Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It is a Matter of Life and Death

I have walked long hot walks on walls built to keep others out, to keep those inside safe and secured. I've been amazed at man's ability to place brick upon brick and mortar just right to keep standing after centuries of rain and wind, after sword and fire, after men with ladders and angry hearts have tried to usurp her defences.  I grew up in a city where a castle overlooked the valley and in ominous beauty stood year after year, with high walls and blown out towers, proof that it once was glorious, proof that it did not always stand the test of time or the test of the cannons. 

I think of Israel and Nehemiah surveying the broken walls of his beloved city, I think of him weeping when he hears the news that her defences are down, the people are not safe.  What does it mean to build a wall around your home? What does it mean to be the person who stands in the gap of a broken down wall and holds a spear in one hand and the trowel in the other?  What does it look like to say to God that you are willing to be the warrior and to rebuild broken walls?  What are the stakes if we leave the walls unfinished?  What if that little Dutch boy had just walked on past the leak in the damn?  Would the water have come rushing into an unsuspecting weary town? 

Friends, you who have borne children and laid them crying on the bed to change their dirty diaper, only to cuddle them clean and happy in warm waiting arms.  You dear friend, who have stood before God and all of heaven with the man of your dreams and proclaimed covenant of marriage and unending love and devotion.  You who wept in prayer making promises to God that you would raise children to know him, to love him...  You are the warrior your children need to stand watch over your family. You are the one called to bend the knee and bow the head and pray to the God of the heavens to build those walls of protection around your home, around your children...

Oh God, lead them not into temptation, but deliver them from evil.  Oh God, let your will be done in their lives as it is done in heaven.  Lord, protect them from the flaming arrows of the evil because

Ephesians 6:12 says

New International Version (NIV)
1For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Parents, Father, Mother, remember when you lock your doors at night and you makes sure windows are secured and stove is turned off, remember that your fight is in the heavenly realm.  Remember that the real battle is for hearts and souls. The real battle is for your marriage, it is for your children.  We protect them in the physical, protect them in the spiritual.   Build the walls of protection around your children, it is a matter of life and death.

When Moses stood on the plains of Moab with the promised land close and hearts were eager,  he preached...  He gave a sermon like no other of how they were to make it, how they were to stand against all of the struggle and fight they were about to encounter.  How do you take a promised land already inhabited? How to do you claim an inheritance that seems so out of reach.  The answer is the very core of all of life.

 Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Remember God.  All. The. Time.  When you walk, talk about him, when you wake up let Him fill your thoughts.  Let God talk be the commonplace.  If you want your children to come into their spiritual inheritance you need to let the gospel be your everyday conversation.  If you want to build walls around their hearts of spiritual protection let the wall itself be the gospel.  Let the Gospel be the filter of everything they hear and so in the filtering miracle of gospel truth they will be able to spot a lie a mile away, and they won't believe it, they won't fall into that temptation because they know it came from the pit of hell.  Speak the Gospel to your children.  Speak the Gospel to yourself, and to your spouse.  Let your words be seasoned with grace.  Fill your home with truth so that a lie or temptation from the enemy only looks hideous and unattractive.  

Friends, build the walls of worship, of gospel truth.  It is a matter of life and death.  Your children will face temptation, give them the foundation to stand against it.  Survey the walls and ask God to show you places where they may be a crack in the brick and ask for grace to seal it.  An example:  I became a food network junky filling the evening with the sound of Guy Fieri and his eating out exploits.  Was it evil?  Not really, but it became a crack in our wall.  While Guy was filling the sound void we were not listening to God or seeking him as a family.  I turned off the tv almost entirely last August.  Our nights now consist of the beautiful sweet picture of Zack holding his children's Bible in his lap while Jeff reads the stories to him out of his Big Boy Bible.  How much better is that?  We were missing a chance to build a wall of gospel protection around Zack. 

So what about you?  I beg you, ask God where you need to rebuild broken walls.  Ask Him where you can bring your family to spend time around His word.  He will show you.

We just kept walking on those amazing walls.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Enter In

I heard Jesus say to me "Enter In".  It was a simple little phrase that has captured my mind for the past few days. What happens in the entering in? What is it to enter in? I considered how a child is conceived;  sperm enters into the egg and creates a new life.  Miracle upon miracle, that a uniquely beautiful human being would be created from this act of entering in.  So it is with our lives in Christ. When we enter into Jesus we bear the fruit of life in Christ. 

To the broken and the lonely,
hear Jesus say "Enter In"

To the one who has diligently toiled only to find hands empty and hearth gone cold,
Hear Jesus say "Enter In"

To the one who has wept till eyes and nose were red and soggy,
Hear Jesus say "Enter In"

It is in the entering in that the miracle of Joy is fulfilled. It is in the entering that the aroma of Christ fills the senses, delights the heart, refreshes the soul. 

Enter in...

Come to Jesus all of you who are weary and heavy laden.
Come find Rest!

