Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Things Pondered"


Luke 2:19 "But Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart."

Mary had been through a 9 month whirlwind. An angel had appeared to her informing her that she was going to have a baby even though she was a virgin. Not only was she going to have a baby, but she was going to give birth to the Messiah, the Promised One, The Savior of the world. The baby within her womb would one day save her (His mother) from sin, death, hell and the grave. Just a tad bit overwhelming don't you think for this young virgin? Can you imagine how fast those 9 months passed by and can you imagine the emotion, the wondering, the dreams of what this new life would be like? She was giving birth to the King of Kings and yet on the night of His birth she found herself in a stinky barn surrounded by animals. I am sure this was not what she had imagined. Where is the purple cloth, where are the servants, where was room service? "Come on people this is the King I am giving birth to." After a night of rejection and labor pains Mary held in her arms the answer to EVERYTHING. Suddenly NOTHING else mattered. It ALL made sense. The very touch of this baby in her arms, the star, the angels singing Hallelujah, the shepherds who came to see and then left to tell, all of this and it suddenly made sense to Mary. There was so much to ponder. There was so much to treasure. Every detail, every circumstance, every trial was suddenly seen as a blessing. As she looked into those clear eyes, held those precious little hands and snuggled that perfect baby she knew that this purpose was much bigger than what her human mind could comprehend. That is when her faith took over. Her hope was placed in this baby. She treasured ALL of these things in her heart. Why did she treasure them? Why the need to ponder? I don't know about Mary, but I have felt the need to treasure this week and ponder. I have been treasuring the event of the last 2 weeks in my heart and I have been pondering God's plan and His will concerning them all. I will confess that in those moments that I forget to treasure and ponder I begin to doubt. I have seen the very hand of God and experienced His peace, His healing and His comfort and yet when I let my guard down and choose not to treasure and ponder I am tempted to worry, fret and fear once again. WHY? HE is real! HE has met me at my point of need and yet I doubt that He will do it again. When I continue to treasure all of these things, thank Him, praise Him and ponder all of this in my heart, there is no room for doubt or fear. Mary had a lot to treasure. She treasured(regarded as precious) the events that had already taken place. She could see the hand of God on each and every detail. Oh what a treasure that was. Then she pondered.(to think about carefully before deciding or concluding, to appraise, to reflect.) She was reflecting on all that had happened and all that was to come as the result of this perfect baby. May we continue to treasure all that He has done and ponder His purposes. He is alive, He is active in our lives and He loves us so very much. JESUS!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Evidence of Faith


Faith has been defined as "complete confidence in a person or plan." Our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our complete and total confidence is in the person of Jesus and in the plan He has for our lives. For 32 years I have talked about my faith in Jesus and at times I have been asked to allow my faith to have feet. At the age of 25 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I have been watching God work out His plan for me in this area for over 12 years. Even that did not require the faith that I have been asked to practice this week. When your greatest fear becomes reality the only thing you can grip is the complete and total confidence (faith) that you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The substance of things hoped for or the assurance of things hoped for. The only hope we have is in Jesus. On Friday when I was told my 11 year old had a brain tumor I knew that NOTHING I did could make Matthew better. I couldn't will him better. I couldn't hug and kiss his boo boo and make it go away. My only hope was to place my son in the hands of Jesus. As Matthew was being wheeled back into surgery the thought occurred to me that I was sending my child down the hall with a TOTAL stranger. A man I had met less than 12 hours ago and I was giving him permission to cut my son's head open, drill a hole in his skull and work with instruments inside of his brain. What kind of sense does that make? I put my confidence and trust in the hands of a total stranger just because he "said" he was a doctor. I never asked to see his credentials. I didn't even have references. I just took him at his word. I "hoped" he knew what he was doing. Physically that is exactly what I did, but my true faith was not in this doctor who proved to be remarkable. He is merely a mortal man and he can and does make mistakes. As Matthew was being wheeled into that operating room I was placing him into the hands of the one to whom he belongs. I released my grip and placed him back into the hands of his Father. Matthew has never been mine. He has been on loan. I am a steward for a time. How long? I don't know. Longer than this world could promise last Friday. If my faith had not been in Jesus Christ I would have clung to the under rafters of that hospital bed and left claw marks down the hall as they pried me away from his side. Instead I kissed his head and released my grip and again placed my complete and total trust in Jesus. Faith with feet. Jesus asked me to walk the faith that spills forth from my mouth. When you have had to face your greatest fear, what is left to fear? It is easy to "say" you trust Jesus. It is easy to "say" that our faith is in Him. It is easy to "say" that He is in control and that He works out all things for our good. It is all easy to "say" but living it out and living it out in the midst of the fire seems much more difficult, but it doesn't have to be. If I can place my son into the hands of a stranger with a drill and a knife then I can place all of my children, all of my circumstances and all of my everything into the one that I have known so intimately for 32 years. I can trust in the one who has a long list of credentials and references. My trust and complete confidence is in the one who has raised men from the dead, performed many miracles and who He himself was raised from the dead. My faith is in Jesus. My complete and total trust and confidence is in Him. Where is your trust today? Do you trust in man? Do you trust in circumstances? Trust today in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is able and He is worthy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Guest Post From My Brother


After receiving an e-mail from my brother last night sharing with me his thoughts and heart over the last few days I asked him if he would be a guest on my blog today. His message was such a blessing to me. I hope you enjoy it.

“You oh Lord alone are lifted high, the shadow of your wings is where I hide. I stand in awe I live life to bless you I sing a new song a song of the RESCUED, light of the world shine in my heart like the rise of the dawn. In this hour my heart is filled with trust, because there is no power or wonder like our God. You whisper, the oceans calm, you reach out, I stand in awe I live life to bless you, I sing a new song a song of the RESCUED, light of the world shine in my heart like the rise of the dawn. I am amazed, Lord who I am I that you are mindful of me, but angels bow down and heavens declare that you are my God.”


Matt and Monica asked us to sing praises during Matthew’s surgery on Saturday morning. This is the song God placed on my heart. I couldn’t remember the name of the song or who sung it. But the chorus was repeated over and over in my mind and soul during and after Matthew’s surgery. Even as we drove home Saturday night all I could sing in my heart was this chorus. As we were praising God for the miracles (notice that is plural) that He performed over the past few weeks to get us to this point I really stood in Awe of what He had done.


