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Deuteronomy 32:3-4  (CJB)
 
3 “For I will proclaim the name of Adonai.
Come, declare the greatness of our God!
4 The Rock! His work is perfect,
for all his ways are just.
A trustworthy God who does no wrong,
he is righteous and straight.
 
Isaiah 26:3-4  (CJB)
3 “A person whose desire rests on you
you preserve in perfect peace,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in Adonai forever,
because in Yah Adonai,
is a Rock of Ages.”
 
I have experienced many "not now" moments in living out the call to love and serve.  Many times these "Not Now" nudges from the Lord appear as a closed door.
 
No door has seemed more closed to me personally than adoption.  As my husband and I started to consider children as a newly married couple our hearts were drawn to adoption.  We began looking into domestic adoption and became pregnant with our first child.  We talked about adoption again knowing there are families all around us in need and we were feeling the tug to be part of the solution.  Again, we became pregnant with our second child.  We again started to talk about adoption especially as our hearts and eyes were opened to the many young, unmarried girls around us facing unplanned pregnancy and their children growing up in makeshift family.  This time we were led to House of His Creation and were houseparents living with teen moms and their children.  My mind and heart were then turned to "Hagar" to walking with her and encouraging her, loving her and showing her a way out of slavery and the cycles of hurt.  Then we became pregnant with our third child and felt that our season of having natural children was done, and even then the door to adoption remained closed.
 
Over the past decade my heart has yearned to expand our family and to answer the call to "adopt".   The Lord has worked it far differently, however, than I imagined and though the door has remained closed to adopting through foster care or infant adoption, we have gained many daughters and their children as part of our family.  I have accompanied a family in adopting overseas, helped others start host family programs to serve young women needing family, and we have opened our home to women coming out of hard places to experience family.  
 
Yes, We have become mother and father beyond our natural children and walked with young women both as single parents and through adoption as a parenting plan. Yet to me the door to adoption remains closed.  
 
I can choose to see this closed door as the Lord withholding from me what I desire or I can choose to see it as His provision. I can recognize how this desire has been part of enabling and fostering this heart of adoption in others and that though my expectation of that desire was not met, I can know that it is being fulfilled.  I have to choose to trust that where there is a not now or a closed door that He is good and His ways are perfect.
 
May you have new eyes to see beyond the "closed doors" in your life!  May you proclaim that the ways of the Lord are perfect! 
May your trust remain in the "Rock of Ages"!
 

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Luke 1:17 (NIV)

17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—

to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

 

 You are a people prepared!  You are ready to see the Lord work through you!  You are in your place for a purpose!

Luke 1:17 caught my attention during our family bible reading leading up to Christmas.  It caught my attention because it has been my heart cry.  It is the prayer and promise that has propelled what my husband and I and countless others have been preparing and working for.  Planning for the time and season when those ready to receive the word of the Lord in their distress, dysfunction and disunity would turn and need a place to learn the wisdom of the righteous and how to walk out of the darkness and into the light.  Each housing ministry, pregnancy help organization, feet on the street, mercy ministry, evangelist effort, ...anywhere His body is allowing His Spirit to lead .... we are in process and are prepared.  The time is now.  The season has come.  We are a people prepared for the Lord to move and call forth His treasure...each heart, each mind, each individual from prostitution, pornography, promiscuity...addiction, anxiety, anger...hurt, hunger, hardship and all the things that separate us. 

We are prepared and in our places to walk alongside.  To model what love looks like in good and bad times, in the messy and the joyous, in the beautiful and the ugly.  To give voice, flesh and meaning to the Living Word that has come.  How do I know this?  How can I say this from behind this screen?  How can you believe it even though all you see in front of you is hardness and pain?  I know it because the Lord has promised it.  He is drawing the lost, He is calling His people to be prepared, He has said it is time!  

I have seen and spoken to those in deep darkness drawn to His light.  I have heard the heart cry of those lost.  I have witnessed the decision for help move from an instant need being met to the determination of making a long term change moving from living aimlessly to a life of purpose and hope.   I have walked through dark seasons where death was calling, memories invading and no end in sight to the pain...yet always, always where the Spirit of the Lord is there IS freedom! [Galatians 5]

Stand in your place as a people prepared!  Lock in for the long journey of growing up God's people!  Walk as those who are Free!

