Sunday, November 11, 2007

I just returned from Nashville from Writer’s conference on Wed. night and my new assignment with LIFEWAY is about DOUBT and the believer. I sat in a room with four other writers and one great editor. They are amazing. Each of us were required to share our testimonies and then about our various ministries and how we ended up at LIFEWAY. Well… my testimony is hard. Theirs were so simple and pure. Let’s suffice it to say, I just had to simply say there is a season that because I wasn’t discipled that I made poor choices and many were hurt because of it. And because of this time, I am now passionate about discipleship. These are things ya’ll will have never seen or experienced and so they are best left unsaid… Oooo, how the evil one loves to remind us of our past.

Anyhow… I left on Tuesday night beaten down mentally. Doubt began to fly within me. You can’t do this. Who are you to think you can write? Blah blah blah. As I walked into my hotel room I realized… I am doubting the very thing I will study and write about! OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! I began to confess my sins. The Father in HIS sweetness let me sleep peacefully. As I awoke the next morning my Bible study required that I read Acts 9:5-6: "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Clearly the Father kissed me. I realized that anytime I doubt I too am questioning the LORD by saying in my heart “Who are you LORD?” The Father’s answer is so simple: “I am the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do!” See, when I doubt, I persecute the Father! The Son! AND The Holy Spirit! What does HE want of me? To GET UP, GO and trust that HE will tell me what I must do!

So… what is your doubt? Jesus is interceding! The Father is listening! Do not worry over the details! Get up, Go and Listen! He will tell you what YOU must do!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Writing and teaching the Bible allows me the privilege of observing real needs and real pain. I am honored with prayer requests to pray for and I too give prayer requests for others to pray over. It seems that alot of the requests I am receiving of late deal with the mind. So many issues would be answered in our world if we would simply surrender our mind to Christ. This is why scripture tells us to take every thought captive. Recently, as someone I love shared the desire to flee from life I wrote this prayer for this precious one to pray from a sincere heart. As I thought about it I realized it was my prayer years ago as I dealt with major suffering and pain in my life. The Father answered my plea and as I observe so many in scripture and in Christiandom that willingly surrender all I see that HE alone answers any sincere heart that seek Him. In fact, the Bible tells us that HE searches for those that seek Him. I hope you read this prayer and just maybe it will give you the prompting that is needed to get your heart right with God and give Him even the hidden corners of your mind.

Father, There are deep recesses in my brain filled with things I do not know and do not understand. You however, know all things and understand all things. You know why I am the way I am and You say it is good because I am Your creation. Please take every unconscious thought that is hidden within me and every conscious thought that is known to me and cover them with faith in Christ Jesus to heal all completely. Heal my unbelief that I might believe and help me to trust YOU for YOU are trustworthy, honest, faithful and true. I am angry. I am hurt. I am scared. I am fearful and anxious. I want to run away, but You want me to stay. How do I do this LORD? I cannot do it alone! But with YOU I know I can do all things. I bow before YOU now seeking YOUR face and YOUR answers for all my inner deepest needs! COME and fill me up. I give YOU everything in me both the known and unknown. I am waiting for YOU to make YOURSELF known in me. Thank YOU for hearing immediately. Thank YOU for answering instantly. Thank YOU for loving me deeply. I surrender all. IN Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Writing allows me the privilege to hear from those that are impacted by the truths that we journey together in studying. A dear sister in Nebraska sent me a sweet testimony about the week two lesson on Hannah in Redeemed to Praise. I have asked her permission to share it. I know you will be blessed.

Tara, I wanted you to know that I have been especially blessed by Hannah's story this week. I have drawn so much closer to God through her story. She had a deep need that no one else understood. Year after year, she faced the embarrassement of not having a child. Finally, she took it before the Lord and left her burdens there. The Bible says that her countenance was no more sad. I struggled a bit with this because I have given everything over to God (I thought) and sometimes my countenance was sad. I was sad because I might have to go to jail. I learned that Hannah worshipped the Lord before she knew God's answer. She praised him because she knew God had heard her prayer and that He was faithfull. If any word I learned about more this week it is the word "faithful."

God knows what is best for our lives and he is in total control. God knows exactly what I need whether it's jail or not. I now realize, I did not completly give it over to God. God's will and plan could be that I go to jail....BECAUSE IT IS WHATS BEST FOR ME. If staying out of jail is not what I need, then I hope I do go to jail. God is in control. So I will praise him if the judge tells me that I can go home or if the judge tells me I have to go to jail. I think I will be a little nervous, but it's what God wants and he has packed his bags and is going with me.

