Monday, November 30, 2009

Attn: Prayer Warriors

UPDATE (11/30): I don't have much to say. Just wanted to update you on Deb. Please, please, please, be praying for this boy and his family.

John Noll's mother, Deb Noll, passed away this past weekend after battling with cancer.

There is a visitation from 5-7 tonight at Steven's funeral home

The funeral is tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at St. Cecilia


Please, please, please, keep Deb Noll in your prayers. Some of you may know her through the business department at ISU. I know her because her son, John, was in my homeroom last year. She was an amazing homeroom mom. She kept us supplied throughout the year, often making trips to the school to deliver needed materials, other times sending them with John. She is a great mom and it is very evident that she cares deeply about not only her son, but all the children in our district.
She has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (which hits close to home for my family) and the Dr.s' report is not good.
I am especially heartbroken over this because John is her family. She adopted him and has been raising him on her own. I remember a time she had to be gone last year and needed a friend to come in to take care of him. I'm sure she is worried more about him at this point than she is herself.

If you are willing/able to help there is a walk Oct. 10th at Ada Hayden Park at 9am. If you email me today (heididh33@hotmail.com), I can get you signed up to walk with my group ($20 for t-shirt, $10 without).
If you'd like more information on how you can help them in other ways, please email me and I'll get that to you as well.
(Update: On the right column of this ISU page, there is a little information about the walk.)

Even if you are not able to help them financially, please storm Heaven's door on their behalf; I know they would more than appreciate your support.


Prayer Wall

Are you a prayer warrior?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is it enough?

In case you were worried I had a big head after you read my last post, I'll knock myself down a few notches for you (The truth is I can't wait for Beth's "So Long, Insecurity" book to come out, and for the simulcast at the Ridge on the 24th...... but I'll save that post for another day...).

God has put a lot of people in my pathway in the last year that are struggling with forgiveness. He's let me listen to nearly a dozen people recently that are having a hard time forgiving someone that's hurt them. People that they work with, people that they used to be friends with, people that they love. He has filled the silences I've shared with those people. He's been in the tears I've shared with them. And He's given me the words that come from my own journey of forgiveness.

I was beginning to think that my struggles of forgiving people in the past (as recently as six months ago), was to use me to help others through that process.

I had read a book that said "You know you've forgiven someone when you think of them and don't feel anger or hurt. You feel pity. You pray for them." I was there (I still am) with so many of the people I've had to work at forgiving. I thought I was doing pretty good....

But. He isn't finished with me yet.

"But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept." Genesis 33:4

You see, when Esau had been hurt deeply by Jacob, he didn't just forgive him...

.....he embraced him.

He was hurt by Jacob. He was in mourning.

"Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

He was in mourning and he was comforted. He let go of his bitterness and was set free. His heart was made whole.

It wasn't enough for him to forgive Jacob. Forgiveness alone is not complete. Forgiveness is about the past. Healing is about the now. Is about the future.

We. need. healing.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted..." Luke 4:18

He was sent here to do much more than help me to forgive. He is here to heal me. Here to give me life to the fullest. Here to make me whole.

And He's here to do all of that for you too.

Lord, I recognize my brokenness. I recognize my vulnerability. I see that I'm not living life in full like You have planned for me when I merely forgive. Lord, lift me up. Hold me close to You. Take away the pain that's still there. Put back together the shattered pieces. Give me life to the fullest like only You can give. I need You. I love You. Amen.

note: If you are in the same week of the Esther study as me, you may be wondering how this ties in.... It doesn't directly.. but last week as Haman was begging Esther for his life, one of my sweet Esther sisters asked if Esther should forgive him. If Esther should give him another chance. We talked about how we are to be Christlike and how that fits into our lives. I realized I have forgiven people but I still keep them at arms length. I was (okay am) following Proverbs 4:23 pretty literally and wondering if I'm following it too literally. The following Sunday (two days ago), Pastor Mike was talking about Esau and Jacob. I have a lot of "Jacobs" in my life I need to embrace... Which brought me to the above post....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am great (no really, I am)

So remember how I mentioned yesterday my head was spinning a million directions after last night's Esther study?
One thought I was trying to wrap my mind around was "Haman stepping off."
As a little background reminder, Haman is the "villain." He sentences all of the Jews to death (Esther is a Jew).
Haman is interested in fame, in honor, in power.
He wants to do great things and to be someone great.
The entire time I've read about him, I've thought what an awful person, who could live like this?