There is a rest for your striving soul in the entering in...
There is peace in the presence of God.

Go for a walk in the coolness of the day and with arms outstretched invite Jesus to Enter In!  Give God a moment of your undivided attention.  Even if it means that the vacuum is playing your background music offer up a song of praise to God.  Say to Him that you welcome Him. Say to Him that you need Him, long for Him, love Him.  It is in the entering in today that you will find life abundantly.

Today, remember that this life in Jesus is fashioned in intimacy with the very King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We are His bride, daughter, sister, brother.. these are words to describe deep connection... and so it is with Christ.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

When the Church is full, but hearts are empty

I read an article about a Mega Church that downsized because half of their membership were just sitting in the pew and not really contributing to the body.  After thinking it was a real church for weeks I just found out that it is all a joke.  Ha, but why did it stay in my mind all this time? Maybe because I think the church does need a wake up call.   The article talked about how the leadership went through the list of folks and out of the 8,000 folks who came on Sundays only about half of those gave any of their time, talents, or finances to the ministry of the church.  They enjoyed the free childcare, the gathering of nice people, the great music, and charismatic speaker but they never actually engaged their own lives and hearts.  The folks at Lark news were on to something.

As a Mom I think of it in these terms:  If Zack were to sit before a healthy meal that I spent time cooking for him and he rejected all the food that was good for his body, but ate a large piece of cake, I would not be happy. I wouldn't feel proud of my son for finishing his piece of cake. I wouldn't be posting on pinterest how to get your son to eat cake and feeling like I was the best Mom ever because chocolate is consumed with such zeal in my house.  So it goes with the church, church leaders get so proud of the size of their worship center and the bottoms that fill the pews that they have no idea that their people are getting fat on cake and are not growing at all in their intimacy with Jesus.

I am honestly heart broken over the lack of real depth in the church.  Jesus is calling us to true intimacy with Himself.  He calls us his friends, His BRIDE!  He says "Come to me!"  He beckons us to "Life abundantly", and yet so many of the people he dearly loves have no idea that there is even such a thing as intimacy with Jesus. They think that being a Christian means to ascribe to a set of values, attend church, and be nice. 

Jesus wants more for his bride. He wants His bride to enjoy Him and to know Him. He wants his bride to hear his voice and have joy in His presence. He wants His bride to walk intimately with Him on every day of the week.  What husband would be content to see his bride for 2 hours on a Sunday morning?  A husband marries his bride because he wants to live with her, to know her, to walk with her when life is hard and when life is in full swing of celebration.  Dear sister, see Jesus as your pursuing groom today. See Him as the one who was standing at the end of the aisle with his face radiant with joy because you were decked in white and joining with him in covenant.  I am not being sacrilegious here!  These are God's metaphors.  God really loves you.  He wants your heart.  He wants your hands and your feet.  He knows that as you walk with him, you abide in Him, your life will bear much fruit.  Apart from him, you are nothing but a pew sitter using up free childcare.  In Him... abiding in Him... your life will bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness.... oh friend, don't settle for life in the pew.  Walk down the aisle to a life of true intimacy with Jesus.

Here is the article that got my mind going even if it is just a silly made up story:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Because Our Friendships Should Go Deep

How many church events do we have to go to realize that in too many ways those gatherings are no different than a Super Bowl party? The conversation, the activity, the way people relate to each other is not a reflection of Christian community, it is just folks hanging out.  Sure, we all know we are Christians and we love Jesus, but we rarely talk about the impact the Gospel has had on our lives.  We talk about dirty diapers (not my preferred topic). We talk about movies and football teams.  We talk about vacations.   This is what we do.  We spend the precious time we have together talking about stuff.  We don't go deep, but why?

Jenn and Linda encourage me in the Gospel almost daily as we raise our children together. Paula told me I need to get off my bottom and write a blog.  God has used them to bring joy, peace, and blessing to me. I love this picture of our baby bumps (Linda's was so big he popped out).

I think there are lots of reasons
  • Gospel conversations are tough because they feel vulnerable. It is just easier to keep people on the outskirts. If I deeply engage it will reveal my heart, the beautiful Christ redeemed heart and the ugly sin struggling heart. I have both and they live in tension, I only want folks to see the pretty side. 
  • We don't want to be offensive.  I grew up with the adage to not talk about religion or politics.   Jesus is always my favourite subject of conversation but how do you talk about him without bringing offence?  
  • We don't want to be that person who is a Bible thumper (do they still use that term? Yes, I am 40)
  • We don't spend time in God's word and so it is not really on the tip of our minds in the first place.
 I believe that Jesus wants us to have friendships within the body of Christ that reflect the depth of intimacy that He has with the Father.  It is time to give it a try, to let go of our fear of being known and being challenged out of complacency and to trust God with our hearts. It is time to trust the church.

