Monday, October 30, 2006

Taking Captives

I think I've quoted the verse, "taking every thought captive" at least a gazillion times...but tonight in study, I was convicted about the fact that I hadn't taken the time to study that verse in it's entirety.

The end of that verse takes it a level says we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Wow! That makes me much more accountable. Much.


Well, if I'm totally honest with myself, the reality is that I might claim to take a thought captive...but THEN what do I do with it?

If I take it captive, and then have to surrender it to the obedience of Jesus, then I am CRYSTAL about what that thought means...what it breeds...whether or not it is edifying to me or others.


Yes, "to the obedience of Christ" takes it to a higher level...for when I look at even my thoughtlife under the microscope of obedience to The Lord, then it leaves me little room to think like a schmuck. ( is that how you spell schmuck?)

I confess. I do still think like a schmuck at times...sometimes I have words enter my head that used to be my favorite *bombs* know...curse words.

Ugh, how I hate it when they come! I was such a toilet tongue before I gave my life to Jesus...and I hate it when I blow it today and say something that the "old Jesica" would have said!

But, today...I'm praying that God will etch forever on my heart the truth of the Scripture I've just studied...that I will practice the discipline of "taking every thought captive TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST".

I'm certainly not perfect ( I learned today that Paul wasn't either )...but my heart's desire is to grow more and more like my Jesus until the day that He takes me home to be with Him.

I remember, before giving my life to The Lord, that I battled for YEARS with thoughts of suicide. YEARS. The comfort of knowing that I could end my life when it truly got too bad, was a constant companion to me. It gave me a sense of control in a life where I felt I had absolutely none.

Then, when I was 29, I surrendered my life TOTALLY to The Lord. I was so done with me that I couldn't stand it anymore..and all that I wanted was God's leading and healing and love in my life. ( And this is where I still am today!)

I got saved 13 days ( I think I've been saying 11, but I just checked a calendar and it was 13) after Shane and I were married. Then, a few weeks later, I remember sitting with him and saying, "Hey, let me read you some stuff from this journal I've had for the past 15 years."

It was a journal that I wrote in about once or twice a year, from 14 years old and up.

As we sat on the bed and I read that journal, I was blown away! See, God had taken away the veil...He had removed the scales from my eyes. I now had "eyes to see"as He saw, and as I read that journal, every single page held entry after entry of my hopes to kill myself.

I was dumbfounded as I looked at the words on those pages with new eyes...through the Holy Spirit.

God led me then and there to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" and I didn't even know that verse existed yet!

I got up and took the journal that I had once so cherished, and burned every single page of it. Then I yelled out to satan, "I'm done with you! I'm God's wanna fight? Bring it on!" ( Word to the wise...don't EVER say that! I regretted those words for the next 5 years.)

I knew that it would not serve me, or my walk with God, to have those lies of the enemy in my home, or available to read ever again.

I then went to Shane and said, "Honey, until I know that I know that I know that the enemy doesn't have a hold on me in this area any more, we have to get rid of all of our guns."

And we did...within the week.

See, God made it clear to me that I was to trust Him, and trust that He would be my Protector.

I had never before lived in a home without a gun. To me, having a gun was this was a big leap of faith for me.

But, God honored my desire to walk in obedience, and He has faithfully protected us every day since.

And, when the enemy would shoot his fiery arrows my way, arrows labeled "suicide", I ran to The Lord, and cried out to Him, and begged Him to remind me that He had different plans for me. That He would never want me to take my own life.

Those thoughts are so powerful to someone who is not washed in the Word on a regular basis. Like I said, they were a constant companion to me as a young girl, and into adulthood.

But, now that I belong to The Lord, the discipline of "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" has rendered those thoughts powerless....has rendered the enemy powerless in that area of my life.

Today, I KNOW that I was bought with a price...and that God has a purpose for my life...and that the purpose is to Glorify Him in all I edify the body of believers..and to share the good news of the gospel of reconciliation with the lost.

Praise God! I'm free indeed! :)

So, I encourage you to bow before Him today...and ask Him what thoughts you need to take captive to obedience to Him. Then, listen as He speaks to your heart. And then, obey.

I promise, obeying Christ is the only way to go.

All other ground is sinking sand.

If I can ever pray with or for someone you love who is battling the same demons that I did, I'd be honored to do so. I think it's so very hard to understand the hold that the enemy can have on someone's life through thoughts of suicide, unless you've been there.

It's a dark dungeon of pain and lonliness and utter hopelessness that life could ever be better.

However, once free of those chains, life is rich...and God gives purpose to the once empty soul.

In Him,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Learning from the Flip Side..

