A Hurting Heart

My heart is hurting tonight.  Really, it’s been hurting for several months.  I can feel spiritual warfare down to my bones happening in this house.  And it feels like I’m powerless against it.  The heaviness is oppressing.  It’s a sadness that I almost feel I can’t escape.  I long to have the joy of the Lord back in this home, but it’s seems like an uphill battle of biblical proportions. 

And while I can feel this settling into the cracks and crevices, I know that I have a God that is greater than any spiritual warfare in this home and in my life. 

He promises me that He is faithful and assures me that He is protection. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” –2 Thessalonians 3:3

He tells me that I am His.  “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” –John 1:12

He gives me strength.  “He gives strength to the weary, and to the one who lacks might He increases power.” –Isaiah 40:29

He gives me armor.  “Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” –Ephesians 6:14-17

He gives me respite.  “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28

He is my Defender.  “The Lord will fight for you, while you keep silent.” –Exodus 14:14

I’m flooding this home with praise music.  I’m reading my Bible out loud.  I read it from room to room.  I pray throughout the house.  I know that even while I’m facing spiritual warfare, my God is defending me from every hit Satan and his minions try to take.  And I’m not giving up without a fight.

Thank you, God, for who You are.  

Is anyone else currently struggling with spiritual warfare?  Share in the comments below and know that Emily and I are praying faithfully for you.

~Erin

Flattened Frogs

My cats would not leave the pantry alone and I couldn’t figure out what was intriguing them so much about cases of bottled water.  I moved the cases out and found two flattened frogs on the ground.

Flattened, like they’d been dead for a very long time.

Flattened, like dehydrated beef jerky.

Flattened, like smashed, dried, and brittle.

I was totally grossed out to think that these two frogs were once alive in my pantry. More than that, I was grossed out to think about how long they had to hang out in order to become so flattened!

As I cleaned up frog carcasses, I reflected on the passage in Exodus, when the Lord sent frogs (through Moses and Aaron) to catch the attention of Pharaoh.  Imagine frogs being all over your body and your house. Imagine them on your family members and your friends.  Imagine them taking over the kitchen and being in your ovens and bread bowls!?!?!?!  That would certainly have gotten my attention!

I’m grateful that the Lord hasn’t sent hordes of frogs to my house to get my attention, but I imagine that He gets frustrated when I don’t pay attention…or worse become deliberately disobedient.  I’d argue that God uses other tactics to get my attention.

Some of those tactics include:

-Feeling convicted by the Word or a sermon

-Lack of peace

-Stormy days (ie: work, relationships, finances)

-Hitting a rock bottom AKA: a road to Damascus Moment

-Unusual or unexpected blessings

Even if you aren’t picking up flattened frogs in the pantry, I urge you to conduct some self-reflection about how God is getting your attention.  Are you listening? Or do you need to have the frogs sent in?

~Emily

Exodus 8:2-14 (ESV)

But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls.  The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants. And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt!’”  So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.  But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.  Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the Lord to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.”  And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God.  The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile.” So, Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields.  And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank.

Frog

 

 

 

 

Peeling Wallpaper

The wallpaper in the master bathroom of my house was probably pretty popular in the 1990s.  In 2020, it’s just too much.  I have had visions of tearing it down and refurbishing the bathroom, but after three years of owning the house, I haven’t done a single thing.

Until I noticed a tiny little corner lifting up above the shower.  It was like I had zero control over my hand, as I peeled that corner up and away from the wall.  Now there are whole swaths of wallpaper being torn away in various places in the bathroom.  Peeling corners, sections of 90’s wallpaper being torn, and sections of plaster and paint peeking through.

It looks like there’s an affliction that has overtaken the bathroom walls.

Just like my own life.  Affliction and unattractive blemishes all over the walls of my life.

On occasion, I question if I’m worthy of God’s affection in the midst of my afflictions.  I know that I’m not the only one who has questioned my worthiness and God’s attention.  You may have questioned your own worthiness as well.  The Israelites probably questioned it when they assumed that God didn’t care about them either.  In Exodus 3:16 God said, I am concerned about you as a reassurance to the Israelites.

Just like He was concerned about the Israelites, He’s concerned about me and He’s concerned about you too.  Throughout scripture, we see affliction in Leah, Rachel, Hannah, David and countless others.  Yet we also see that God worked for each of them through their pain.

As you go through the week, possibly complaining like the Israelites, remember that God sees you.  He sees your afflictions, like peeling wallpaper, and He’s working on your behalf!

~Emily

“Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt.” ~Exodus 3:16 (NKJV)

Peeling Wallpaper copy

 

 

Trivia: Did you know?

Did you know that Ruth was King David’s Great-Grandmother?!?!?

Ruth, as in ‘Where you go, I’ll go…’ Ruth.  She’s the one.  The one who was the Great-Grandma to King David. KING DAVID!!! Did she read to toddler-King David on her lap?  Tell him to ‘go get a switch’ when he was naughty?  Did she sing to him?  Present him with horribly handmade sweaters?  Why am I the only one who is freaking out about this genealogy nugget?

