Plumb line

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Plumb line

A tool that consists of a small, heavy object attached to a string or rope that is used to see if something (such as a wall) is perfectly vertical.

My brother-in-law has been reading my Bible. He told me this a few weeks ago.  I have many Bibles but my favorite study Bible is my NKJV Thompson Chain-reference Bible.  My friend, Jennifer bought it for me about 12 years ago for a college class I was taking.  The cover has fallen off and been taped back on with clear packing tape.  Should I get a new one?  Maybe, but I have many notes written in the this Bible and I don’t want to start over.  My little notes are sometimes revolutionary…I find myself asking, “Did I write that?”

This morning Bible was open to Zechariah 4.  I assumed  brother had been reading there.  I read part of the chapter and I checked out some of my notes.  I remembered something (veaguely about a plum line from a Beth Moore study I did….must have been the tabernacle study because it was about building….someone remind me!!).  In any case….  The prophet Zechariah says this, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple.  His hands shall also finish. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.  For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel .  They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” (Verses 9-10).

So the plump line is vertical…straight up and down; Like our relationship with God should be.

I became curious and began to search out who Zerubbabel was.  Zerubbabel  was one of the kings in Jesus’ linage: He was an ancestor of Jesus….on both sides of his parents’ families.  Jesus was an heir to the throne on His mother’s side and on His adoptive father, Joseph’s side.    If Jesus had a human foundation, Zerubbabel was in it.  That is interesting.  Zechariah’s prophecy had multiple meanings (many prophecies do).  He was prophecying about Zerubbabel building the physical temple in those days and he was prophecying the future Messiah.

The plumb line word is very interesting to me.  Plumb lines were used all those centuries ago and are still used today (or should be…I’ve lived in some places where the walls seemed a little “off”).  They help keep things straight.

I have a confession.  I have struggled with my freedom in Christ and holiness.  It can be a confusing topic.  I grew up in a legalistic environment and God was pretty angry and He was looking for reasons to punish me.  At a pretty young age, I had faith for my salvations but struggled with the idea that I was lovable.  Basically…if I didn’t “do the right thing” all the time, I would never find favor with God.  God was pretty stingy with His love and favor. Then freedom began to come and I found that God loves me…not based on who I am but based on who He is.  I cannot earn nor diminish His love.  Okay, so what exactly is holiness?  He makes us holy because we are screwups and without the blood of Jesus, we will never be holy…so what’s the point of every doing the “right” thing?   My answer is doing the “right” things us aligning ourselves with Jesus, The Plumb Line.  When we alight with The Plumb Line we come into alignment with our Father; our relationship with God is strengthened.  

Then we become the plumb line for someone else, pointing them to The Father.  

It’s about us, but it’s not about us.  Our holiness is about others coming to a knowledge of God.  It is about others coming into relationship with God.  We do not behave in the same ways non-believers behave because of who our Father is.

Fear cannot be what drives us.  Love must lead us.   

We often miss our opportunity to love because we want to be “right”; we want to “win”; we want to have or back up our “opinion”.  Is it worth it?  Even our opinions?  Are they worth sacrificing relationship? Do they point to Jesus or demonstrate love? 

We seem to extend a lot of grace to non-believers but withhold it from one another.  Can a believer have a “bad day”?  Or even a stressful season of life?  Growing pains often effect the people around us. These are the times we can be the plumb lines…pointing even the believer back to Jesus.  

This means we have to start asking ourselves… “Is this just? Pure? Noble? Lovely? Of good report?” (Philippians 4:8). Will this matter in a week?  A month? A year?  Ten years?  Does this point to Jesus? 

Your Sword

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Considering Ephesians today and the weapons of our warfare.

 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:11-13

Our weapons were not designed to wield against each other.

Seriously consider this the next time you fling a scripture in someone’s face…we are suppose to fight our enemy and our enemy are not PEOPLE.

People were designed for love.

Our war isn’t against flesh and blood but against Satan and his minions.

Approach the enemy with ruthless fervor.  Approach people with love.

If you feel someone needs a scripture flung at them, pray for them.  Don’t throw your sword at them.  Pray and allow God to move on them.  God can do more in a nano-second than you can do in a lifetime of quoting scriptures at them. Trust God.  He loves them.

That is all….