Today, I am learning what Scripture means when it talks about being part of the same body, and thus hurting when others hurt.

It's not that I actually studied this passage TODAY...I studied it some months ago...but today, I'm getting it.

I just got word that a precious sister in Christ has cancer. She's battled it before...and it was a BIG battle.

Now, she has a different kind of cancer. And, she's going into surgery again.

I feel like my heart is going to break wide open! She's not in Phoenix, so I feel especially helpless...I can't take dinner to her family, or offer to keep her kids, or go and visit her in the hospital.

I am understanding tonight, what it means to be part of one body, and when one part hurts, the others do also.

She's a mother of young children...I can't imagine how she is feeling right now.

But, I trust this about my sweet friend...she loves the LORD with all of her heart, and I know that she will put her trust in His sovereignty. I know that she will choose to praise Him through this storm.

It's hard sometimes, to be asked to give God the glory in our lives, when we're in painful situations. Our humanity almost demands to know the outcome..almost as if we want to tell God, "Listen God...just let me know how You're going to be glorified through all of this, and I'll be happy to give you the glory."

But, it doesn't work that way, does it?

He asks us to live by faith.

I've tried it both by only what I could see...and living by faith.

The first only seems easier...when in reality it brings great heartache. For, what I can see and what God can see are vastly different things.

He knows the future, because He holds it in His hands...and He asks me to trust that He loves me, and is always working for my best...even when I can't "see" it.

Yes, today it feels like I'm learning from the "flip side"...I'm not writing you tonight about some great insight that God showed me during my study time today.

But, He is definitely teaching me this very minute...what it means to mourn with those who mourn...and what it means to hurt when a member of His body ( my body ) hurts...

My friend is so precious...she loves others deeply, and lives her life to honor Christ, with all of her heart.

When cancer hit her years ago, she fought back reaching out to help others who were fighting the same battle.

When another friend of mine found out that her daughter had cancer, this friend was the first to say, "Please...give her my information...I want to help."

Would you please keep her in your prayers tonight? I'm intentionally leaving her name off, because I don't have permission to share it...but would you pray...God knows...just say, "God...would you please be with Jesica's precious friend...the one that is always thinking of how to help others? She needs YOUR help right now, God."

One body, many great that God has made that clear through His Word...a part of our body needs our prayers...would you please hit your knees for her?

Please, please, please.

In Him,

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Cupbearer and The Baker...

We're continuing our study of Genesis, and of Joseph's life. Today we were in chapter 40. I've heard it taught that in the Old Testament, there are people who were "types" of Christ. I think what is meant by this is that they were a foreshadow of Jesus.

Today, I saw something amazing in the life of Joseph. In Chapter 40, he is in an Egyptian prison, having been falsely accused.

2 men are also thrown into prison by Pharoah. From reading the Scripture, it seems that both were guilty, therefore they deserved prison.

Both men have dreams, and both allow Joseph to interpret them.

Joseph tells the cupbearer that his dream means that he will be freed from jail in 3 days. The cupbearer is going to be SET FREE.

He also tells the baker that his dream means that he will be hung in 3 days. The baker, thus will DIE.

There are so many pictures of foreshadowing in this story..but the biggest one that I see is the fact that one of these men will be set free, and one will die...and that innocent Joseph is the one that proclaims that to both of them.

Think about when Jesus hung on the cross. He too was innocent of the charges brought against Him. Yet, on either side of Him hung 2 guilty men. One recognized Him as the Savior, and He told that man that the man would be with Jesus in paradise, that very day.

The other man did not recognize him as Savior, and thus he died, having only hell to welcome him.

I'm still sorting through all of the comparisons in my head...but I thought those were pretty profound.

We will see, Joseph goes on to be the redeemer of his people.

Do you know, Jesus...the Redeemer of the World?

If not, let's talk about Him. He loves you more than anyone else ever will.

In Him,

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What if Potiphar hadn't left his wife alone?

We're continuing our study in Genesis 39...that is, the kiddos and I.
Today we were reading and I saw something fresh from Scripture...fresh to me, that is..for Scripture is always fresh and alive.

As many times as I've read the story of Joseph, I don't think I "saw" the fact that Potiphar's wife had pursued Joseph many times, and that he repeatedly told her "no".

Yet, his job was to work in Potiphar's home, and as a slave that must have been a pretty nice, he likely didn't get to choose his every day he went back.

But here's where the questions come in for me...why would Potiphar leave his wife alone with another man? Any man? Much less one that the Scripture says was handsome in form and appearance?