I stand in awe at the miracle of a doctor ordering an MRI for an 11 year old boy with headaches, when standard procedure is not to. I stand in awe at the last minute cancellation that put Matthew in an MRI machine two weeks before he was scheduled to be there which essentially saved his life.


I stand in awe at the body of Christ. That when called into action for one of their own showed up bigger and with more impact than any of us imagined. I stand in awe at the sheer number of people praying for my 11 year old nephew. People that we didn’t even know, people that we didn’t think really prayed, people from all over the WORLD lifting up healing in the name of Jesus for our precious nephew. I stand in awe at the man at church who I barely know that told me while praying for Matthew Friday night the Lord spoke to his Spirit and told him the tumor was not malignant and that Matthew would make a full recovery.


I stand in awe at God’s grace, providence and mercy that was shown to Matt and Monica who after hearing a parent’s worst nightmare were able to compose themselves enough to seek God and be strong for their son. A situation that as a parent I would assume I would not be able to function. I stand in awe at their composure and calmness during the surgery. As I sat with them in the waiting room it was evident that our God had calmed their spirits and they knew Matthew would be okay.


I stand in awe at my nephew, Matthew who handled himself in the most amazing way. His attitude, his composure, his selflessness were all such a work of the Lord in him. He never cried, he never questioned, he never seemed fearful. I stand in awe that an 11 year old has the courage to say “If I die, it’s okay, I know where I am going”.


Lastly I stand in awe of the God that we serve. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts and that’s okay. I know that He is so passionately in love with each one of us that we need not worry. He will always have a plan and those plans are already done. I know that as our family surrounded Matthew Saturday night for a word of prayer that God spoke to me very clearly. He told me not to worry about Matthew. There is more work for him to do on this earth. And that Matthew is not going anywhere until his work is done. Praise the Lord!!


Michael


Monday, December 20, 2010

84 hours later...

84 hours ago I was told my son had a brain tumor. Tonight I am home listening to him laugh, joke, play and carry on with his brothers. It is music to my ears. I am amazed at the work of God's hand. Friday at 11:30 my greatest fear became a reality and GOD met me right where I was and gave me an opportunity to live out the faith which I teach and share with others. It has been an incredible 84 hours. Never before have I felt the presence of God in my life like I have these past few days. He has held me, he has cradled me, he has been my rock and my fortress. As I look at my precious Matthew tonight I am amazed that just 62 hours ago he was in the middle of brain surgery. Does that child above look like he just had brain surgery? I want to share with you specifically how we have seen the hand of God in so many details during the last few days.

Wednesday, December 15 - Matthew had a bad headache and because I needed a Dr.'s excuse for school we made a visit to the Dr. that afternoon. The Dr. ordered an MRI "Just to cover all the bases." GOD'S HAND

Thursday, December 16 - The MRI office called and said they had an opening and could get Matthew in 2 WEEKS EARLY. GOD'S HAND! I figured if we did the MRI I would not have to cook dinner because we would be out and it would be late. My selfishness???? No GOD'S HAND

Thursday, December 16 - As we prayed for the MRI results, Matthew prayed, "God may your will be done and give us the grace to accept whatever comes." GOD'S PREPARATION

Friday, December 17 - As soon as the Dr. told us about the tumor I sank into my husband's arms and was a mess. As people began to pray my strength was renewed and He carried me ALL the way. Immediate relief and peace came over me. GOD'S PEACE

Friday, December 17 - I could not sleep. Not wanting to let one moment pass without being covered in prayer I would not allow myself to rest. A friend on the other side of the world e-mailed and said, "While your American friends are sleeping, know that your friends in England are praying." Other reports came in of those in 5 different countries praying as well as friends here that God awakened. People were praying around the clock. I was able to rest. GOD'S PROVISION

Friday, December 17 - My in-laws were here to keep the other boys. I was at peace knowing they were well taken care of all weekend. (They wanted to be with us, but were willing to keep our hearts at peace by staying here with my boys.) My parents wanted to be in Birmingham with us and were praying asking God to provide a way. A friend showed up at the door with an monetary gift and said, "The Lord told me to give this to you." They were able to come right then and stay until Sunday. GOD'S PROVISION

Saturday, December 18 - The Dr. informed us that after seeing the 2nd MRI we had caught this JUST in time. Had we waited much longer Matthew would have been in REALLY BAD trouble. GOD'S TIMING

Saturday, December 18 - Considering my husband is a pastor, we are usually the ones there for others during surgery. In God's sovereignty he had OUR pastor (Bro. Al and Mrs. Kem) in Birmingham on an overnight date. They were with us during surgery. Only God could have ordained that. GOD'S COMFORT

Saturday, December 18 - The Dr. said Matthew's brain was a perfect canvas for the surgery and he was done in half the time he had told us it would take. GOD'S HAND

Saturday, December 18 - Matthew had prayed that he would not lose all his hair. They only shaved 2 small patches away. Just before surgery, my daddy told Matthew he would need a yamekah to cover those patches on on his head, so as they wheeled Matthew down the hall for surgery he began to sing Adam Sandler's Hanukah song. "Put on your yamekah, cause here comes Hanukah." I knew then God had answered another one of his prayer requests and he was not scared. (As an added note, when Matthew returned from surgery he said, "I hope all the people in this hospital don't think I'm Jewish.") GOD'S HAND

Sunday, December 19 - Matthew was doing so well, they took the brain drain out 2 days early. About an hour later his face became HUGE with swelling. I called people to pray. Before the Dr. could make it to the room it had decreased in size by half. GOD'S HEALING POWER

Sunday, December 19 - Matthew had prayed that God would use this to grow our church closer together. This morning our precious church pulled together and handled EVERYTHING we had left undone and everything that had to be done in our absence. Not to mention, they came together Friday night right after we got the news and corporately prayed for our precious Matthew. GOD'S UNITY

Monday, December 20 - Matthew has not had a headache since surgery. As a matter of fact he stopped taking ALL pain meds including tylenol and motrin on Sunday morning. His vision has become crystal clear once again. To the Dr.'s surprise he was doing so well he came home 2 days early. GOD'S HEALING POWER

Monday, December 20 - Sweet friends are blessing our lives beyond what we could imagine. GOD'S PROVISION

Monday, December 20 - 84 hours later....I SIT IN MY HOME WITH A CHILD WHO IS WHOLE AND WELL. A CHILD WHO SHOULD NOT BE HERE TONIGHT. GOD'S MIGHTY HAND HAS BEEN UPON HIM AND HE IS HEALED. Yes, he still has a brain tumor. He might always have a brain tumor. I heard him just a minute ago say, "Caleb, dude take it easy on me, I have a brain tumor." He might have a brain tumor, but he is here when according to the time table of man he should not be. God has used these 84 hours to accomplish more in our lives than you could ever imagine. If you walked into our home tonight you would have no idea what we have been doing for the last 84 hours, but my prayer is that because of the testimony and this time of faith building in the refiner's fire, you will forever see a difference in the Hawkins family. FOREVER WE ARE CHANGED BY HIS FAVOR AND HIS GRACE. WE BLESS HIS NAME AND WE PRAISE HIM.

