Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jehovah Jireh....always!

I'm sure if I look back through all of my blog posts I would see so many titles similar to this one!  That's because Jehovah Jireh continues to provide!!  Today, I loaded my boys onto a bus bound for Pittsburgh, PA for their first mission trip and my Jehovah Jireh made it possible for them to go!!  He is good and He is faithful!  See, short of His Hand, there would've been no way possible for them to go.  When I say no way, I mean NO WAY!  Our budget has always been tight, but lately the squeeze seems to be smothering.  But God, just showed up and showed off for them - AGAIN!! 

My prayer for them this week is that they will see the Hand of God so clearly at work in and thru them.  It was strange because I usually am so nervous to send them away, whenever they're with someone other than me, but this morning, I was filled with His peace.  His peace that passes all understanding!!  I hugged their necks, snuck a quick kiss on their cheeks (don't tell them I told) and sent them off!  There were tears, but mostly because I wasn't able to go with them this time, not because I was afraid or worried.  THAT's nothing short of His Hand as well.  If I've been called anything it's been over-protective, but when it comes to work that has the potential to change someone's eternity - that's a no-brainer!  God's got them!!  Who am I to stand in His way?

So, I'll ask if when you read this you will pray - either for their trip if it's still happening now - or pray for their future.  I KNOW that one of my boys is going to be in full time ministry so I ask you to pray for their protection.  Not from threat or danger, but from the attacks of the enemy to distract them from God's call on their life!!  Thanks so much!!  Jehovah Jireh will provide......

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Messengers, Angels and talking donkeys, oh my....

Year of the Bible reading has us in Numbers.  Tucked in the midst of all those laws are some AMAZING stories.  When I say amazing, I mean ahhh-mazing!!!  Numbers 22 is one of those places where you're reading along, waiting to see where the story goes and then WHAM!  It's like the Lord wrote it to say 'Are you listening...REALLY listening?' 

The Israelites have gained "a name" in the land as being chosen by God and had 'grown to cover the face of the land'.  Balak, king of Moab, summons Balaam - a prophet - to get a curse put on these people (his enemy).  Balaam tells him that he can't go against what the Lord has promised but that news doesn't sit well with this king so he sends even more princes out to "persuade" Balaam to come and pronounce this curse on the people.  Balaam seems like he's really got it together - not going against what the Lord has commanded or promised - but then, as he always does - the Lord shows us that even in His chosen messengers there is still humanity, there are still problems and still issues. 

The Lord told Balaam that HE would tell him when to go with the men and when he woke the very next day he got up and went with them.  How often do I do that?  How often do I feel the Lord call me to something and then when He asks me to wait for His lead, I just jump right in, take things by the reigns and find myself in a ditch, against a wall or flat on my face?  See, that's just where Balaam ended up,  riding his donkey and taking her by the reigns forging forward without the Word from the Lord.  His donkey has more discernment than he did.  She saw the angel of the Lord and tried to stop him.  She ran into the ditch (he beat her back onto the road), she ran him into a wall (again he forced HIS will on her), then she just flopped down on her belly in fear of the Lord. 

Balaam gets so mad that when his donkey opens her mouth to say "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" he simply replies (paraphrase) 'Because you've embarrassed me in front of all these princes."  Again, how often have I been there?  So caught up in myself that I miss a miracle...a TALKING DONKEY for crying out loud!!!  No, the Lord hasn't made my dog talk to me...yet (I don't have a donkey)....but how many times have I overlooked miracles, blessings because I'm so caught up in getting my own way, worried about how other's will see me, or just downright mad? 

It's so easy to sit back and judge the people in the Bible because we can read to the end of their story - we can see how the Lord either reveals Himself (like He did to Balaam by opening his eyes to what his donkey saw) or we can see how the Lord judges them and punishes them.  We don't know the end of our story, however, we don't see the big picture of what God has planned for us so instead we - or should I say I - need to take these stories, these people and find ourselves (myself) in them.  Read about each person and their situation in the Word of God and then take a long look at ourselves in the mirror before we cast judgement on them or before we think we have nothing to learn from them.

I challenged my Sunday school girls to memorize Romans 15:4 this year.   "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."  When we look at the Word of God we need to be ready to be taught, find endurance to face our hardships, be encouraged when we're fighting the enemy and then ultimately to find hope when we feel hopeless and to tell others about the hope we have!  My prayer is that it doesn't take a talking donkey for the Lord to get my attention when I'm heading down a path that isn't the path HE has chosen for me!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Laws are a good thing.  They protect us.  They set standards and expectations for us to live our lives by.  They determine right from wrong - good from evil.  Without them there would be chaos.  Laws are good.  Really?....