It is time to jump into Gospel Friendships
This summer I spent quite a bit of time with Zack at the pool. Everyday on the way he would tell me he doesn't want to roll over, and I would make him.  He is not swimming if he can't breathe and the only way to breathe is to take your face out of the water. He is 4, the best way to get his face out of the water is to roll on his back. I would make him practice his technique for 10 minutes every day.  After a while I noticed that he was doing it on his own. He would be in his own little world of swimming and I would see him gracefully roll over to breathe. He was scared to do it, but with practice and consistency he learned that it was a great way to breathe.

I think we should look at this business of gospel friendships in the same way Zack got accustomed to doing something he feared. We took 10 minutes and set it apart and said it was for practice.  We need to take time with our sisters in Christ and set  it apart and call it holy.  Summit Crossing leadership is beginning a new strategy within our Missional Communities that they are calling DNA groups. It is a small (2-4) group of folks who will meet in a time that is holy, to have gospel conversation.  It will be a safe place in which to practice sharing the deeper, tougher issues, and to celebrate the great blessing of the Gospel.  I need a DNA group because in setting the small community apart as Holy Unto the Lord, I have the freedom to share and to listen in a Holy Spirit led conversation.   Perhaps with practice, we will find that even in friendships outside of DNA group we are having gospel conversations.  It reminds me of Deuteronomy 6:

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!
6-9 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
We need to rehearse the Gospel. We need to remind each other of the work God is doing.  I know that the more I share what God is doing the more the truth of His work sinks deeper into my heart. I begin to believe that He is good when I recite His goodness.  I begin to remember His faithfulness when I share with others what He is doing. I also find greater freedom from struggles when I let them out of the dark places and bring them into the light. It is a win, win.  In sharing both struggle and joy I find myself in a deeper intimacy with God and His bride.  Friends, let's take this challenge and take time with a small group of trusted friends. Make that time holy.  Set it apart for God.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

For when you need to remember God does miracles

Here is my Mom, Diane, telling her story of the miracle God worked in her life a few days ago.  Honestly, I stand amazed by God.  Enjoy.
love, Judy

I took this picture the Thursday morning on my way out to work.  I am simply amazed that this heavy metal garage door bent around my three skinny little finger tips. You can see in the door where God, in His infinite mercy, bent the door around my fingers which resulted in my not losing my index, middle, and fourth fingertips. Instead of going to Girls Ministry and being a part of a beautiful night of teaching and sweet testimony, I would have been in the hospital and maimed for life if God had not worked this miracle.
 How it happened:  my power was out from the storm.  I had difficulty opening the heavy metal door.  I had managed to get it up but when I pulled it down, it was falling too fast.  I tried to slow it down so it would not bend from the bounce of hitting the ground too fast but my hand slipped into the gap and when the garage door straightened my fingers were flattened in the door.  I was literally trapped, unable to free my hand.  In pain, I began screaming for help from my neighbors.  After several minutes, That "still small voice" told me to raise the door and what had taken me two hands and much effort to raise, I was able to do 1 handed at a very awkward angle.  

Look at the dent in the door!  My small fingertips did not do that.  For any of your ladies that are discouraged, show them that God is able to do everything, show them this picture!!!  God makes a way where there is no other way.   He is a defender to the Widow and a constant help in times of trouble.  He is my deliverer!  He is all I need.  I am healed.  I am encouraged and I stand in awe of His faithfulness.  Whomever you need to share this with , do so because God DOES bend the metal of our lives even if it is to get a Girls Ministry teacher to class because she baked cookies and had a fun game, and His word for those 10 year olds.  God cares about His children, old and young, and this picture is God's sweet and tangible testimony of His very real presence in my life and your ministry.  Bless you my sweet sister in Christ.  I am well and rejoicing in God's mysterious and powerful mercy, healing, and provision.  Diane

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When everything is unfinished

 I am afraid the most I will see of my husband tonight is his long legs in these holey jeans sticking out of our attic.  After a long day of work he has to come home to prepare our attic for a bug bomb like no other.  It is an urgent issue. One of those tasks that you don't want to do but somehow it has bumped itself up to the top of the list.  
You know the list that looks like this:
 Putting a border around our garden because although we are happy for healthy grass, we actually wanted garden beds as well. The grass is fighting for more space..

Here is the beginnings of a playset we inherited on Saturday.  It will probably lay in our backyard for at least a year as many other things are more pressing.

 How about the flower box my man made for me.  I robbed it of it's soil and now it has become a storage facility. I need to get more dirt in that thing!  It is asking me for flowers... for beauty.  Or the three empty whiskey barrels that are just waiting for sweet potatoes to begin their 5 months of growth.

The thing about real life is that it is almost always unexpected and the thing that takes the most time is the thing you didn't even want to do in the first place.  The whole thing can be disheartening and frustrating. Do you ever feel like you look at that long list of projects and wonder if you will ever have a fun day on the greenway watching your little one ride his bike? My husband said today in his frustration that we should just sell the house, what will we have accomplished at the end of our lives.. that we maintained our home?   Of course that is when I began to panic (I love my garden), but the truth is that Jeff has a good point. 