But the truth is, I'm not always that different from him.

Growing up, I wanted to stand out, I wanted to be different. I liked being known, I liked feeling in control and I liked feeling like I had the power.
Okay, so it's not at all on the same scale as Haman. I wasn't seeking control over an entire country, just wanted to be the president of my class, of most of the organizations I was in, and the United States of America (okay that last one hasn't happened yet but the dream was there...).
I basked in the 'glory' of awards and honors. I loved being elected a state officer and named a state "student of the year." Then, as an adult, in my first "real" job, I loved being named a national "outstanding educator of the year" my first year on the job.
It wasn't until I took another position and didn't receive an award that I realized I had been feeding off of them.
I liked the "honor" and the "glory." I liked the attention. I liked the feeling of being appreciated.
I felt like I was doing something great. I thought I was going to be someone great.
Sadly, I thought that receiving awards was a great measure of success to show that I truly had become someone great.


The truth is, I was wrong.

(I know. You're shocked. But it's true... )

as much as I hate to say it..... I. was. wrong.

The glory isn't mine. I didn't do any of that. I don't deserve any awards. I didn't earn a single one of them.

It's. all. His.

He did that. He worked through me. He even blessed me with some awards along the way, as undeserving as I was am (yeah, I'm guessing he knew I needed a confidence booster at the time).

You see, it's not the awards, the titles, or the honors that make us great. And while we are called to the fame of Jesus, it's not our glory. It's His. It's all His.

He doesn't want us to do a million things for His kingdom (which is good, because I'm guessing I cant). That's not what makes us great in His eyes.
But I can do a few.

I can stop being afraid of being mediocre and stop trying to do great things.
I can allow myself to be great in Him. Just like he wants me to.

At after school club tonight, the students were working on a building challenge. Part of their points came from how high they could build their tower to hold a golf ball. Another part of their points came from being able to knock the golf ball out of the work area at the end. They were focused on getting the highest number of points possible for the highest tower. According to the points the tower could be 60" tall. They decided they wanted to make it as tall as they could, their goal being 60" tall. The big problem was that they didn't have 60" of materials to work with in the first place and even if they stretched the materials as tall as they could to build a tower, it wouldn't be sturdy enough to support a golf ball. Having focused all of their energies on this goal, when the timer went off, they had no tower and hadn't even set up the golf ball to attempt to get the second part of their points.
You see, while they were trying so hard to do great things, they were disqualified for not even completing the small task.

Lord, please help me to be great in You. Help me to set my focus on using the gifts You give me and doing what You would have me to do. Don't let me be so focused on doing something great that I forget about all of the small tasks that make me great in You. Please remind me (often) that being great in You is not the same as being great by the world's standards. And thank You so much that it's not! Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Just got home from Esther study. My head is spinning in a million directions. I'm not sure if it is from 'Session Seven Viewer Guide" or from the new trimester starting tomorrow (or maybe I'm way off and it's from the shot the dentist gave me tonight....).

I digress.

Esther is coming to a close. In two more weeks, we'll wrap up. We are starting "Turn Arounds" this week. In chiastic structure form, we'll be looking at the "It's tough being a woman...." scenarios and turning them around.

Turn Around Scenario #7
It's tough being a woman who feels responsible for the "how."

Um. Yeah. Just a little bit. Am I alone here? Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Like it is up to YOU to figure out where to go from here? Like you need to be the peace keeper, the decision maker, the doer? Do you feel the need to be in control? to work it? to make it work? Dare I ask, do you ever feel like you need to play God?

Maybe it's just me... but I often feel responsible for the "how." Ask Rusty, he'll tell you that he is the thinker and I am the doer. "Let's do this and get it done. Let's make this work. Let's go this direction."

But guess what?

(I know you are going to be shocked!)

We're not! We're not responsible for the how! It's not our job!

"The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment." 2 Peter 2:9

"For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14

Did you catch that?

"The Lord knows."

"For He knows."

I will not fret my way to victory. But TRUSTING in Him, HE will take care of the HOW. Because HE already KNOWS.

