I believe in Scripture – David Bowden

I love the Bible. I’ve studied it all my life. Moreover, I am a Bible Professor at a university. I get to lead hearts of gladness and curiosity into the embrace of the Bible. It’s an honor. And a joy.

I particularly like this man’s words about the Bible. Enjoy! And feel free to share videos, songs, etc which celebrate the Bible. Let’s stir each other up with more love, more perspective, and more strength.

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A “Dare” of a Song: “I’ll Stand” by Hillsong

Last night I went to the Prophetic Team Dinner at my church, Bethel Church. There I saw lots of people I had not seen since returning from Iraq December 22. They merrily asked about my trip. They checkered their wonder with sweet encouragement, “Did you feel like you were walking in your destiny?” “Did it confirm that is where your heart is?” “I’m so excited for you!” and I shared snippets of stories and smiles and breakthrough. It was hard. It was hard because I don’t know when I will be back in Iraq. There are a number of things in a state of “wait and see.” Moreover, as one might imagine, a semi-move to a war zone is not straightforward. So, I wait. I look for purpose in this time. And there is purpose. There is always purpose.

Yet, it’s been a really rough month since returning. The wait to return to Iraq has not been the worst of it actually, the worst of it has been the financial drought. I have felt disillusioned, frustrated, discouraged, and sad.  With these responses I have the opportunity to step back and realize emotions like this are not truth and they usually come from lies I am believing. (For example, “God doesn’t care about me enough to put this in order” or “I’ve spent 16 years praying and dreaming and ‘for what?'” or “God is not being faithful to me right now.”) I have to keep coming back to the truth of Who I know God to be, despite the way things “look.” I have to worship Him when I don’t feel like it. I have to dare to find purpose and vision in this season of my life despite the flickers of bitterness in my soul.

Mind you, there is a lot happening: I published two ebooks, I wrote an article for restorationliving.com, I’m writing three more articles for websites, I’m nearly done with writing my first print book, and I’m chatting with a publisher about that. I’ve also had opportunities to speak to people about my trip and to ignite hope for their own dreams to be fulfilled. On top of that, there are some other things brewing right now which are absolutely on my list of “Life Dreams” and I will do internal cartwheels when those things happen. My flatmates and friends are great at helping me see the GOOD things being accomplished. They remind me. Over and over again friends remind me. I’m so thankful. I’ve historically been fiercely independent, but what I have learned about healthy interdependence and the power of unity in the Body of Christ over the past few months has transformed my core.

All to say, when my friend James led worship last night and sang, “I’ll  Stand” it felt like a rebellion against apathy and self-pity, and it made me resolve, yet again, to stay close to my Beloved Jesus no matter what – including when I don’t understand His ways and I am fighting resentment. As I sang, the tears in my eyes were from the pain of choosing intimacy despite my want to “protect” myself from getting “hurt.” I know God doesn’t mean to hurt me, but it’s easier to accuse Him than to really transform my mind (at least it appears easier). So, there’s the truth: I am the one responsible for transforming my mind – thinking renewed thoughts. (Romans 12:2) God wants to help me with this, but I need to want it to happen. I need to get over my deadly blend of fear and control; and let love rule.

As my pastor Bill Johnson says, “If you want peace that passes understanding, you have to give up your right to understand.”

On that note,

“I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all”

“I’ll stand my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. All I am is Yours!”

Will you?

 

 

Those Who Dream – Kristene Mueller-DiMarco

This song always snags my heart with delight.

 

 

Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

marking two years back in America

On September 6, 2009 an airplane handed me back to my home country. From August 26, 2006 to September 5, 2009 I lived in Israel, mainly in the precious city of Bethlehem -or “o little town” as I often call it. Looking back and looking forward, I am rapturously thankful and awed by the gift of those years in Israel. That season was certainly a bootcamp for my future life in the Middle East. And that was precisely what I needed. It was also overflowing with miracles, healings, surprises, birthdays, friendships, and glory. It was better than I expected, and sometimes worse. Yet overall, most certainly BETTER.