We spend so much time on our list of things to do that we have nothing left for the more important investment of who to be, and who to love, and who to bless.  We spend little time abiding in Jesus because our list makes us get work done. We do what seems urgent and leave the important stuff for later...  Sometimes later never comes.

So what is the answer?  All I can think is that precious verse that has so informed my life.  Matthew 6the Message
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

The list begins to overwhelm us when we forget that God gives us everything we need for the moment. He gives us all the grace we need for today.   When I stop to breathe in the life of God I find that I can breathe again. I can hope, I can rest. I don't feel so weighted down by the long list of projects and obligations.   

When I take that moment to remember my pursuing saviour my heart starts growing again.  I have beautiful peppers, tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, mints, and more all all growing in my garden and in pots around my house. I planted them in fertile soil, but God has been making them grow.  


Let your life be planted in the fertile soil of God's presence and Word.  He will bring the increase.  He will give you grace to follow Him today. It may be in the attic with holey jeans, but it may just be in a comfy chair in His word, or laughing at the pool with your sweet children.  Today, God has given you what you need for today. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Crushing Weight of Infertility

I have been worn out. My heart has been broken in longing for more children.  I was losing sight of a God who I was disappointed with and a hope that I had long held for our family to grow.  Friends, I am not talking about a decade ago. I'm not looking back at a road with years of wisdom to share. I am talking about last week. I am talking about the bad news we had from the fertility doctor and the second blow that followed days later.  I am talking about me weeping in frustration and anger that my heart was breaking and Jeff's heart was worn thin and it didn't seem like God was intervening.  Can we just be honest here?  There are days like this, when all hell seems to break loose and this girl with rock hard faith feels small and insignificant.  I just want you to know that for those of you who have felt like you saw your last shred of hope walk out the door, that I understand.  I feel you.  I feel for you, and with you, that life can be hard.

In the final ladies Bible Study that I taught for this spring we looked at Jesus on his way to Golgotha. He was beaten and bruised. His skin torn to shreds and his muscles without any energy to carry his cross.  A Roman soldier called out a man, Simon of Cyrene, his name to be remembered for all generations as the man who carried Jesus's cross.  Let that sink in, Jesus was so badly beaten that he was not required to carry his own cross, he was given help.  He was walking in the will of His father. He was without sin, and yet in his obedience to God he was in a place where his own cross was too heavy a burden to bear.  Now I know there are a whole lot of theological implications to the question "could he have carried his cross?", but the fact is that he did not carry it and he did not protest to Simon taking on the heavy load.  If there came a time for Jesus to lay down his cross accepting anothers help, certainly we are given opportunity to lay down our heavy burdens. 

Last week my Mom came to my house and I was weeping over our infertility.  She was about to take a long drive and she prayed for me and Jeff.  She heard the Lord say "I am compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love".  My Mom came to my house as soon as she got home and she shared with me what God had laid on her heart. I realized in that moment that I had completely forgotten about God's compassion. He seemed distant and I felt like Jeff and I were on our own in our journey to grow our family.  My Mom's word's began to change my heart.  I was remembering God.   She and others have continued to pray for me and Jeff and to encourage us. I can honestly say that the weight of this cross I have had on my shoulders is not crushing my Spirit anymore. I am keeping those words before me. "God is compassionate". 

Dear friend, you are not meant to carry a heavy burden.  Matthew 11:28-30 says
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Today Jesus speaks to me that this desire for more children is a gift that He has given, not a heavy burden. The desire to conceive is not an idol, it is a joy that I lay at Jesus's feet.  I can trust him with our family. He has certainly proven Himself over and over.  I can trust him with my heart.  You can trust him with yours too.  It may be broken and hurting.  God may be asking you to wait like He is asking me...  But the promise of Jesus is that the burden he gives is light and the yoke he gives is easy. If it becomes too hard, you are probably doing more than God has asked you to do.  You are going an extra mile you haven't been given grace to travel, you are trying to do in the flesh what God must first accomplish in the Spirit.  Or maybe you need a Simon to come along side you and help you lay your burden at the feet of the One who made the Sun rise this morning and has placed breath in your lungs. 
 Open your heart up to God and to the body of Christ. He may use your brothers and sisters to help take that heavy burden off of your shoulders and lay it at the feet of Jesus.  He has certainly done that very miracle in my life this week. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

You gotta have friends

I can't stop thinking about what I read in Joshua a few weeks ago. I have long since passed it in my Bible Reading but it still lingers in my mind as a thought with which I am wrestling.  "And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel..." Joshua 4:12.  Profound, or you think I am losing it? Why this sentence to make me awestruck with wonder?  These men already had their promised land. They had fought their battles and settled in their inheritance on the East side of the Jordan. They could have said that it wasn't their battle to fight, that they needed to stay home and start planting their own fields. They needed to make a life for themselves.  They could have just sent their blessings, their good will to their Israelite brothers as they crossed to conquer Canaan, but they didn't. They led the charge and stepped into the split waters of the Jordan.  They stayed in the fight.

