Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Baking of Communion Bread

Our church has a tradition that each month someone takes a turn baking the unleavened bread for our Lord’s Supper that day.  Today it is my turn.  I will admit I thought it was pretty cool, but that is about all the thought I gave it.  I love communion services, and get the significance, but I just saw this as doing what I had signed up to do, and doing my part.  Had to make a run to the store the night before and set my alarm to get up a little extra early to do it, but that was ok…not a big deal.  Not a big deal…or so I thought last night.

This morning I awoke and it was a whole different story.  I found myself going back through recipes making sure to pick the one I thought would turn out the best, the one that wouldn’t taste like cardboard, the one I might not burn, the one that wouldn’t fall apart.  Even as I started mixing the ingredients, it began dawning on me that this was no mundane task. 

I do not want to “over spiritualize” this, nor do I pretend to know all the significance, but we can BE religious and doctrinal, or we can EXPERIENCE the spirit of the religion.  I have this morning truly experienced the doctrine and ordinance of the Lord’s Supper and had communion with my Savior standing in my kitchen all alone at 6am this morning. 

My mind went to the thousands of years that this supper of unleavened bread has been going on, and the millions of hands that have, now like mine, prepared it.  OK, so they did not have a Walmart or a Kitchenaid, which serves to remind me that this for them could have gone two ways.  It could have  been a mundane task, much more so that for me, or it could have been a joy to prepare a “meal” that served to honor what the Lord had delivered them from, and to this day, to celebrate His deliverance.  The kneading of the bread, the rolling it out, firing up the ovens, hoping it turned out well for their celebrations. 

Then my recipe called for “scoring” the loaf before you bake it, so it is easier to cut into small pieces when completed.  Scoring.  As I was doing it, God brought to mind all the times throughout all the years backs were turned on God, on His perfect love for His people, ignored, disobeyed, His heart broken, His people worshiping gods of their own making, scoring the heart of the Father.   Yet He was still willing to continue with His plan to redeem His people.  With everything He ever did pointing to this moment, this Last Supper in the upper room, where Jesus would visually show and explain His body broken for His people.  Tears flowed.  Still they didn’t get it.  Still we don’t get it.  It’s mundane.  We have heard it before. 

But as the bread came out of the oven, just as Jesus came out of the tomb, the aroma was sweet and inviting, and wholesome, and overtook everyone in the house.  This time, as I cut the loaf into smaller pieces, I wept.  Tears of joy, of disbelief, of love, and of embarrassment that I was in the kitchen bawling over a flat piece of bread.  But in a whole new way, and a brand new perspective, it was so real to me.  His love.  His provision.  His pain that I had a hand in causing.  His resurrection and eternal standing as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Our Salvation…our Bread of Life.   

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Milk, Meat and Beef Jerky

As I have had care of my aging Mother after a recent fall, she has taught me a lot. With healing from two broken arms, balance issues, and other medical issues she has a lot to deal with.  I am not sharing this out of any other heart than the one the Lord clearly spoke to me today.  I am not putting her down, or talking badly about her.  I am pointing out human tendencies which I see in her, and God sees in me.

There is a desire to be independent that permeates all she does.  There is also a desire to be pampered and cared for and have her needs met by others, thus her nickname Petunia.  Seems like sometimes the two get reversed.  She is so anxious and desirous to prove her independence she tries to undertake activities she has no business doing alone.  Taking chances she should not take.  Refusing help she should not refuse.  Then there are times that on seemingly easier tasks she wants it done for her.  Things she should be able to do for herself.  Things that even in her state of healing should be simple and mundane.   

Today, as those characteristics crossed, and began to make me cross, God revealed my need to criss-cross my focus.  One question put me in line…”How unlike you is that really?”

Spiritually, how often do we try to go it alone in areas He never intended us to go?  Carry loads and burdens we were never intended to carry?  Take on situations that just are not safe for us on our own?  And yet in simple and seemingly mundane activities of our Christian walk and life we want to have God swoop down and take care of it for us.  Quiet time? No need, Gods got us.  Bible study each day? What for?  He’ll take care of us.  We are the milk drinkers who should be on meat who on occasion decide we are able enough and independent enough to bite off a big ole piece of beef jerky.

1 Corinthians 3:2-3a states, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it.  Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still living fleshly.”

