God,
    And the fear of Me is not in you,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.
    “ For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds;
    And you said, ‘I will not transgress,’
    When on every high hill and under every green tree
    You lay down, playing the harlot.
    Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality.
    How then have you turned before Me
    Into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?
    For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap,
    Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord GOD.
    Jeremiah 2: 19-22


    Take a stand for Christ and be not ashamed! Church, stop asking the world for permission to be Christ's ambassadors! They did not buy you with their blood. Stop placating them! Their opinions should not leave us striving to change so they feel less uncomfortable! Christ did not and we should not!



    "For this is contained in Scripture:
    'BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE,
    A PRECIOUS CORNER STONE,
    AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.'
    This precious value, then, is for you who believe;
    but for those who disbelieve,
    'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
    THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER STONE,'
    and,
    'A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE';
    for they stumble because
    they are disobedient to the word,
    and to this doom they were also appointed.

    BUT you are A CHOSEN RACE,
    A royal PRIESTHOOD,
    A HOLY NATION,
    A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION,
    so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
    who has called you
    out of darkness into His marvelous light."
    I Peter 2:6-9
    (Note these words from Peter were directed at the believing Jew AND the believing Gentile.)

    Blessed are those that hear His Word and receive it as TRUTH! But we must understand to the very core of who we are in Christ MANY will not receive..... MANY will reject and taunt us for His namesake.

    It is not my responsibility to debate the world, nor to "sell" Christ to the world! My responsibility is to proclaim His excellencies and let HIM confront their sinful nature.

    I am truly grieved this day ---- Whoa be unto a church who prostitutes themselves before the world! The Lord's anger is being kindled this very hour.........

    Church, it is not about the numbers.... it is not about being liked.... it is about having the back bone of Christ that stands boldly for HIS TRUTH -- and His truth alone!

    May the Church arise in these last hours with boldness and truth!

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  12. I awoke this morning extra parched, thinking I couldn't wait to get downstairs for my tall glass of water. Another one of my perhaps odd habits is to drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning. This morning I craved it!

    As I sat down with my glass of water, with my Father's Word upon my lap, I could not help but think of the spiritual parallels. John 7:38 reads "He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But then we find that it is possible to neglect or forsake the Fountain of Living Waters, as found in Jeremiah 2:13 --- "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns -- broken cisterns that can hold no water."

    Just recently I was talking to a dear friend of mine. She shared that she had begun drinking lots of water, instead of the usual substitutes such as juices, teas, and sodas. She said that the more she drank the water initially, the more her body seemed to crave it. She had become dehydrated on the substitutes.

    This is an excellent visual of what we, as Christians, can find ourselves doing. Many of His people are "hewning" themselves into vessels that can hold no water. We are attempting to satisfy our thirst elsewhere. We are not looking to Him to do thing. We are captivated by the things of the world and distracted by all things "popular". The Lord called the neglect of Him and the hewning themselves broken cisterns evil.

    We wonder to ourselves why we are tapped out, frustrated, and fighting worry and doubt in the days we live. Perhaps we have forsaken the Fountain of Living Water and we don't even realize just how spiritually parched we are.

    I encourage you today to return to His fountain and drink deeply of His Word and His presence. His Word promises, "If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink." John 7:37.

    Friend, if you find yourself tapped out, frustrated, or fighting worry and doubt, recognize these are symptoms of spiritual thirst and RUN to His fountain!

    As I close this post, I want to strongly encourage you to sit and read Jeremiah 2. Read the entire chapter and let Father speak to you. It is addressed to Israel, but it's application to us in America is astonishing and will no doubt provoke an internal check within the reader. Verse 19 is for America in this present hour. The chapter is a powerful Scripture as Father shares His heart. Take the time! It will profit you!