We have had people ask what they can do for Matthew during this time. If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus then share it with someone else and live out your faith with boldness, FAITH and reckless abandonment. If you have never trusted Jesus with your life I want you to understand that HE is the only thing that has gotten us through this. We are not strong, we are not special, we are not amazing. We are helpless. We have depended on our Jesus to carry us through. If you have never given your life to Him, that is what Matthew would want you to do. He said, "If it means seeing people come to faith in Christ I would take another brain tumor. And the gifts aren't bad either." (Hey, remember he is only 11.) His desire is for you all to know Jesus and not just to know Him, but to follow Him and seek Him above ALL ELSE. Matthew's prayer and his confidence is that this situation has not been in vain. He know God has a plan for it and he can't wait to watch it unfold.

84 hours later...I am changed, I am humbled, I am thankful, I am clinging to Him tighter than every before and I am trusting Him to continue to do great and mighty things FOR HIS GLORY.

"The Good, The Bad and The Truthful"

We have shared our every thought and every emotion with you thus far. There has been good, there has been bad and there has been truthful. Here is a little from the heart of Matthew tonight.

Matthew has not complained not one time. He has not once asked why me or even cried in fear. He has been the picture of a young man covered in grace and strength by his Heavenly Father. Tonight and I were sitting here in the hospital room talking and he said, "Mom, sometimes I want to pray that I will wake up and all of this will have been a bad dream, but I know that would be selfish." I assured him that it was ok for him to feel that way.
I've had the same thoughts. He said, "I feel like I will never be normal again." I assured him he would NOT be normal again. "Matthew, you have been forever changed by the testimony of your faith and healing. Your life will never again be the same, but it will be better." "Yes ma'am I know and I know it is not in vain." "Matthew, let me ask you a question. If just ONE life was changed, if only ONE person came to faith in Christ because of your testimony would you do this again?" Without missing a beat he said, "Oh, yes ma'am." Tonight I am praying for that ONE. I am praying for that ONE life to be touched by his faith and love for Jesus. Tonight my sweet Matthew needs your prayers. He continues to smile and embrace this place, but there are hard days ahead and hard news to come. Tomorrow threatens to bring some news that might be the most disturbing to Matthew so far. Tomorrow we find out about his future where sports are concerned. He is nervous to hear what the Dr. has to say, but he would walk it all again for ONE. My friends, please share the testimony of our amazing Jesus and His grace, strength, love and healing power. If only for ONE.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

He Meets Us At Our Point Of Need

The Dr. came in this morning and said Matthew was doing amazingly well. To quote, "He could not be doing any better." He came back and pulled the "brain drain" out and said we would be on our way home tomorrow. We were rejoicing and being tube free Matthew decided to take a bath.(That's my boy) As he got up and walked towards me I noticed what appeared to be something the size of a grapefruit protruding from the top of is temple to the bottom of his ear. I called for Matt to look. He took one look and said in urgency "Quick, get the nurse." When Matt feels urgent about something, then I know it is serious. The nurse came and in and they called the Dr. from the OR. At that moment I was scared to death. All I could do was pray and call on others to pray. I looked at my watch and realized everyone I knew was still in church. I called my brother's cell phone. They were in the middle of worshipping but Diane stepped out and grabbed the call figuring it was urgent due to the timing. I expressed to them our concern and they called on their prayer team and they prayed. I called 2 friends from our church and as word spread and people prayed the swelling began to go down immediately. My friends, GOD ANSWERS PRAYER and He says PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. In fact, by the time the Dr. came in the room the grapefruit had become an orange. The Dr. said he didn't see this much, but unless the swelling was in the area of what we call Matthew's pressure valve (the whole in his skull) then we didn't need to be too worried. I honestly thought the fluid was building back up and his face was going to explode. It looked that bad. God has continued to meet us at our point of need at every turn. Each and every detail has been covered by His almighty hand.

We have been excited today to share our faith with 2 of our nurses. We rejoice in the fact that they too are believers in the Lord Jesus and we were able to share our testimonies with each other. It was such a sweet time of fellowship and encouragement. Our prayer is that Matthew has no complications during the night and we can go home tomorrow. We are also praying that God would quickly bring those across our path that we need to share with, minister to and encourage, however it sounds as if we will be coming back quite often for check-ups, MRI's and other testings so hopefully this is just the beginning of a new mission field for the Hawkins family. I would prefer not to minister while admitted again, but a visit every few months would not be so bad.

Matthew is ready to get home and start hugging and thanking everyone for praying and praising on his behalf. We were reminded again today that our Christmas could have been very different. But God in His sovereignty has walked before us, carried us and provided the grace for each step of this path we are on. We remain humbled and thankful. This is not the end, but only the beginning.

A MORNING OF PRAISE!!!!