Of course I think laws are good, but I also think they can intrude into placed they don't need to go....they can restrict freedoms...they can allow evil to reign.  It's a fine line when laws are put into place between oppression and freedom.  Fine line indeed.

We're in Leviticus in our YOTB reading and wow....the laws.  The "if, then" statements....whew.  Rough.  Graphic even....especially those animal "entrails and dung"....ugh!  Don't even get me started with the clean and the unclean!  I was reading today about the uncleanness of women during their "monthly cycle" and it struck me how hard our ancestors had it.  I mean really.  Outside the camp for 7 days after - everything we touched was unclean - everything we sat or laid on was unclean.  Whew..thank you Jesus for the 21st century! LOL

At one point I wrote in my journal - these laws Lord, what do they mean?  Why are they here?  And ever so gently I felt the Lord tell me, "So you could see and appreciate the fact that you could NEVER keep them all - that's what my Son came for".  I love when He does that.  When He reveals things to us and reminds us of basic principles we already know! 

I was reminded of Psalm 119 and how often it said I will delight in your laws (precepts).  Particularly...1 "Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart." Ps 119:1-2

I want my way to be walk according to the law of the Lord...I want to blessed - to be considered blessed by the Lord!!  I love the Word of God!   I love His laws!  I love that Jesus came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill it.  He came so that when I do blow it - break His laws - I can be forgiven IMMEDIATELY!  I don't have to wait for the 'day of atonement'.  I don't have to go to the priest because the Great High Priest lives in me...He walks with me...He forgives me!!!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Throw up a prayer....

I haven't blogged much the past couple of weeks because it's been pure insanity here - as I'm sure most of you can relate to!  I'm still LOVING Year of the Bible reading with my church family! Great stuff! 

I work with our student ministry called CIA - Christ in Action - and we are preparing for our coffeehouse this weekend.  We'll be doing 2 shows and one will be strictly for local homeless shelters and other agencies and we are busy finalizing details.  As usual, the enemy is BUSY!  Please lift us up to the Father!  Both those of us directing and the kids involved!  They want to offer their best and things always seem hairy around this time!  Thanks everyone......

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This year as we're reading thru the Bible one picture that has been painted so perfectly - so beautifully to me once again is that of God's great mercy.  The mercy He's shown to those in His Word and the mercy He's shown to me in my life! 

So far this week we've been reading about Joseph.  I love Joseph's story because it's a promise of the Providence of God.  I had never truly understood God's Providence until several years ago when I studied Esther.  I mean, I knew of it, I had even seen it in my own life, but once I truly dug into the Word - dug beyond the superficial-ness of Bible reading I saw God working ALL THINGS together for the good of His people.  Joseph is another great story of God's Sovereignty. 

God took what Joseph's brother's intended as harm and turned it into not only something for Joseph's good, but something for the good of all of Egypt!  Now, God hasn't done anything so big as to save a nation thru me, but I can tell you some of the things He has done for me!  Here's one example - before I was married I lived in Florida and I LOVED it - I mean LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it!!  I was involved in a Christian singles group, living with a family who I adored and who had opened their hearts and their home to me.  I had a nice job and was doing ok for myself.  Then all of a sudden, God spoke to me and He told me it's time to get back to WV......I didn't want to!  In fact, I told him no for a long time!  But God persisted...he wouldn't off I went.  With tears in my eyes, I packed my little grey Chevy Cavalier and drove north.

So I get back to WV, things are not so great between my parents and I, but I meet a good guy.  We dated for almost a year, but deep down he was just a distraction because I knew he wasn't what the Lord had in store for my life.  I broke up with him - which didn't go well (that's a whole other blog) - then a girl I worked with decides she needs to introduce me to a guy, a divorced guy with 2 kids.  Yeah right.  So I agree just to shut her up!  Little did I know, the night she introduced us was God's Providence working in my life!

I met my husband that night!!  I saw God's plan work.  Now I can look back and see that His prodding when I lived in Florida was His design for me to meet my mate!  PROVIDENCE!  Love how He showed me mercy by sending me my man!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

He Changed MY Name.....

So this past week was a bit crazy for me - lots going on and not feeling too great on top of that.  The good thing about the past week's reading with Year of the Bible was thru the life of Jacob.  One of my FAV stories from the Word.  Jacob enters the world needy - clinging to his brother's heel - not wanting to be left alone!  Oh how I can relate to that.  Being the baby of 4 siblings, I've never really been alone.  I mean, sure I've had down time or times when other siblings were gone, but it was short-lived.  I knew there was always someone around to talk to, be with or just have around.  Never really liked being alone because I just rarely ever was alone!