    Have a blessed day WITH Him!
    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  13. I awoke this morning and laid quietly in the bed, gathering my thoughts. One of my string of thoughts went something like this:

    "Travis (good music friend of ours) is coming to town next weekend. Now that vacation was pushed out, we could at least go to the church that is bringing him in town and say 'hi'. But that's right --- Brian is playing somewhere else that weekend. Rats. Oh well, Travis said he wants to get together in May when he makes it back in to town. Do we go out to eat or eat here? We haven't found a dining room outfit we like yet.... but then again.... one wall of the dining room is littered with home school books. Ugh. Will I always have schooling books surrounding me? Stop that!"

    Then I began grieving the day when my kids will be gone and the books won't be lining the wall. I am willing to bet I would trade the dining room outfit to have the books back!

    We are a funny people, are we not? Varying elements that surround our lives in the moment can seemingly, and very easily, send us down a path of complaint. But the day will come when those very elements, upon reflection, bring us lament for the by-gone day.

    I have been sitting downstairs for some time this morning in the presence of the Lord. The whole house is quiet. Since the time change, the little people have been "sleeping in" until 8:00 -- such a blessing for those who are home schooled. We are blessed to by-pass the bus schedules.

    At moments like this, I am ever so thankful I am blessed to enjoy the quiet, knowing the house will be full of noise very soon as they begin to wake up. This will not always be the case. Time shifts and moves on. The one thing time does not do is STOP. Even in the mundane or a "waiting season", it is moving -- and as my grandma used to say, "This too will pass."

    So my prayer for you this day is that you wrap yourself in the full garment of His GRACE today, knowing that whatever comes at you this day will be a "by-gone" day of tomorrow. Don't wish it way --- don't complain it away -- and don't FRET it away! Give Him praise that He HOLDS your day...... this day!

    Vocally proclaim, "Father, I confess I am feeling __________, but it is not my desire that 'feelings' direct me. You are above all. Jesus has wrapped His garments of righteousness round about me. I am surrounded by His love, protection, and grace. I am not orphaned --- but am fully Yours. My days are ordered by You. And in You do I find my rest! Amen!"

    Let's guard our thoughts and be diligent to STOP unhealthy thoughts that seek to discourage or bring complaint! Go out, dear sibling, and walk this day as a conqueror through Christ! Drink deeply of His rest -- regardless of circumstance! HE HAS YOU!



    "The Lord bless you and keep you.
    The Lord make His face shine upon you,
    and be gracious unto you.
    The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
    and give you PEACE."
    Numbers 6:24-26


    Love you!
    Deborah

     

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  14. This morning I wrote to a sister in the Lord whose husband is currently laid-off. Unemployment is something my family knows a thing or two about. We were without employment for over two years during the dot.com crash that began around 2000.

    I wrote to her about Father's hold on His children. (I encourage you to refresh your mind on His hold here.) We have the knowledge that NOTHING catches Him off guard. I used to tell myself during our unemployment season, "This is a season, not a lifestyle!" over and over again. I knew the Lord had brought the trial for shaping. Both Brian and I -- and even our children -- came through transformed. It was well-purposed!

    Some of Father's children are in the throws of such molding --- and it is brutally uncomfortable to our flesh! Some of Father's children are fighting thoughts of "what if I am next?"

    I can tell you that if you are "next" --- it will be for your good. As difficult as it is to hear, it is the truth. You see, once we bow the knee to Him -- we are off limits to the enemy unless Father approves a trial for our shaping and transformation. That is His promise of FATHERHOOD over our lives. We are no longer orphans --fending for ourselves -- but we are under HIS covering, protection, and provision. It is a wonderful place to rest once the flesh has been subdued through the trial. Unemployment has a way of driving home the core of complete reliance on Him like nothing else! And once such a "learning" takes place, it is DEEPLY rooted in the core of one's being.

    I recall one morning -- early on in our unemployment, the Lord spoke, "Isn't it interesting that you will 'trust' Me with your eternity, but you struggle to believe I will take care of you in the 'now'." Ouch! Yes, that hurt when He said it. But it was corrective truth! The irony is that many of His children are in exactly this place. His desire is to bring the reality of our 'trust' to the present such that it is no longer ethereal --- but walked out in the physical -- right here, right now.

