Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

Philippians 2:17

The drink offering was kind of the “finishing touch” to sacrifices made at that time.

The wine was completely poured out over the animal on the altar, so that the aroma would bring God “delight”. (Matthew Henry)

When we stop to realize that Paul was insulted, imprisoned multiple times, shipwrecked, beaten, whipped, and almost stoned to death, it seems to us that he sacrificed MORE than enough!

But since Paul knew better than most the meaning behind the drink offering, he probably was filled with joy for being able to suffer those things,

To bring God DELIGHT.

Paul was definitely “poured out” for God.

I think about the woman and the alabaster box. (Matthew 26:7)

She gave up her most valuable possession for the One who was about give HIS

For her.

Maybe I can’t literally give up my life for Him,

But I can give to Him

All the love that’s inside me…

I can “pour” myself out onto the people in my life for JESUS.

I can let all the love I have,

All the joy I have,

All the grace I have,

All the compassion I have,

Spill out onto my children…

Onto my husband…

Onto everyone God puts in my life.

Paul was “wringing” himself out DAILY for Jesus, and the people He was called to love.

He poured out his very LIFE for them,

Until he had nothing left to give.

So, why should I get to hold onto MINE?

I really, desperately want all that’s GOOD in me…

All that’s….”GOD” …in me to gush out and flood the hearts of the people I love,

And the people who are HARD to love.

What if we all lived that way?

Pouring ourselves out….every last drop…

For others?

What if we emptied ourselves,

Squeezed ourselves dry,

EVERY DAY for each other,

BELIEVING He is faithful to fill us again tomorrow?

What a picture of the love Jesus has for us!

What a picture this is for US, too!

May we pour ourselves out of ALL that we have…

Of all that we ARE…

So that it can be said of us that we gave and gave…..

“And it was GOOD!”

To the very last drop.

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Good, To The Last Drop

Man, forgiveness is tough stuff.

Just when you think you’ve conquered that battle with anger, heartache, and bitterness, this person you are called to love despite their unchanged behavior, does something ELSE to hurt you.

And then, you’re right back where you started!

Or, am I the only one?

I have a couple of people , so if you don’t have any, you can borrow one of mine.😊

We were singing this hymn at prayer service last night. It is called Behold The Throne of God Above.

In it, the Gospel is told. We are reminded that we were lost, and that Jesus died to make us CLEAN and FREE.

Read the words with me:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart
Oh
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me
Behold Him there the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I am
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God!
With Christ my Savior and my God!
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God!
With Christ my Savior and my

God!

Beautiful, right?

Powerful, right?

Well, you see, last night I was really praying for some key relationships that I CONTINUE to struggle with.

When you KEEP people in your life who hurt you, guess what?!

You will continually get hurt.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of removing that person from your everyday life, so you can move on.

But sometimes this person plays such a role in our lives that we CANNOT simply “remove” them.

So, I took my name out of the hymn.

Every time the song has a “me” or an “I”, I replaced it with the name of someone I need to TOTALLY FORGIVE.

To forgive them for all hurt they caused in my past, present , and future.

So, let’s try this. Put that name in place of yours:

Before the throne of God above

____ have a strong, a perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for ____
______ name is graven on His hands
______ name is written on His heart
___ know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

Oh
When Satan tempts ______ to despair
And tells _____ of the guilt within
Upward ____ look and see Him there
Who made an end to all _____ sin
Because the sinless Savior died
______ sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon ____
To look on Him and pardon

____

Behold Him there the risen Lamb
______ perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I am
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself ______ cannot die
_____ soul is purchased by His blood
______ life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ _____ Savior and ______ God!
With Christ _____ Savior and ______ God!
One with Himself____ cannot die
______ soul is purchased by His blood
_______ life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ _____ Savior and ____ God!
With Christ _____ Savior and _____ God!

Now, I know true forgiveness can only come from the Holy Spirit.

We can’t do it in our own tiny strength.

But we DO have to DESIRE it in order to get it.

This exercise makes me truly DESIRE to see the person the way God sees them.

Wholly loved,

Wholly desired,

And wholly forgiven.

Let them take your place in that hymn.

Just like Jesus truly, and painfully,

Took yours.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

Take My Place

…conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;…

1 Peter 1: 17

Last year, my husband and kids and I went on vacation to Atlantic City for the week. We stayed at a really nice hotel until Friday, and then Jeremy and I decided to extend our trip through the weekend. But when we went to the front desk to ask about staying longer, they were completely booked.

So, we were researching other affordable places to stay for Friday and Saturday night.

Jeremy is……

Thrifty.

But that word doesn’t really cover just how THOROUGHLY “thrifty” he is.

Long story short, we arrive at our new spot…..

The outside of the motel looked completely dilapidated.

The INSIDE…..

(Cue the Psycho music…)

It was just nasty!!

The sink and bathtub were rusty, the floors were dirty, and basically everything about the place seemed to scream,

“Run away as fast as you can! Lots of people have been hacked to pieces in your room!!!” ( Thank you, Criminal Minds.😑😑)

Now that we’re not there anymore, I can laugh about how horrible it was.