Hebrews 5:12-14 goes further to reveal to us that “though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” 

So, as I daily ask my Mother to do what she can, and rely on me for what she can’t or shouldn’t, I do so with the fresh awareness that my Lord asks the same of me.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Freedom in Truth

Connie McCrary
Psalms 51 Ministries

A couple of months ago I was asked to write a devotional for a 40 day prayer guide leading up to the election. I was give 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5 as the passages to use. Did not know day of order it would fall in (15) nor that it would fall on this day of Vice-Presidential debates.  As Christians we are given an authority to stand firm on truth while clothed in humility. 
The Love Chapter and the Chapter on Freedom and the Fruit of the Spirit.  We know both of them.  We have read them in part or in whole a hundred times over.  We can apply them in many different ways, but what on earth do they have to do with praying for an election and our country? Everything. These two chapters in scripture show us just exactly how Your presence is to be made real and lived out here on earth.   How can we spout religion and not show love, patience, kindness and truth in our relationships with others, even those we don’t agree with?  How can we claim to have all the answers for the times when we don’t walk in the truth of God’s Spirit in other areas? Do we really think the louder and more dogmatic we declare our opinions the more others will accept them?  Lord, please let us speak in truth and love. Burden our hearts to cry out to You for these characteristics in ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and our candidates. Show us that walking in the freedom of Your love makes us able to disagree and still be kind and non-boasting. Show us how to stand for truth in ways that are gentle, self-controlled, and patient. Remind us that we are standing in a place of freedom, a hope and a liberty so many around us do not have and cannot understand. Give our leaders the desire and anointing to walk in the spirit in truth, integrity, and unity.  Remind us that only through You and Your working love, freedom and truth in our lives will our nation ever truly be changed and will our people ever be motivated by grace to live in Your amazing purpose. Grant us these things Lord so that we lead others to Your freedom. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Touch of the Master's Hand

I have been being treated for the last 10 months for what was believed to be a broken tailbone and a hip out of whack from a fall I took down our staircase last October.  On a side note, halfway up the staircase is not the best location for a lovely empty blue plastic Walmart sack.  Just saying.  Anyway, after that fall I could only describe the pain as what I felt was like a broken tailbone which I had had as a teenager which was also causing pain in my hip and all the way up my back into my neck.  I went to a chiropractor and was treated for several months without much relief.

This last week a friend talked me into going to her chiropractor.  He began with x-rays, which the other didn't do, and determined the cause of my pain.  There was no broken tailbone or a hip out of whack.  I had 2 vertebra out of place in my neck and the very bottom one as well looking as if it was pinching a nerve and possibly a disc.  TOTALLY different course of treatment.  Treated me one time, and I felt all the muscles in my back release like they have not done in months.

I am not writing this as a slam on any chiropractor, or as a sales ad for any other one.  I am not going to say one man is better than another or that this new chiropractor is the end-all, cure-all. What I am going to say is that it just was a very real and very personal reminder of how the Lord desires I live my life.

Here's the bottom line.  We all have lots of people in our lives.  Some of them are great people, people who know their stuff.  People who know the Word and live by it.  People who desire the best for us, and who give their input towards that end.  All of this is fine, and Godly counsel is wise, but our lives lived in the palm of the Hand of the Creator is the best plan.  One touch of the Masters hand and our lives line out just like my neck did.  I know to run to Him.  I know how much he cares.  I still get mired down occasionally by the voices of others and their desired influence on my life.  Take Job.  I do not think at all his 3 friends meant harm or hurt to him.  They simply didn't know what God knew.  Job had to wait on the hand of the Master, and that hand provided all he ever needed.  Sometimes, the Holy Spirit touches our lives and directs our steps in ways that make no sense to us, we just know its right.  The problem is that the Holy Spirit does not always make the rounds to all of our "peeps" and let them in on what He has told us.  The challenge is to lay ourselves in the hands of the Master, and follow after Him, with or without the direction of others.

One touch of the Master's hand heals.  It brings provision.  It brings clarity of purpose.  One touch can change the course of a life gone astray.  One touch can anoint.  One touch can bring life to dead marriages.  One touch can set churches on fire.  One touch can and will change your life forever.

Will you go to the Master today and ask and allow Him to touch your life?  I hope so.  You'll never go back.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lessons from the Rangers…

As I sat at a Ranger game, I was amazed at the crowd.  Thousands of people piling into a stadium to see men compete against the enemy using their talents, gifts and abilities. No formal invitation, no “guest-list”, no “who’s-who” of attendees, and yet thousands knew and arrived to watch the game.  Once there, a mass mentality came over people.  With just 6 notes from the organ the entire stadium erupted with the response of “charge”!  A message ran across the banner of “MAKE SOME NOISE” and they would rise to their feet screaming and cheering and clapping.  Let their favorite player make a good play and their name was chanted over and over.  And heaven forbid the opposing team hit a home run, the person who caught it was peer pressured with “THROW IT BACK” and upon throwing it back, some other group would start screaming for the ball girl to throw it to them as if “if they don’t want it I’ll take it” after cheering them to get rid of it.  The American game.  And let it be noted, I was in that crowd and was up and cheering the Rangers on with the rest of them!