Friends, this speaks to me because God will ask you to cross a Jordan for the sake of your brother or your sister. He will ask you to be present and involved in moving your friends into their own "promised land".  You may think you are too busy with your own world, your own house, your own problems, but God...  He invites you to fight a battle that doesn't look to immediately benefit you.  He may ask you to lay down your own dish towel to clean a friend's house. He may ask you to bring your hammer to your neighbor's house instead of fixing your own fence.  He may ask you to go to your knees in prayer for a sister's son who is headlong on his way as far from God as possible. He may ask.  God may just ask you to go to battle for another's promised land.  Say yes!  Love your friend enough to stop and pray, listen, lend a hand, bring a meal.  Love your friend enough to not just say you will pray, but really pray, fervently with the passion and orthodoxy of God's Spirit flowing through you.  Fight the battle.

What did it benefit these brave men who crossed the Jordan before the ark of God?  They were circumcised on the other side of the Jordan.  Yikes!  It was painful but it meant they were marked for God.  They were set apart as holy. If they had not crossed over they may have missed out on the sign of the  covenant of Abraham.  They were also there in the midst of Israel when the walls fell down around Jericho.  They saw the miracle!  They were given an opportunity to see the God of the Universe show His muscle and His favour.   They didn't miss out on God.

When you are called upon to help a friend enter in to that place of promise you also get to celebrate with your friend in the faithfulness of God.  You get to be a witness to the miracle. You get to walk on a deeper level of intimacy with your sister or brother.  You also get to show the world that those of us in Christ really do love each other. We really are for each other.  We are One!

I ask you to pray for me to enter into that place that I believe God has promised to our family.  Jeff and I and even little Zack long for our family to increase.  We long to have another baby and adopt children into our family.  I am beginning to believe more and more God is asking me to invite others to cross this Jordan with us in prayer.  Please take a moment to really pray for God's blessing on our family.

Lord, bring the increase. Let us Webbs raise up warriors for your kingdom!  Remove any obstacles to fertility, and let conception happen.  Let our licensing with DHR go through and make our home the perfect place for a little one without a home to be loved and raised to love Jesus.   Release your blessings Lord.  Let your will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Battle Cry

 I have been reading in Judges and I noticed a curious thing.  Every time the "Spirit of the Lord" comes upon someone they are led into battle or made ready for battle.  A super strength and passion comes over them and they rise up to lead an army or even go alone to fight the enemies of God.  Check out these verses:
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the Lord gave Othniel victory over him.  So there was peace in the land for forty years.

[ Jephthah’s Vow ] At that time the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites.
There are a bunch more just like those.  Look at the lives of Samson, Gideon, Saul, and David. In each case God's Spirit was preparing them to lead others in battle to reclaim the land that God had already given to them. They went out to battle for their inheritance.  

Honestly, I need the message of the Spirit of the Lord compelling God's people to take their inheritance.  I need to know that the land that God has promised really is ours.  You see, the enemy of your soul has pitched his tent on your land. He has spoken his lies into your unsuspecting mind and he has established a place for himself, right there in the middle of your thoughts, and in your very own neighbourhood.  You need to take it back.  Is there a place in your redeemed mind that you are not believing God?  Is there a place in our country that God wants to clean up and make new? (I hope so)

So what does your inheritance really look like?  What is it that you are fighting to claim in Jesus name?  Dear friend, you have a rich inheritance, and remember, you don't receive an inheritance when you die, you receive when the giver dies.  Our Jesus went to his cross already, he has defeated death.  He has given us the gift of His Spirit. We are walking into our inheritance which is heaven, and we are living in our inheritance right now.  There is much more for us in the place Jesus has gone ahead to prepare for us, but there is also much more for us now.  In John 10:10 Jesus promised that he has come to give us abundant life.  Our inheritance of abundance begins in our salvation.  He has promised us a peace that surpasses all understanding to guard our hearts and minds.  He has promised us love, joy, patience, self control, goodness, and peace.  We are not just waiting to die, we are called to live fully right now. Our inheritance is Jesus, in this moment. 

Spirit of the Lord, fall upon us and give us passion to claim our inheritance in Christ. Give us a longing for more of you.  Give us a desire to see your Gospel go out to all the nations... to claim your inheritance in all the world, that in the end of it all every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Today, let it be my knee bent, my head bowed, my heart surrendered... for you are my inheritance, and I am yours.
Let these verses wash over you and give you hope.

 Hebrews 9:15
That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad.[b] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
 Ephesians 1:11
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
 Psalm 16:5
Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.
 Psalm 2:8
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession.
 Psalm 37:18
Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
 Psalm 61:5
For you have heard my vows, O God. You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name.