    My prayer for you this day is that if you are fighting worry or concern over such matters of provision due to unemployment or fighting the raging battle in the mind of "what ifs", bracing to be next.... that you take time to command the flesh to be quiet as you meditate on the verse posted below that the Father dropped into my spirit this morning.

    I do believe this must be on His heart for His children today! I have addressed unemployment this morning, but certainly He is far reaching and no trial is without purpose or out of His reach! He does not want us succumbing to the flesh's fears -- but rising above -- knowing HE is more than able to provide for His children and fulfill His purposes in our lives!



    "For I the Lord YOUR God hold your right hand;
    I am the Lord who says to you,
    'Fear not; I will help you!'"
    Isaiah 41:13


    Loving you and praying the FULL understanding of His Fatherhood upon you TODAY!
    Deborah


    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  15. I woke up particularly aware that I was hungry, not physically, but spiritually. Immediately the words "fill my cup, Lord" came to my soul in song. I rolled out of bed, quickly made it to my study, pulled up the song along with the Word, and positioned myself for a good "meal" with Father.

    A word of caution: Perhaps you aren't feeling hungry per say. Make sure you don't wait too long between "meals"! Much like a fast, you can find yourself shutting down and not even realize it. One day leads to another and another, and before you know it, it has been days since you truly "ate".

    If you find yourself in need of nourishment this morning, take time before tackling your day to take a meal with the only One who can satisfy.

    Let's begin this week by making sure our cups are not just full, but overflowing. Take the time!

    I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD;
    I will make mention of Your righteousness,
    of Yours only.
    Psm 71:16



    Blessings,
    Deborah


    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  16. You know, all day today, I have been pondering the rest that is found in belonging to God.

    My morning began like usual. But then I turned on the computer and in came a "fear provoking" email about what looms ahead for America. I read through a good bit of it before I heard the Lord say, "Shut it down." Then the verse (paraphrased) from King David came to my meditation, "I will encourage myself in the Lord." I curled up in His lap and rested there for a good little bit as He cancelled out the email "fear message".

    Mid-day, I came across a story of a fellow who has a job, but was lamenting the guilt associated with having one, as he has many friends without. The stress level on either side of that equation is intense in the absence of belonging to Father God.

    And then tonight, as I was preparing supper, an intense awareness that I could feed my children welled up within me. Since our stint of unemployment years back, I don't think I have taken one single meal for granted. But the feeling I experienced tonight was extra "real", and profound gratitude towards my beloved Father welled up and overflowed in my being.

    The shaking of the man's empire has just begun. Many are still looking to man to fix all the brokenness. The irony is that they look to those just as broken as they are.

    I pray you know Father to such an extent that all fear is gone; that you do not fret job loss or where your next meal will come from.

    He gave me a few verses just moments ago as I sat down to share with you. I feel His smile tonight as I write. He wants His children to know and REST in these words:

    "They that know [My] name will put their trust in [Me]."
    "For [I] will light [your] lamp;
    [I] light [your] darkness."
    "For who is God, except [Me]?
    And who is the Rock except [Me]?"
    "[You] shall never perish,
    neither shall any man pluck [you] out of My hand."
    "Fear not; I AM the first and the last!"
    Psm 9:10, Psm 18:28,31, John 10:28, Rev 1:17


    So, dear siblings, listen and heed His voice when He says to "shut it down" --- whatever it is that seeks to bring and sow fear into the lives of His beloved children --- and run to HIM.

    HE is the One that will see us, His children, through what is to come!
    Stand, believe, and watch with awe and thanksgiving!
    HE is more than able to KEEP YOU!

    Much love,
    Deborah


    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.