When Hannah took Samuel and gave him back to the temple I thought I would see tears running down her face and someone would have to rip her away. I mean she prayed and waited so long for this boy and at an early age she has to give him up. I knew she would do it because she promised God, but I couldn't believe her strength. 1 Samuel 2:1-10 is called Hannah's song. She just let go of her precious child and she praises God with a heart that has truly seen the faithfulness of God. I pray that no matter the outcome of September 24, I can truly praise God for His faithfullness. Thank you for helping God to let me see this.

Love, A Nebraska Sister

Monday, July 02, 2007

There are certain people that when they come into your life your life changes forever. Some, we are blessed to be born into their family, others come and go through seasons and a select few, we chose to hold onto for as long as the grasp will hold. My Aunt Wilma is one that I can say my blessing came because I was born into a relationship with her. Do you have someone in your life that changed you? Well, Aunt Wilma’s presence made a difference in my life. I can honestly say my life changed because of her. Her laughter spilled through a house like a bird’s song in the trees. Her face always filled with a smile that lifted the eyes. It never mattered how busy her life may be if I came to town she made sure to come and see me. She reminded me of the value of presence and how powerfully it impacts the heart. Last night, she went home to be with our LORD Jesus. I can say that so easily because I know without a doubt where my Aunt Willy lives now.
My earliest memories of Jesus include my Aunt Willy. She made sure that every summer Tony, Nikki and I joined her and her kids for Vacation Bible School. I honestly do not remember the Bible Stories or the lessons I learned, but I do remember the songs. I still sing them today carrying on the heritage with my children. I remember the laughter and that church is a happy place. I remember the peace. I knew church was a place of freedom and release. I remember running the halls while Aunt Willy either set up or took down for the day. She had no problem letting us play. I remember loving Jesus simply because Aunt Willy did.
As a child, I did not know that this would play a tremendous role in my surrendering my life to Christ later on, but I know Aunt Willy did. She was purposeful and intentional in talking to me about Jesus all my life and even when I chose to make poor choices she always welcomed me with loving open arms. I never felt judged—only loved.
I guess the most important thing we can do in life is to leave a legacy—a heritage that withstands the hardships of life. Aunt Wilma left me a legacy. I am living it out right now to the fullest measure in ministry through Christ. Interestingly, her time in my life in the scheme of things was so short… a visit here, a captured moment there! Yet, those moments never fell empty to the ground with wasted conversations. As I said, she was purposeful. I had the privilege of seeing Aunt Willy at Easter. At one point, I chose to be purposeful with her as I held her hands and told her how much she has meant in my walk with Christ. How wonderful of GOD to allow me to tell her she made a difference in my life! I watched tears swell in her eyes and as I heard her say, “I did that?!” If you knew her you would know that her voice rose with a lilt. I can hear her now!
Isn’t it amazing how when people are serving so wholeheartedly in a holy task they are so unaware of what they have done in and through Christ! I am just one testimony of countless thousands I am sure, but now Aunt Wilma is looking into Jesus’ eyes as He unfolds before her a lifetime of holy moments that she had no clue about. I can hear her saying… “I did that?!” As Jesus answers, “Yes, my child, well done!”

Aunt Willy… I love you! Thank You so much for singing to me…

Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong; they are weak, but He is strong!
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so!

Aunt Wilma told me. Who told You? Now, Who are you going to tell?
Tara Rye (Randy Branham’s daughter)
June 29, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I once read that in Israel travelers kept a camel they called the committed camel that followed behind their caravan. They packed the saddles so uniquely that it stacked up high upon the camels back. Amazingly, they could literally roll the packed saddle off the camel if needed. Camels carrying heavy loads over long distances that got too tired to continue on were known to buckle at the knees and lay down. This stopped the entire caravan! Imagine leaving your supplies and precious camel behind! When this occurred they brought forward the committed camel and they rolled over the heavy load onto this fresh rested camel! Once the load was lifted the tired camel would rise up and begin walking again allowing the entire envoy to carry on in their journey!

Have you ever felt so loaded that you could not continue in carrying your load? Have you ever felt like the caravan surrounding you is leaving you behind because you are too tired to carry the load you bear? What would you say if I told you that you too have a committed camel in your life? King David understood this concept of rolling over onto God that which burdened him.

In fact, in Psalm 37:5, David suggests to us that if we commit our way to God—literally roll over onto God that heavy saddle we are carrying upon our backs that God will carry it. The hard part for me is that means I must give God my reputation, my journey, and my settled course in life.

