Proverbs of Ashes in a World Burning Down

In my Scripture reading early yesterday morning, I chased a rabbit trail that landed me in a cul de sac with Job 13. I got so preoccupied I was late for work then, once I got there, still couldn’t keep my thoughts from circling around that curb. In the corner shadow of more substantial themes, the Book of Job gives impressive credence to the adage, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” God bless them, they started out well but time took its toll and the temptation to offer explanation for human suffering became intolerable. When in doubt, after all, what better coping skill could there be than dogmatism? To the reader’s measurable relief, chapter 13 marks the spot where Job indelicately invites his friends to shut up. Unroll the scroll to verse 5.

“Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!” Then a little further down to verse 13, “Let me have silence, and I will speak, and let come on me what may.”

The show stealer in the chapter is the temerarious declaration the pummeled mortal makes in reference to his God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (13:15 AV) The HCSB says it like a boxer spitting blood from a busted lip through broken teeth: “Even if He kills me, I will hope in Him.”

But one of the things I love best about Spirit-breathed Scripture is that the Spirit reserves the right to animate a passage that has never attracted our attention before. For me yesterday morning, it was the first half of the 12th verse. Job, to his friends:

“Your maxims are proverbs of ashes.”

For all we know the man made the statement sitting in a heap of ashes like he’d positioned himself in Job 2:8. Of course, it’s easy to miss the ashes in that early scene because we’re too disturbed by him scraping his loathsome sores with a piece of broken pottery. When these words come out of Job’s mouth in 13:12, one commentator suggested he may have gathered some ashes in his palm and blown them into the wind in case his observers were inclined to miss the point. Ashes symbolized loss, grief, mourning and death to the ancients and at times were the wares of sorrowful repentance. The idea probably germinated with God’s words to Adam after the fall in the Garden when death was born.

“For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Mourners commonly practiced demonstrating their profound grief by wrapping their waists in skin-rawing sackcloth and covering their heads in ashes. At least it showed. Don’t you sometimes wish our shattered hearts would at least dignify our suffering enough to show up? Tamar, Mordecai and Daniel displayed their anguish with ashes but here’s the irony: so did Job’s three friends. Yep. At the very first glimpse of him.

And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. (Job 2:12-13)

 But then Job opened his mouth and released his lament and they opened theirs.

And their maxims were proverbs of ashes.

I never noticed the wording before because maxims had yet to be promoted to our primary means of communication. Shoot, a good maxim today could bring you a whopping ten thousand likes. We’ve developed such an appetite for maxims, we’re bored to oblivion by actual messages from our pastors. We demand twenty minutes of strung-together maxims or we’re staying home and surfing podcasts. Give us tweetables. Quotes we can stick on a picture and post.

And I’m neck deep in the middle of it splashing around in my floaties while people are down at the bottom of the lake drowning. This is not a rant for more meaningful maxims. It’s just a reminder to me today that my aphorisms don’t mean a flying flip in a frying world. Nobody’s likely to thank me in heaven for that life-changing tweet. I love Twitter. Good grief, I love all the things. And, man, do I ever appreciate a good aphorism. It’s fun. Quippy. Can even make people think.

For five seconds.

Mind you, five seconds is better than none. But let’s take it for what it is then get to the real business of ministering to the mournful. They are crowded around us, blinded by the darkness, flailing, feeling around in thin air for somebody’s warm-blooded hand. And sometimes the mournful is you. Me. Sometimes the mournful zips itself up in our ruddy skin and makes it hard to get out of bed. And, Good Lord, no wonder we’re depressed. We’ve turned social media into a spiritual discipline. We’ve made a diet of cheese puffs, bloating our souls with air and calling ourselves healthy.

Ashes.

The thing is, I can’t get the Oakland warehouse fire off my mind. That’s where this whole thing started. I don’t want to get it off my mind right away anyway. That community and those terror-stricken families will need prayer for a long time. I know that because my family has lived in the ashes of murderous flames for decades. I know that because the evening before the news broke out about the fire in Oakland, my husband brought up the fire in his childhood garage over supper with our daughters.