Friday, February 22, 2013

When you think you have enough

Israel crossed the Jordan river and entered into their promised land after 40 years of preparation in the wilderness. They had their swords raised and the trumpets blaring. They wiped out cities and took the land, the hill country, the plains, the great cities... They plundered the land and ate from the crops they did not plant and got rich from the cities they did not toil to build.  They were unstoppable.  God was with them and they rode the wave of God's power and judgement throughout the land that God had promised them as their inheritance.  It was their land already, they just needed to go in to claim it. 

The problem came when they got sort of content with the cities and the towns they had already conquered. They got the idea in their heads that they did not need all of the land God had given them. They had enough. They could plant their fields, build their houses, it didn't matter that they left many cities still occupied with idol worshippers.  I can just hear them now "I'm tired of war, let's settle down in this valley and plant our fields. If we don't bother them, they won't bother us..." 

I am challenged today with the idea of how much of the promised land do I really want? I think many Christians get the idea that they are better than they used to be so that is good.. They grow complacent and content building their own lives and they stop pursuing Jesus.  I want more. I want the whole promised land. It isn't enough to say that at least I am closer to God than I used to be and just get comfortable.  I want to know God better. If the promised land for me is to be in an intimate relationship with the God of the heavens, I want it all.  If the promised land is for my mind to be transformed by God's word, I want transformation. If the promised land is for me to be filled with God's peace, love, joy, compassion.. I say bring it on. I don't want to be a lukewarm ordinary, complacent Christian just barely making it, thinking well at least I am saved and I know I won't go to hell when I die.  I want the promises of God.  I want to walk intimately with my Saviour. 

Here are a few of God's promises to us:
I will never leave you or forsake  you!  Yes!  Jesus be with me!
I will continue the good work I started in you!  Yes!  Finish me in Christ!
I will go before you and make a room for you in my Father's house!  Yes!  Jesus, let my room have a view of your throne!
I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly!  Yes!  Lord, abundant life!

Friends,  let's not just figure this life is about just barely making it.  Let's not become content with a little bit of Jesus.  Pursue Him!  Let Him have victory in you.   Let's move on in to that place of promise.

Monday, February 11, 2013

There may be hope for us yet

Last week 2 worlds collided.  I was reading the book Sons of Encouragment by Francine Rivers and I saw myself in Aaron, the brother of Moses.  I saw myself in his uncertainty and failure as a leader. I saw myself in his great desire to please God, but how do you when so often you come up short.  I was struggling with a time in ministry that I felt that I didn't do it right. I felt like I came up short and I had failed to pass some integrity checks. I gave into gossip instead of steering clear. I gave into fear of man instead of just trusting God with my heart and life. I was in a tough situation as far as what was going on around me and in the thick of the battle I decided I needed to watch my back.  I was mourning and grieving over missed opportunity to protect and bless. I have this tendency to look back to see a failure and miss the countless wins along the way. Why do the mistakes seem to stick out like green and purple henbit on a perfectly good lawn of dormant brown zoysia grass?  I don't know, but I was starting to see a bunch of henbit.

Aaron had that experience.  He stood with Moses before Israel when everyone was saying that Moses was crazy. He stood before the Pharoah and spoke God's words knowing that he could be killed at any moment. He had all of these brave miraculous moments and then he pretty much blew it.  He built a golden calf when Moses was on the mountain with God.  He gave in to the demands of the people and he gave them an idol to worship.  You would think that God would just smite Aaron right on the spot. You would think it would be over for Aaron.  It wasn't.   Aaron immediately repented of his sin and stood beside Moses while Israel remained defiant. He joined God in judgement on his people and he showed God his true heart; he was for God.

Later on this is what God told Moses...

Exodus 28:
Then bring near to you  Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty......
31 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment,[c] so that it may not tear. 33 On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, 34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. 35 And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.

Instead of counting Aaron out of ministry, God made him the high priest. He gave him fine clothes for glory and for beauty. He dressed Aaron to stand before him and present the offering for the people. I keep imagining what it would have been like for Aaron to stand in front of Moses, the man who saw God, and to let Moses place that fine linen over his head, and adorn him with the beauty of God so that he might stand in God's Tabernacle.  

I see myself there, even though I know that I have fallen short in so many ways and even have hurt people in my sin, God still dresses me for ministry.  He still chooses to use a girl like me.  Friend, we all have our golden calves.  We all have places where we just blew it and how could God possibly use us again?  I want you to know that He has new clothes for you to wear.  Stand before Jesus today and let him dress you. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What would you say to a woman who has had an abortion?

My pastor asked my man and me to lead in prayer last Sunday.  He said it was sanctity of life Sunday and that he would be preaching on abortion, infertility, and adoption.  We gladly accepted the invitation to pray and decided to watch October Baby as a means of getting our hearts tuned in to the topic.  The movie itself made an impact on me. I never realised someone could actually survive an abortion, or that abortions were done on babies at a gestational age that they would survive outside of the womb.  It isn't that aborting a baby in the first trimester is morally acceptable but my heart was just too distant from the reality of abortion that I didn't even really consider it's implications. 

