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May 8, 2012

Ebenezer Stone

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(Pictures: Family on Thanksgiving 2003 (Our fourth child, a baby girl, came along as our beautiful and joyous gift in 2006) and finally our Ebenezer stone (actually petrified wood, which is wood changed to stone, so it’s quartz-like) in our front yard moved all the way from East Texas to Colorado–a very heavy rock!



It was late November 2003 right before Thanksgiving. Tabor was only 4 1/2 months old, Noah, 5 and Kylie, 4. Chris began to have pains in his stomach. He went to the doctor twice before Thanksgiving to no avail.

Thanksgiving day, we are at Chris’ parents house and Chris is not eating. We should have taken him to the emergency room right then and there. No good southern boy misses his Mom’s best dish–Sweet Potato Casserole done-the-right-way. He didn’t eat at all that weekend. His stomach hurt. He took hot baths. Nothing would help. On Sunday, he began to run a fever at my parents’ house. I was very worried. I remember crying, “I think you’re going to die. You need to go to the doctor. What if it’s cancer or something?”

So on Monday morning, Chris took his truck to work. We lived 40 minutes away from his work and 45 from the hospital/ doctor’s office. He was going to get into the doctor’s office as soon as he could. On I-20, his truck broke down (pump module driver went out). His parents came and gave Chris their ’88 Suburban. Chris went to work. When he finally got in the doctor late that morning, they gave him something to drink and were running an MRI on him at 4 pm. So Chris slept in the bed of the Suburban. I got a call at 5:30 from Chris. They were keeping him through the night, but couldn’t tell him what was wrong, yet. Finally about 7 pm, I heard that Chris was having a laparoscopic appendectomy. No one was there with him.

At 10:30 pm, the doctor called. He began, “He’s not out of the woods, yet.”

I asked “Should I come up there?”

He said “Someone should be here!”

Oh my, I didn’t realize how very serious it was. Then came the doctor-talk. Basically, Chris’ appendix had been ruptured for 3-4 days and it had solidified (so the poison did not spread to his bloodstream).

They had opened Chris up immediately and took a part of his intestine, as well. His brother went up and stayed the night, since I had the kids asleep.

I drove to the hospital every day for 7 days, spent the day with Chris and then went home. The oldest two kids had preschool, and friends and family helped. Baby Tabor went with me to the hospital.

Chris looked at us and didn’t really care about anything. He really was not with us. I took him home and took care of him for the next month or so. Christmas was a blur, but I went and got a tree, bought new lights for it and decorated it. I took the kids to school and lived life in a blur.

January 12th rolled around. Chris went back to work! He was very slow with his “shark bite” incision healing, but numb. The following Sunday we did our blessing box with the kids. We had so much to be thankful for! Then we all went out and signed & dated our Ebenezer stone. We thanked God and said, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”

The next Christmas rolled around. I began to remember the year before and then Chris said, “Where did those Christmas lights come from?” I began to cry. “You weren’t really with us last year, were you?” “I guess not,” he said.

God has been unbelievably gracious to us. I remember the prayer I prayed during that time, “Lord, I’m weak. YOU be strong.” I said it over and over again. I am thankful also for so many who prayed. Indeed, many stood in the gap for my Chris! God was strong. He IS and He will be.  Our HELP is He.

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other gods

bible coffee

A few years ago, I began an overview study in Isaiah–looking for Christ in each chapter.  Studying God’s Word is not for a select few, it is for everyone, you just need a few tools and a seeking heart for God.  In studying, all you need are a few tools to begin.  Your Bible, pen, notebook, a concordance and a Bible dictionary–or you can find all the study tools you need online with Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible. Read the portion you want to study.  Re-read it and write down the words that most interest you.  Engage in the Word, by allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your time. Then dig into the phrases and context.

Today I will share my insights from Isaiah 26, where there is much to glean.  One of the best messages I ever heard was on Isaiah 26:3 by Beth Moore at a Living Proof Live event in Little Rock, Arkansas several years ago. The part of her message that most struck me was about this verse: “You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.” Picture laying your head on God’s lap and He has His Hand upon your head, as you lay there. He is then applying His thoughts to yours by showing you HOW to think about all the WHAT that is going on.

Do you have a difficult situation? Put your head on God’s lap and pour out your heart before Him. Then let Him speak over you in that situation. I often pray, “Lord, help me to see how to think about all this WHAT going on in my life.” Perspective. Oh, I need it! A good Word from my Sister, Beth!

What I first saw when I read Isaiah 26 was that our strength lies in our salvation! Our salvation through Jesus Christ has become the walls and ramparts (protective barrier prepared to fortify) of our city. We have a strong Defender! His name is Jesus.

I also noticed that the city’s gates are not closed, they are open. Salvation is not an exclusive club. It can be accessed by anyone, who comes with faith. All we need to do is share with others about knowing Christ–his blood shed on the cross to cover all their sins and make them white as snow. Are your gates closed or open?