Moreover, these past two years in America have been precisely what the Master Physician ordered: refreshing, regrouping, re-establishing, re-envisioning, and relaxing. Two years of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry has been really restorative as well as catalytic. I am now positioned to return to the Middle East with new strength, perspective, techniques, and SUPPORT. I am reminded of a family Christmas video of me around seven years old in which I say upon opening many of my gifts, “It’s just what I ALWAYS WANTED!” These two years have been that. 

THANK YOU to my friends and family who have supported me and encouraged me when they didn’t understand what I was doing, but miraculously did understand WHY I was doing it. I know your investment in my life and your willingness to stand by me will reap a harvest, throughout the Middle East and throughout your own life. I bless you today with checks in the mail, gifts and surprises, and debts paid off. haha! The delight of the Lord is gushing through the threshold of your home and into every heart therein. It is an honor to journey together. You are priceless; and you are royalty.

<Thank you, Father God for your wisdom made manifest in my life. There’s no one else I would rather have write my story. I’m happy with where we are and I’m expectant for the chapters ahead. Your sweetness is beyond what my skin can hold, my mind can grasp, and my words can tell. I LOVE YOU.>

Here’s to endless adventure and matchless love!

A year ago I wrote this blog post: https://upsidedownbethlehem.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/a-dress-that-made-me-cry-and-other-reflections-on-a-year-back-in-america/  

Here are some of my favorites images from my three years in the Middle East. They are a visual necklace of gratitude framing my voice of praise:

Dawn on rooftop overlooking the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock

Flat Stanley's First Iftaar

Entrance to Saudi Arabia

The Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary (in Jordan)

Dawn atop Mt Sinai in Egypt

wedding in Hussan village

listening to a woman's story in the mental hospital

healing at the birthday party

drama group happiness

merrily down the stairs with Jihad

went to Cyprus to renew our visas, met Andrea's future husband

scuba diving in the Red Sea

Exiting Bethlehem through the checkpoint

blindfolded on my birthday

striking a pose in Jerusalem

rooftop worship in Bethlehem

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow down and worship before You, For the kingship and the kingdom are the Lord’s, and He is the ruler over the nations.”

Psalm 22:27-18 (AMP)

the overwhelming preciousness

While worshiping Jesus at church today tears appeared on my face like dew on tulips in early morning. The sunlight’s tension yearning beyond the night’s cool, causing the droplets. My life’s hopes slamming into the embodiment of hope: Jesus Himself.

I am simply undone by the stirring brightness of Jesus. I can not fathom a better King, a truer lover, nor a deeper friend. I am infinitely thankful I know Him. For Him, I would do anything, go anywhere, and love anyone. My heart longs for the whole world to know Him, to really KNOW Him. He’s it. He really is. He’s the fulfillment, the treasure, the resurrection, and the life. And once you choose to follow Him, you are inseparable. A match made in heaven which will stay in heaven forever.

If you haven’t met Him, if you haven’t chosen to follow Him, you can decide to do so any time. Simply tell Jesus you want to follow Him and tell Him you are giving Him your life. You can talk out loud, if you want. Ask Him to tangibly demonstrate His love to you. Then listen for His direction. He’ll speak. Keep talking to Him- daily, hourly, constantly – chat with Him as you would a friend. He loves you. And the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. I recommend finding a Bible and reading it: starting with the book of John in the New Testament. It’s really scrumptious. The main thing is keep talking to God AND listen for His response.

(And if you choose to follow Him, let me know. I’ll throw some imaginary confetti and laugh with joy.)

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss


compared to the possession


of the priceless privilege

(the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage)


of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord


and of progressively becoming more deeply and

intimately acquainted with Him


[of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him

more fully and clearly].


For His sake I have lost everything


and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs),


in order that I may win (gain) Christ

(the Anointed One)”

Philippians 3:8 (AMP)