Sleeping With the Enemy

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me. Psalm 3:1

How many are rising up against you? Have you ever felt that there was an army surrounding you with one mission: your destruction?  David did.  In fact, he didn’t just feel it; it actually happened.  Was it his fault?  Yeah, ultimately, it was the consequence of his sins with Bathsheba and against Uriah, as well as his complacency when his daughter Tamar was raped and ruined by his son. Those are heavy-duty sins in our eyes, but there is no difference to God between those sins and our little “embellishments” here and there or reading that trashy romance. David, however, looked at his sin and confessed it before God and repented. Not only that, but he forgave himself and moved past it, in his life and in his incomparable relationship with the Lord. That’s right, ladies:  he moved on! Because of his ability to do that, he was able to pray this prayer of trust in God when he was at a staggeringly low point.

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Psalm 3:3-4

If you haven’t yet felt a rising up against you, you probably will.  Psalm 3 can sustain you and give you the hope you need until the Lord gives you rest in the midst of the battle and lifts up your head to see your victory that is in Him. So those gossipers’ tongues, let them wag on, but don’t be afraid to drag their dark lies into the light of Truth. That wayward child, pray until he or she wanders back.  Don’t hesitate to get before that Throne repeatedly, boldly and loudly for our Father is a loving Father who cares more for that child than you can imagine. That uncaring husband, love him to the Lord, and count each rejection or snide remark as fertilizer for that wonderful time that is coming when he turns to the Lord. If they are all happening at the same time, you just get your trusted prayer partners set to battle with you in prayer that you will see His Glory through your circumstances because His Glory is your glory.  That’s the Awesome, Loving, and Immutable God that we serve! He hasn’t changed one whit since David’s time and He’s not going to change EVER. Read that Psalm, memorize it and live on in the promise of your salvation.  Amen!

About the Writer:

Cindy loves being an RN, wife, mom, and CiCi (that’s a grandmother but I’m way too young and hot for normal terminology) to one sweet little 5 year old girl. She loves the Lord with all her heart and wants to serve Him with gladness til her dying breath. Cindy plans on starting seminary very soon. She can hardly wait for Wednesday and Sunday to roll around so she can sing with the choir and experience just a sliver of the joy we’ll have when we all get to Heaven!

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Put Your Jesus Where Your Mouth Is

When I look back on the times in my life I have found myself in a deep, dark hole, the path into that hole almost always started with something I said. I have allowed my thoughts to cross the barrier of my lips and pave a path to destruction.  I’ve done this so many times I’ve lost count, and yet it’s possible to effectively communicate without saying a word.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world. Psalm 19:1-4

If the skies can communicate so clearly without speaking, why do I allow my mouth to get me into so much trouble?  The thoughts come – thoughts that lead straight to pride and judgment. I instantly see what someone, usually my husband, has done that isn’t pleasing in MY eyes and the thoughts hurl me down that path. When I follow those thoughts and allow them to come out of my mouth, the result is never pleasant. I’ve done this for years, and then I was finally shown a better way. That way involved me moving over to God’s side and listening to His way.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. 
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Psalm 19: 7-8

That wasn’t fun at first. It’s still a daily struggle. It takes discipline, which is not a word I like to hear. The thoughts come a hundred times a day, and I have a split second to stop them from coming out of my mouth. What God has shown me is that, if I will take time to line up my words with my heart, and align my heart with what He would have me say, then the result will always be more peaceful. His words lead to peace, not into that hole I’ve so often made my home.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

These words have been expressed as a prayer at the beginning of almost every Sunday school class I’ve attended over the past two years. It took me a long time to understand truly what they mean.  It took discipline and experience to learn that holding back the words until they were no longer mine but His would bring the greatest peace in my life I ever imagined. Now I realize that in addition to keeping him in my heart, sometimes the best place for Jesus to be is right behind my lips.