And, on the day that Joseph went to their home and found that this one time, no one else was there...did he have a choice of whether or not to go in where he'd be alone with Potiphar's wife, in full knowledge of all the times that she had made advances toward him?

Seeing this in Scripture reinforced for me, once again, something that Shane and I hold to.

There are many people who don't get why we do this, but for us, it's a non-negotiable.

We have a "hedge" around our marriage wherein we don't allow people of the opposite sex into our home if we aren't both here. I remember one time,a friend of mine was going to come over because she wanted me to review some paper work with her, and at the last minute she fell ill. So, she said she'd just send her husband over with it instead.

I told her that he'd be welcome to come over when Shane was here, but not while I was here alone.

She was shocked...she even asked me if it was because I was concerned that I'd be tempted into immorality.

How neat is was to be able to tell her that our marriage is precious to us, and that this is one way that we protect it.

Think about it...if Potiphar hadn't been gone that day, if Joseph hadn't been alone with Potiphar's wife, then she could not have accused him falsely. So, by Potiphar's decision, 2 people that he cared deeply about were put into a vulnerable position.

Now, I know that God had a sovereign plan in all of the happenings of Joseph's life...and that the LORD was with doubt..the Scripture makes that clear.

My real question is more toward Potiphar...was he being the protector of his home? Could he have exercised better discretion?

And, what will we do if we're in a situation that calls for integrity, for protection? Will we protect our marriages, our families, even if it makes us look "paranoid" to other people?

Sadly, so many people who claim to know and love the LORD have fallen into immorality, and often I think it's because they didn't choose BEFOREhand to protect their marriages...and themselves and the ones that they love.

I have an older woman friend whose husband was unfaithful to her years ago. He now professes to be a believer. Yet, he thinks nothing of going out to eat with a female friend who is many years younger than his wife. ( not that her age even matters) My friend has told him that she thinks it's inappropriate and that it hurts her feelings, yet he continues to do it.

All the while, he's claiming "grace"..that he lives under "grace". PLEASE!

WHO is the perfect picture of grace?


Would Jesus do this? We are His bride...would He ever even give the QUESTION of unfaithfulness to us?


Would God the Father ever hint of unfaithfulness to Israel?


Yes, I'm on my soapbox now. I admit it.

I thank God that He showed me this insight in Scripture's steels my resolve to protect my marriage at all costs. And often, the cost feels high...when it's midnight and Shane and I have just come in from a date, and I have to drive my babysitter all the way back to Black Canyon City (40 minutes round trip) while he stays here with the kids...that's a sacrifice.

But, both our sitter whom we love, and my husband whom I love, are worth it.

It's our "hedge" around our marriage. And it's not coming down. :)

If you don't have them around yours...please, learn from Potiphar's mistake, and build them.

HMMMMMMMM..that comparison of Jesus to us makes me think of another application...

How are we protecting our relationship with Him? What "hedges" are we putting into our lives to make sure that our time spent with the LORD isn't compromised?

HMMMM...I think I have to ponder this one and write about it another day....

Do you have any insights on that?

Do tell.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'll be moderating if you want yours to be private, I can do that.


Just wanted to let you know that I've restructured things here, so now I'll be moderating the comments that people leave. If you want to send a comment, but would like me to keep it private, please let me know that and I won't post yours.

Thought this might make it easier for you who are reading it, to post your thoughts, if you had that option. :)

All 3 of you! :)

Night night...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Believers are a Kingdom of Priests....

I learned, in a sweet time of study on Saturday night, that believers in Jesus Christ are a kingdom of priests...

See what Revelation says on this, in the first chapter...

5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood--
6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.

Isn't that awesome! He, Jesus, has made us to be a kingdom of people who are priests to that God will get the glory!

This was just one more confirmation for me that our lives as believers are to be used to His glory, completely.

Last night, our family was watching the Extreme Home Makeover's our Sunday night tradition..popcorn and cuddles and this show. ( nice now that we have a DVR, because we can fast forward through all of the trashy commercials for the next show that comes on, but I digress)

Well, as we were watching, the people on the show were talking about their concern that their son, who has CP, may die...and my son got sad, and asked me what I would do if he died.

It was so wonderful to be able to tell him that I would have a time of mourning, and that I would miss him so much...but that I would rest in the sovereignty of God, knowing that God had been gl0rified in Caedmon's life, and so His purpose for him here would have been fulfilled. And, I told him I'd see him again, once I got there too. :)

I was also able to tell Caedmon that when God decides to take me home to heaven, that Caedmon could TRUST God, knowing that He had a reason for taking me home, and that my time for giving Him glory on earth was done, and that I would then be glorifiying God in Heaven....and that God would supply all that Caedmon would ever need.

