God Wasn’t Done

In 1 Chronicles 6 we are reminded of the tribes Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. They were responsible for carrying the various parts of the Tabernacle from place to place.

Then Solomon built the Temple. So was God done with them, these faithful men who had carried the house of God through the desert and into Canaan? No. Absolutely not.

The change began in 1 Chronicles 6:31 when David assigned men from these three tribes to lead the music at the Tabernacle. Far from being finished with them, God was drawing them closer to Him and truly giving them even more responsibility-that of leading worshippers into His presence.

We could learn from these tribes. Sometimes we go through seasons when we think God is done with us, that there is nothing left in us that He can use. When we think that, we’re wrong.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Love Languages Revelation

If you’re not familiar with Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, I encourage you to pick it up. It explains the five primary ways in which we show love to others (and, consequently, expect/need them to show love to us). It is a powerful tool in helping us learn to relate to and even minister to others.

A project at work (I’m a church secretary) has had me looking at the love languages again. I’ve known what my love language is for years, but have just had a revelation about it that rocked my world.

In my relationships with others, all others, I can look at my instinctive interactions with them in respect to my love language and get a very clear picture of how much I love them.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s been humbling. In less than 24 hours I’ve faced some pretty hard truths as I’ve realized there are certain groups of people around whom my love language shows up regularly, and a few others (with whom I’m very close) around whom I exhibit more selfishness than love.

So the revelation is this: My love language can act as a love thermometer. As I walk in love with others, I instinctively offer love in my own language. If I know their love language, I may intentionally offer love in theirs too, but mine will still be evident. If I don’t offer that love, I don’t love enough.

And THAT shows me where I have work to do in my own heart.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

From Separation Springs Life

Photo: Tammy Cardwell

I raise succulents, and my favorite is a pot of hens and chickens that came from my grandmother. Occasionally, leaves will fall from that plant, and when they do something marvelous happens.

New life

Hidden within the leaf is the power to create a whole new plant. While on the mother plant, the leaf is beautiful, but when you take it away from the mother plant new life springs forth.

This can happen anywhere. These leaves in my garden will eventually take root and flourish right where they are, but the new growth happens even if the leaf falls on the sidewalk, and it will continue until all of the fallen leaf has been sucked dry by the new life.

This is much like the life of a new Christian. First, they must be taken out of their old life. Until that happens, they can’t grow. Pull them out of the world, however, and you’ll see new life spring forth. Even if they’re out there on their own, on the sidewalk so to speak, they’ll flourish on their own for a while.

But like these leaves, they must eventually be planted. They must put down roots and stay where God wants them so they can grow spiritually. If they don’t, if they fail to find and latch on to the spiritual nourishment they need to survive in this world, they’ll be like the leaf on the sidewalk, eventually shriveling up once the initial burst of life is over and the cares of this world leave them empty and dry.

Life, especially spiritual life, is a precious thing. We must care for it and encourage it in ourselves and others. I’ve made mistakes with leaves like these, moving tender new plants into the wrong place and forgetting to care for them, and they’ve died. The results are a good reminder of what not to do where my relationship with God is concerned.

Sometimes I need those reminders.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Suck It Up

Photo: Tammy Cardwell

I love succulents! They are amazing in so many ways; one of my favorites is their ability to suck up water when it rains and store it for use during dry seasons.

I want to be like that! I want to stay full of the Holy Spirit, full of the Word of God, and full of love so that dry seasons, times of trials and troubles, don’t catch me unprepared. Yes, I may take a beating and look less than my best in the midst of the battle, but when it’s over I’ll still be standing!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

My Thorn

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul shares about his “thorn in the flesh.” Theologians have tried to determine what that “thorn” was for centuries. Other than what we learn from Scripture, that he felt it was to keep him from pride, we don’t know that much.

We do know that Paul repeatedly asked God to remove this affliction, but God simply reassured him: “My Grace is sufficient.”

I am Paul. I have a thorn too. It’s called anxiety. Now, I am well aware that bi-polar disorder and depression are issues in my family. I get the science. I also know that my childhood was particularly anxiety-triggering, so I get the psychology.

Several years back, I spent about three months on an antidepressant, and twice in my life I’ve had to keep anti-anxiety medication at hand for those times when it got out of control. As a Christian, I hate this. Like Paul, I feel like I should be able to pray the right prayer or quote the right Scripture and it be gone forever, but I’ve learned it doesn’t always work that way.