Lord, thank You for taking care of the 'how.' Thank you for holding me safely in your arms and giving me rest while you work it out. Lord, I trust in You. I believe You. I will wait for You. This is all Yours, God. I'm giving it over to You. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Become Undignified

Sounds strange right? Become undignified? Become undignified before the Lord. As David Crowder sings, "I will dance, I will sing to be mad for my King. Nothing Lord is hindering this passion in my soul. And I will become even more undignified than this. Some may say it's foolishness, but I'll become even more undignified than this. Leave my pride by my side and I'll become even more undignified than this."

That's exactly what David did in 2 Samuel 6.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. What would cause David to be undignified? What would cause him, in verse 14 to wear nothing but his linen ephod (what's an ephod? You'll wish you had one.) and dance for the Lord with all of his might? Okay, this would be like the President of the United States dancing before the Lord, in the middle of Dupont Circle, in his underwear (well, the ephod was much more sacred than Hanes, but you get the image nonetheless).

Did I mention that three months prior to David's "crazy dance" he had requested the Ark of the Covenant? The ark was commissioned by Moses and symbolized God's provision (the manna), God's power (the staff), God's precepts (the commandments), and, most of all, God's presence. Max says that, "During the temple era, the high priest would be granted a one-a-year audience with the ark. After offering personal sacrifices of repentance, he would enter the holy of holies..."

God had given very specific orders for the care and transportation of the ark. Orders that involve acacia poles, priests to carry the ark with a system of rods and to carry the sacred objects on their shoulders, and not to touch. When David plans for the massive parade and requests the ark, Uzzah, a Koathite priest, who knew better loaded it up on a wagon with oxen. As Max says,

"The holy became humdrum. The sacred, second-rate."

An exchange of commands for convenience. No obedience or sacrifice; expediency instead.

In God's anger, He struck Uzzah dead. Dead? Why? Why did Uzzah have to die for breaking commandments?

Joe Shulam, who grew up Jerusalem, studied at the Orthodox Jewish Rabbinacal Seminary, and still lives in Israel says "The question is not why did God will Uzzah but rather why does he let us live?"

And that is why, after David is confused and hurt of the Lord punishing Uzzah in His anger David retreats back to Jerusalem. But after three months David returns for the ark. This time, priests replace bulls. Sacrifice replaces convenience. God comes. God comes on His terms. His presence is known because His commands are revered, hearts are clean, and confession is made.

David dances with all of his might before the Lord.

David didn't care what anyone else thought. Micah was disgusted that her husband, the King, would disrobe himself in front of the slave daugthers of his servants. She was embarassed because he lost his dignity in the presence of the Lord. Scripture had never portrayed David dancing at any other time. He slayed Goliath, and he did no victory dance. The ultimate touchdown, and no dance. He was named King of Jerusalem and quietly took his throne. No dance.

So, when God came to town David "rolled back the rug and celebrated the night away". When's the last time we did that? Set aside our own pride, set aside our cares for what other people were going to think, zoned out the world around us and danced for the Lord. Dance for Jesus. Because of Him, we are not struck down to our death as we daily break the commandments of the Lord. Because of Him, we are not struck to our death because we trade in His commandments for convenience.

Max says "God loves you too much to leave you alone, so he hasn't. He hasn't left you along with your fears, your worries, your disease, or your death. So kick up your heels for joy." He also points out, "Uzzah's lifeless body cautions against such irreverence. No awe of God leads to the death of man. God won't be cajoled, commanded, conjured up or called down. He doesn't respond to magic potions or clever slogans. He looks for more. He looks for reverence, obedience, and God-hungry hearts.

And when He sees them, he comes! And when he comes, let the band begin. And, yes, a reverent heart and a dancing foot can belong to the same person.

David had both.

May we have the same."

Our Father would not miss a chance to dance with His children.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

His Unfailing Love

And You never change
God You remain

The Holy One

My Unfailing love

Unfailing love

You never change, God. You remain.