Here is what struck me…and there are some random thoughts here, so stick with me.  First, comparing game attendance to church attendance.  Why is it that we will flock to the stadium, but to the church we almost need an invitation handwritten in calligraphy, sealed and personally delivered.  Why don’t we just know when the game is and show up ready to cheer on the ones who have been gifted and called to lead the mornings worship and preach the Lord’s message?  Why aren’t we warmed up and ready to participate in the game by cheering them on with a hearty “amen” or participating in the worship with our entire heart.  Why aren’t we wearing our teams “colors” with pride?

Second, the mass mentality.  At first thought, it would be GREAT to have that mind control over the entire body.  Amen’s on cue, stand up, sit down, TITHE, even throw in the chicken dance every now and then just for the preachers entertainment.  But wouldn’t church be easy.  Get the whole crowd fired up and at the sound of the organ, “charge”.  But our God doesn’t work that way.  And thank goodness He doesn’t.  He is the owner who does send out those personal invitations.  Every person is important to Him as an individual. 

I giggle as I think of that 6 note run before the “charge” erupting. Where is our battle cry?  How loudly are we proclaiming it in our churches?  Do we even know who our opponent is for sure?  And do we realize that He is already defeated?  Our battle cry of “charge” is in reference to ourselves…charge out, charge onward, charge to the hurting, charge to the lost and dying all around us. 

The best picture though is of this stadium of witnesses to the battle below.  You see, God’s Word tells us there is such a thing.  Only in the Bible’s story, we are on the playing field, and the cloud of witnesses are those who have gone before us in faith, led the way, blazed the trail, charged ahead.  Can you picture with your spiritual eyes a crowd watching your life as you are on the field, called to use your talents, gifts and abilities to the glory of the owner of our team, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  You are called to proudly wear the teams color of crimson right along with Him.  You are being cheered on by a stadium full of witnesses who are calling out your name in delight as you move forward through the game.  When the enemy “hits one out of the park” against you, they don’t throw it back, they hold on to it dearly as a spiritual marker for the next time when you make the play at the wall.  This great cloud of witnesses are not nameless thousands.  They are named, and described, and documented in the book of Life all throughout history, and there are even some given in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.

Go out to the game.  Whether you cheer on someone else God is using at the moment, or you run out onto the field yourself, know that God is with you, He has invited you to participate in this game individually and by name, and He is the owner of the team that has EVERY-season tickets and eternal membership.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Life Interrupted

Yesterday was a life interrupted in so many ways. What was “planned” to be a visit to be there for support during a heart surgery turned to so much more. In the interest of this blog, things are oversimplified, and many details just cannot be shared due to time, space and privacy, but the theme is the same… as hard a day as it was yesterday, I would not trade it for having been anywhere else.

While at the hospital, God led me to go pray with a complete stranger who was obviously distraught about news of a loved one. Knowing no other details, He had me go over, kneel down beside her and ask that sweet lady if I could pray for her. She enthusiastically agreed. During the prayer, she spoke in tearful agreement with what I was praying. Yes, Jesus. Please, Jesus. Jesus. After I prayed she informed me that no one in her family or friends were “a praying person” and she had so needed that prayer. My comfort briefly interrupted. Her grief interrupted. Life interrupted.

I also had opportunity to visit a dear friends family member who had been in hospice care in the hospital for a couple of days and I had visited previously, even that morning. When I got to her room, she was still unresponsive, but sadly, alone. God led me to stay. Play some quiet instrumental music version of praise and worship songs. Pray with her. Read to her. Sit quietly with her. Upon return of my friend, literally within a very few minutes this loved one entered eternity. Tears. Prayer. Praise for peaceful passing. Packing up belongings. My comfort interrupted. Her lonely departure interrupted. Life Interrupted.

So what is the point? My life, and yours, is shaped by plans, priorities, comforts, and responsibilities, but there are times when God nudges you to be somewhere you just know you are supposed to be, and comfortable or not, Some of the toughest situations in life render the most amazing experiences with Christ. How humbling to be used in His plan. How powerful to be holding peoples hands when God changes their eternity, either in death or in life.