We know the story by heart. I knew it by our third date. Keith and his big brother were knee-high, plump-faced preschoolers playing in the garage when a slender river of gasoline rolled underneath the water heater and ignited. Both boys were burned. Both boys rushed to the hospital. Both admitted. Both treated for several days. Both desperately prayed for. Both were impossible to imagine living without. One went home with his mommy. The other went home with Jesus.

A couple of years ago, Keith and I were sitting with his parents at a picnic table on the porch of a burger joint we often frequented. The men were sitting on one side of the table and we women were facing them from the other. When Keith got up to fetch our order from the carry-out window, my father-in-law leaned across the table and, in a tone dripping with tenderness, said to me, “Baby, today is the anniversary of Duke’s death.”

My eyes immediately shot to my mother-in-law. She did not say a word. She couldn’t. Even all those years later. She reached in her pocket for a tissue and blotted her wet eyes. I can hardly write these words without doing the same. I hugged her, squeezed her hand, picked at my food like she did then sobbed all the way home. Every loss etches an absence. But tragedy threatens to carve an abyss.

Especially a fire. Its destructive force doesn’t just dent, cut or bruise. Fire has the capacity to consume. It has the capacity to take something teeming with life and vitality – a church, for instance, or a home or, God help us, a life – and reduce it to ashes. Something weighty into dust in the gust. I think maybe that’s what makes such vivid imagery of ash: its cold reduction of something to almost nothing.

Forgive me for being so graphic. I don’t do this often. But, the thing is, we are the Body of Christ commissioned to flesh Him out through the ministries of His Spirit to this graphic global darkness. We flip on our screens or open our feeds daily to news of tragedies somewhere on this aching orb. Unless we’ve let our hearts grow cold to shield us from the harsh elements, we shake our heads and shed some tears and at times drop faces to palms and sob. We summon Jesus to hold the hurting and to comfort them in a way that is otherworldly. In a way that is deeply personal because, if we possess a whiff of wisdom, we know that no two hearts process loss the same way. In the wording of Proverbs 14:10, each heart knows its own bitterness.

No two losses are exactly the same. And not all tragedies are equal. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy for the pain-ravaged.

Our maxims are not only a waste of breath. Of electronic space. They are offensive to the suffering. Sometimes even things we know to be true are better left unsaid for a long, long time. In the presence of those suffering, we say less and do more. We still our tongues and loose our hands. We mute our volume and vacuum their dens. We save our words then spill them like a dam breaking before God. Because He’s the only one whose feet don’t fail in a tidal wave of suffering. He’s the only one who really knows the whys and hows and wheres and whens. And He won’t tell us now. But He’ll tell us then.

Yesterday morning it was the word “ashes” that took me on that rabbit trail. I kept thinking about what I’d read in a news article about the first responders carefully, “reverently” removing the ashes from the Oakland warehouse. “Reverently.” That was the description the writer used and I appreciated it even if it made me want to wail. So I looked up every time ashes are found in the Scriptures. I found this among them.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

…to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes.

(Isaiah 61:1,3)

This section had long-since been dear to me but that’s the beauty of research. That’s the beauty of looking to scholars God has equipped with spiritual gifts of knowledge. You learn something brand new. I’ll let Dr. J.N. Oswalt tell it to you the way he told it to me in New International Commentary on the Book of Isaiah: (emphasis his)

“In 60:17 the prophet promised the best (gold) for the better (bronze), but here the Servant/Messiah promises the best for the worst…The picture of the mourner, with ashes on the head, wrapped in sackcloth, with a spirit crushed by despair, is replaced by the picture of a party goer with a beautiful headdress, smelling of costly oil, and wearing a garment of praise.[1] 

 There is a wordplay in the Hebrew that makes it especially spectacular. The peʾēr, “beautiful headdress,” replaces ʾēper, “dust.”[2]

If anybody at all is still reading, I’m almost done. Just take this part of Isaiah 61 in one more time.

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.[3]

Instead of, instead of, instead of.