More Bible Journaling

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Here are some more Bible journaling pages….

I am loving this…falling in love with The Word all over again.  

   
    
 
Wish I would have painted under my writing…the scripture would have stood out more.  

  

Written Epistle

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Epistle:  noun|epis-tle :letter; especially a formal or elegant letter.

I have been defacing a Bible, according to the Hubs.   He calls them “Bible tats”. The Hubs is sure this is some kind of abomination.  He was also taught that he shouldn’t read his Bible in the bathroom….so pray for him.  My brother-in-law says its okay because it’s a NIV bible and that isn’t a “God-endorsed” version.  He is kidding around.  Do not throw away your NIV bible.  What am I talking about?  

Bible journaling.  Type it in on Pinterest…you will find many, many examples.  

I’ve been enjoying it because I have never been a great at drawing but I am finding I am not as bad as I thought.  Plus, I love visuals of scriptures…it helps with memorization. Today I was working on this scripture in 2 Corinthians 3:2.  

  
This is a comination of colored pencils and watercolor.  

As I was putting away my Bible, I had a doodle paper that I slipped between the page.  I forgot it had some white acrylic paint on it.  I wiped the wet paint off quickly but it smeared my ink.  

  
Talk about a visual.

Made me think of how weak our faith is at times.  All the miracles, all the love, all the gifts, everything, smeared; blurred; unreadable. Maybe those are the times we are being re-written.

You may not have noticed but in the first picture I wrote “epistles”.  The scripture actually says “epistle”.  I needed to rewrite it but I thought my ink was permanent.  The spill made it possible to rewrite a mistake.  God gives us that opportunity almost daily.  Reminds me of a message by Pastor John Ragsdale.  He said, “Don’t worry if you fail the test.  God always has a retake test.”.  I’m not sure if that’s comforting or a little scary but it is true.   

There is no shame in your screw up.  You will have another chance to get it right.   

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.   2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Be that elegant letter today.  What a reminder to me today from one of my favorite passages.  God bless you today! 

Your Mail

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Our pastor was describing “prophecy” today and his description was when someone “reads your mail”.   The hubs, kidding around said,  “you forgot to pay gas bill” and “you have been using more electricity than last month”.  Popping off I said, “you are pre-approved” (we get a lot of credit card companies trying to get us to go into debt.)  Think about that….God says about each of us, “I approve you”.  We are all pre-approved for salvation.  Yes!  Everyone.  It’s not based on our credit score and we don’t have to do anything to earn the pre-approval.  We do not have to “get clean” or “get it right” for God to love us.  He is love…it isn’t something He does, it is who He is.  

  

If you have to ask…

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Recently, I friend asked me what I thought about her giving a credit to a friend (who didn’t ask for it) before she left her current company and went to a new company.  She’s allowed to give credits when people ask.  I am what my pastors describe as a “very black and white person”.  In other words, I see things as either “right” or “wrong”  there is very little “grey” with me.  I explained to my friend why I wouldn’t do it.

As I thought about it, my answer with most moral dilemma should simple be, “If you have to ask, you know the answer.”  Seriously, think about situations in your life when you have “taken a poll” and asked others “What do you think?”  97% of the time, you know the right answer.

There is a second side to this too…if you do something or say something and then have to call three people and ask them what they think about it, then you know you probably didn’t handle the situation correctly.

If you do or say something then have to call three people to make sure it didn’t offend them…then you know that it wasn’t handled correctly.

The Hubs told me about an incident in which a co-worker basically stole a sell.  The Hubs told his co-worker that a call had dropped and the customer would probably be calling back.  The customer called back the co-worker not only took the call, he took the sell.  Then he began telling other co-workers why he did it (justifying the action that he knew was wrong).   If you have to justify what you did to others…then you know it was wrong.

If you have to take a poll and ask other people’s opinions about your actions or your words…then you know it wasn’t right. You are just covering your butt.

We have all done it.

We have all asked a friend before making a decision.  (Hopefully we asked someone who would give us godly advise. )  We have all called a friend after we did or said something to ask them how they took it.  (Sometimes this is good because we may have said something that sounded fine to us but to someone else’s ears it was wrong or conveyed a wrong attitude (arrogance, condescension, etc) that we weren’t aware of in ourselves.  A good, godly friend will let us know if it sounded harsh or unkind…believe me, I have lost a friend over something like this…usually over unsolicited advise offered in a harsh manner.