We are singing loud praises this morning. Around 5:00 they took Matthew in for a C-T Scan. The Dr. came in shortly after and said that Matthew was doing PHENOMENAL. So well in fact that they might be sending him home tomorrow. The Dr. is amazed at how well he is doing. The C-T scan showed that the swelling in his brain has gone down significantly, his ventricles are going back to normal size and the fluid is draining properly. His vision is getting so much better and his eyes are looking brighter and more open. They even came in and removed what we affectionately call his "brain drain." So many things to rejoice in this morning. We continue to praise Him and give Him ALL the GLORY. We stand amazed at the favor God has chosen to show our family. GOD IS ABLE TO DO ALL OF THIS AND SO MUCH MORE. I am not surprised at what He has done, but I am THANKFUL!! As my brother prayed last night as we had a family time of thanksgiving and praise, "God, most of all we thank you for sparing Matthew's life." There is so much to be thankful for and the praises continue to flow. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS TESTIMONY AS YOU HAVE ALL PRAYED AND PRAISED WITH US. Family of God....This is not just Matthew's testimony or the Hawkins' testimony, this is OUR (the body of Christ) testimony!!! You have all been a part of this testimony. ultimately it is the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST. THE MESSAGE OF WHAT JESUS HAS DONE. Sing with me..."To God be the glory great things He has done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus the son, who yielded His life an atonement for Sin and opened the life gates that all may go in. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice. Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son and GIVE HIM THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"He's Got It Covered"

Last night I could not go to sleep. All I could do was pray. I knew that I needed to rest at some point yet sleep would not come. Around 3:00 my phone beeped and it was a facebook message from a friend saying, "While your American friends sleep, know that your friends in England are praying." I was released and I knew that God had it covered. He had placed His prayer warriors all over the world. Today I have reports from friends in Chile, China, Brazil, Mexico, England and Jordan. They have been praying and praising. God took care of scheduling the intercessory prayer. Oh what comfort that has brought to my heart. If I even began to list the states where people were praying we could be here all night. Matthew said earlier, "Isn't it neat to think that this morning people were praising God ALL OVER THE WORLD at one time." I am hoping to compile of list of the songs God laid on the hearts of His people to sing and make Matthew a CD or the praises that were lifted up while God was guiding the hands of his Dr. Matthew also said, "Mom, I think the reason I have done so well is because all of these people have prayed and have PRAISED God." Not to us, but to your name be the glory!!

The Battle Is Won!!

He is out of surgery and doing well according to the Dr. This was a text book case. THIS TUMOR IS NOT MALIGNANT. Continue to sing HIS praises!! HE HAS WON THE BATTLE!! His peace continues to reign in our hearts! THANK YOU PRECIOUS FAMILY OF GOD FOR INTERCEDING AND WORSHIPPING WITH US.

Now Matthew can begin his hospital ministry!

And The Praises Begin...

As Matthew is in surgery I want to start pouring out the praises. We found out this morning when we met with the Dr. that there was a considerable difference in the MRI within the 48 hours time span between the 2. The Dr. said had our Dr. not caught this when he did Matthew would have gotten in trouble really fast. Praise 1 - GOD'S TIMING IS PERFECT AND HE HAS BEEN LAYING OUT THIS SCHEDULE. Praise 2 - DR. BLOUNT SAID THIS IS A TEXT BOOK CASE. THE TUMOR IS ONLY THE SIZE OF A BABY LIMA BEAN. Praise 3 - MATTHEW HAS BIG PASSAGE WAYS IN HIS BRAIN THAT MAKES THIS PROCEDURE MUCH EASIER. (We knew he had a big brain.)

We are singing and praising this morning. Matthew is AWESOME! We will let you know more when the Dr. comes out. We are hopeful! So now we want to get down to the business of why he sent us here. Pray for ministry opportunities!!

Please PRAISE!!


As I sit here NOT SLEEPING, but seeking answers from my Father I have a request for you my precious friends. Tomorrow morning as Matthew is in surgery I want to ask that you all sing praises to God and worship Him during the surgery. We have prayed for Matthew. God has heard our hearts and He knows the outcome. I was reminded tonight of King Jehoshaphat and the Word He received from the Lord...

Jehoshaphat, I have a word from the Lord. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not your, but God’s.” (Paraphase: So tomorrow, get up and march down there to where they are. Now they are going to be climbing up in pursuit of you, but) “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid or discouraged, go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”

I love the picture in this next verse, "Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the other people fell in worship before the Lord." Can't you see the relief? He just fell on his face in worship and praise to God. And as they did this God led them into a time of praise. As a matter of fact, the next morning when they went out to meet their enemy, they were clinging to the promise that God had made to them, but Jehoshaphat had resolved that he did not want this to become about him so he kept them focused. He appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.

Matthew is quite adamant that he does not want this to be about him. He wants to see God being glorified and praised. We are facing what feels like a vast army to me. God has revealed to us through His word that He has already bore our sickness, or sorrow and our sin on Calvary and by those stripes we are healed. We are called to praise HIM! When HE is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself.

Jehoshaphat chose to Worship instead of worry. Matthew has chosen to worship instead of worry.

Jehoshaphat knew that when we put the focus on God by worshipping, we take the focus off of ourselves and our circumstances. It is impossible to worry, fret and fear when you have entered into the presence of God, because those things are not of Him and in His presence they cannot abide. Worship also turns our hearts towards God and off of our circumstances.

I have shared this story before, but it always seems to touch my heart. This is not the first time Matthew has been faced with uncertainty...

Matthew is our 11 year old and he has SEVERE allergies. Matthew says “Paul had a thorn in his flesh, so why not me?” Matthew has many bad nights, but one particular night that stands out to me was about a year ago. Matthew was having trouble breathing and his eyes were giving him fits. As I tucked him in we talked yet again about God’s purposes and how He works out all things for our good and His glory. Matthew was feeling a little defeated spiritually and physically miserable and asked if he could sleep in our room. His daddy thought he would do better in his own bed since it has all the protective allergen covers, so I tucked him in and went about my nightly duties. As I walked past Matthew’s room this is what I heard in his precious, tone deaf, off key whisper of a voice...How can I keep from singing Your praise?How can I ever say enough?How amazing is Your love?How can I keep from shouting Your name?I know I am loved by the King And it makes my heart want to sing" Tears began to stream from my eyes and I froze and listened to this precious young man sing praises to Jesus until he fell asleep. He didn't liay awake questioning why him? He did not cry or sulk or worry about tomorrow or wonder what his next allergy attack would hold. HE PRAISED! "How can I keep from singing your praise?" God used this incredible young man of God, who I am privileged to call my son, to remind me to praise Him in ALL circumstances. Matthew and Jehoshaphat know the same truth. Worship trumps worry and they praised.

In verse 22 we see that as they began to sing and praise, The Lord set ambushes against men that were invading them and they were defeated.

