Monthly Archives: December 2014


Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.  John 3:36

John 3 offers such a contrast.  On one hand we see a towering majestic love for mankind that offers eternal life to those who believe.

On the other hand, we see wrath and condemnation for those who do not believe.  Men love darkness.  Their deeds are evil.

It is a scary thing to think that the wrath of God remains, literally “abides,” for those who do not believe.  It infers that the wrath of God is there to stay, and will continue to be there for all time.

And the same Greek word for remain is used in John 15:  “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.”  John goes on to illustrate what remaining in Christ looks like: “I am the vine and you are the branches.”  We can be integrally connected to God, close to Him.

God offers us a chance to change our state forever, from being in the wrath, to being in His arms, enveloped in His love.

And we need this perspective.  We need this comfort.  This abiding is what will get us through when life gets hard.

In the book “Yawning at Tigers,” the author, Drew Dyck, talks about the late Romanian minister Richard Wurmbrand, who endured 14 years of torture and imprisonment under a communist regime.  He said that it wasn’t Bible verses that helped him through this time.  “When you  pass through suffering you realize that it was never meant by God that Psalm 23 should strengthen you.  It is the Lord who can strengthen you.”

Dyck also relates how Mama Maggie, an older woman who spent life giving to others in the mission field, dealt with her struggles: “In the fire you are either burned or become pure.  God’s love is fire.  It consumes or purifies.  Everyone who carries the fragrance of eternity has to experience the dark valley of death.”

We WILL suffer, and it will change us, for good or ill.  It can put us in closer contact with God.  It can refine us.  Or it can shipwreck our faith.

Note what happened after Jesus was tempted in the desert:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.  (Luke 4:14)  Jesus found spiritual strength through his trials.

In the book “Triumphs of Experience,” George Vallant notes that men who scored highest on the measurements of “warm relationships”  earned significantly more at their workplace.  Men who had warm relationships with their mothers had a better sense of well being in life.  Those who had positive childhood memories had a lifelong source of strength.

I believe that Jesus’ relationship with God helped sustain him in his trials.  Having a warm relationship with our God, and a memory bank of all He has done for us, can sustain us as well.

We abide in Christ, and He abides in us.

Yesterday afternoon I was tired.  I ran errands and the efforts seemed empty.  I thought I would swing by the bookstore and try to pick up a copy of “One Thousand Gifts” as a belated Christmas present for my friend.  I looked all over the Christian section and couldn’t find a copy.  I left feeling more empty.

Then I remembered yesterday’s blog about redeeming the time.  It was like the Spirit energized me, and prompted me to go back in the store and ask for help locating the book.  I did, and the store clerk found one last copy sitting on the shelf!

Later, I looked at the chili I was cooking for dinner, and saw the layers of red tomatoes and chopped green peppers.  It was made with grass fed Georgia beef I’d bought at half price that very day.  It was a find!  In fact I bought several packages of the meat on sale.  I realized I had an abundance.

And then as I was with my friends, we prayed and thanked God for how blessed we all were to have such good friends to share our lives with.

God is continually blessing me.  Through trials, or even the most normal of days, I have an unending source of strength.

It is up to me to believe, draw upon the strength, hold fast, be refined.  It is up to me to abide.

In closing, here is one more verse that uses the Greek word for abide:   “Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love…” I Cor 13:13

It is sobering to think that God’s wrath can remain.  It is comforting to know what is good will last even more.  Evil cannot defeat it.  The gates of Hades cannot overcome it.

In abiding, I will be carried along on the current into eternity with God and His victorious good.



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Redeeming Time

(Video of my family, joyful in the moment.)

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Eph 5:15-16

Redeeming the time.

This has also been translated, “make the most of every opportunity.”

Each moment contains an opportunity – an opportunity to be righteous, to serve, to believe, to love, to use our gifts.

That opportunity is lost, unless we redeem it.

But each moment also contains meaning.  Each time we slow down and thank God, we proclaim the truth: He is there!  Each seemingly empty moment is revealed to have beauty and value.

As Ann Voscamp wrote in One Thousand Gifts, “I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and SEE God.”

Time is redeemed.

Voscamp realized, “This day is not a sieve, losing time.  With each passing minute, each passing year, there’s this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time.”

Each time we redeem a moment, it is gained. It becomes solid.  It resonates into the future.

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Each time we redeem a moment we steal it from Satan. We negate his lie that life is meaningless.

We declare the reality that the goodness of God all around us, and He gives to us ceaselessly, abundantly.   We receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28)

We maintain that even our struggles have purpose: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” II Cor 4:17

Day by day, the worldly veil fades away, and our spiritual self becomes manifest.

Redeeming the time.

Overflowing with thanksgiving. Savoring experience. Being wholly present.