It was such a sweet time of talking together and such a great reminder to Caedmon that our lives are not our own...that we were bought with great cost by the blood of Jesus...and that we are to live in a manner that will glorify God here on earth, until our job here is done.

I tell the kids a lot, as well as the ladies in Bible study, I believe that there are only 2 reasons that any believer is still walking the earth... and they both fall under the umbrella of glorifying God.
1.) To be used by The Holy Spirit to edify the church...for the building up of the body of Christ in love.
2.) To share the gospel with the lost.

I wondered for YEARS why I had been born...what my purpose on this earth was...

I now know...and those 2 answers are why.

When God knows that His plans for me in those areas are complete, He'll take me home.

So, when that day comes...don't cry for me...I'll be right where my heart longs to be. With my LORD. :)

Until then, I'll press my calling...and you do the same, ok?
Remember, as a believer, God has great purpose for your life here. Let Him use you today...and always!

In Him,

Saturday, October 14, 2006

And now about Reuben...

Hi again...

I've been really sick this week...crazy sick. So, I guess this post should be "what I learned from the Word over the past 7 days"...since I've missed so many. ;)

The kids and I are still studying in Genesis 37. I'm SO excited, because I'm about to start leading a Precept study for far we have 9 who want to take it...we'll start in Genesis 1 and go through a Precept kids study that focuses on Creation.

I'm SO excited!

I wish so much that I had learned as a child how to study the to interrogate the that it wouldn't have been head knowledge, but heart knowledge.

Please pray with me that these kiddos will fall in love with God's Word, and with Him. what I learned today...I don't think I ever realized that Reuben wasn't part of the scheme to kill Joseph...but clearly he wasn't.

We were reading today about how Reuben tore his clothes when he realized that Joseph wasn't in the pit, because he thought Joseph was dead, and his plan had been to wait until the other brothers were gone, and then to save Joseph and return him to his father.

Then later, Jacob did the same thing (tore his clothers) when the other brothers presented Joseph's torn tunic to him.

I know I'm skipping around a bit here, but I only have a few minutes, so forgive me... The other thing that was interesting to me was that the Bible is very specific in saying that the brothers slaughtered a male goat in order to get the blood to smear on the tunic. I'm anxious to see if there is some significance to the fact that it was a male goat. ( stay tuned )

My son asked me why both Reuben and Jacob tore their clothes, and he also wanted to know what the significance of sackcloth and ashes we're going to do some research on that also. (stay tuned)

The children were amazed by the fact that Joseph's brothers would stand right in their fathers' face and lie to him, all the while knowing that Joseph wasn't dead.

It made me think about all of the times that I did the same...with God. For so many years, prior to coming to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I thought that I was saved...but my life was such a mockery.

I had more "bible doctrine" in my head than almost anyone that I knew, but the truth of God's love and forgiveness, and His requirement for obedience had never penetrated my heart.

OOOOOH! What a day that was...when my heart was penetrated by the Truth of how very HOLY God is! It was June 11,1999...the only birthday that even matters to me anymore. :)

It was the day that I received new life...and I was forever changed.

But before that day, I too would stand and lie and lie and lie to my Father...the only difference was, I now know from Scripture that He wasn't really mine yet...because the Word makes it clear that "no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" ( that's Jesus speaking).

In verse 29, Reuben returns to the pit to find that Joseph wasn't there, and realizes that his plans to save him are now void. In verse 30, I can just sense his desperation as he returns to his brothers ( who obviously lie to him too) and says, "The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?"

Reading this today made me think of when Mary Magdalene and John and Peter went to Jesus' tomb...and found his body gone. How sad they must have been...they probably didn't know where to go next, either.

They just didn't realize yet...that his resurrection was what would be required for them, for us, to walk in newness of life.

It's by His death that we are forgiven, but by His life that we are saved.

It's because of His resurrection that we can walk in newness of life.

Praise God!

I think we'll see, as we study Genesis, that it's because of Joseph's being sold into slavery that the family of Israel was saved from death.
(keep staying tuned) :)

How many times do things happen in our lives that we don't understand?

I know that I've just been through a very painful that truly could break me if I hadn't chosen to trust God cling to His Sovereignty...and to know that even though I can't see the outcome..He can...and that He won't allow anything to happen in my life today, unless He knows that He can be glorified through it.

I'm going to begin asking Him to do for me what He did for use this heartbreak to heal those I love who are most in need of His love and forgiveness. To restore that which is broken...but only if He can get the glory out of it...only if every knee will bow before Him.