So, instead of praying tomorrow during Matthew's surgery I ask that you crank up the volume of those voice boxes and sing praises to God. Bless HIS name. Sing of HIS goodness. Rejoice in HIS presence. HE will do the battle. HE will fight the fight. Please praise HIM with us and watch the MIGHTY hand of our God at work in this situation.

ALL FOR HIM AND FOR HIS GLORY!!!

Monica












Friday, December 17, 2010

"Humbled and Clinging"

I am humbled at the moment for many reasons. I'm humbled and thankful for the family of God who has come together to pray for our precious Matthew. Thank you will never be enough, yet at the same time I know this is why HE binds our hearts together through the unity of His son. I am humbled that God would entrust such an opportunity to us as a family. Wow! I never thought this would be me. Why? Because I am weak and I would crumble and yet HIS strength is perfect when our strength is gone. He carries us each step of the way. That is where the clinging comes in. That is all I can do is cling. Let me back up and let you know what has happened in the last few days. Matthew has been suffering from headaches for a couple of months. They have been getting worse and more frequent. We honestly had chalked it all up to allergies, but Wednesday when my tough as nails son who never cries was crying in pain we took him to the Dr. The Dr. was not concerned and thought it was just pre-teen migraines, but wanted to cover all of our bases. God had placed an urgency in our hearts to go to the Dr. and placed a thoroughness in our Dr. to make sure it was all covered. We were scheduled for an MRI the week after Christmas. God made an opening yesterday and MRI called us and wanted to see him at 4:00. Still having no reason to be alarmed we had the MRI and went out to dinner. This morning we got a rather urgent call from the Dr. wanting to see Matt and I together without Matthew. That is never a good sign. We went in and heard what at the time in my opinion was the worst case scenario. "Matthew has a mass in the center of his brain. At this time we do not know if it is cancer or not, but it is causing fluid to build up in his brain and spine and left untreated can be fatal." Punch me in the stomach. I couldn't breathe. I went numb. When he walked out of the room I lost it. All I remember was Matt holding me up and praying (thanking God for HIS strength.) Shortly after Matt began to make phone calls and word spread and our brothers and sisters in Christ began to pray. It was as if a blanket began to literally cover over my whole body. I could feel the covering of prayer. It swept over me and God began to provide strength and peace. We checked the boys out of school and took them home to share the news with them. Joshua took it the worst. He cried. He doesn't want Matthew to lose his hair and he offered to save him a piece of pizza. Caleb, being Caleb, drew a picture of Matthew's brain with a big spot in the middle, hugged him and said, "Well, you've been a good brother." This is how Caleb deals with things, he makes us laugh. Matthew was stunned for a moment and then began to joke it off. I think he was in shock. As we got in the car, per our Dr.'s orders that this was serious and should be handled TODAY, Matthew began to share with us some prayer requests. "Mom, as people pray tell them to pray for this. Tell them to pray that I can have a ministry to other children there who are sicker than I am. Pray that if I lose my hair it will grow back fast. Pray I don't die, but if I do please know that I am not worried about that. Pray that I won't be scared. Pray that God will use this to build my testimony and show me how to use it. Pray that God will use this to grow our church closer together and most importantly closer to God."

Never once did he ask us to pray that God would take it away. That is what I have been praying, or maybe even demanding in my heart. Matthew is in great spirits and he keeps finding ways we can learn and grow through this. You know as a mom that is humbling. I am the speaker. I am the one who writes and yet he is the one who really gets it.

As I sit here typing Matthew is in a 3 hour long MRI. Only one parent could go back and he chose Dad. He knows who can handle the stress. I sit here interceding on his behalf and humbled that God would bless me with such a son. He is amazing. He is not mine. He is HIS! That is harder to say today than it ever has been. I don't like letting go of that mommy grip.

We will know more later tonight, but right now we are looking at surgery around 8:00 in the morning. They will not be removing the tumor at this time. They want to go in and basically make a bi-pass valve for the fluid in his brain. The tumor has caused his brain not to drain correctly. This bi-pass will hopefully relieve the pressure. They are not making promises, but they are trying to get us home by Christmas. Christmas...the holiday seems not so important at the moment, yet the reason we celebrate is ALL we can cling to. We are praying, we are praising, we are singing and we are scared. I teach about overcoming fear all the time and yet I have been on the ups and downs of that very sin all day long. What outweighs that fear however is the peace that comes in knowing that HE knows all things. He sees all things. He has a plan for THIS!!!! I would not have chosen this, but then again who am I to choose? We desire HIS will above all. I am reminded as I type with tears what Matthew prayed concerning himself. "God have your way and give us the strength to accept whatever that is." I would walk this for Matthew if I could, but I can honestly say I cannot think of a better child to be entrusted with this trial. He is pointing to Jesus through it all. He is clinging to Him and he is sharing with every nurse and Dr. we meet. He is telling them that he is not scared because HIS church is praying.

Thank you for your continued prayer and be encouraged. Matthew is!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"I Want To Live Again"

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Christmas officially begins at our home when we can visit with George Bailey and the other townspeople of Bedford Falls. Even mean old Mr. Potter is a welcome sight at our house this time of year. This is one of those movies that feels like it has been a part of your life forever. I honestly can't remember the first time I saw it. My husband on the other hand has a very vivid memory of his first introduction to George Bailey. Matt grew up in a military home, with his dad out to sea on occasion and his only sibling 5 years older than him. Matt was a good, sensitive kid and has always loved his mother dearly. He recalls one afternoon during the Christmas season when he walked in the den and his mom was watching a "black and white" movie. As most young teenage boys, he was not interested, but because he loved his mom and wanted to spend time with her he sat down and the rest is history. This is his all time favorite movie. He can quote it, he owns and dominates the trivia game and he has even referenced this movie in sermons on occasion. The story of George Bailey is not that different from "our" story if you really think about it. At some point in our lives we all wonder if we are making a difference. Do I really matter? Would anyone even noticed if I wasn't here? What if my life was different? What if I had never been born? Isn't there something I could do that is bigger than this? I have asked one of more of these questions from time to time. I've never had a cute, chubby angel named Clarence, in long johns, drinking a flaming rum punch, trying to earn his wings come and show me how silly my thought process is, but the Holy Spirit within me has spoken louder than Clarence ever could. God is faithful to remind me that when we are sold out for Him and living according to His plan for our lives it does not matter how the world views our success or even how we view our success, but all that matters is our obedience to Him. Sometimes life can seem mundane and we can fall into the trap of thinking "is this all there is?" When our Heavenly Father is saying, "Look at ALL there is." He is ALL we need. At the end of this movie George Bailey says over and over again what has become my favorite line of the whole movie..."I want to live again. Please God let me live again." My question for you and for me this Christmas is are we really, truly LIVING the life God ordained in eternity past for us to live or are we pining away the days in regret and bitterness wishing our lives had turned out differently. Choose today to LIVE for Him and find the abundance of Zhu Zhu's joyous petals in your pockets. He came, He has come so that we might have LIFE abundantly. I WANT TO LIVE AGAIN!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome To Our Traditions


Welcome to our home this Christmas!

