Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To Him Be All the Glory - Poem

I have been thinking about this poem for a couple of months. It is my testimony in poem form. 

We all begin our walk with the Lord seeing a glimpse of our sinful heart. The law helps us see that we fall short and deserve death. For me, I tried very hard to "make up" for my wretchedness, but glory to God, He showed me grace and justified me so I may boldly approach the throne. It was His work on the Cross, not mine that saved me. 

This poem (like the book of Hebrews and Revelations - for all you nerds!) is meant to be read out loud. Feel free to read it in your churches, gatherings or to share it. All I ask is that you mention that I wrote it. Blessings. 

To Him Be All The Glory
By Anna R. Tobey

A reflection in the mirror forces me to see the destruction
Of what I have done with my life and all the repercussions
The mirror is a tablet of stone, carved by the great I AM
Given to a Levite, son of Jacob, son of Abraham
I look at the Holy and Righteous Judge and I cower and whimper
Knowing that of all the wretches in this world, I am the greatest sinner.
What can I say, what can I do, maybe there is somehow I can serve?
Because I know the punishment, I know what’s coming, I know what I deserve.

SO . . .

I cling to my culture, I cling to my tradition,
I cling to church on Sunday, and to my ambition.
I hold on to good intentions, and to time spent helping the poor.
How I cooked for the starving, and how I swept the church floor.
I sang the songs of redemption, I sang of amazing Grace
I felt the Holy Spirit, and thought I saw Your face..
I gave all that I could, I gave more than I could even afford
I even healed the sick, I even called out LORD LORD!!

Surely, this is good enough, surely this all counts for something.
Surely, what I did in Your name is something worth trusting.
Surely, I can confide in these things that brought me joy.
Surely, they’re not dirty rags or heaps of dung for You to destroy

BUT THEY ARE . . . . . .

Your word says it plainly and it speaks rightly,
That all deserve death, even the least likely.
That we have been working and toiling and our paycheck is death
And You will come to collect when we take our last breath

Have Mercy on me oh Holy, Almighty and Righteous One.
Give me Grace paid on the cross by Your Only Son
Help me believe and put my trust on the blood of the Lamb
There is nothing, no one, nada that can save me from what I am.


A sinner, a wretch, a worm not worthy to crawl in the mire
Lead by my feelings, my wants and heinous desire.
Save me from myself, don’t let me be the same.
I trust Jesus, for salvation comes from no other name!

So covered by the blood of the Lamb that made a way
No longer do I cry for mercy when I’ll see Him on my Judgement day.
For when I stand facing  the most Holy One, Christ exclaims:
"Justice for this one. Justice in my name!!"

"Justice, for she is not guilty, her debt has been paid
Justice, for my life for her has been laid!!"
So I stand, thinking mercy is what I needed
But my Advocate proclaimed  that it’s Justice that proceeded.
For I am not guilty, I am without shame
Because He became guilty, He took on my blame
And the Judge poured out His wrath and made Him pay
The debt, I could never pay, no how, no way!

So how can I not love you, how can I not sing?
Of how Amazing Grace is, and how death has no sting!?
How can I not serve you, how can I not love the least of these??
How can you not be the only One I see and want to please?!?

There is no other like you, no not one!
I love you Holy Spirit, Father and Son!
Not because I’m good, but because You loved me first!
Because, no one else would for me become such a curse!

Behold the Lamb of God, come to take away my sin!!
It was never about me, but it was always about Him!!
He will bring glory to Himself, I’m just a small part of the story!
To Him be all blessing and to Him be all the glory!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love to Eat Hate to Eat - Book Review

What the back of the book says:
After years of futile dieting, you know there's more to weight control
than what you eat. Having discovered the power that food has over
our lives, Elyse Fitzpatrick helps you:

* identify your destructive eating habits *
* surrender your desire for control *
* break the vicious cycle of emotional eating *
*develop a flexible plan suited to your unique situation *

God knows everything about you . . . where you've been and where
you're going. Because He knows you so well, He can deeply
transform  you, giving you the contentment you long for. 

This is the first book I have ever read by Elyse Fitzpatrick. I have heard some of her talks and she is a woman that continuously brings everything back to the Gospel. I . . . LOVE . . . THAT! This book is no different in her technique. All our problems in our life go back to the truth that we are in a fallen world marred by sin. We are weak, futile beings that cannot save ourselves from these besetting sins. Can I will myself to follow a diet? Of course, but if I am honest with myself the reason for the desire to lose weight is always ego-centric. How I will look. How much better I will feel. How healthy I will be. How I will be loved more, admired more etc. All of these thoughts have me in the center and is a form of idolatry. Elyse, speaks on the gift of food and that God provided us with this blessing, but like many things, we have come to worship and rely on food instead of its Creator. 