I want to be there on the scene for at least a few thousand rounds of “instead of.” Sometimes we see those things happen right here in this earthly realm but other times it’s too late. Their tragedies took their lives. I want to see Jesus replace the ashes on the heads of the grief stricken in this lifetime with the headdresses of deliriously happy party-goers. Yes, party-goers. Don’t even try to talk me out of that. I want some parties when I get to heaven. I want to see some people shake a leg who’d suffered paralysis here. People dine in style who’d starved to death in squalor here. I want to see Jesus unwind the awful sackcloth from those who’d mourned on this earth and spin them around in garments of praise.

That’s what I want. I want to see my mother-in-law in a party hat laughing her head off. And I want to meet my brother-in-law. And sit cozy by a fire and never get burned.

Because this life is the hint of hell for a whole lot of people. But there is a God in heaven weaving eternity from an endless string of insteads. No proverbs of ashes from His lips. Just straight up promises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (p. 567). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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Online Book Signing!

Hi friends!
Did you know today is Cyber-Monday?!

Of course, LPM wants to join the Cyber-fun and offer a little kickstart to your Christmas shopping, so this post is to announce the Tuesday (tomorrow) Online Book Signing with Beth.

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Logistically this means…

  • This post will be open for comments on Tuesday (11.29) from 9am–12pm CST
  • Your comment (“yes“) will enter you in the drawing to virtually attend the book signing by means of your request for Beth to sign and personalize any book purchased from the titles listed below.
  • The random drawing will select as many requests as we can feasibly get in front of Beth on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Randomly selected shoppers will be sent an email with instructions on how to …
    • complete their purchase.
    • provide us with the order number,  the name you want Beth to personalize in the book, and the shipping address.

Perhaps you have you been hoping to share Beth’s new study with a friend, or perhaps you have a fiction-reading loved one who would enjoy reading her new novel over the holidays.  Then again, maybe you want a gift for yours truly. smile. We hope this is a fun opportunity for you to share with someone on your gift list.

The following books/Bible studies are available for this offer:

  • The Undoing of Saint Silvanus (novel)
  • Audacious (book)
  • Entrusted (Bible study member workbook)
  • Looking Up (devotional)

Happy shopping!

 

*Note: Limit two books per customer.

 

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Lit Registration Reminder

We know you’re busy cooking away and prepping for all those Thanksgiving festivities, but we just wanted to give a you a little reminder:

Lit registration opens THIS Friday!

  • To kick off your Black Friday shopping, Lit registration will officially launch November 25th at 9 a.m. CT!
  • Women in their 20s and 30s will be eligible to register first, then remaining spots will open to women of all ages on December 1st. For more details, see Beth’s previous post here.

We cannot WAIT to see all those beautiful names start coming in on Friday. With joyful anticipation, we are asking God to prepare hearts and minds for what He has for us on February 11, 2017!

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours!

The LPM team

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LIT: An Event for Women in Their 20s & 30s with Fire in Their Bones to Teach, Speak or Write

lit_revised1

I’m ecstatic to announce an all-day Saturday event on February 11, 2017 specifically designed for women in their 20s and 30s who feel called by God to serve this generation through teaching, speaking or writing. The passion to do this event welled up in me continually as I wrote the Bible study on 2nd Timothy called Entrusted. (Released September 1, 2016) The final words of the Apostle Paul, penned to his beloved son in the faith, sketch a relationship on the sacred page of stunning mutual love and support between two generations. Over the course of five weeks, the curriculum holds the spotlight on doctrines imparted and dynamics shared between those two servants of Christ, inviting us to step into the paradigm they represent. If God ordains the order of each generation from the beginning to the end of time, and Scripture says He does, then we can safely assume He also has purpose in the generations He causes to overlap. Each generation – the younger and the older – has the privilege to profoundly impact how the other flourishes.

God timed the writing of Entrusted after two decades of publishing experience and three decades in active ministry. The Paul-Timothy paradigm threw open the door of opportunity to share some things I’d learned, often the hard way, in my journey with Jesus. I’ll echo the same disclaimer here: There is so much I don’t know, so much I don’t have, but whatever is mine to give is yours to have if you want it.