Interestingly, this is not a one time event. Just as the camels pack on their back will change depending on the length of the journey or the purpose the burden will alter and the weight change. Committing to God and rolling over onto Him means that I must do this daily and sometimes moment by moment. We must ask ourselves daily, “Have I rolled it over to the committed camel?” Sometimes that is easier said than done!

Think about this for a moment… If I am committing my way to God and allowing Him to carry the load then He must be pleased to carry it. Check out what David later says in Psalm 37:23, “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

We must ask ourselves, “Can I walk my journey without stumbling when I carry a heavy load?” I don’t know about you, but I sure can’t! God promises that when He delights in our way then He alone makes our steps firm! In fact, we might still stumble, but He will not let us fall!

I am going to ask you a personal question I ask myself often. Have you truly rolled over your load onto the committed camel? This is simply done through soul talk! Take a moment to visualize if you must you rolling it over onto the Father! Tell Him what is burdening you. Maybe today, you are overwhelmed like I was as I prepared this for a speaking engagement! You know what I had to do? I rolled over! It is so worth it!

Challenge: Our challenge is to not to carry the load!

I like how the Message Bible translation states it.

Open up before GOD, keep nothing back; he'll do whatever needs to be done.
Psalm 37:5/The Message

Thursday, May 03, 2007

God is teaching me many things about praise and one is that it does not come so easily to my lips! Requests are so easy… praise requires work on my part. I am finding my prayer time is filling with more visual prayers as I praise GOD over situations. This is a new lesson for me all together. I must give you one that involved me. The last week of Ladies Bible Study I felt like I could not reach heaven with my prayers. Ever been there? The actual visual that I had was of a child holding a plastic cup over me like he would a bug to suffocate it! I just keep buzzing up and down hitting the clear plastic cover! Needless to say, I spent three days confessing, sitting, waiting, and trying to write… NOTHING! All I had was a scripture outline and handout for them to fill in the blanks, but none of the pretty stuff that pulls it all together. I kept beseeching GOD and again nothing. One day before I was to teach I had a visual come to me through a flower in my yard. We had placed a huge boulder beside our sidewalk along our flower bed last year. We completely forgot that we had tulip bulbs waiting to bloom lying dormant in the earth. As I set out to walk, hoping that spending time praising GOD out doors would lift this feeling, I saw my lesson! This tulip knew it needed the sun. So it grew up under the boulder to reach around it and then bend up higher until it rested on top of the boulder to catch the sun perfectly. It opened its bloom up to receive maximum rays from the sun. I thought “THAT IS ME!” No matter what boulder is placed on me I will do whatever it takes to get to the Son! I called a friend and asked her to pray for me for I knew now that I was dealing with oppression not sin. It was as if the evil one did not want the lesson taught! I taught the last lesson and release immediately came! What about you? Do you have any boulders in your life right now? Do you feel like you have a plastic cup on top of you preventing you from getting fresh air? Are you giving up? DON’T! Do whatever it takes to get to the SON! If you do… YOUR bloom will shine in HIS light for HIS Glory!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Upon returning from a family trip I walked into our family room to find Mikayla wrapped up in an old yellow quilt my Dad & Step Mom Kay gave us to protect Mikayla’s guitar while we drove home across several states. The look on Mikayla’s face said it all. Her eyes were closed tight shutting off tears beckoning to cascade down her face while her hands squeezed the edges of the quilt around her body tightly enclosing her in a blanket of remembrance.
“Honey, are you wrapped up in that old blanket because it reminds you of Grandma and Grandpa?”
“Let me tell you a little more about this quilt. When I was a little girl and I visited Grandpa and Grandma. This was Aunt Nikki’s quilt. I have a great memories stored under this yellow and orange floral print quilt! Aunt Nikki and I used to talk and giggle all night or at least until Grandpa and Grandma would yell out, ‘GIRLS GO TO SLEEP!”
Mikayla and I sat for a moment basking in the gift of memory. Our capacity to remember is a gift. Anyone who has a loved one with Alzheimer’s will agree wholeheartedly with this truth. Remembrance plays a very important role in our walk with Christ. I have been reflecting upon the importance that I must weave a quilt threaded with the cord of remembrance in my life so that my worship may be complete.
What about you? How has remembering loved ones comforted you? How has remembering spiritual stepping stones strengthened you? Have you found remembering to be a gift to wrap up in like a warm quilt?
Excerpt: Embracing His Vision, Week 11