“My Grace is sufficient,” God said…and still says. The Word also says, in 2 Corinthians 9:8, that God will cause all grace to abound towards me so that I will have every sufficiency for every good work. And this “every good work” may well be the key.

I heard something the other day that struck me: “Good lumber doesn’t come with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees.” Hearing that woke me up, in a sense. It’s the battles that make us stronger. Paul was a mighty man of God, strong and fearless. Why? Because he’d fought many battles – and won many battles. I think that thorn in the flesh, or rather his ongoing war with it, helped keep him spiritually strong.

And I think the same thing is true about me. Like Paul’s thorn, the anxiety is an almost ever-present thing. I’m constantly at war with it, fighting and winning most of my battles, and losing a few. It’s intentionally, purposefully, faithfully fighting those battles that helps me grow stronger spiritually.

Knowing that I deal with this, and must DEAL with it rather than whine about or ignore it, keeps me aware of the importance of not letting my guard down, of staying vigilant and being careful to properly tend to both body and spirit.

Do I like waging a constant battle with it? Not on your life. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. What I do appreciate, however, is the way God uses something that originated in the pits of hell to help me become stronger in so many ways.

God’s grace is sufficient.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

No King but King Jesus

I just completed my study of the book of Judges, which ends with some of the saddest words in the Bible: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

The last few chapters illustrate the utter depravity Israel sank into after Joshua died. It’s horrific, and I cannot help but see a parallel.

“No king but King Jesus!” is a phrase associated with the American revolution, a heart cry that made its mark on our nation’s founding documents. Letting God reign made a difference at our founding as it did at Israel’s founding.

In the book of Judges, we see that when God is removed from His rightful position things go south because people are left to do whatever seems right to them. This is where we are in the US today. Moral relativism rules and depravity dominates – and the failure started in the heart of the Christian just as surely as, in the book of Judges, it started in the hearts of the Israelites.

If there is to be any hope for our nation as a whole, it starts with us. We Christians MUST put Jesus back on the throne of our hearts, letting Him rule. Then, and only then, will we be in position to be the light of the world so others can be drawn to God. Then, and only then, can we hope to experience a moral revolution in this nation we love.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Don’t Let the Devil Win

EDIT: This post has already hurt one friend. I don’t want it to hurt more, so let me clarify.

What I say here is ME owning what God is holding ME accountable for. I’m in the full-time ministry. That means I have certain spiritual necessities that are non-negotiable. I failed. I paid. I repented. I’m getting back up.

I am NOT saying that someone who gets COVID gets it because they fail spiritually any more than I’m saying they get it because they fail to wear a mask.

And I’m stopping here. I don’t know if this brain can make it any clearer right now

=====

Long COVID Post shamelessly copied and pasted from my Facebook page.

I’ve been absent because I was in Purgatory. (My Catholic friends, please forgive me, but seriously…)

So here’s the deal.
I use wisdom.
I’ve been actively building my immune system for 11 months.
I compulsively wash my hands anyway.
I naturally socially distance.
I wear a mask when I must.
I have NO idea where I would have picked it up, or from whom, because the only people I came into contact with who were positive had it too long ago.

Nonetheless, my test came back positive and this second go ‘round (Yup, I KNEW this was what I had in March!) has been a doozy. I’m just now entering recovery mode, and I thank God I am. I’m sure the main reason it was so bad is that I was already sick when I got sick, but whatever…

Ok… laughing at myself here. I had a plan when I started typing, but it’s gone. The brain thing…it’s part of the problem. It’s starting to work again, but…

Shoot.

Oh! Yes!

Christians, this message is for you.
We’re in a spiritual battle, and the enemy is using this virus in an attempt to tear us down and tear us apart. He’s all about DIVISION, and I have never seen him be so successful as he has been in recent months. I’ve seen friends, loving Christian friends, turn on each other so badly that I came away with my heart torn. I’ve seen judgement and ridicule and attack and…

But look at me. I’ve actively done it RIGHT on a purely natural level. Yet I got COVID.

However, I have NOT done it totally right on a spiritual level, and frankly I’m thinking that I – and I alone – am responsible for me getting sick.