That day, the dear friend and I returned to the waiting room to hear news of a successful surgery. Waiting room full of thanksgiving and relief. As we all prepared to leave we interrupted life yet again. This time, it was interrupted before we all departed and got on with our daily lives, to stop, circle up hands and hearts, yes, right there in the middle of the waiting room, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s hand during the surgery and upcoming recovery. Someone comfort interrupted…this time not mine. Walking away without returning to say thank you to The Master interrupted. Life Interrupted.

In all the ways yesterday was interrupted, God was glorified. I desire to live that kind of a life interrupted by His presence anytime!

On the way to the hospital early that morning, I was listening to a song, and praying it would be true all day…I believe it was…

“He Is Here” 

He is here, Hallelujah, He is here, Amen
He is here, Holy Holy, I will bless His name again
He is here, listen closely
Hear Him calling out your name
He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same


I sence an awesome moving of the Holy Spirit
I see His countenance resting on your face
I know that there are angels hovering all around us
For the presence of the Lord is in this place


He is here, Hallelujah, He is here, Amen
He is here, Holy Holy, I will bless His name again
He is here, listen closely
Hear Him calling out your name
He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same


I searched for peace among the shadow, dark and lonely
Gave up on finding that strong and lasting love
I tasted all the things that sin could think to offer me
But today I feast on manna from above


He is here, Hallelujah, He is here, Amen
He is here, Holy Holy, I will bless His name again
He is here, listen closely
Hear Him calling out your name
He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same

He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Praise and Worship

Just as thankfulness opens doors for miracles, worship opens the doors of heaven for the real and palpable presence of God Himself.

Psalm 22:3 (KJV)

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Our God, the One who called us to eternal salvation, The One who always has been, and always will be, The One who sent us the comforter in the Holy Spirit, The One who sacrificed His only Son, inhabits the praises of His people. He dwells and stays and hovers where there is praise.

Our fast is an act of praise and worship. Each hour we praise Him more for sustaining us. Each moment we realize just what a personal loving God He truly is. Each time the temptation of hunger or distraction or compromise hits…PRAISE HIS NAME! Turn up the worship music. Do a praise dance around the room. For The God of heaven and earth is there with you to strengthen you, to speak to you, to love on you. Offer Him an additional sacrifice of praise. Place your mind on worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. See if He will not show up mightily.

I know that day 3 is typically the strongest battle day with my dear body. That day will also be an incredible day of praise and worship! Crank up the music, make up your own song, sing your prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord, sing songs about the names of God…”Alpha and Omega”, “El Shaddai”, “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Lift up His name in worship. Lift up your act of praise and present your bodies a living sacrifice. It is our reasonable duty. It is our hope. It is our power from the Holy Spirit. And He alone is worthy. There is strength in His Name.  There is joy in His presence.

In all spiritual battles we face, praise and worship are key.  Why would we not want our Lord as close to us as possible when we face the enemy?  Why would we not praise Him before the battles end knowing He is victorious in all things.  He alone is worthy. Praise and worship and honor and glory belong to Him.  I am humbled to be His and be able to come before Him in praise.

Another great source of encouragement and teaching on fasting is

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fasting Begins...Give Him Thanks!

Here is praying that you are feeling thankful this morning. Thankful that the Lord called you to this very special time with Him to begin the new year. Thankful that we serve a God who speaks to us, loves us, and cares for us.

He cares for us so much that I want you to know that He beat us to this day. You see, God sees the intent of our hearts. So as you began preparing for today to start the fast, our Loving Father began answering. Aren’t you glad we serve a God who does not have to see our completed obedience before it moves Him to act in our lives. Even with our own children, does it not spur you to action as you see your children beginning to turn from disobedience, their hearts soften to correction, their desires to be to live in obedience. Our Father loves us even more, and is acting in our lives from the moment our hearts turn to Him. Do you really think that the act of salvation only takes place at the altar? I believe that salvation takes place and it is the love and measure of faith that God alone gives that even helps us take that first step out of our pews.

Today, we are taking that first step in fasting. Our hearts have already heard Him calling to us. Our spirits have aligned with Him in obedience of following through with the fast He calls us to. He is already at work. He arrived at this time of fasting before we did. He issued the call to join Him here.

Spend today thanking Him. Thanksgiving precedes the miraculous.

Micah 2:13 HCSB
One who breaks open the way
will advance before them;
they will break out, pass through the gate,
and leave by it.
Their King will pass through before them,
the LORD as their leader.

Here's another great fasting resource from Campus Crusade for Christ...