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I love to learn a new truth! I especially love to learn a new truth that applies to the word of God and gives me new insight as I grow in Christ. This morning as I read through 1 Timothy Chapter 2, I stopped on verse 8. It says that men are to lift up their hands in worship without anger or dispute. Shortly, after this it gives a woman's mode of worship expected at that time as well. But as I thought about men and their need to lift up their hands without anger or dispute I wondered why? Why not women? Paul did not have to tell us (women) to lift our hands in worship. Why? Demonstrative behavior typically comes easily for the ladies... not as easily for men!? I wonder... our issue with worship centered upon our adornment-- how shallow is that! But how true for even today! Men still allow anger and dispute within their hearts to stop them from worshiping and women still focus upon their outward appearances more than we should. Then I stumbled across a thought in the Qwest Study Bible that said the reason the hands were lifted centered upon two words: Dependence and trust and then culiminated in one truth... expectancy. The lifting of the hands demonstrated physically to the Father that trust is in Him not the individual! I depend on You-- not me! I expect YOU to answer and my hands are lifted to receive! How powerful is that!

It so ministered to me. See... I am in the process of rewriting one of my Bible Studies titled Redeemed to Praise. I have made a commitment to GOD to fast from requests for a season. So... everytime I begin a natural flow of requests to God I will pause and say a praise instead! Try it! I have done this for a day at a time on different days that I felt that my praise wained, but I have never done it for an undetermined amount of time. I will do this until the rewrite is complete so that my every thought is focused on praise. I am lifting my hands up to GOD trusting HIM! I am dependent upon HIM! I wait with expectancy for HIM to bring about the right answers! His answer is always better anyways! How about you? Are you willing to take my praise challenge? It isn't as easy as you think. Especially, if you prayed and talked to God for years. You will be amazed at how many requests you make in a day. If you decide to do this let me know. I want to keep up with how you are doing too! My husband said, "You need to pray for Him to help you write and teach." I said, "I have done this for years! He knows my heart in this and has heard my prayers. Now I will spend time praising HIM for all the answers HE is sending my way." We lift our Holy hands up! We learn to trust YOU! AMEN!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Every Monday morning I make the drive across town to the Open Door Mission to teach Bible Study to the ladies in the program. This morning as I entered the secured room that I teach in at the Lydia House my name was called over the loud speaker because I had a guest. Everyone’s ears perked up because volunteers very seldom have guests. I went out wondering who would come to find me here! To my delight a lady waited at the desk to enter the secured room. She did not live at the ODM, but heard about the program and one of the staff told her I was the teacher. She had me paged so she could get in the class. We greeted each other and shared simple pleasantries as I worked hard to remember her name. As we entered our area two ladies were having an animated discussion that was not pleasant for any of us in the room. My morning did not start off with women coming delighted to hear the word, but with struggles among women of God. As I knelt to pray I knew God had something special for us this day.

As I taught, I observed my new friend listening intently to the lesson about the costs of following Jesus. As I shared there are two ways to follow: the path or the person and how we cannot choose one. We must know the person to walk the path and we can’t walk the path without the person. I felt conviction move across the room. A “stillness” covered us. I knew someone needed the LORD, so as I ended my lesson I gave opportunity for anyone to come forward that might need to talk to me further about Jesus. I saw her waiting until all the others left and then slowly she approached me and said, “You know I have seen Him! Most don’t believe me when I say it, but I have seen Him!” I asked her to tell me about it. Slowly, she shared with me that He came to her house on the day her 11 year old daughter died in her arms. My heart stopped. I am begging God for compassion this year. His compassion welled up in me and I fell in love with my new friend.

As I listened to her talk I realized that she knew of HIM, but did not know HIM! So I asked, “If you were to die today, do you know you if you would go to heaven?”

“I don’t know!” she said.

“Would you like to have confidence of this?”

As tears slipped from her eyes she cried, “Yes!” A sweet sister handed me a tract to read through with her. We never finished the tract she knew what she needed, so we prayed.

Some moments are so Holy… this was a Holy moment. They are hard to explain or describe. I watched a sister go from living in the temporal to walking in the freedom of the Spiritual with Jesus Christ. As she bowed her head and prayed to receive Christ as her Savior I paused to reflect upon the marvelous ways God moves!

By the way… I will never forget her name! Please pray for my new sister in Christ! Out of respect to her I have withheld her name!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pause... What does the word pause mean to you? Do you pause often or not at all? What might you pause for traffic, emails, text messaging or less stressful things like laughter, tears, children playing, flowers, snow, bees buzzing...? I love a good pause especially when it makes me feel deeply about someone or something. A friend sent me a great verse this week telling me she prayed this verse over my ministry. I paused...

