Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lemonade, Butterflies and Birds

Lemonade is refreshing on a hot day.

I was sitting outside under a tree finishing listening to a message by Pastor Ed Donnely. Emma had made fresh homemade lemonade. She brought it out to me in a glass with ice and it was very good and very refreshing. As I sat there drinking the lemonade, sitting under the shade of a tree in Africa, I was thinking on how good God is in giving us refreshments for our souls.

I had just finished listening to a message that was just that. Lemonade for my heart and soul.
I have been feeling weary and worn out and just losing perspective and I just finished drinking in a glass of refreshing lemonade. I have been encouraged and given grace to continue on… Just when I feel like I am tanking.

I stayed home from church with Caleb and Jackson and Emma. Emma had a sore throat, but Caleb has been sick with a fever on and off for a few days. Often I find the Lord gives refreshment like that to me when I am needing it most and I end up listening to something online.

I tried several times to download a message a friend preached back home on caring for the orphans and needy, but our internet is not fast enough to do that. (I’ll keep trying Rick). Then I tried to find and download messages from the Adopted for Life conference that was this weekend in Louisville. ( In our own backyard, We would have really liked to be there). Not able to get those either. Then I got James’s MP3 player and he had recommended some messages by Edward Donlley, a pastor in Ireland. They were from Numbers, and he said they were really good. So I scanned through the titles and picked one. (I was not drawn to the idea of a sermon from the book of Numbers, but the Lord humbled me and showed me the Holy Spirit will speak to us from ALL of the scriptures. What a great blessing to me.)
Here is the link for those of you interested. )

well I tried to put the link look up pastor Edward Donlley and the title is "Separated to the Lord" from 2008 I belive)

He spoke about being separated unto the Lord. And how many times the Lord will call us to deny good and legitimate pleasures to glorify Him even more.

I listened to it again this evening and took extensive notes…
Here are some of the highlights, all quoting Pastor Donlley now.


The Nazarites took a voluntary vow. You didn’t have to. Each individual’s choice, to take on the vow.
Giving up for a time, legitimate joys because of devotion to God. Pleasurable things that they could enjoy in a good conscience. There are times that in the service of God we have to give up these things.

(As he spoke, the week flashed before me. No hot water. A pleasurable thing , but compared to service to God, what is hot water?)

The Nazarite vow was external, temporary, it didn’t change people’s hearts, even a godly Nazarite like Samuel. Even he was not able to keep the people faithful to God. It just didn’t really work.

We are just the same as the Israelites, we are just as weak and sinful as they are. It doesn’t change us. It doesn’t give us new hearts, it doesn’t deal with our sins. We need something better. Someone better. A perfect Nazarite. A powerful Nazarite who will not only show us by His ways, but save us… not only teach us but transform us. Illustrate holiness but be holiness itself and the Giver of holiness.

Jesus Christ was the ultimate Nazarite, the perfect Nazarite. Not outwardly of course, he almost seems to have gone out of his way and shows that the vows are fulfilled and ended. Far from abstaining from wine, he turned water into wine. Far from staying away from uncleanness and dead bodies, he touched lepers and dead bodies and brought them back to life. So in a sense he wasn’t a Nazarite but in the fullest, real, truest sense he was God’s Nazarite. God’s separated man.

Giving up legitimate joys for the sake of Gods service. Did anyone ever do that like the Lord Jesus?
All the joys of heaven were His by right. He owned them he was his Father’s son, living in the glory and bliss of eternal light with God his father and he gave it up and laid it aside.

Fellowship with his father. He gave it up. He surrendered that joy and went into the darkness and cried my god my god why have you forsaken. It was not wine he gave up, it was heaven. Never was there a life more completely handed over to his Fathers control than that of Jesus.

It is because we are in him that we are a separated people, not our own efforts. We are a separated holy people in Christ our Nazarite. What a challenge it is to us…

Are we in practice living separated lives?
What legitimate joys are you giving up for God?
Pleasures, possessions? Things you could have, no sin in having, entitled to have, God wouldn’t find fault in you having them.
A Voluntary thing, anything like that you are giving up for God or will give up for God’s service.

If we say, “no I can’t think of anything. I don’t see anything. I have a right to these things”, then surely there is something wrong. Are we becoming soft and self- indulgent? Are we losing something previous generations had of sacrifice and doing without for the sake of God?
Do you give till it hurts?

Can you think of anything in your life that you say you have done without? That you have given over to God? What about control? Any areas that you have not given over to God? It is an illusion, we don’t control our lives. We don’t control whether we are going to live another minute on earth?

Surely this passage speaks to us. As the Israelites were challenged when they saw the Nazarites. How much more should we be challenged by our Nazarite Jesus. How much he gave up? How much he was under his Father’s control?

The Nazarite knew it was only for a short time and then the vow would be over. And it would be over with a covenant meal. That’s how it ends with part of the offering being returned to him.
Is that a picture for us?

We are called to deny ourselves for a time. To suffer loss for a time, do without for a time. Any loss for God at most is only temporary. And at the end there is a glorious feast, a wedding.
Not because our lives have been offered up but because His has. You will not regret the cost. The greater our present sacrifice the greater our future joy!

May we give it up gladly if it helps us to love and serve Him more.


How this spoke to me, as even this week we have had struggles and are lacking the things that are fine to have.

Fresh squeezed lemonade for my own soul! Maybe for yours as well?

After I drank my lemonade I listened to a few songs by Andrew Peterson and those ministered to me as well.
Then I walked around the house into the backyard and I saw a couple butterflies and a few birds today.

I am sure they have been here, the last 5 weeks that I have been here in Zambia. But I saw them today! Amazing! How we cannot see things that are here all the time, and then one day we see them. May our eyes be opened even more to all that is around us.

Here are the lyrics to one of his songs.

Let Me Sing
I wanna open up my eyes
And see a more beautiful world
Let the hand of God Almighty
Sweep his colors through my life
I wanna hold tight to the laughter
And ride it like a child
On the winds that billow joyful
Through the sky

I wanna open up my heart
But you know, sometimes it's hard to find
Because I've buried it beneath the selfishness
That I've hidden behind
I wanna stand my ground unshaken
But I wanna tremble when I kneel
And let my song remain unbroken
Through the tears

So let me sing for the love
Let me love for the lost
Let me lose all I have
For what I found on the cross
Let me trust you with my life
Let me live to give you praise
Lord, let me praise you
For the grace by which I'm saved
Lord, let me sing

I wanna open up Your word
And let the thirsty enter in
So they can drink deep of the water
You have given to them
I want to run the race with vigor
I want to fight the fight with strength
And let my song rise from a whisper
To a scream

I wanna open up my arms
And embrace that old rugged cross
I wanna take pride in the reason
And be humbled by the cause
And when this lisping, stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing your praise
I'll sing your praise

So let me sing for the love
Let me love for the lost
Let me lose all I have
For what I found on the cross
Let me trust you with my life
Let me live to give you praise
Lord, let me praise you
For the grace by which I'm saved
Lord, let me sing

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