There is no diet plan in this book, so if you are looking for that, this isn't your book. She uses an acronym DISCIPLINE to help identify what sin is leading you to trust in food instead of on God. She encourages a food journal, something I have begun doing and rest assured, I eat a lot more than I thought I did! She also uses lots of Scripture, which a Christian should use, to battle sin. She points to the Holy Spirit as a helper in the struggle of gluttony. 

The main point, I believe, that this book is trying to get across is to love God with all your heart. This might sound too simple, but that is the key to breaking the chains of bondage to ANY sin. Bask in His glory, in His redemptive love then food will look like a mud pie compared to the ecstasy of knowing you are loved by the Creator of the universe so much that He poured His wrath on His Son instead of on you!

It is very tempting to want a list of what to eat and what not to eat. But that would be falling back into "laws" that I must follow. That would be falling back into feeling disappointed in myself because when I fail, I must now punish myself and starve or work out more. That would put me back into the cycle that I have been avoiding and has destroyed me and has led to a life where I am the center. 

She admits that this process is slow but steady. It is not a fad, it is not a twelve-step secret formula, and you will most likely lose weight slowly; but losing weight is not the point. The point is to grow in our sanctification (grow holier). The point is to grow closer to Him. The point is to bring Him glory in all we do, including how we eat. The point is to be used as a witness for the world to see His power and His love. 

If gluttony is one of the sins you struggle with, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I also recommend that you buy a notebook specifically for this book and to start your food journal. 

You can buy this book here!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Into The Arms of Molech

Bible Reading: I Kings 11:1-8

There is so much here that just shocks me. And just as quickly as the shock sets in, the Spirit convicts me, that I too am a Solomon. 

Chapter 11 starts with: "King Solomon loved many foreign women". In order to set alliances and also just because he could - Solomon married women that were not Hebrew. One of these foreign women is said to be the daughter of the Pharaoh. (I Kings 3:1). He built her a beautiful palace. There were 700 of these "alliance wives" and 300 concubines. And these women led him astray in his faith. Later Solomon goes on to warn against these kinds of women in Proverbs 5-7.

As Solomon grows old he ends up worshiping Ashtoreth (goddess of the Sidonites), Chemosh (god of the Moabites) and Molech (god of the Ammonites). He then actually builds two places to worship these gods and he joins his wives in worshiping these detestable gods. The place where he builds these places of worship was on a hill east of Jerusalem which is actually the Mount of Olives (the place where Jesus later wept for Jerusalem and gave His sermon on the mount). Even though Solomon did these horrible things, God still appeared to him twice so that he would turn away from these gods, but the Bible tells us that he turned away from following the God of Israel (I Kings 11:9). God then tears the Kingdom of Israel from Solomon and divides it into two kingdoms.

Reading I Kings 1-10 consecutively we see the glory of Solomon's reign.   In these chapters we see how he became king, how God blessed him, how he brought the people together, how he luxuriously spends to make an astonishing temple to worship God. We see Solomon's wisdom and judging techniques. We hear of his beauty and his love for justice. We see kings and queens from distant lands pay him homage for his wisdom and splendid kingdom. He just overflows with excess, riches and elegance. I can envision a shining city where nothing is made of silver because it has no worth because there is just so much gold (I Kings 10:21). But God is not flattered by the pomp. He reminds Solomon to obey His commands and warns that if he doesn't He will leave the Temple and tear his kingdom apart.  In chapter 9, Solomon finishes the Temple, but by chapter 11 he is building temples for the gods Chemosh and Molech. These gods are called detestable/hated (11:7) and required human sacrifice as a form of worship. Molech specifically required child sacrifice through burning them (what was called "passing them through the fire") in order to bring prosperity and success. Molech was molded to have extending arms where a fire could be lit underneath and a child could be placed within his arms. We see Manasseh King of Judah use this type of worship in 2 Chronicles 33:2-6. How horrific to have a Temple where God has decided to live and then down the road we hear the screams of humans and even children as they are sacrificed to abhorrent gods and then to find among the worshipers Solomon, God's chosen king. The son of the man after God's heart. Among this beautiful city made of gold is the excrement of man-made worship. I can't help but wonder if Solomon, fearing losing his success and prosperity, placed one of his little ones in the burning arms of Molech.

Our God is longsuffering and patient. (Psalm 86:5,  2 Peter 3:9, Joel 2:13, Isaiah 30:18) and gave Solomon time to return to Him, but Solomon had made his decision. Despite all God had given Solomon (and by all, I mean ALL!), Solomon betrays God for the arms of women who would eventually lead him astray to the arms of a burning god. He became lost in the glitter of the world that surrounded him. The blessings bestowed on him eventually cursed him. The riches given to him made him a poor and miserable man. Even the knowledge and wisdom God entrusted him with brought about him misery and emptiness. Just read Ecclesiastes.