  17. This morning before my head ever arose from my pillow, Father and I were conversing. Mornings are such sweet and tender times with Him. At some point, I asked Him a question that sparked Him telling me a story. I love a good story, and in this one, He even shared pictures!

    What laid out before me was glorious! I often think to myself how grand it would be to have the talent of an artist. There have been a number of times in my life when Father has shown me a picture that I simply craved the ability to transfer to paper.

    Nevertheless, I shall try to share what the Father laid out because I believe many of my siblings will well relate to it.

    In the beginning, I saw a field growing wild with tall grasses and weeds. In truth, the field looked beautiful from a distance with the swaying grasses in the wind. But “as is", it could not produce a harvest of anything but wild grasses and weeds. The field represents a life, a soul.

    Along came a Gardener and bought the plot of land, expanding His ever growing Kingdom. At first, the Gardener mowed the tall grasses and weeds down. He spent time on the land. He walked every square inch, studying it and making plans for it. He would pull a weed here and there, but for the most part, He simply tended to it by mowing it and caring for it gently. His care certainly improved the short-term appearance of the land, but did nothing concerning the usability of the land.

    But that initial season, had significant purpose. During that time, the land learned the Gardener's touch and a bit about His ways. Then one day, the appointed time came. The Gardener pulled out His tiller, for it was now time to prepare the land for the seeds that would bring a harvest. As the tiller struck the ground, the land winced. Breaking the ground proved rough and uncomfortable, yet the land had learned enough about the Gardener's ways, such that though it winced at the endeavor, it was compelled to believe the Gardener had a great plan. Deep down the land knew it was far better to have His hand active upon it, than to sit dormant and untended. As the Gardener tilled the land, rocks were exposed that were then removed.

    But there were times, the tiller would hit something that seemed to be fixed in place. By virtue of the fact that it would not budge indicated sizable mass, a boulder, if you will. In the beginning, the boulder appeared small because only the “tip” of the rock was exposed by the tiller. The Gardener then stopped tilling and began to tend to the ground surrounding the mass, carefully digging away at the soil until the boulder was exposed and the soil relinquished it's hold on it.

    In love, the Gardener will not stop until the boulder is removed. He then will start the tiller back up and continue the preparation of the land until the land is purged and ready for the harvest seed.

    Brother and sister, I pray this story that Father shared with me this morning speaks to you as well. We ALL....at one time or the other..... have or had the rocks and boulders in our fields. Perhaps you know someone who is experiencing the tiller, or perhaps you are the one experiencing it. May I loudly and clearly say, "Take heart! You are not alone!" The Father has many children (many plots of land) to purge and prepare. Praise be, the Gardener will complete what He has begun. Though it is not entirely pleasant, it is profoundly necessary that we work with Him to empty ourselves of life's baggage and bondages (the rocks and boulders), such that we, as a land plot in His Kingdom, are then able to yield a harvest FOR HIM!

    Embrace the till, precious sibling! It is but for a season! Seed and harvest time cometh!

    Much love!
    Deborah

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  18. Fasting is healthy and beneficial.

  19. Last night, before turning in, I took a few minutes and reviewed my calendar. With only a few weeks of school remaining, I was greatly anticipating the coming shift that will usher in summer.

    I am ever so thankful we started school when we did. I would be very displeased right about now if we had to go until June. I feel compassion towards those that have no choice on the matter! "Spring fever" has hit our home with a vengeance!

    As I sat with the calendar, I found myself smiling at the coming events; supper with friends, an egg hunt, two theater plays, and a Spring camp-out, to name a few. Mixed in with family fun events, I have two meetings that I hold very dear to my heart with much anticipation.

    Within minutes, I found myself no longer anticipating the assortment of events, but lamenting that they were not already here! What I sensed was subtle, yet corrupting. So, I shut the calender, pulled out my journal, and wrote to the Lord. In part what I wrote was "You know, Lord, it is a sad affair to wish one's life way.... Sometimes, like right at this moment, I fall into the trap. Lord, I chose right here -- right now -- to be grateful for THIS moment....." It was a wonderful re-grounding and a healthy way to close out a great day.