The third verse has been a stay for me through the years. I have often thought upon the verse to the point, where I have it memorized like this (you will not be surprised): “Holly, God will keep you in perfect peace. Keep your mind stayed upon Him! Holly, put your trust in Him.” I talk to myself like this all the time. Personalize the Word of God. It is for you. It is written TO you. Why should you not insert your name? There are scriptures and promises that through the ages have marked the way of men and women, because they took it for their own. Is His Word something you cling to as your own? His matchless, changeless character has kept His Word. It is true, every bit.

So try it for yourself with verse four: “(Your name), Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” What does that mean when you say it? It means that the Lord God, the covenant LORD, is worthy of your trust in ALL situations. It means He keeps His promises. And it means that forever, He is strong, steadfast and firm.

Do you want your path to be level and smooth? Then look to verse seven: “The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.” It doesn’t say He might make, it says He WILL make. Our part is to be righteous. Oh, you say, then I guess I cannot take this verse to heart, righteousness is an impossible standard for me, a sinner.

I have Good News! That Good News is Christ Jesus. When you ask Him to be your Savior, He becomes the righteousness in and over your life. Like clothing, we daily need to put on Christ. In putting Him on, we will long to know Him more by reading His Word. We will long to please Him more, by obeying His Word. We will long to serve Him more, for His love in us COMPELS us to do something for others. Ahhh, the great exchange occurs (His life for ours)…and we are never the same. Jesus becomes our desire.

Need a verse for your life? Verse eight is a life verse for our family: “Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” I am laughing, because His Word never returns void. In our lives, we have over and over and over had to wait on the LORD. Every single time, we have understood that in the waiting, we were growing in the Lord and declaring His renown wherever we went. Oh, it is a hard path to travel, but I would never exchange it–no, not for all the wealth and fame and honor this world might offer.

You see we have longed for Him in the night, we have seen His Hand upon us, we have learned His ways (oh, there is much left to learn!) and He has established peace for us in our family.

How has this come about?

Verses 13-14 say it well:
O LORD, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone do we honor.

They are now dead, they live no more;
those departed spirits do not rise.
You punished them and brought them to ruin;
you wiped out all memory of them.

Oh Praise the LORD! I am so glad. For indeed, we HAVE had other lords besides the LORD our God. We have bowed down to other gods. They ruled over us, and we walked bent over and with a limp–blind to see anything of God’s Hand. Only now, walking under the authority of Christ, have we found that we can truly see how we were before. We are quite familiar now with all our ways during those times. God has taken His Word and spoken over those times. He has put to death our sin. He remembers them no more.

In light of who Jesus is and who we were, we begin to see that even then, He was there. Today, we walk in that Light, His Light…oh, Praise God for that. So many gods…not one worthy. Every one, cast down before the feet of Christ. Then in love, our Savior, Jesus, became the Lifter of our Heads.

Is your head hanging low today over some situation? Lay that situation down. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16). Let Him fill your mouth again with laughter (Psalm 126:2, Job 8:21)! The King of Glory has come in (Psalm 24:7-10)! Open wide the gates of your city, that many may come and know Him. Let Him come in and enlarge the boundaries of the city. There is room…Christ made room. Come on in!

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Jehovah Nissi, The Lord My Banner

31 Days Day 31

When I was thinking about the word “banner” two images came to mind. The first was that of my beloved Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. The front row has a group of seniors who have 12th Man banners hanging from their horns. I remember standing in Kyle Field watching the band go through their routine at half time. I can also remember what it sounded like. I can hear those banners pop as they are put through the motions. Crisp, clean pops. They sounded like  ”battle ready” snaps.

I also pictured my friend Nikita. She would dance before the Lord at our church and women’s events, and many times she would use banners. They would flow ever so gracefully in her hands. I have seen those same banners draped around women who were just broken before the Lord.

Whether the banner the Lord places over me is one of battle preparedness or one of comfort in my pain, it says the same thing….I am His.

I am His.

As a sign to the enemy from the onset of our warfare, I belong to God. As a bandage for the wounds I have incurred, I am God’s. Regardless of the color, the material, or even the size, the banner over you and me, we who are in Christ Jesus, says clearly that we belong to Him and He loves us.

Father God, I am so grateful that You are my Jehovah Nissi. You are my banner. You are the Who and the What I can stand confidently under, regardless of my circumstances. Lord, I am ever thankful that Your banner proclaims Your love for me and for others. Help me today, Jesus, to walk under that banner, finding strength in its covering and comfort under its shelter.

 

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El Olam, The Everlasting God

31 Days Day 6

El Olam, The Everlasting God, The Eternal God, the God who has no beginning and no end. His faithfulness and love will endure forever.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night….The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:4, 10, 12

Father, You are The Everlasting God, You have no beginning or end. I am your creation, and as such I do have a beginning, and I will have an end just as all things on this earth. Thank You for every single moment You have given to me. Give me the strength I need each day, so that when my time on earth is through I may stand before Your eternal throne and hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It’s in You Son my Savior Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.






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