Because I wrote the study to apply to Jesus followers with any spiritual gift mix, I tried to avoid the trap of overemphasizing the ones most familiar to me. All the gifts are vital and all believers are called. I kept wishing along the way, however, that I had a little extra time with young women who feel led by the Holy Spirit to speak, teach or write simply because those are the areas of my exposure and experience.

And that’s where the idea for Lit emerged:

Making the most of a Saturday – from morning through evening – to pour into women in their 20s and 30s who have completed the 5-week study Entrusted and desire to zero-in specifically on speaking and writing gifts. I’m going to have to ask you to trust my motive here. I’m not trying to sell you a Bible study. I have a couple of different reasons for making it a requirement. First, space is limited and I want to insure that those who come are serious about the Scriptures and convinced they want to press on and pay the price of self-discipline to grow into their callings. I’d rather have 100 with fire in their bones than 500 who are mostly just curious. Nothing is wrong with curiosity. It’s just not what this day is set aside to satisfy. Secondly and most importantly, making Entrusted a prerequisite means that we come together on the same page. We can hit the ground running on that Saturday morning and make the most use of our time. Entrusted involves the fundamentals of becoming a mighty servant of God, of grasping the gospel message and using our diverse gifts to share it. If we all come together with those basics already in our arsenal, we can launch straight to the next level.

And we’re going to have a blast. I’ve asked my friend, Christy Nockels, to lead worship and invited a cross-section of my speaking/teaching/writing friends and colleagues to join Christy and me that evening for a panel and Q&A. I love and respect so many female teachers and authors serving our generation and wish we had a week to expose you to all of them. The ones who will serve on our panel that night were sought out because each brings something different to the mix.

Before I give you instructions for our first-come, first-serve registration, here’s a glimpse of the schedule so you can see if it appeals to you:

Our very special guests joining me that evening for the panel are Jennie Allen, Christine Caine, Melissa Moore, Christy Nockels, Priscilla Shirer and host Amanda Jones.

REGISTRATION OPENS Friday, Nov 25th at 9 a.m.   Cost $25.00 (to help cover expenses).

Space is limited and our aim will be to fill the room evenly with young women in their 20s and in their 30s.  But please don’t delay, if either decade does not fill up by December 1st, registration will open up the remaining space.

Requirement: 5 week Bible study Entrusted completed by that day and brought with each attendee as her ticket for admission. Please no exceptions. (Both workbook and DVD sessions recommended but only the completion of the workbook is required.)

The registration page will include hotel information, along with a full FAQ section to help with any questions you might have.

I can already tell you this will be one of the most fun gatherings I get to be part of all year. I cannot WAIT.

I believe strongly in what God wants to do with you young women.

So much love to all of you. I’m honored to be your big sister and servant.

Beth

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LPL Youngstown Recap Video

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The Scandal of Election 2016

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On Tuesday, November 8th, we will elect the next president of the United States. Each one of us who chooses to exercise our right to vote will mark the ballot having weighed not only every option but the realistic consequences of the option we’re choosing.

The gravity of it this go-round is like lead weight in feet of clay. The voting booth is a house of mirrors where we are forced to face ourselves all by ourselves. We have before us the rulers we’ve demanded. And, of course, none of them can save us. None of them can “save our country,” whatever that now means. None will keep all their promises, even if they mean to. Want to. We’re reduced to damage control. It’s a heck of a way to cast a vote but most of us, myself included, will do so nonetheless.

In our uncivil war we are weighing the sins of our candidates like jagged stones stacked on our personal pan-size Scales of Justice. Once we’ve properly reaffirmed everything we already believed, we congratulate ourselves by hurling the stones at anyone who doesn’t see our enemies the same way. We simultaneously demonize and deify those of other opinions, telling them they’re idiots while holding them personally, publicly responsible in advance for all the inevitable transgressions of their candidate. Meanwhile we are collectively committing a sin ultimately more consequential than anything the media can uncover on our candidates between now and Election Day.