As a parent, I’ve been teaching my children to take personal responsibility for themselves.  If you did it, own it.  Stop blaming others for your actions.  If you said it, then own it.  If it was wrong, make a proper apology.  If your apology includes the words, “if you had not done…” or “It’s your fault” or “you shouldn’t feel this way.”   It is NOT a valid an apology.  An apology goes like this…”I’m sorry I said, ‘what you said‘.  I should not have said it. Please forgive me.” (or “I should not have said it like I did”)  It’s hard for our children to “own it”.  In our family, we are not longer allowed to say the words, “It’s her/his fault” or “It’s your fault”.  I’m done with pointing fingers.  We are owning our our own actions and our words.  We are not going to be finger pointers.

Over the past few months, I’ve been stopping myself, and saying, “If you have to ask, then you know.”

I wrote this blog a while back. I often write and then shelf the blog until I can re-read it and decide if it’s solid.

Today, I had a family member ask me a question about something…should I do this, to get this free then switch it back later?  I was thinking…”If you have to ask…”  I said, “You know the intents of your heart…”  and before I could say it, He said, “If I have to ask then..”  and I finished, “…then you know.”  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Bertha

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Sometimes healing comes in weird way ways, at strange times and through the most obscure ways.

When I was growing up things weren’t as politically correct as they are today.  We used to play “Old Maid”.  It’s a kids card game and every card has a pair except the “Old Maid”.  That particular deck had a bunch of matching cards like, “Slim Jim” (featuring a skinny guy) and a fat lady named, “Big Bertha”.   Just to be clear, I was not a fat child.  I was pretty average.  I was active and healthy.  My three cousins, who (as you will see from this story) I counted as brothers loved to torment me by calling me fat.  Of course,  it really bothered this 8 year old girl.  They were merciless, like brothers can be.  Once they realized that I didn’t like being called “fat”, they found new and creative ways to call me “fat”.  Since we had all played the Old Maid game, they started calling me “Big Bertha”.   I hate to admit it but at times, this would bring me to tears.

Our family had a saying, “Boys will be boys”.  That was often the answer I would hear when I would tell on them for tormenting me.  That doesn’t fly with me.  Boys being boys at our house is getting dirty, wrestling, and going fast…not being mean to others.

I love my cousins…they are still my brothers.  When I was in my early 20s, I was a size 4 (I worked pretty hard to get to that point) and I realized I wasn’t a “Big Bertha” any more (I never really was but kids will believe anything).

Lance Wallnau has been hosting prayer every night. It is a great concept, he goes live on Periscope and Facebook and hosts prayer.  About 2000 people have been joining nightly for prayer.  If you “like” Lance Wallnau on Facebook you be alerted when he is live.  You can also watch past videos (Last Thursday, December 3rd, was powerful).  Mr. Wallnau is kind of loud man who is passionate about praying for politics, the nations, etc.  One night he was being very loud.  He said, “Some of you are very loud and it’s because God has given you a militant voice”.  He said a few other things.  He talked about being in military school and how they were taught to use a loud voice when responding to their commander and how we should be responding in a loud voice.  I’ve never had a problem being loud.

All of this reminded me….

You might remember be posting about going to the University of Texas game a few months ago.  We had such an enjoyable time.  While we were there, God spoke to me…what a weird place to hear from God.  The band took the field and they have an enormous drum.  The announcer said, “Big Bertha is coming onto the field.”  That’s right.  UT’s giant drum is named, “Big Bertha”.  Of course, I was immediately brought back to being called “Big Bertha”.  And then it happened.  I hear God’s voice as clear as day say, “You are my drum.  You set a beat to march to.” Drums are loud, by design.   Leave to God to take something that was negative and turn it into something powerful.

What my cousins meant to tease me with; what took root as “you are fat and will probably always be fat”;  what I had verbally denied because I didn’t want to be that person, God turned into something positive.   That was a healing moment.

This season can bring up many emotions.  For some people the sights, sounds and smells can bring back the negative. LISTEN! Pay attention!  God wants to speak to you.   God will speak when you aren’t expecting it; at unlikely times, in unlikely places.