This Christmas I decided to do some things a little differently. I wanted to rearrange some of our Christmas decorations, but I was quickly out voted by 4 precious little boys who have grown to be very sentimental and who thrive on tradition. I never realized how much until this year. They remember just how we decorate everything, what songs we sing while decorating, what movie we watch as soon as the decorations are put up and the fact that as soon as the decorations are up it is time to each clementines and white covered chocolate pretzels. I was a little disappointed at first that my boys would not let me be creative and do some new things with our decorations, but the disappointment quickly subsided and I was overjoyed that they care so much about our family tradition. With great joy I followed the traditions that apparently Matt and I began 15 years ago. It is the prayer of my heart that the vision of our home at Christmas will not be the only legacy that my children cling to so tightly, but that the love of our Savior will always be just as important and just as much a part of their lives as the twinkling lights they remember each Christmas. Our home is always a fun place to be, but there is just something about celebrating our Savior's birth with all this bling and fanfare that makes our home a retreat, a haven, a magical, peaceful place to be. We welcome you to our home this Christmas!


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Thanks For Giving"


We recently did some reorganizing and placed a corner desk in our bedroom. I hung a dry erase board over my desk and since the moment it was hung Caleb has used it for a form of encouragement. He leaves me a new message everyday. I love it. His messages are so Caleb and definitely from the heart. "I love you mommy." "Love my chicken." "You are awesome." "You are super, super mom." Last week he left a message that really made me think. "Mom, thanks for giving birth to me." "Thanks for giving".... that is the phrase that has kept me thinking for the last week. It was my pleasure to give birth to him. It was my honor and I am the one who is thankful daily as he brings joy and fun to my life. "Thanks for giving"... How often do we stop and use that phrase? When was the last time you said to someone, "Thanks for giving." It is rare that I cook a meal and do not hear "thank you mom." My children are very good at saying thank you. I'm not sure if it is training or a truly intrinsic heart of thanks but nevertheless they say thank you. How often to I say "thanks for giving?" We have so much to be thankful for and yet so often we walk around with the idea that we deserve the things we receive and more. Or we walk around in a cloud of complaining, which I have been very guilty of lately. Giving birth to Caleb was my honor, but until last week he had never thanked me for it. I have never expected or even desired a thank you, but when he thought to thank me, it blessed me beyond measure. How many other people in our lives do not expect or even desire a "thanks" but would be blessed beyond measure to hear it? When was the last time you thanked God for sending His only son to die for you, thanked Jesus for paying your penalty on the cross, thanked Him for His unconditional love? These are things we should thank our Heavenly Father for daily. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever." He didn't do these things so we would thank Him. He did them because He loves us. He delights in our praise and in our thanksgiving. How about others in our lives...when was the last time you thanked your husband for being the provider of your home? When was the last time you thanked your children for bringing joy to your life? When was the last time you thanked your pastor for his spiritual leadership and biblical instruction in your life? When was the last time you thanked your postman, your sanitation workers, your waitress or your check out person at Walmart? Yes, they are all serving in the areas God has called them to, but a little thanks goes a long way. Joshua and I were walking through his school the other day and I heard him say, "Hey, Mr. D, thanks for all you do." Mr. D takes care of their school. He does a great job and I have a feeling he does it with little recognition. I'm not sure if Joshua did this of his own accord or if he has been encouraged to thank Mr. D, but either way Joshua was not taking for-granted all that Mr. D does for them. "Thanks for giving Mr. D." Pray and ask the Lord to make you a person with a thankful heart. Pray about who you need to "thanks for giving." Father, make us a thankful people. May we never live expecting from you or from others, but may be always be found giving thanks."

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Temptations Of A Mud Puddle"


Monday night was a night of gifts in this mommy world I call home. It had been raining all day and soccer practice was cancelled. Normally this wouldn't have excited me so much but I had been away all weekend and was in need of some quality family time with my guys. Not to mention that being on the soccer fields multiple nights of the week is starting to lose its excitement now that we are almost 3 months into soccer season. So gift number one came in the way of an e-mail closing the soccer fields, but the next e-mail I got was even more exciting. Matt e-mailed and said, "How about a family night out on the town? We can take in a matinee movie and have dinner at chick-fil-a." I was so excited because anything that involves parting with money is usually my idea, so if Matt was on board with this, then WHOOO HOOOO. Let's go. I was cleaning a house that afternoon and was almost finished when I realized it was pouring down rain and my boys would be stepping off of the bus in just a minute. I scooted to the bus stop and then came back and left them in the car while I finished my spit and shine. Apparently I have neglected to tell my children that when you are watching a movie you do not turn the car off. I hopped in the car with the clock ticking quickly to 4:00 which is when Matthew has to be picked up from his robotics class. Click, click was all that I heard as I turned the key and tried to hurry on my way. A DEAD BATTERY! I never have a dead battery. I will spare you the rest of the details but needless to say we were late to get Matthew and 40 minutes later as I sat in my friends driveway with the rain pouring down, I was in NO mood for a night out on the town. We had already missed the matinee and I was bummed. I might have complained a little and I am pretty sure I sighed, huffed and I might have threatened to never even bother going to the movies again. As usual, (which is why I am so blessed) my wonderful husband helped me to put it all into perspective, rebuked me gently and suggested I go home shower, rest a few minutes and we would have dinner first and then catch the movie. After all it was only $4 more to go later. Sigh! All of this is what brings me to my favorite part of the evening. As we were leaving the movie all excited and talking about our favorite parts we opened the door to the continued downpour and Jacob spotted it. His eyes grew as big as golf balls, his mouth opened wide in excitement and he squealed "A MUD PUDDLE." I could see that it was taking every bit of the self-control he could muster to stay right where he was. "Look Mommy, a mud puddle." "Jacob, you want to jump into it don't you?" "Oh yeah!" He stood eyes a gaze at his greatest temptation in life. A MUD PUDDLE. I had to ask him another question, "Jacob, is it taking everything within you to not run and jump in that mud puddle." "Yes ma'am, I want to sooo bad." I thanked him for resisting the temptation and obeying what he knew in his heart was the standard. It was hard for him to resist the temptation to wallow in the mud, but with every ounce of his three year old body he resisted. I wish I exercised that much self-control. Just that day I gave into wallowing in the mud of self-pity, aggravation, bad attitudes and negative thoughts. I didn't resist the temptation, I just dove in head first and wallow, wallow, wallowed. Jacob knew the standard. He knew from experience that he was not allowed to jump and run and lay and wallow in mud puddles. He had given in once before and though it was fun for a little while, it was not fun having to suffer the consequences of riding home wet, cold and barely clothed and it was not fun for the one who had to clean him up. Sound familiar, wallowing in sin may at times bring momentary gratification, but in the end the mess we have to clean up is so not worth it. Not to mention, the greatest consequence of them all. The one who provided the clean up on the cross, is the one who suffers the most. He gave His life in order that we do not have to give into temptation any longer. 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." Mark 14:38 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." We no longer have to give into temptation. We can resist it just as Jacob did. He made a choice NOT to wallow in that mud. As a matter of fact, he didn't even come close to it, but it took self-control. He fought it and he fought it hard. Oh how my heart longs to be a fighter like Jacob and resist the temptations of a mud puddle."