God has been so gracious to us...I've seen Him heal hurts over the past 8 years, that I never thought would be healed. And, guess Who is getting the glory for it today? ;) That's right...Him!

If there is a hurt in your life that you can't imagine could ever be healed...please, go to God and ask Him to take it. Ask Him to give you forgiveness where needed, and to carry the burden of pain that you've been carrying. Ask Him to give you strength through the time that He is working in the life of the others involved. Ask Him to pierce their hearts with their need for Him, and His Son, Jesus.

He loves you beyond your imagination. Nothing can separate you from the love of God...nothing...once you've repented of your sin and surrendered your life to the lordship of His Son, Jesus....nothing!

If you don't know Jesus personally, and want to...please feel free to
e-mail me and ask me any questions about Him that you might have.

If you want to walk in freedom, He's the only way to do that.

In His Amazing Love,

Friday, October 06, 2006

Why were Joseph's brothers so angry?

I have to admit, I've never understood why a group of GUYS would get so bent out of shape because their brother got a new coat. I just couldn't understand that.

As of a few days ago, the children and I are working through a kids Precept study together, and it's called "Joseph, God's Superhero".

It's a wonderful study, and I am blown away at how much the children are learning (and me too! )!

I'm so excited, because what this will do is teach them the tools that I've learned as an adult, to help them learn to "Discover Truth for Themselves" from God's Word.

They are catching on so fast! Already they know how to investigate the Scriptures by asking the 5ws and an H questions, and they're using their colored pencils to identify key words!


Brennan is only 4, and she has truly amazed me by how much she is "getting" already. She is the 1st to give me the answers! I love it!'s what I learned from Genesis 37 the original language, "varicolored tunic" meant a coat that had long sleeves that reached to one's palms. It was customary in the day for working men to wear sleeveless tunics. So, the fact that Joseph's father gave him one that had long sleeves represented that Joseph wasn't expected to work like his brothers were.

In the 2nd part of Genesis 37, this is further shown when we read that Joseph's father asked him to go to the field where his brothers were tending the flock....evidently, he wasn't working with them...and when he got there, he didn't go to work. He was sent just to check on them and then take word back to his father of how they were doing.

Now, I'm starting to get it. They were jealous of him because he had preferential treatment from their father, and then he tells them about his dreams...dreams which indicate that they'll one day bow before him.

Whew! They were not thrilled about this, to say the least.

And, as the kids and I have studied the text, we find that first his brothers were jealous of him...then they hated him...then they wanted him dead.

It's been such a great application lesson to share with the children...when we find ourselves tempted by sin ( in this case jealousy)...we need to surrender it immediately to God. For when we don't, it won't sit will grow into deeper sin ( in this case hatred )...and when it's allowed to flourish it turns to death.

Death? Maybe not physical death...but most definitely the death of relationships. I've just seen that happen in my own life, sadly enough. People who will not bow their knee before God and confess their sin to him, and allow Him to be glorified as they walk in obedience to a result, our relationship is dead.

And everyone loses when that happens...until, that is, God redeems the He will end up doing through Joseph, for his entire family. ( stay tuned )

If you feel so led, I'd cherish your prayers that God will redeem this relationship in my life.

Maybe sometimes it is physical death. In Joseph's case it was going to be, but his brother Reuben stepped in as protection for him.

That's the other thing I learned...I always thought that ALL of Joseph's brothers wanted him dead, but as we observed the text, we found that Reuben was actually used by God to save Joseph's life.

As we read further in Genesis 37, it seems clear that Reuben didn't know that his brothers had sold Joseph into slavery, for when he went back to the pit to find Joseph and return him to his father, he found the pit empty. And the Scripture says that Reuben tore his clothes.

I am loving this study! I've heard this story in Sunday school classes since I was a child, but the SIGNIFICANCE of the Truth of this story is now coming to light for me.

That's why I love studying the Bible inductively! I truly am "Discovering Truth For Myself".

If you're in Anthem, and interested in learning how to study the Bible for yourself...please e-mail me. I'd love to tell you about the opportunities available to you here in our community!

If you're anywhere else, go to and search for a Precept study in your own area. If you'll let Him, God will change your life through the Truth of His Word.

"God's Word is a Gift...Open it up and see what's inside for YOU!"

In His Love,

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wow! This is fun!

I'm excited to be creating a blog to share with whomever is interested, what I learn from God's Word on a daily basis.

Tonight it's late, and I'm in a LOT of back pain, so I'm going to make this one short and sweet.

Today I learned that prophets are accountable to one another.

From here on out, I'll make sure to post Scripture references...but my Bible is in the room with my sleeping husband, so I'll post the verse tomorrow.

Sleep well!