In the end, God is not mocked and the fools are us if we seek to do things our way. We have a tendency to wander from God and His holy ways, and most of the time He is gracious to lead us back with tenderness. But there is a thin line that once it is crossed, God says enough and the buck stops with Him. Solomon worshiped the way the world in his day worshiped. Are we also tempted to do the same? Do the lights, speakers, smoke, and full out rock band tempt us to say "if we had a worship service like that, we would feel the Holy Spirit every Sunday, more people would come to church, people wouldn't be so bored" etc etc? Is there anything inherently wrong with these things, no. But if you need those things in order to "feel" like you worshiped God, we must examine ourselves again.(I John)

 The kingdom of God is a mustard seed (Mark 4) or leavening (Matthew 13) meaning it is small and in time it does something great. But not great in our fickle eyes, but greatness only God could invent. Solomon had a thousand women to bring him pleasure, wealth and power beyond measure, unprecedented wisdom and knowledge and the admiration of the known world, but it all crumbled under God because he worshiped other gods. And before he knew it, that road lead him to a place where he allowed the slow and painful death of children and maybe even participated in it.

I don't believe that the moment Solomon finished building the Temple of God that he turned around and said "I think we will worship Molech now." I do believe though, that there were some red flags that he chose to ignore and although it may have bothered him at first, he eventually stopped seeing them. Besetting sins don't ever start off shocking us into humility and repentance. I know my ugly sins didn't look so ugly at first. But our God is merciful to forgive us and sent His Son to bring us into communion with Him.

Let us not be tempted to worship like the world. Let us not become lost in the glitter of things that will not bring true happiness. Let us only look to the God who saves us from ourselves and allows us to truly rest in His arm.

White Princess Book Review

The White Princess is written by Philippa Gregory and is the story of Elizabeth of York and her rule as Queen of England. Elizabeth of York is the mother of Henry VIII; the grandmother of Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I and James V of Scotland; and the great-grandmother of Mary Stuart Queen of Scots.

The book begins with Elizabeth becoming the wife of Henry Tudor who has become Henry VII King of England. It would be a great advantage to the reader to have read "Lady of the Rivers", "The White Queen" and the "The Red Queen" previously as to understand just how incredible the players of this book are. There are so many names and tangles in the lineage and they are so closely related that it is best to be prepared with foreknowledge of these incredible characters. There is a curse that is spoken of quiet often in the book, and if you do not know the lineage after Henry VII,  you might want to do some research on it. Reading "The Constant Princess" and "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory would help.

The book itself was really well written. Philippa Gregory does an outstanding job in developing the characters in the book. Her history is impeccable and her "theory" of the missing princes makes sense. I love her depiction of Henry Tudor and his mother Margaret Beaufort Countess of Richmond (she is the Red Queen). Although King Henry's anxiety does get a little old by the end of the book.

Queen Elizabeth of  York is a peacemaker and soother. In the book, she deals with a suspicious husband that still has his umbilical cord attached to his mother. She has a mother-in-law from hell and a mother (The White Queen and former Queen of England) with a rebellious heart and spirit that puts her and many others in danger. Throughout the book, Elizabeth of  York is second-guessed, mistrusted, and shamed; but she continuously is dutiful and faithful to her new allegiance.

To the Christian: This book is sexually tame compared to other Philippa Gregory novels.The love scenes (about 4 of them throughout the whole book) are usually no more than a paragraph long and deal mostly with Elizabeth of York's heart than what is happening physically.
                           Like most books written about this time period, the Church and God are involved in the majority of medieval royal life. Prayers, fasts, feast days, confessions, God's sovereignty are sprinkled throughout the book.

Glory to God: I really enjoy reading about these times in history. Everything - life, death, weather, children or lack thereof, sickness, health, war, and so much more are all attributed to God. So much was left to God and the people respected His decision making. These days, we really pat ourselves on the back more than we should. And the day things don't go as we wanted we blame God, never thanking him for the 364 days that things went well.

Scriptures: Our God is in the heavens, He does all that He pleases. Psalm 115:3
                  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. ~ Romans 13:1

If you are interested in this book, you can order it via Amazon by clicking here

I am Jericho

I am Jericho

A land pagan and full of sin
My walls tower like the souls within
This Joshua wants me so I stand up proud
These walls will not tumble no matter how loud
The crashing of the pots and jars crumble at my feet
My heart is rebellious, I am on the throne, I am on the seat

The horns begin to blare
He circles me as I stare
Fall, I will not dare
I will leave Him in despair.

Here comes the attack
There is no turning back
I am soon to be sacked

This man is on a mission
Breaking my walls without permission
My sin is dying, along with my volition
Killing all that is me and my tradition

He makes me His city, I am the Promised Land
I was in His thoughts even before He made man
I was set on His heart before I even knew
That conquering me was something He was set to do

The dust of the battle has settled down
I was a lost city now eternally found
I am captive to Him forever bound
I am His and there’s no sweeter sound.