I figured this out while remotely completing a Ruth Bible study with Erin and the Table 8 ladies. It was early morning. I read the daily passage.  I answered the questions.  And then…I started outlining Ruth’s lineage.  I sat in shock and then quickly shot off a text to Erin about my discovery. With different time zones, early morning revelations in Alabama translate to middle of the night texts in California. I can only imagine that Erin was giggling and shaking her head at my excitement over this shocking discovery. Apparently, this Ruth-David connection is common knowledge.  Where the heck have I been?

While ecstatic about this newfound knowledge, it made me think about other connections throughout the Bible that I had possibly missed.  I started researching some trivia and unusual occurrences within the Bible.  Have you missed some too?

Did you know?

-Ehud was the 1stleft-handed man mentioned in the Bible (Judges 3:15)

-Dogs are mentioned 41 times in the Bible, but cats aren’t even mentioned once.

-Job stated that his wife claimed he had bad breath. (Job 19:17)

-Genesis never says Adam and Eve ate an apple, only that they ate fruit.

-Andrew was a disciple of John The Baptist before following Jesus. (John 1:35-37, 40)

-David is second only to Jesus in number of times mentioned in the Bible.

-Elizabeth, mother of John The Baptist, was a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5) and John The Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. (Luke 1:36)

-Miriam is the 1st woman recorded singing in the Bible (Exodus 15:21)

-Prior to the incident at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), everyone spoke the same language.

I already knew some of these, such as the relationship between Jesus and John The Baptist.  Their relationship is often mentioned around Christmas when retelling of Elizabeth and Mary meeting, while both were pregnant. I knew that at some point all humans spoke the same language, but I didn’t know it was the incident at the Tower of Babel that changed our languages.

This book we study, the Word of God, it is filled with wondrous facts and illustrations of relationships.  None of them are coincidences and all of them are divinely God’s plan.  I love stumbling on these bits and pieces that are so perfectly overlapping.  It makes me love the written word of God even more than I had previously.  It makes me want to read more…study more…find more curiosities that I had previously missed.  Who else is the great-grandparent to a notorious Bible figure?!?!?

Come to the porch and share something from the Bible that you have previously missed…I’m super intrigued!

~Emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Extra

We’ll just take a little extra….just in case.  Never mind the fact that He provides exactly what we need, right?!

This has been weighing heavily on my mind all week.  I’m using a bible reading plan that gets me through the whole bible in a year (let’s be honest–it’ll be more like a year and half or even two for me, but I digress).  Anyway, I’m currently reading through Exodus.  The Israelites are feeling as if they’re going to starve in the wildernes and wonder whether being hungry in the wilderness is a better choice than being a slave in Egypt.  God says to them that He hears their grumbling and will provide meat in the evening and bread (manna) in the morning.  He was pretty specific in instruction for gathering the manna, too.  He said to gather a portion for each family member ONLY for the day, except on Friday.  On Friday, gather two portions as Saturday was the sabbath, and the Israelites weren’t permitted to work on that day.  Anyone trying to save some for the next day’s meal would would wake up to find it foul smelling and filled with worms.  Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?! And despite what they were directed to do by God Himself, a few still chose to try and save some extra or go out on the morning of the sabbath to gather manna only to find some wormy leftovers or the desert ground dry and empty.

I’ve read and heard this story a million times since I grew up in Sunday School and church services.  But I think it’s the first time I really stopped to overlay it’s meaning to my life.  It amazes me how many times the Israelites tried to do it their own way, not relying on God’s direct provision and protection over their deliverance from Egypt.  Like, seriously, you dummies…did you forget the parting of the Red Sea or the flies, boils, and locusts you were spared from?!  And after railing on how ridiculous the Israelites were, I thought about this: How often do I do the same thing?

I’m guilty of taking situations or problems or complaints to Jesus, asking Him to provide in some way or even assuming that He’s going to deliver exactly what I ask for.  And when He answers, or more accurately when I feel He hasn’t answered the way I would like for Him to, I start to handle the issue myself.

I can’t possibly be alone in how I manage this!  We often try to bypass His plan or provision in some way to get extra, to fix it, or to help ourselves because we know exactly how we want it handled.  And a dear friend reminded me this week that this isn’t just a new Christian or a seasoned Christian problem.  This is a human problem.  It’s difficult for a new Christian to let go of the idea that we’re not really in control of our lives.  For the Christian that has been walking with Christ for a while, we forget that we can take and trust everything to Jesus, not just the heart-hurting issues.  How much better off would we be if we trusted in His mercy and believed that He has our best interest in His hands and will take care of it as He sees fit?

Jesus reminds us of exactly that in Matthew 6.  He tell us in verses 31-33, Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or what ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

This, then, is our charge–to rise up against the worldly view that we must take care of ourselves without the trust of having an amazing God in our corner.  His provision for us is unending.  His love for us is good and beautiful.  Lay down your burdens at the cross of Jesus and let Him supply your needs and desires as He will.  Let’s trust HIM for the extra instead!

~Erin

How about you?  Do you struggle with this like I do?  Comment below with a verse that helps remind you that God’s provision is best!