Sunday morning we arrived 30 minutes early to join the leadership in prayer.  I sat there at the board room table and my Pastor, David, told me that he wanted me and Jeff to speak about our struggles with infertility and our decision to foster/adopt.  I said yes, knowing that he is asking me to do something so hard and yet that God has given us a voice and if we can encourage anyone with our floundering words we will do it.  He then dropped another bombshell on me, he said he was going to ask me in front of the congregation what I would say to a woman who has had an abortion.  Wow... thankful that he gave me at least a 45 minute heads up on the question I considered it in prayer before the Lord. 

James 5:16 NLT
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

When I stood in front of my sweet family of Sojourn Church and began to answer the question the Words of James were fixed in my mind like a sign post leading the way to life.  I would say this:  sweet sister, You are broken and struggling under the weight of a heavy burden that you do not have to carry any longer.  You can confess the sin that has so long hidden itself in the dark places in your mind and heart. You can let Jesus shine the light of truth and grace into those festering places that cause you such deep pain, and you can be healed. In fact, you can see the transforming miracle of God taking what Satan meant to enslave you and using it to bring freedom to others.  You can surrender your story over to Jesus, all of it, the hard parts and the parts that make you smile. You can surrender your entire life over to the one who loved you when you were yet his enemy-- the one who went to the cross to win your heart.  Dear friend, God has already paid the price for your sin. He has already made you clean. Let him love you today.  Let Him embrace you today.  Let Him use your broken, humble, surrendered life to share the beauty of the Gospel and of one who has been set free.  

In truth there is much to be said to one who carries the heavy burden of the sin of abortion, just as to anyone who has hidden sin in their past that continues to bring accusation and shame.  The freedom we have in Christ is real.  If you struggle with a weight of sin please don't do it alone.  Trust a brother or sister with your heart and together with them go to Jesus.  Seek counselling, deliverance ministry, let God fill your mind with His Word. Pray.  And know, that Jesus loves you. He smiles over you, he welcomes you, he runs to you and throws the garment of righteousness over you.   

You are welcome to email me at if you need a friend for such a time as this.  


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Because the Womb is Supposed to be the Safest of Places

 It is supposed to be the safest place.  All warm and dark with the beating of a Momma's heart and the swoosh swooshing of blood flow, the squiggles of the tummy.  The close walls of  protection, the floating, the kicking to try to find a little more room.  Baby hiccups, he flutters, he yawns, stretches a bit, trying himself out.  He hears the voices of those who love him, he learns their rhythm and tone.  He will be born with Momma's voice familiar and comfortable in his new world of blankets and pacifiers, nurses and crying.  He will be born because God has designed the womb to be the perfect place for his body to form, his heart to learn rhythm and his brain to function with intelligence.  He will be born because of the skilful hand of God. 

Oscar Sturmfels-- fattest cheeks ever formed in the womb :)
Psalm 136: 13-16
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

When this little guy you see in the above picture was being formed in my womb, God was involved. He was loving my sweet boy. He was speaking tenderly over him. God was making his heart beat and he was teaching Zack to open and close his eyes, to move his arms and legs. He was teaching Zack to ride a little high in there so I would have heart burn and not eat so many jalapenos.  God was with Zack in my womb, that safest of places for Zack to begin his life.  God was present and He knew my son and knows my son.  It is a miracle that life would form at all, and so we must not forget the hand of God in bringing forth life.  Even in the beginning when sperm was meeting egg, God had Zack's life ordained, set apart as special to him.  How happy I am that God has given me Zack.  I am honored that He would choose me to carry that sweet blessing in my safest of places.  

Dear friends, all of these thoughts are from me processing the truth of abortion and how the enemy of our souls has taken the womb and made it a place of death and destruction at least 57 million times in the past 40 years.  Will you join me in praying that God would make the womb a safe place once again? Will you join me even now and just ask God to stop the rampage of abortion that has swept our nation in the past 40 years. 

Because we all need to start somewhere...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What a desperate person really needs

Imagine God said this about you:  "Have you noticed my friend ______ (Insert your name)? There’s no one quite like him/her—honest and true to his/her word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”  Those are the words he spoke about Job. Job was so faithful that of all the people of the earth God used him as an example of righteousness.  He was a man after God. 

We all know what happened to Job. God allowed Satan to mess with him in a devastating way. He took his children, destroyed his wealth, and caused Job to have sores all over his body.  Job laid in a heap of ashes as he lamented the losses in his life.  His friends came to sit with him and for 7 days they sat quietly with their broken friend. Then they began to give advice.  The irony is that some of their advice seems founded in some circumstances, their words seem true of God and justice... but we know that in the end of the story they were of no help to Job at all. God rebuked the friends for their dishonest words and had Job pray for them.  

So as I read Job I found a thread of what Job may have really wanted. I found myself there and recognized the longing of my own heart. 
Job 16:18-22 says (MSG)
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
    in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name—
My Champion, my Friend,
    while I’m weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
    as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.