About the writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

Broken Pieces

The evening had finally arrived for me to walk across my high school gymnasium to receive my diploma. As the speakers began to reminisce over the 1985 graduating seniors, my mind was flooded by countless memories. Yet, as I sat with my classmates on that Friday evening, I could have never imagined the paths I would one day travel, nor the heartache, tragedy and loss that would occur.

Moving forward years later, instead of pondering fond memories, I would find myself at the end of a course, sobbing uncontrollably. I had blown it in the most horrific way. With my life in shambles, the mere thought of God ever wanting me again seemed unattainable. I would quickly learn, however, that God’s love for me was not dependent on me. My Shepherd came to rescue, redeem and restore. (Luke 15:3-7)

I soon came to experience firsthand that God never despises a broken person nor does He turn His back. He took the shattered pieces of my life and began to put them back together again, all for His glory. 

“The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.”  (Psalm 147:2-3)

Point to Ponder: A person never has to remain in the same shape brought on by sin he or she is in because Jesus came to redeem sinners!

At times, when an individual gets off course, the enemy will immediately whisper, “That’s it, you have out-sinned God’s ability to forgive.” Yet we must remember that God’s Word always trumps the enemy’s whispers. We must align our thinking according to God’s truth.

 

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:1-5)

Whatever we may envision as the end, God sees a new beginning. While we may see only the pain, God sees the purpose. He will turn a trial into a blessing and a mess into a message. Although His rescue plan may include voyages we never envisioned, we can know with certainty He will never leave broken pieces unassembled. He loves us too much.

Prayer: Lord thank you for Your willingness to restore and rebuild shattered lives. Thank you for sending Jesus to save the lost, to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up wounds.

About the Writer:
Shea is the mother of two and nana of four and enjoys both roles tremendously. She also loves the opportunity to serve through ministry and share through speaking and blogging. A member of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Shea serves with the church’s First Impressions ministry and teaches the Strong & Courageous Sunday School class for single moms. She also speaks to women’s groups, assists with biblical counseling when opportunities arise and is constantly working to develop women’s Bible studies. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and will begin her doctoral work at Southwestern in family ministries in the fall.

Letters to God from a New Mom

As a new mom I found a closeness with God during those wee hours of the morning when I was nursing and rocking my son back to sleep. In the quietness of the house, God’s voice seemed ever-present and comforted me through the [still ongoing] emotional journey into this new foreign role called ‘motherhood’. I was desperately seeking an understanding of my purpose and an assurance of my capabilities.

Often during these times, I would focus my mind on passages that declared God’s might and power, passages that spoke of His faithfulness and His provision, or passages that displayed His unending compassion and grace. Then with a deep sigh, I would continue to rock slowly and whisper my thanksgiving. I knew His promises.

These words that slipped past my lips often fell into a specific cadence that was deeply personal and sounded almost like a letter to a good friend. Because, after all – that’s what they were. So below is a passage that I wrote early one morning when I was exhausted and needed comfort. I was drawn to Psalms and Isaiah, reminding me that our ever-present God is full of love and ready to tuck me under His wing.

Lord, I feel so alone. So tired. And so insignificant in this endless cycle of the newborn cries. But I know you’re there. Thank you for your never-ending compassion towards me.

 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6-8)

 Your scriptures tell us that you have measured the waters in the hollow of Your hand and marked the span of the heavens. That you have weighed the mountains and calculated the dust on the earth. (Isaiah 40:12)

 You are mighty beyond comprehension, and yet here you are beide me, fully present and loving. You know every tear shed through these trying days. But I rest knowing that my name is written on the palm of your hand. (Isaiah 49:16)

Thank you, I love you.

I miss the closeness that I found in those dark and quiet moments. The business that so easily consumes our days can drown out these opportunities. In looking back over the last 18 months, I realize that the rocker has become my most common meeting place with God. I still find myself there in that chair feeling stranded and at the mercy of my child, but once I settle in and he nods off, I find God waiting patiently for time alone with me. I am fully focused on Him, and He’s ready to talk.

About the Writer:
Audra has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She enjoys sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important transitions on her blog called The Homegrown Project.