If “we” does not include you, I’m not talking to you. No need to get offended or defensive. If we are not you, this is not about you. It’s about the rest of us.

We have misplaced our faith. Our blood-curdling fear has given us away. And unrelieved, force-fed fear is making us crazy.

Buried beneath our panic is systemic disappointment but it makes us feel weak and pathetic so instead of owning our disappointment – in our country, our candidates, our options, our leaders, in one another and, God help us, in ourselves – we rage. Mad feels better than sad. It’s painful to long, in the words of Hebrews 11:16, for a better country and embrace the hard, cold fact that we are strangers and exiles on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

Grieve, mourn, and weep, James 4:9-10 says. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

But who wants to do any of that? So we rage.

We have become not only like the world but like the world at its social-worst: lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive…ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)

 Yesterday’s America, in all its honor and shame, is in ashes but, rather than exercise the faith and obedience and earnest prayer to see God raise some beauty from the heap, some gold from the fire, we keep trying to glue ashes back together. And they won’t stick. Yesterday’s America has become an idol to us. It has no more breath in it and the thing about idolaters is that, sooner or later, they become like their idols. (Psalm 135:18)

God could do something new but we’ve lost our hope. We want back what we’ve seen instead of believing Him for what we haven’t.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)

We are driving drunk on rage, swerving all over the road, fenders dangling and headlights shattered from our collisions with one another. Any means to our end. It’s okay to lie to shove people to the truth. To bully, harass and threaten people publicly and relentlessly into doing the right thing. To twist the facts to straighten this mess out. To pull the covers off our opposition and throw them over our candidate. Our witness to the world has become the crimson-faced hysterical screams of armageddon after Jesus said “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) We are so void of vision that all we can see is a big fat “T” in the road ahead. It’s right or left. There is no other way.

Poor, poor God. He’s down to His last two options. And poor, poor us for having such a poor, poor God.

We are called to be people of faith in a God who never needed a man-paved road to get anywhere. A dead end means nothing to a God of resurrection.

This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16) can also make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19).

When the Word became flesh, He didn’t even bother parting the sea to get to His boatload of followers engulfed in the storm. Divine feet made a floor out of suds.

“Jesus is not running for president,” someone said to me recently.

And, of course, she was right. He’s running the universe. But she’d never know that by us. And this is the cue where we roll our eyes because, after all, we’re talking about reality here. This isn’t Sunday School. We have to think practically especially on an election year. Placing the whole of our faith, the totality of our future, entirely in the hands of God is naïve in times like ours, we reason. Save it for church, providing you can find one where faith’s welcome past the mat. It doesn’t apply in the real world. It’s Theology for Dummies. Grossly naïve.

But the Bible has a different definition of naiveté. In the Scriptures placing trust in human flesh and blood is pitifully naïve. There, imagining God limited to human options is the epitome of naiveté.

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146:3-9

 Come November, we cast our votes. But if we cast our confidence into our candidates, woe be unto us.

Unbelief is not just the absence of faith as if it leaves a vacuum. It’s the substantive presence of spiritual infidelity. It’s not just an omission. It’s a form of rebellion. What we are doing with our candidates is idolatrous. In theological terms, adulterous. When this inch of history is recorded in the annals of heaven, it will not be the scandals of our candidates that slacked the jaws of angels. It will be the unbelief of the church.

Remember what I accomplished in antiquity! Truly I am God. I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:9

 We are meant to look back to what God has done in the past so our faith is set aflame for what He can do in our future. The gospel didn’t come to us in seats of government. It came to us in a stable reeking to high heaven with cow manure. God didn’t plant the Savior of the world in the womb of a governor’s wife. He planted the Christ in the womb of a peasant-girl in the middle of nowhere. The same one who’d get to bear the reputation that she’d done something naughty and gotten herself pregnant.

Jesus never once sat on a throne here. The closest He got was the back of a donkey. God did not blaze a trail with the gospel galloping on a horse through the halls of government. He did it through cheap sandals flapping on the grass. Through the mouths of ordinary, law-abiding citizens who had the guts to defy the order to keep their mouths shut.