He wanted an advocate. He wanted someone to stand before God and pray for him, plead for him, say that he was worth a rescue.  He wanted Jesus!  He wanted to know that he wasn't alone, that God had not forgotten him. He wanted God's presence.  Will someone go to God's throne and remind him that I am down here suffering?
In Job 21: 3 Job cries out "It's not you I'm complaining to-- it's God. Is it any wonder I'm getting fed up with his silence?"  

Perhaps the biggest betrayal Job felt was that He felt like God had left him.  He felt like God was distant, and Job was forgotten. He asked his friends to stop lecturing him and to talk to God on his behalf (Job. 19: 6)  He wanted the comfort of God.

I have been in a place of desperation. I have felt like God was distant in answering my prayers and the longings of my heart.  Today I remember two moments in which my friends did what my longing heart needed them to do. They prayed for me.  I was struggling one morning over our desire to have children.  It had been at least 2 years with no baby and my heart was broken. I met my friend Danielle at the gym with her sweet Zoie who was probably about 4 at the time.  She saw my broken heart and right there on the grass in front of the Y she and Zoie prayed over me. I felt the little hand of Zoie on my head.  I felt the presence of God bring peace to my turbulent heart.  Another time, I was weary once again of infertility and I went to a friend's prayer group.  These were some praying women and they gathered around me.  My friend, Kim, spoke over me "remember".  She had no idea that I felt God had asked us to name our son Zack, his name means "God remembers".  I was encouraged more than words can say, and shortly after we conceived our son.  

This may be a simple view of Job. I may have missed so much of what it is really trying to say, but for today, God knows the message I needed to hear.  For friends who are hurting they need you bring them to Jesus. They need you to listen to Jesus on their behalf because in their brokenness they may not be hearing clearly.  They may need you to speak truth into their lives, but before you speak, pray. Ask God what He is doing, where He is working.  As a girl who has had a broken heart many times in the past, the thing I needed most was to know that my God was loving, and that He was present, and that He cared.  We can pray that for our friends, we can be that in their lives.

And if you pray, pray for me too.  We have completed our Foster care preparation and are now in a waiting pattern.  Pray that God would complete our family according to His perfect plan, and that perhaps God would have mercy on us and allow me and Jeff to conceive once again.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Preparing the Bed

Hey folks, 
So what is the deal with seed  I was just now struggling with feeling like a blog slacker when it dawned on me that instead of scattering many seeds in the past month I have been preparing a bed right here at home.  In December I blogged about having a truly Christ focused Christmas so each night during story times instead of Jeff reading to Zack in his room while I write my blog, we read through Ann Voskamp's advent series in front of our Christmas tree.  It was a special time of preparing my son's heart for Jesus, and of giving Jeff and I a greater focus on the grace of Christmas.  The ironic thing is that through all of the reading instead of thinking of a babe in a manger this Christmas the thought that pervaded my mind was of a Saviour on a cross.  It just still amazes me that while I was an enemy of God, no good to him at all, He chose a horrible death on a cross to make me His friend.  That was the miracle I celebrated at Christmas, and I still celebrate.

 Above is our Gingerbread house display.  Jeff and I have been making these houses for 7 years and they get better each year.  Jeff covered his house in marzipan that he made.  The stone work is white chocolate, the river is sugar we made and poured.  Jeff's windows are also sugar work. 

I have also been preparing my home for our Home Study to become licensed foster/adoptive parents in our state.  Our Social Worker comes on Tuesday so we greatly appreciate your prayers.  I have been having a serious case of nesting with the reality that our season as Foster parents is quickly approaching. I completely redid the basement, put things in the attic with Zack's help (he loved it), and Jeff finished the deck he was making behind our house. 

Here you can see that Zack loves to help with the building, but to be honest, for only short bursts of time.

Jeff designed the benches and the whole deck actually. He is quite a carpenter!

So here at the Webb house instead of scattering seeds we are preparing beds.  We are preparing our home for children that we don't yet know, but already love. We don't know if we are waiting for a toddler, baby, or preschooler.  We don't know if we will provide a home for a boy or girl. I feel like I am preparing my garden with no idea of what to plant. All I know is that the preparing has felt like worship to me.  The idea that God has given us a heart to serve the orphan is a complete miracle. We really are selfish people, but yet God, He opens our hearts and gives us His heart. He motivates the work of our hands to prepare a place for one or two that we don't yet know.  I have never felt so satisfied in a clean basement or so energized by raking leaves.  I am overwhelmed by the invitation of God to love the orphan and serve the widow, this is our true form of religion.

Sweet friends, take heart, I will come back to you with a deep reflection on Scripture. You can be sure there are many passages that I am wrestling with at this very moment, but today instead of a study of Scripture, Jeff and I are living one out.  

Thank you to those of you who walk with me a little bit on this blog.  You have blessed me.  I know your prayers will open a way for us to see God's completion of our family.

And for those of you who are our home town friends and visit our house take heart, Jeff has created a bridge out the back door so you can step safely!