Then Jacob (a bit of a Momma's boy - favored child - sorry, can't relate to that one) exploits his brother's weakness to gain what he wanted.  Hate to say this, to admit it, especially on the web where it's here forever, but I can relate to that one too.  Ugh.  His pattern of selfishness continues as he and his Momma scheme to trick Isaac into giving him the blessing which puts him in a heap of trouble with his big, brute of a brother who says he's gonna kill him for his deception.  (Fortunately I'm out on that one as well! lol - the death threats anyway - the deception and selfishness...not so much) 

This leads to my FAVORITE part of Jacob's story.  He's been on the run - worked for his wives (oh and got a little taste of his own medicine with his Father-in-law) - has acquired great personal wealth and success and was about to come face to face with his brother.  But prior to that he has a wrestling match that will forever change him.  I've heard this story all my life - I've even done Bible studies based on his story but yesterday God gave me a fresh look - a new revelation about Jacob - and about myself. 

"And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”" Gen 32: 24-26.  I have heard many well intending preachers, teachers and even some Nationally acclaimed pastors preach about Jacob's cry "I will not let you go unless you bless me" as an example of not giving up on prayer - they are totally right in their point - but maybe a bit off base on this particular example.  You see, Jacob's name had not yet been changed, his walk hadn't been changed, his life hadn't been changed.  He wasn't suddenly having a big spiritual epiphany in the midst of this wrestling match - he was trying to exploit this man for his personal gain.  A talent he had learned and had developed to an art!  Jacob was still Jacob.  However, God is still God!

God, was instead exposing Jacob TO Jacob.  He was holding up this GIGANTIC mirror for Jacob to take a good, long, hard look at himself.  He invited Jacob to recall his name - saying "“What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”" (vs 27) You see Jacob's name means supplanter or to take the place of (another), as through force, scheming, or strategy or the like ( - Jacob was born and given the name that would predict who he was - BUT GOD (two best words EVER) had other plans for Jacob.  "Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”" (vs 28).  God gave Jacob a new name.  A name that means "God contended" and guess what contended means according to  Are you ready......"to struggle in opposition, to strive in rivalry, to assert or maintain earnestly"!  Yes God struggled and prevailed over the struggler - the schemer!  He broke Him and gave him a new name, gave him a new walk, gave him a new life!!

That's the best part of the Lord - He's in the business of taking the messed up and making them new!  Creating in them a new heart!  For HIS glory!!  He did it to Jacob - and so many others in the Word - and He did it to me!!  He changed me...He changed my walk...He gave me a new life...and He hasn't stopped changing me...He hasn't stopped making me more like His Son!!  I will not let Him go - not for MY blessing but for HIS GLORY!!!.....

Monday, January 30, 2012


Sometimes we need a little perspective - don't you think?  Like we need to see things from a different angle, through someone else's eyes, etc.  For instance, there was one of those crazy pictures on Facebook that had something in it that totally freaked everyone out but you had to kind of take a good long look to see it.  Once you saw the thing though, your view of the picture was NEVER the same!  It reminded me of how the Lord works.

Sometimes He gives us glimpses of situations or people just how He sees them.  Sometimes though, He has to shove our faces up close to the thing to get our attention - at least He does with me.  He only does it because He has something planned for me, something that will make me more like His Son.  THAT is the truth.

Lately, my perspective has been a little foggy.  The Lord has some areas in me that need some remodeling and the Great Designer has been busy moving things around, shaking them up, changing my perspective.  He's done it with the gentle pressure of a Master Craftsman, but the work is being done for sure!  The awesome thing about all this work is that my perspective will NEVER be the same! 

One perspective the Lord has blessed me with recently is how fleeting the time with my kids is becoming.  My oldest starts High school next year.  HIGH SCHOOL!!! Ugh!!  This hasn't been an exceptionally fun season - as I'm sure any parent of a teenager would agree - but the Lord reminded me to slow down, to lighten up a bit and to remember these babies that He has entrusted me with are not my own!  They were bought with a price!  They belong to Him!  So I'm doing my best to change THAT perspective as well - look at that thing from a different angle - and asking the Lord to remind me that they will NEVER be this way again!! (ok a little sniff on that one!)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why do I linger?....

I am falling in love anew with the Word this year with our "Year of the Bible" at church.  Whenever I'm with someone from church we immediately start saying "Man, did you read...." it's great!  Last night my precious friends from One Voice came over to practice and as soon as we finish singing we immediately start talking about the Word of God.  "Aren't you glad we're out of Job?....but don't you love the truths of God's faithfulness...what about Sarah and Abraham?....I never got that Sarai laughed when God told Abe she was gonna have a baby!..."  these were some of the conversations!  All I could think about was Jer 31:3 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people."  He is definitely writing His law on our hearts....LOVE it!!