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Fear Not, For I Bring You Good News"


If someone told you that they possessed something that would make it possible to never fear again would you buy it sight unseen? If I assured you that once you possessed this you would not be afraid of failing marriages, wayward children, financial difficulties or even spiders that crawl in the bathtub would you want what I have? Maybe I'm just a sucker for doing things the easy way, but if you could guarantee me that all my fears would be washed away, I would knock you down and trip my own mother just to get to this miraculous, mysterious solution to that which has held me captive for so long. Luke 2:10 "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good new of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." We see right before this that even shepherds had fears. These men who were the protector of their flocks and fought off large scary animals could still become terrified. I realize that the angels were addressing this fear when they said, "Do not be afraid." But, I also believe they were addressing you and me that night as well. You see these angels knew "good news" that would lead to "great joy." I believe these angels were bringing more than a birth announcement. They were bringing peace, comfort and hope as they said "Do not be afraid." In other words, you do not have to fear anymore because today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. Jesus came to take away our sins once and for all. He came to take away our sins of fear and worry. It is possible to live a fearless, worry-free life when we live abiding in our Savior and rejoicing in His good news and basking in His great joy. When I first read this, it was as if the Lord said, "Monica DO NOT BE AFRAID, I have good news and His name is JESUS." Because of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ I do not have to fear. He came to conquer fear, he came to conquer worry, he came to conquer death, hell and the grave. In order to allow death,hell and the grave to be conquered in our lives we had to give our lives over to Him, repenting of our sins and walking in the new life He offers. The same is true with fear. We have to give that fear to Him, acknowledging that He is the supreme authority and that nothing happens in our lives that stumps God or catches Him off guard. He came to save us from ourselves. He came so that we could take captive every thought and make them obedient to Him. He came so that we no longer have to fear. For the believer, what is the worst that could happen in any situation? We would die and spend eternity with Him. How dare we think this is worst case scenario? Remember "to die is gain." I know this is a hard things for our earthly trained minds to comprehend, but remembering that better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere brings great rejoicing. Do Not Be Afraid!! I have good news and His name is Jesus and He HAS conquered your fears!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"The Battle Is Not Yours But God's" Part 3


If you remember when we left Jehoshaphat yesterday he had just called on the chorus as he appointed men to sing to the Lord as they went first into battle. Why would he do this? What was he thinking? Why send the worshippers in first? Shouldn't the praise and worship come later, like after the battle is won? Jehoshaphat knew he had a choice and he...


3. Jehoshaphat chose to Worship instead of worry.

Jehoshaphat knew that when we put the focus on God by worshipping, we take the focus off of ourselves and our circumstances. It is impossible to worry, fret and fear when you have entered into the presence of God, because those things are not of Him and in His presence they cannot abide. Worship also turns our hearts towards God and off of our circumstances.

I have shared this story before, but it always seems to touch my heart.


Matthew is our 11 year old and he has SEVERE allergies. Matthew says “Paul had a thorn in his flesh, so why not me?” Matthew has many bad nights, but one particular night that stands out to me was about a year ago. Matthew was having trouble breathing and his eyes were giving him fits. As I tucked him in we talked yet again about God’s purposes and how He works out all things for our good and His glory. Matthew was feeling a little defeated spiritually and physically miserable and asked if he could sleep in our room. His daddy thought he would do better in his own bed since it has all the protective allergen covers, so I tucked him in and went about my nightly duties. As I walked past Matthew’s room this is what I heard in his precious, tone deaf, off key whisper of a voice...How can I keep from singing Your praise?How can I ever say enough?How amazing is Your love?How can I keep from shouting Your name?I know I am loved by the King And it makes my heart want to sing" Tears began to stream from my eyes and I froze and listened to this precious young man sing praises to Jesus until he fell asleep. He didn't liay awake questioning why him? He did not cry or sulk or worry about tomorrow or wonder what his next allergy attack would hold. HE PRAISED! "How can I keep from singing your praise?" God used this incredible young man of God, who I am privileged to call my son, to remind me to praise Him in ALL circumstances. Matthew and Jehoshaphat know the same truth. Worship trumps worry and they praised.

In verse 22 we see that as they began to sing and praise, The Lord set ambushes against men that were invading them and they were defeated.

These vast armies began to destroy each other. Verse 24 tells us "When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground. No one had escaped." What they saw was God's promise fulfilled. Remember what God said in Verse 17, "You will not have to fight them." He said, go out and take your position, but this is my battle. I got this. I can handle this. You all just come and watch and be amazed. Once the battle was over they spent a few days collecting their plunder and praised the Lord all the while. They went home with joyful hearts, worshipful hearts. And verse 29 tells us that the fear of the Lord came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard what had happened. And I love verse 30. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. N0ne of those those other Kingdoms dared to mess with them. (As my children would say, ya think?) They had witnessed or heard tell of how the Lord had fought that battle and they didn't want any part of it. Jehoshaphat was given rest.Why? Because he chose to handle it God's way. He chose to inquire of the Lord. He chose to fear God not man. Elisabeth Elliot says "The fear of God is the giving over to Him all that we are and have because He is perfectly trustworthy."