So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)

“and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Isaiah 9:6

 It is the world’s way to associate power with people at the top but the power of the gospel is at the bottom. In God’s hierarchy, the way up is down. Divine power comes from on high, not up high. The kings and queens of Planet Earth still have to bow low for power from the loft.

We’re terror-stricken like our entire future is dependent upon what happens on November 8th. What happens that day is momentous. The ramifications are profound. We cast our votes prayerfully. Carefully. We plead for wisdom. But the church of Jesus Christ doesn’t rise or fall on the fleshy back an election.

 We have our God. He has His people. And we are not a few. We don’t even have to fully agree with one another to be a colossal force for the gospel. All we have to do is agree with God that nothing is too difficult for Him and that no amount of mortal elbow grease can back His throne into a corner. He cannot be overruled. And it is He alone – I cannot say this loudly enough – it is He alone who truly loves the world. To think we care more than He does is remarkable hubris.

Whatever happens in November, the responsibility for the gospel is coming back to us. It’s not the government’s job. Seed spreads best ground level. We are only as powerless as our passivity. We still have voices to raise at deafening volume for the vulnerable. We still have knees to drop in contrition and desperate need for intervention. We still have feet to run to the aid of those in crisis like single mothers who need support. Like under-served school kids who need tutors. Like neighbors who are being ostracized. Like homeless who need help with shelter. Like teenagers who turn up with unwanted pregnancies. Like the hated, mistreated, forgotten, overlooked, unheard. Paul didn’t tell the government to overcome evil with good. He told us to.

We have convinced ourselves the end of the gospel is near while Jesus stated in no uncertain terms it would be proclaimed throughout the earth before the end of this age. We are convinced government has the power to gag God while 2 Timothy 2:9 says the word of God cannot be chained. Difficult days are ahead. We cannot endure them faithlessly. Opposition is inevitable no matter who makes it to the White House. At some point we’ve got to quit looking to leaders to fight for our faith. Faith we haven’t fought for is faith we don’t possess.

Legislation is not the only way we effect change. We seek it. We fight for it. But, if we don’t get it, it has never been God’s only means to change. Issues we care so much about – like protecting the lives of the unborn, like relief for the poor, justice for all, eradication of racism and inequality – don’t tumble off the table because the wrong person pulled up a chair to it. None of those are born of human concerns. They are God’s concerns. To oppose those things is to oppose Him.

He could have taken simple routes to His will along the way, like putting it straight on Pharaoh’s heart to free the Hebrew slaves. He didn’t. He chased Moses down in the far side of the desert where he’d hidden because of his sin. And God made sure that the only route out for the people of God was the miraculous. He can also place the godly beside the godless in the highest places of government like He did Daniel, if we still have Daniels who are willing to stare down the throats of ravenous lions and entrust themselves to a maker never out of options.

God can turn Pennsylvania Avenue into the road to Damascus, for crying out loud. He can soften the hardest heart. Transform the vilest offender. Thank God no sin is too great for the power of the cross. Oh for grace to trust Him more.

We need our faith back. Without it we cannot stand. Without it we cannot please God. (Heb. 11:6) Without it we can’t grasp joy. He still counts our faith as righteousness. (Romans 4:23-24) We live by faith. We love by faith. God foresaw this day and scheduled our births and our deaths within it. He entrusted us with the gospel and the gifting to share it. Imagine the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1 gathered in the unseen stadium to watch our generation run our race. Can you picture them cheering from the stands, “Vote Trump!” “Vote Clinton!” “Vote _______________________!”?

I think they’d tell us to run valiantly by faith drenched with hope because this race ends well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Huge Thank You & the LPL Chinle AZ Recap to show fruit of your prayers!