5 God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.

I inhaled and exhaled the wonder of God's voice. He is marvelous. Truly something worthy of pausing for. I read it over and over and then my eyes glanced to the next few verses.

6 He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
7 So that all men he has made may know his work,
he stops every man from his labor. Job 37-5-7

This time I laughed! Why? I sit in a city that is snowed in by a blizzard. God said, "Snow!" And it fell on the earth! My children awoke rejoicing, my animals celebrated by sleeping, I paused and spent long hours in the word of God. We stopped! GOD in His marvelous ways knew we needed to pause to notice Him! As I said, I love a good pause! Do you?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Have you ever noticed that there are risks all around you? Every day we have choices to make that require some kind of risk on our part. About two years ago, my sweet Greg noticed a blind lady walking outside barely bundled up in the negative degree temperature on a very blistery cold day. He immediately pulled our car around through the medium to go to her. Greg asked me to get out of the car so she would not be uncomfortable with it being a man and ask her if we could give her a lift home. She didn’t even have hose on under her light weight dress! She graciously accepted our offer to take her home. I guided her to the car as I described that it was a van and that she would have to take a major step up to get in. We then listened to her directions on how to get home. She entrusted her care to us freely because the bitter cold literally felt like it sliced the skin that day. We were humbled by the risk she took in allowing us to help her and she was delighted by the risk we took in stopping to offer help.
On another day as my children and I drove to a local ice skating rink, we saw another blind person walking up a very long stretch of road right after we commented on the zero degree mark on the bank marquee. Following in my husband’s footsteps, I also turned around to go and see if I could take the gentleman home. I told the children to stay put in the car and I ran up the sidewalk toward him yelling, “Sir, can I give you a ride?” I kept yelling, but he never responded. I wondered if the wind kept him from hearing me, but I did not want to go up and touch him for fear that I would scare him. So I yelled louder. Finally, when I was about one foot behind him he hesitated and turned. So I spoke directly to him. “Can I give you a ride somewhere?” He turned back and I thought, did he not hear me? I know he did not see me, but can he not hear? I YELLED LOUDER! He turned and said, “I can tell you are talking. I am also deaf. I can’t understand you. It is okay. I am fine.” He repeated it twice and then turned again and began to walk away. I felt so frustrated because he knew I was there. His body sensed it, but he could not connect with me. Even though his words were clear his sight and hearing were dulled. He wasn’t able to let me help him. The risk was too great because there were too many unknown factors for him to trust me with.
I left him alone to face the cold by himself. I hurt inside because I had everything at my finger tips to make his journey so much more pleasant, but he did not want to receive it because the trust factor was too great. This is how we can get with God. We can sense that he is there, but we are too dull in our senses to really see Him or hear Him. We are not willing or able to let Him work in our lives because we see the risk as too great. Faith let’s go of all fears and trusts the guide for the journey.
Excerpt from: Embracing His Vision Abandoning Mine, page 18.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Two quotes have greatly impacted my mind this week... listen to these:

"A century as slaves made them think like slaves." David Guzik (Bible Commentator)He is refering to the Israelites as the walked in the promised land.

"And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence." Mark 16:20/The Message

After reading both of these early in the morning, my mind began to think of how God's chosen people can still think like slaves and not live as if they have the Master working right along with them validating the Message with indisputable evidence. Since, the Bible tells us that God does not play favorites, we can safely assume that if Jesus walked along working with the disciples He will do the same with us! Isn't that awesome! Instead of serving with the thought process of a slave, we need to be serving with the thought process of someone who has the Master beside them. He alone validates the message we give--that is His job! Our job-- to not live like a slave to our past! No wonder we are told to walk in the newness of the life He gives!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

“Treating people like a fast-food meal over which they're too busy to pray?” Psalm 14:4/The Message

Father, You are fine dining! Everything about You signifies a seven course meal with the finest of China! There are no paper plates or plastic wear at Your table! Thank you! As I read this verse LORD, I realize that I easily fall into the trap of treating others like a fast food meal! OUCH! Forgive me LORD! Cleanse me of this unrighteousness! Fine dining at Your banqueting table requires for me to slow down, taste, smell, savor, and relax. I want this in my walk with others LORD! Help me to treat those around me as if they are a seven course meal at Your banqueting table! Help me to dine with them where they are and savor them in You! Help me to hold them tenderly like fine china and not flippantly like fast meal paper wrap ready to toss in the heap. Do this for Your Glory and Name sake in me and through me! Even as I pray this I realize that I will walk away full! Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!