Is there anything troubling your heart today? Maybe it's financial stress, a physical ailment, a crumbling marriage, loneliness or a rebellious child? Maybe it is a broken relationship or a desired friendship? Maybe it is a feeling of inadequacy in something God has called you to do? From time to time I will ask my children, "Is something troubling your heart?" If your Father were to stand before you and say, "My child, what troubles your heart?" What would you say to Him? What is your fear tonight? What vast armies are seeking to attack you? What burden have you assumed that God never intended for you to carry? Are you willing to do what Jehoshaphat did?

1. Are you willing to remain steadfast in Him?

Psalms 62:5-8 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."


2. Are you content to wait on Him?


Psalms 27:14 “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”


Psalms 33:20 “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”


Psalm 38:15 “Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.”


3. Will you choose to worship instead of worry?


Psalms 100:2 “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”


Psalms 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him”


Allow God to carry your burden. Give them to Him because He is completely trustworthy!



"The Battle Is Not Yours But God's" Part 2


Let me make a disclaimer....if you are in the Valdosta area and are attending the "Traditions" conference tomorrow night you will want to stop reading now. These blogs (part 1 and part2) are taken from portions of my talk for tomorrow night, so don't ruin the surprise. Go ahead, log off.

Ok, for the rest of you, I want to pick up where we left off yesterday. We learned that Jehoshaphat was steadfast in his faith. So here we are, Jehoshaphat has just prayed before this assembly and even though he was king, in humility before everyone he admitted that he did not know what to do, but He was going to keep his eyes on God.

I don't know about you guys, but I was a little disturbed at the lack of urgency King Jehoshaphat was experiencing here. Don't get me wrong, I am all for praying, but let's pray and move, move, move. But here we find...

2. Jehoshaphat was content to wait.

He had called his people together to pray and to fast. He prayed expressing to God that he did not know what to do and he waited.

This is an excerpt from a previous blog, but it applies to this point...

Sometimes the greatest lessons are not found in the answer, but in the wait that comes before. Is seems that many times in my life God has place me in the “wait.” We often see those times of “wait” as a punishment, a cruel joke or wasted time, but in reality the “wait” can be the greatest lesson of them all. Have you ever been there in that time of wait? Are you there now? I can think back on many times of waiting. I waited for God to bring me a mate, all the while He was preparing me and Matt for His great plan. I am thankful for those days of wait that brought us both to His feet and allowed us to first love Him intimately. I waited and waited to become pregnant, learning more lessons during that wait than I could have thought possible only to be blessed with 4 precious boys. Sometime layering the "waits" God was teaching me multiple lessons as over the years I have awaited test results from Cat-scans, MRI's Blood tests, Biopsies, not only on me but sometimes my husband and once my small child. Thinking that God would receive the greatest glory when the answers came and then realizing that the greatest lessons came in the time He called me to wait because sometimes the answers did not seem so great. We miss so many teachable moments by worrying away the days of waiting, when God desires for us to embrace the wait and sit at His feet. He is always teaching us. I believe that sometimes He allows the wait to remain until we become pliable and learn the lesson He had planned out for us.What is your wait today? Has God called you to a new discipline in your life? Are you waiting on a mate? Do you long to hold a child in your arms? Are you awaiting test results from your doctor? Maybe it is a financial need that you are trusting God to take care of? Whatever the weakness, allow Him to be your strength. Whatever the "wait," ask Him to teach you, mold you , shape you and allow you to remain until His will has been accomplished in your life. Sometimes the "wait" can be the most precious time you ever spend.

Jehoshaphat was content to wait and oh how quickly God answered. Jahziel stood up and this is what he said,

“Jehoshaphat, I have a word from the Lord. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not your, but God’s.” (Paraphase: So tomorrow, get up and march down there to where they are. Now they are going to be climbing up in pursuit of you, but) “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid or discouraged, go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”

I love the picture in this next verse, "Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the other people fell in worship before the Lord." Can't you see the relief? He just fell on his face in worship and praise to God. And as they did this God led them into a time of praise. As a matter of fact, the next morning when they went out to meet their enemy, they were clinging to the promise that God had made to them, but Jehoshaphat had resolved that he did not want this to become about him so he kept them focused. He appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

I don't know much about wars and battles, but if I was in charge, I probably would not send the chorus out first. I would send my football team out. Send those big, strong, burly guys out and get this thing over with, but Jehoshaphat knew what he was doing.

Join me tomorrow to find out more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"The Battle Is Not Yours, But God's" Part 1


“Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us. We assume a burden that God never intended for us to carry.”


I want to share with you the story of King Jehoshaphat and how he dealt with fear.


2 Chronicles 20:1-30 Here we have Jehoshaphat and he is approached by some men that have come to tell himA vast army is coming against you” and as a matter of fact Jehoshaphat it is already on its way.


Not, there is a possibility or we have heard rumors that...but they are close. They are coming to make war with you.


At this point Monica would have done one of 2 things...I would have snatched up my children, my scrapbooks and a few clothes and run like the wind or I would have started preparing for the fight. But what did Jehoshaphat do. Verse 3 says “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed they came from every town in Judah to seek him”


Vast armies are on there way and even though it says he was alarmed, Jehoshaphat “resolved” to inquire of the Lord. I love this word resolved (to fully determine to do something). With everything else that might possibly need doing to prepare for a war, Jehoshaphat “resolved” to pray. He was determined to inquire of the Lord as to what they should do. He called the people to fast and pray. And as these people all came together from different towns this is what Jehoshaphat prayed...


“LORD, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

1. Jehoshaphat was Steadfast in his faith.

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Have you ever been there? Have you ever been faced with a situation where you had no idea what to do? Have you ever wanted to pull the covers over your head and hope it was all a bad dream? What are you facing today? Are you pulling the covers over your head or are you standing steadfast in your faith and “Inquiring of the Lord.”

Return tomorrow for Part 2.