Living Proof Live Chinle 2016 | Recap from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

Beloved sisters, no words can convey the depth of my gratitude to you for countless prayers and thousands of scholarships that God used to make Chinle LPL a reality.  My four days there, face-to-face with so many Native American women – hearing their stories, their hurts and their hopes and getting to hold some of them in my arms – landed on me in a way I never want to get over. God is stirring up the dust in that native soil. I deeply hope He has plans for LPM to continue to invest in the faith of  Native American women. If the statistics we heard over and over are accurate, the reservation is only 5% Christian so the harvest in plentiful. We want to be part of seeing to it that the workers are not few. Women came from all over the reservation in Arizona but they also popped in from other parts of the United States all the way to Florida. I did a roll call during the first session to see how many tribes were represented in the room and, after about ten different names were yelled from the audience, I finally just said, “On the count of three, everybody shout the name of your tribe!” The sound stood the hair up on the back of my neck. I’ll never forget it.

The women we served stole my heart. They would have stolen yours, too. You would so love these sisters. And the best news of all is that, out of the bounty of Christ’s grace, we had many more sisters in Jesus when we left than when we arrived. One of the churches offered to have outdoor baptism for anyone who desired and even had changes of clothes and towels (well, and pastors!) ready and waiting right after the conference. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever beheld in my life.

You helped make it possible. Keep that in mind as you take a few minutes and watch the recap.

I love you so dearly. You women are my entire ministry life. I want so much to serve you well. Please pray that I will. Please pray that I’ll please Christ and continue to grow in Him and love Him more than anything I can see or touch in this temporal realm. May He continue to capture all of our hearts.

Beth

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To start your week – Giveaway Monday!

***CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS***

Mariner’s Church event winners:

Comment #78– Collette Wright

Comment #82– Kelly

Comment #94– Rachel

Comment #170– Julie Wenzel

Novel winners:

Comment #179– Nanette

Comment #137– Lisa Williams

Comment #59– Nicole Richardson

Comment #113– Chris

Comment #159– Carolyn

Comment #41– Patricia

Comment #29– Denise Fiducia

Comment #48– Timberly

Comment #191– Barb T

Comment #128– Yolanda

Comment #192– Teresa

Comment #202– Janet

Comment #180– Diana Paige

Comment #9– Mary Rodgers

Comment #152– Claudia Wadzinski

Comment #205– Joyce M Kortze

Comment #193– Donna

Comment #149– Sarah

Comment #40– Nadine Schroeder

Comment #102– Emma

 

 

Good Monday morning!

Today my morning start included listening to Beth’s visit (podcast) with @BigMamma and @boomama.  Seriously, so fun.  Their laughs were contagious while their discussions swirled in several directions.  Most of which I should probably not venture into (smile).  But, there is one discussion area I can’t keep from. The UNDOING of SAINT SILVANUS.

Side note:  I promise my days are not boring, I peddle as fast as I can.  I can’t even remember the last time I was bored (laughing).  All that to say I am not looking for something to do nor do I really have extra time to sit down and read a novel.  But sometimes, that is the exact time to sit down, read a novel and refresh your soul.  And this is exactly what I did.  I loved it!  It hit every part of me, the longings, hurts and hopes.  The ache for others to get a win, the suspense and action that I like in stories. Tender places of challenges and the beautiful place of His fresh redemption.

Please know, it is not my “job” to write this, actually Beth doesn’t even know that I am.  LOL (can I do “LOL” on a blog?).  The podcast got me all jazzed about the book, the joy it poured into my heart and wanting others to have this… GIVEAWAY DAY!

 

To enter giveaway for the book, please comment with:  Novel
So that we (LPM Team) have time to ship books today the comments will be open until 2pm.

Speaking of Beth, she isn’t bored either.  She is on the closing stretch of the book tour, which she will finish tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Sept 27, 7pm) at Mariners Church – IrvineTo enter giveaway for the event ticket, please comment with: Mariners

 

love, Sabrina

Book & Webcast info:  bethmoorenovel.com

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2016 Simulcast Prayer & Commissioning

Hi simulcast friends! Here are your copies of Beth’s prayer and commissioning. You can download the PDF versions at the end of the post.

prayerimage

Download them here:

Prayer Simulcast 2016

Commissioning Simulcast 2016

 

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LPL Chicago (Simulcast) Recap Video

Enjoy this recap from LPL Chicago! Be sure to check back later this week for the prayer and commissioning.

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