    Today as you begin your day, I pray you combat thoughts of "I can't wait until..." with words of gratitude for the "now moment". Certainly not all days are pleasant and rosy, but I do believe we have the capability to rise above the circumstances and look for God's handiwork in any given situation. You will not have the opportunity to relive the "now" -- so I implore you to focus on it in full. Good or unpleasant, experience it. Learn from it. Talk to the Lord about it. 'Tomorrow' will arrive soon enough and all that comes with it.

    My son, just yesterday, said, "Mom, you know, I never thought 12 or 13 (years of age) would ever get here, but here I am -- and with it a whole lot of (welcomed) responsibilities." I have always believed him wise beyond his years, and here lately, he is proving it at every turn! He is time-managing very well these days as he wraps up school while effectively growing his lawn care business.

    I had to smile. He gets it. One of our family's sayings, that used to be said often, is "Live in the moment." Those with children know they seem always focused on what comes next. As they eat lunch, they ask, "Can I go .... after this?" I need only say it rarely now, praise the Lord! It is deeply planted in their mind and soul after hearing it hundreds of times in years gone by. Every time they came at me with "what's next" -- I would give them these four little words. I think those four little words would do us all some good!

    So today, "Live in the moment". Let God enjoy the "now" with you! The two of you don't have yesterday nor tomorrow (yet) ..... but you do have TODAY to share! ENJOY!

    "...in everything, you are enriched by Him..."
    I Corn 1:5

    Love,
    Deborah

    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

  20. Today, it is on my heart to expound a bit on a part of the Scripture found in John 10. The paradigm that Christ expounds on in this passage is the safety and security found in God as Christ, the Good Shepherd.

    John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." To receive the full meaning one has to back up to verse 7 and read through. Christ speaks of sheep and Him being the door. When I read this passage, I always picture a sheep pen. Christ is the door. "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved..." (vs 9) -- but He doesn't stop there --- He continues "..... and shall go in and out, and find pasture." So in Him -- I have the freedom to roam about under the safety of His watch. (ie: Even in the world, where Satan roams about to steal, kill, and destroy, I am safe because He owns me!)

    Do you see the awesomeness of grasping this promise in FULL?

    Too often I hear just the first part of verse 10 quoted - feeding dread and concern among my siblings -- when Christ's whole point was to say -- "I HAVE YOU! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FRET THE THIEF! IN ME, YOU HAVE FREEDOM AND PROTECTION."

    Do trials come? Absolutely. But they are there not for harm, but for shaping and molding. Father places parameters on the enemy for what he can and cannot touch with regards to His child during seasons of testing. We see this in Job. Each one of God's children requires unique molding and shaping. Perhaps this is another reason He spoke, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. (Isa 55:8) But make no mistake, testing has very significant purpose!

    When we gather His protection coupled to His purpose deep within our hearts, we are then able to make it through some of the hardest trials..... knowing, "If God be for us, who can be against us?!"(Romans 8:31) And the beauty is the Great Shepherd never leaves us, especially through the trials found during a season of testing. We are His and He is ours!

    I pray this blesses you to great depths today, that you take a moment and meditate on the great revelation of Him as The Good Shepherd. We are no longer orphans. We are no longer prey to the "thief". Christ has us! Give Him praise!

    Loving you today, sibling!
    Deborah


    I am first and foremost a daughter of the Most High. He has blessed me with three maturing children, ages 12 years old through 7 years old, and a Christian husband who is my best friend. I spend my days home schooling my children, tending the 'home front', exploring God's Word, and lifting up my fellow sisters in Christ. I have a tremendous appetite for the Lord's Word and a desire to know Him to deep depths. As for my fellow sisters in the Lord, I have a passion to see them walking out their destinies in Christ. In all things, Give Him Praise!

    You can visit Deborah at www.joyinthemorning.com.

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