I have a habit of spending time in the Word daily – except in recent weeks when this and that interfered and I…wasn’t.

I have a daily habit of declaring God’s Word over myself and those I love – except in recent weeks when I kept forgetting to do it.

I have a habit of “praying without ceasing” and legit staying in pretty constant conversation with God – except in recent weeks when… boy, is this humiliating.

I forgot that I am a soldier on the battle field.
I lowered my shield.
I dropped my sword.
I turned my back on the enemy.

And he stabbed me in the back just like he is trained to do.

I am COVID positive, finally starting the road to recovering from some of the worst physical agony I’ve experienced in years, and I have no one to blame but myself.

It didn’t happen because someone else didn’t wear a mask or wash their hands. It happened because this warrior forgot what she was.

Stay alert, my fellow soldiers. Don’t let the devil get a blade in. Don’t let the devil bring division to our ranks. We’re here for a reason and we have a job to do.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Reading Through the Bible

I originally posted this on Facebook two years ago today. When it showed up in my memories, I decided it needs to be shared again. The Bible is IMPORTANT my friends.

Reading through the Bible is powerful, especially reading through it quickly enough that you still remember previous books while reading the current one. Im always in the process of a readthrough, though some have taken me longer than others – this time being one of those.

So I’ve set a goal of finishing my current Bible readthrough by mid September, forcing me to read more every day. Reading so much so fast makes a lot of things more clear, and in this case it has forcefully reminded me of two things I already knew, two vitally important things that we should all bear in mind.

  1. God DESPISES pride. Repeatedly, you see people being called down for their actions, but God forcefully makes it clear on myriad occasions that the root of those evil actions is pride. People often misquote one verse as “pride goeth before the fall.” That’s bad enough, but in reality that portion of the verse reads, “pride goeth before DESTRUCTION.” You can recover from a fall, but destruction? Pride is, literally, the devil’s sin – and he “generously” shares it with us so we can join him in destruction.
  2. It’s all about bringing glory and honor to God’s holy name. MANY times in Scripture, God rescued or promoted or chose to delay punishing His people not because they deserved it, but to protect His reputation. “Hallowed be Thy name,” is not just four words in a model prayer. We truly need to do our best, behave always in a manner that reflects that holiness, that brings glory and honor to Him.

Read your Bible. It’s the most awesome book on the planet.

Read the whole thing, from cover to cover. It will open your eyes like they’ve never been opened, and every time you read it through you’ll grow more than the time before.

Read it from cover to cover as fast as you can at least once. It will revolutionize your walk in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.

I was going to quit, but think about it. If you were to read a novel the way most of us read the Bible, a line here and there, you’d never grasp the whole story. Even if you read a novel the way most read through the Bible, you’d read maybe a page a day. How much of page/day 12 would you still remember on page/day 332? Not much.

But if you read through the Bible like you read through a novel, you REMEMBER, and you start seeing connections you’ve never seen before. It’s legit mind blowing, my friends!

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

One God

Deuteronomy 16 ends with the command to never set up Asherah poles or sacred pillars beside the altar they would build for God.

God knows man. He knows that man will instinctively want multiple gods. It seems strange that He would have to give this command to His chosen people, but they disobeyed it repeatedly.

And Christians disobey it today. We don’t call them gods, but if we elevate them in importance so that we treat them as equal to God, then that’s what they are. We may refuse to admit it, but refusing doesn’t change truth. 😕

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Hello. My Name Is…

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Princess Bride fans recognize this line and love it. In my Bible time this morning, as I was thinking about how lazy most Christians are when it comes to the Sword of the Spirit (Word of God), I remembered it. 

Inigo Montoya was able to avenge his father’s death for one reason. He spent much of his life learning his sword and how best to use it. The line would have meant nothing if all he’d done was wear the sword on his belt. 

Christians, we need to wake up! Our Bibles are not meant to be home decor items or shelf fillers! The Word is a weapon, our only offensive weapon, and learning how to use it effectively is not an option. Why? Because, like it or not, we are at war. 

We ARE at war. We can convince ourselves that we don’t need the Word working in our lives, but we’re deceiving ourselves when we do. The battles aren’t “out there.” They are right here, in our very hearts, homes, and lives. 

We need to do our part so we can confidently declare, “Hello. My name is ________. You think you can destroy me. Prepare to fail.”

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C