So today I'm thinking about Lot.  Something that jumped out at me - it's kinda been jumping out with several people thru the Word - the fact that we settle, we linger.  Lot was in Sodom, God was coming to destroy it, Abraham had prayed for Lot's deliverance from the destruction, and the destruction was coming!  Lot had already seen the miracle of the three men blinding the men of the city who were trying to "know them" and their prediction of God's wrath on the city and His protection of Lot and his family was coming to fruition and what did Lot do?....."As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.”  But he lingered."  (Gen 19:15-16)  The city is under attack for it's sin and yet Lot lingered.  Don't you think he would want to run as fast as possible?  Get his family out of there?  And yet, he lingers, he waits around. 

I can relate.  How often do I feel the Lord calling me to something, something better, something bigger and yet I linger?  How often do I hear him say, 'Get away from this place, this PERSON, now and don't look back!' and still I linger, I delay.  Sometimes it's out of fear, or uncertainty, but sometimes it's because I LIKE where I am...who I'm with...what I'm doing.  Sometimes it's FUN, or I'm getting some attention from it.  But ultimately, if I don't go, destruction follows.

God is faithful...He is gentle...He is loving....and all too often, He needs to shake things up!  He's got some destroying to do in my life.  He's got some things in me that need to GO and I do not need to ever look at them again!  THAT's what I love about Him.  I heard this quote this year and it's the truth in my life right now...."God is the constant page-turner"....I'm anxious to see what page He turns in me!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Consider it joy when you face trials.....REALLY?.....

So this past week we've been in Job.  Yeah, I know, right.  Not exactly the most uplifting and encouraging way to start the year.  I mean, it starts off well, but then again, if the Lord INVITES the enemy to take a look at one of His servants.....that certainly can't end well.  As I talked with my Sunday school class this past week one of the things that they loved (and I did too) was the thought that the Lord would think enough of me to say to the enemy...."Have you considered my servant Valarie?"....To think that the Creator of the Universe would think so highly of me as to know that whatever the enemy tried to sling my way, I would continue to honor Him through it all.  Wow.....

The thing that really got me as I sat listening to these, not even 18 year old, girls say this was, Lord how different would my life have been had I understood this concept at their age?  How many choices would've been made differently?  How many situations I got myself into would've turned out differently?  I could spend ALOT of time beating myself up (because I'm certainly good at that) over the should have's...the could have's....but right in the middle of it all I felt the Lord gently say..."You're right where I want you girl, the past is just that - the past - I wrote it that way for a reason.  You just keep doing what you're doing.  I'll take care of all that - in fact, I already have."

He's ever so gentle with me, ever so patient.  I certainly don't deserve that.  I certainly have brought Him pain, disappointment, even shame.  BUT two favorite words His love and compassion and patience with me still welcomes me home, still takes me in His arms, still holds me up when I stumble and picks me up when I fall.  That's His specialty.  I love that about Him!  So, when I feel the enemy shaking things around me, tugging at what I love and hold dear, trying to steal my joy, I will remember, he's only done so because my Abba Daddy has said "Have you considered Valarie?  There's are some things in her I need to work on.  You can't have her.  You can't destroy her, but why don't you shake things up a bit.  I've got some work to do to make her more like my Son."  and I can rest, I can trust, I can face whatever he brings because my God - He's a big G God and HE has got this thing!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Whew....time flies when you're having fun.....

At least that's the story I'm going with! 

I can't believe another year has flown by.  I remember when I was little my parents talking about how time seemed to just fly by and I would think, "Are you kidding me?  This is the LONGEST school year ever!"  Lol....little did I know how right they were.  I watch my now 14 year old walk into the room and he's as tall as me (taller he would argue) and it seems like just last week I was rocking him in my arms.  CRAZY! 

Well, I've been on a bit of a wild ride since I last posted.  Nothing too major, but just life, but through it all the Lord has continued to sustain, to provide, to bless and to take me places I didn't expect to be.  Sometimes to places I didn't WANT to be but just like always, it's to place HE knows best!  Fortunately after (ahem) years of walking with the Lord I've finally gotten it thru this thick head of mine that His ways are NOT my ways....and it's a good thing they're not!!! 

We've started on a journey at church of reading chronologically thru the Bible in a year, as a body, so I hope to get back to blogging a bit more promises for the 2 of you reading this...;-) but we shall see.  My prayer for this year is that the Lord will continue to stretch me, to KICK me out of comfort zone and to take me on the WILDEST ride of my life.....I've got my seat belt locked and Lord, I'M READY!!! 

Here we go...........