Early in the Esther study, Beth talks about feeling like






When God feels far away,

it's easy to feel


Sometimes life just stinks. There's struggles at work, at home, with family, with friends, and everywhere in between. Sometimes I feel like I'm a terrible wife, horrible sister, bad aunt, awful friend, lazy teacher, and not to mention a lacking Christian. When life gets hectic, when things get crazy, it's easy to question God. It's easy to ask Him where He's at in all of this.
But His answer is always the same,

"Right here."

We are told time and time again in His Book that He will never leave us.

"No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." -Joshua 1:5

He is always here. Always by my side.

When I'm stressed to the max and don't take time to read my Bible, He's here.
When I'm running late in the morning and don't read my daily devotion, He's here.
When I'm too sick to get out of bed to go to church, He's here.
When I'm angry with Him and lacking in prayers of thanksgiving, He's. still. here.

He doesn't change. When I feel far away from Him, it's not Him that's moved, it's me. He's always the same. He always remains. He's always good.

He will never leave me nor forsake me.

And He wont you, either.

He will never change
He will remain

He's the Holy One

He's my Unfailing love

Unfailing love

"'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, who has compassion on you." -Isaiah 54:10

Lord, there are times I feel so far away from you. Times I feel like I'm failing in everything. Times I feel like I'm just grasping to whatever I can to keep from falling farther and farther away. During those times, even when I cannot feel You, I know You are there. You are there to hold me, there to carry me. You love me. You love me with an unfailing love that I cant fully comprehend. Thank You for remaining steadfast. For never changing. For always loving me. Thank You for Your unfailing love. Please help my heart to always feel the warmth of Your unfailing love, Lord. Amen.

("Unfailing Love" by Chris Tomlin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_MyC6kJzPg )

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Consult Your Maker

Okay, I've had a case of writer's block. And, a case of the "too tired's" and "too busy's". I'm back, sans excuses. Two amazing chapters out of Max Lucado's "Facing Your Giants" (fondly referred to throughout as "FYG"). I wish I could just retype both chapters here. It is difficult to pick out the highlights and share them. If you find me quoting Lucado a lot in this post, it is because there is no better way of explaining what he has to say, nor a more profound way to paraphrase.

Max starts off Chapter 11 talking about his sense of direction, or lack thereof. He can practically get lost in his own home. I can relate. Unless I am on the interstate, I have no idea whether I am going north, south, east, or west. All I know is what is to my right, and what is to my left. I get where I'm going by familiar landmarks. When there are no familiar landmarks, I'm lost. (Thank you, God, for GPS. Amen.)

Isn't that how we feel in life, though? We come to a tough decision and we aren't sure which way to go? There are no familiar landmarks, we've never been faced with a decision quite like this before. What about the little choices in your day? What should I have for lunch? A juicy cheeseburger sounds so good, but that grilled chicken salad is so much healthier? I know I only have $20, but that $30 sweater is much higher quality. Are we including God? Are we consulting the maker?

Oh, our reliable David. Certainly not perfect, but a true Biblical hero. David makes a habit of running his options past God.

The Lord says,
"I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." - Ps. 32:8 NLT

"Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths." -Prov. 3:6 NLT)

Max says, "Consult your maker. You have a Bible? Read it."

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it." - Isa. 30:21 NLT

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" - Heb. 4:12 NIV

"I will never fail you. I will never forsake you" - Heb. 13:5 NLT

"Don't make a decision, whether large or small, without sitting before God with the Bible, open heart, open ears, imitating the sprayer of Samuel: 'Your servant is listening' (I Sam. 3:10 NLT)"

"God will not lead you to violate his word. Do not disguise your sin as a leading of God. He will not lead you to lie, cheat, or hurt."

Max encourages us to find a strong Christian fellowship, to turn to his family of faith and consult them. He says, "Is your marriage tough? Find a strong one. Wrestling with business ethics? Seek sage advice from a Christian businessperson. Battling midlife decisions? Before you abandon your family and cash in your retirement, take time to get counsel. 'The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice;' - Prov. 12:15 NIV"

My prayer is that we would all feel the nudge of our Christ-possessed heart. That we recognize the decision which makes us peaceful is so many times God letting us know that what we are feeling can be different that what we want. I pray that Satan would not assist us in disguising our sin as a leading of God. Lord, we trust that you will faithfully lead us through your Scripture and that your advice is faithful. Remind us to turn to you with EACH decision of our day.