But at the time, Mama was SOOO NOT LAUGHING!

Jeremy tried to talk me down off of the ledge….

” Honey, it’s only for a couple of nights. It’ll cost us nearly nothing. Do you think you can handle this place just for a little while?”

Well, he called me “honey”, so, of course, we stayed.😊

Our “stay” here on earth is like staying at a crappy motel.

It’s dirty, and it’s awful…

But, it’s only temporary.

When you give your life to Jesus, we are promised a place that is indescribably beautiful.

A place of no sickness,

No pain,

No sin of ANY kind,

NO sadness,

NO loss…

But instead, it is a place crammed and jammed full

Of peace,

Love,

Joy,

Contentment,

Wisdom….

Basically , it’s filled with everything we’ve been missing down here.

You know, I really did try to have the best attitude I could muster during our stay at the “Bates Hotel”.

I told myself over and over,

“It’s only for two days….it’s only for two days.”

And you know what?

I had FUN.

We went swimming in the paint chipped swimming pool,

Micah and I raided the vending machines for chocolate and candy on more than one occasion,

And we found joy in those moments.

I think that kind of attitude speaks to how we should be during our stay on earth.

Yes, there are a million things that anger us,

Disappoint us,

And seek to BREAK us.

But it IS possible to have joy here, with the people we love, serving the God we love and will soon be with in heaven,

Knowing that in just a little while

Just a little while….

We will be

HOME.

Just A Little While

I’m there right now.

I’m in that dark place…

That place that is black, and cold…

And empty.

I don’t much like company when I’m here,

In that dark place.

So, I hide.

And I try to not answer the “How are you?’s”,

Because you can never be sure they really want to know.

So, it’s just easier to stay inside, and

“Keep it to yourself.”

Did anyone else grow up hearing those words?

If you were feeling anything less than FANTASTIC, you were hushed with

“Keep it to yourself.”

No wonder we don’t know how to share the dark and twisty places of

Our hearts.

But I AM learning that there is One who knows…

One who never gave a glib answer because He didn’t want anyone to be uncomfortable.

There is One who will crawl into that crazy, tar-colored tunnel…

Just to BE with us.

To hear what our hearts desperately want to say.

God holds us in His hand until the pain stops,

And then He holds us some more.

We break sometimes.

We lose pieces of ourselves as we walk through this life…

Like breadcrumbs dropped along the way,

Praying SOMEBODY finds us.

Well, Somebody DID.

AND He’s the best Somebody out there.

He doesn’t want any of us sitting alone in the dark.

That’s why He climbs in WITH us.

Because He loves us in an otherworldly,

Unearthly kind of way.

He brings light where there is none,

Shelter when we’re beaten.

I don’t think I’m ever going to understand His love for me.

And I’m okay with that.

I’m okay with being utterly LOST in His love…

Not knowing where He ends,

Or where I begin.

I’m okay with not understanding how He can love me,

Exactly like this.

Whenever I’m in this place, I will work on being as honest as I can….

But I will remember that God is the only One who will NEVER leave me,

Never walk out.

He’s the Somebody I can’t even see.

He’s the Somebody who never looks away from my mess.

He’s the One who calls it “beautiful”.

We are ALL so very broken….

And all we really want is for somebody to say,

“I SEE you.”

“In all your sin, sorrow, pain, and shame,

I see you…and I’ve got you.”

That’s all we want somebody to say…..

That’s all we want somebody to do.

Well,

Somebody DID.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Psalm 36:7-9

Somebody Did

My friend, Sarah, who I’ve mentioned a couple of times before wrote something pretty profound once about prayer.

You see, she had lost her second child just hours, or mere minutes after she was born. And she knew her daughter would most likely die at the 20 week appointment.

So, she had to LIVE with that news, and all the tragic thoughts surrounding that for almost ANOTHER 20 weeks!

Sarah had her baby, Evie,

And she passed away.

Sarah went on to have a healthy baby about a year or two later.

Then, Sarah was pregnant again.

But this time the news at the 20 week appointment was the same as it was for little Evie.

She knew she was facing the death of ANOTHER of her precious babies.

I won’t get into all the heartbreaking details here, but I DO want to talk about something she wrote. She had this to say about how she was praying somewhere in the middle of those last 20 weeks:

All too often my prayers are, Lord, please just … I don’t know. Just … the best.’ “

So many times, all I really want to pray for is the thing I simply want most.

NOT the thing that would be ultimately the BEST thing for my life, or anybody else’s…

Just what I WANT.

And now,

After many years of struggle, and the knowledge building in my soul that Jesus is my anchor and my very best friend,

I’m not sure that what I WANT is truly what I NEED anymore.

I’ve heard a lot of preaching on this subject, and it leaves me feeling it’s okay to pray for what we want.

I mean, there are tons of examples in the Bible of people who came to Jesus for healing for themselves, or for someone they love, and they asked for something they WANTED.

And God said yes.

So, there is definitely room for those kind of prayers.

But there is a deep, scarred wisdom of my friend’s prayer for “just….the best” that reminds me of ANOTHER wise Person’s prayer:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.

Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Matthew 6

YOUR WILL be done.”

I’m not that wise.

I usually have no idea how to pray for MYSELF, let alone anyone else!!!

I know I don’t want pain,

I know I don’t want heartbreak,

I know I don’t want to be sick….

And I don’t want any of the people I love to ever have any of those things, either.

But…

What if……..

What if those things are the VERY TOOL He plans to use to bring people….people you may also LOVE, to Himself?

That changes EVERYTHING!!!!

Uggggghh.

There are days when I can only see ME.

What I WANT.

Like a little child.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t be trusted to ask Him ANYTHING,

Because there’s still too much “me” in me.

But I DO know what I sincerely want, when I’m thinking of how much I am loved by God…

I want just….

Only….

Always….

His BEST.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16

How To Pray When We Don’t Know What To Say

So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.

Judges 6:15

This passage is from a story about Gideon, an unlikely hero of the Israelites.

22,000.

That’s the number of men Gideon had to fight the dreaded Midianites.

But God was concerned that , with the gigantic size of their army, that THEY would get the glory for this win….

And not HIM. (Judges 7:2)

So, God did what He LOVES to do. He whittled away at their numbers until the 22,000 became only 300!!!!!

To Gideon, it looked IMPOSSIBLE!

How many times do we find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations?

” Look at me! How can I save Israel?”

Or…

“Look at me!! How am I supposed to get all of this done??”

“How am I supposed to go on living without this person in my life?”

“How am I supposed to keep loving when I get nothing back?”

“How am I supposed to live with this pain?”

” How can I DO this???”

And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you”

Judges 6:15

THAT’S HOW.

When He is with us, He is, really, all we need.

He makes what FEELS impossible…

Possible!!

He can dig through the darkest of tunnels and tombs, and

Find light….

And life!!

He can use the weakest of us to pull off the most POWERFUL

VICTORY!!!!!!!!!

The fact that He’s “there” with us might not seem like much, but that’s because we can’t usually FATHOM the concept.

Eph. 1:19, Roth.: According to the energy of the grasp of His might.

I love this translation!

THIS is how He wants us to see what He does during those hard times.

He wants us to know that we are

HELD,

In His grasp!

It no longer becomes about “grasping onto HIM,”

Because the grasp capability of OUR hands doesn’t really matter much.

It’s the grasp of HIS Hand

That matters.

Listen.

When we’re up against impossible tasks,

We make a grave mistake when we look to our OWN hand, our OWN strength,

Our OWN power.

We, instead, should be looking to HIS power,

HIS strength,

HIS Hand.

Because that’s where things that seem impossible….

Become possible!

The Impossible!!

And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. “These are the things in the tabernacle of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry.

Numbers 4:15

So Moses took the carts and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites. Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service; and four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari, according to their service, under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because theirs was the service of the holy things, which they carried on their shoulders.

Numbers 7:9

Now, these may seem like relatively ho-hum verses found in the Bible, but I am learning that there are ZERO ho-hum verses in that Book!

The ones above are anything but!!!!!!!

You see, the Ark of the Covenant, which was essentially the very presence of God in the Old Testament, was among some of the holy things the sons of Kohath were instructed to carry on their shoulders.

Now, the Ark weighed somewhere between 300 and 600 pounds, and was traditionally carried by only four men.

So you have a clear idea of how much this weighed,

Think of a casket.

An empty casket weighs around 200 or 300 pounds. Add the weight of a person, and you get a little closer to the weight of the Ark.

Now, a casket is usually carried by 6-8 men.

The weight of the Ark is still heavier than a casket, yet it is carried by HALF the number of men!

That holy thing was HEAVY!!!!

And it was never meant to be carried in any other way, but on the men’s shoulders.

Why???

And why were these seemingly insignificant verses included in the Bible anyway???

It was the Kohathites’ sacred duty to carry all of the holy things on their shoulders, and they were the only group that was not given wagons or carts to help them carry them during all their journeys from one land to another.

“Why must they carry those heavy burdens on their shoulders when their cousins had bullock carts? If such thoughts ever came, perhaps they found help in remembering that to them was committed the care of the most precious things, things too precious to be carried in any other way (Num. 3:31).”

Amy Carmichael

I guess I’m echoing Amy Carmichael’s thought this morning.

I put myself in their position.

It’s kind of like a “family business”.

Or a SUPER SACRED family business.

I would imagine that, no matter the honor that was theirs for carrying the ALMIGHTY GOD’S most holy things, there were days that the weight of those most precious items became taxing, and maybe even days that it was just

Too much to carry.

What are OUR most holy things?

Definitely His Presence!

How do we enter IN to be there, with Him?

Prayer and praise are the first things that come to my mind.

And although, it is such a holy place to be,

A holy Thing to touch,

A sacred and awe-filled privilege…..

It is not always easy for us mere mortals.

The weight we sometimes are called to carry makes it difficult to always get a glimpse of Him.

But when we push past the ache in our shoulders,

The ache in our hearts,

And we see Him??????

Wow, what a holy thing it is!!!!!!!

And far “too precious to be carried in any other way.”

Heavy Weight