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The Passion Translation 

James 1:2-3

2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested[c] it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

God chose us as vessels for His life.  But we're clay-we have cracks and missing pieces.  We break easily and are brittle.   But because we carry His light that light shines through more when we are  broken and hurting.  The light doesn't replace our missing pieces, but fills it with light for others to see. -Aurora Jeanette Neff

 

May this word today stand as a testimony to the goodness of our Abba Father. My dear friend and mentor sent me this verse from James and my daughter shared the insight.  Putting it together I pray that you, along with me, will willingly allow the Lord to work in the deep places in our hearts in order to allow Him to shine through.  Ultimately, our brokenness and hardship are part of the path to standing firm in the darkness.  It is through hardship, tears and sorrows that those before us, those around us and those after us will remain firm, rooted in trust, holding fast to God's word.  His truth is what will overcome the things we are working to see ended: abortion, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, suicide, drug addiction, broken families and all forms of misuse of our bodies...all the paths that lead to death.  We are being emptied so that the Life of Christ can fill in the empty cracks left by the ravages of sin: ours and others.  He desires to fill in all the empty, broken and misunderstood pieces.  He is working us together to be a beautiful display of His glory! He is the One who has overcome!

John 1:5 (NIV)

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

May you see the light in your darkness!  May you grow stronger in your faith!  May you allow the light of Christ to shine through!

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Jeremiah 6:16

16 Here is what Adonai says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask about the ancient paths,
‘Which one is the good way?’
Take it, and you will find rest for your souls.

re·or·i·ent

/ˌrēˈôrēənt/
verb
change the focus or direction of.
"the country began reorienting its economic and social policies in 1988"
find one's position again in relation to one's surroundings.
"slowly they advanced, stopping every so often and then reorienting themselves"

I went to college in Houghton, NY where snow starts in October and lasts into the Spring.  I loved exploring the woods and trails near the campus and from day one, participating in a two week pre-class Highlander experience (backpacking, ropes course and rock climbing), quickly had it drilled in that you always have a "spotter" when climbing and that you never wander off alone.  This translated into adventuring with newly formed friends through the woods and trails nearby and for the most part not doing so alone.  The first Spring on campus, snow still on the ground and creeks running high and fast, a friend and I decided we would hike in the woods and cross at a known spot along the creek bank to circle back towards our dorm.  Neither of us gave it much thought and within seconds we both were swept down the creek completely emerged in the water passing through felled logs, rocky bottom and who knows what else.  I was ahead of my friend and truly believe, by God's grace and the hand of an angel, I grabbed onto something, grabbed a hold of my friend and we scrambled out onto the snowy, muddy bank soaked to the bone.  As you may imagine that left us slightly disoriented and at risk for hypothermia.  We regrouped and followed the creek back to the dorms where a concerned friend sat us in front of the heater, got us to change out of our cold, wet clothes and made us hot chocolate.  She even lectured us in lieu of parental presence.  

I love this story and when I think back on it I recognize all that the Lord had in place to help us reorient, get warm and feel loved.  I recently have walked through an intense season that ended in what felt very much like being swept down a swollen, rushing creek where I lost my footing and had no reason to get out without a scratch, bruise or long lasting scar.   As I reflect on the seasons and experiences that have felt like being swept down the creek, I also see the markers, the kindness extended and the loving rebukes to help me for next time. Loving people without reservation and entering fully into other's pain and struggle can often feel disorienting and we need the intervention and help of a friend to reorient.  Father God is so good to place markers on the trail and signs that help us reorient.  He sends a kind word, a witness to our struggle and often a landing point. I pray that in this season, which for many can feel disorienting, you will not be found walking alone and that you will be able to see the markers to point you towards rest for your souls. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (CJB)

Two are better than one, in that their cooperative efforts yield this advantage: 10 if one of them falls, the other will help his partner up — woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to help him up.

 

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John 8:12(CJB)

1Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.”

God Is With Us!  I was reminded in our weekend service that as we seek direction and look for signs and wonders it is all meant to point us to Jesus and give evidence that God is with us.  We are seeking to see the Hand of God at work in our lives, in our families, in our vocation and ministry.  If God is not with us then perhaps we are not where we should be.  Seeking the signs and wonders is not really what we are after.  We are pursuing the source of Life.  We are living examples of living a life of love.  We are empowered to live out God's plans and purposes for our lives and bear the light which gives life.

We can move so quickly through each day, each season and like a young child whether from excitement, passion, eagerness or fear push forward not paying attention to the signs around us.  We get so focused that sometimes we need to stop and seek the light.  We need to seek which way the Spirit is leading and not rely on the routine, what we thought we were after when we started or where we think the road is leading.

God is With Us!  He is the One in whom I live and breathe and have my being (Acts 17:28)...He is the One whom I am serving...

He is the One I will seek as I look at where I have come from and where I am going.

Psalm 46:8-11 The Passion Translation (TPT)

8–9 Everyone look!
    Come and see the breathtaking wonders of our God.
    For he brings both ruin and revival.
    He’s the one who makes conflicts end
    throughout the earth,
    breaking and burning every weapon of war.
10 Surrender your anxiety![a]
    Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
    I am the God above all the nations,
    and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
11 Here he stands!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side!
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence

 

May your eyes be open to see where the light is !  May you surrender your anxiety and stop your striving! 

May you pause in His presence to find your place!