Defining each moment as a parcel of God, full  with meaning and opportunity.

Taking hold of the life that is truly life.

(A serendipity — we came across this moving version of “By Our Love.”  Ken translated it into beautiful guitar chords that we all sang at house church yesterday.  So wonderful. )

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That God’s Soul is Well Pleased


Ken and I just celebrated our 34th anniversary.  We went and saw “The Hobbit” in the new Big 3D theater.   We went and picked out together a nice pair of earrings for an anniversary gift.  We had a nice dinner out.

I couldn’t be more thankful for my husband, and his wonderful character, and the wonderful other half of me that he is.

But our marriage wasn’t always like that.  The first 15 years or so were extremely challenging.  If I just went by how things felt, I would have given up, because it didn’t feel like we were on the same sheet of music.  It didn’t feel like there was any hope for us to have a good future.  But I didn’t believe in divorce, and I persevered, and my marriage has now turned into one that is immeasurably more wonderful than I could have asked or imagined.

From that I learned that just because something feels like it going wrong, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work out.  I learned the very important principle of trust and perseverance.  I’ve used that principle often over the years.  The church seemed to fall apart.  My family seemed to fall apart.  But as I wrestled with those situations, I came back to trusting and perseverance, and things worked out in the end.

Now I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten this during the past year.  I’ve sinned by not trusting enough when things don’t FEEL right.

I was cut to the heart when I read this passage from I Cor. 10 — “God was not pleased with most of them (our ancestors); their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”

Why was God not pleased?  I Corinthians goes on to explain through admonition —

We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.”

They grumbled.  In the past six months, when things didn’t go as I thought they should, when things didn’t feel right, I grumbled in my heart.  It wasn’t that some of my complaints weren’t legitimate, my sin was that I didn’t deeply TRUST that God was still working.

I was even more convicted when I read in Numbers 16 one of the situations in which the Israelites complained.  They said to Moses concerning him and Aaron,  “Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” 

They questioned the leadership.

Moses responded, “you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together.

They thought they should be leading, instead of Moses and Aaron.

Now I am not saying we need to blindly follow our leaders, even if they do what is wrong.  But I am saying that we make it more about God, and less about our opinions.  We could be fighting God and what He is trying to do, just as the Israelites were.

I would hate for it to be said about me, “God was not pleased with her,” because I did not meet my challenges with a deep trust.  The Bible even goes so far to say, “If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” Heb 10:38

By my faith, I can bring pleasure or displeasure to the very soul of God.

Let me quote something that Jack Frederick said as he defined what a disciple is, “Most of all being a disciple of Jesus is about relationship; that you know him and want to grow closer to him all your life, that you will make all your decisions based on pleasing him.”

It hits home that I need to be much more focused on pleasing God.

It’s Christmas, and we think about the little infant Jesus.  I realized that if I were in charge, I would have sent baby Jesus to a powerful, accomplished family.  They would have so much respect.  They would be able to influence others with the good news.

mary 3

It’s a good thing that God doesn’t do what I FEEL would be the best solution.  God knew that Jesus had to come as an ordinary person, to an ordinary person.  Because if he came to someone with any kind of worldly accomplishment, people would be tempted to value that.  They would see that as the ideal.  But instead Jesus came to an ordinary young girl, who would marry an ordinary working class man.  And from that day on, people have had to deal with the implications of having a humble savior.  Confronted with the circumstances of the birth of Jesus, we have to throw away our pride and esteem for worldly things.

The one thing that Mary did have was FAITH, a deep trust of what God was doing, even when it seemed like things were going wrong, even when she was pregnant out of wedlock.

The one thing that saved my marriage was faith, trusting and sticking to God.

Whatever I do in the new year, let it be in faith.  Even if it is only a single hesitant step, may it be like walking on the water, hand in hand with Christ.

Let me reflect gratitude, because gratitude is a profound expression of trust.

And may God, in His very soul, be well pleased.

“Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”  John 1:50










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Fear of the “Hard Man”

As I get ready to start a new year, I keep wondering if I should try and find part time work.  It would be great to use my talents to contribute towards an achievement.

But I worry about the chaos this would cause in my life.  Things wouldn’t be as neat and tidy.  I have a very civilized life where I have time for my ministry, friends and family.  The house, the bills, the errands — all is taken care of.  I can cook healthy meals.  And so on.

As Ken and I listened to the audio Bible while we were on our way to Christmas vacation, I listened to the parable of the talents in Luke.  I was really convicted by the way the servant who had been given one talent defended himself when he hid the talent and didn’t try to increase it.

I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.

He was afraid.

Fear taints our decisions about what action to take.

Whatever I decide, I can’t let fear govern my decision.  I do need to be rational, and weigh the outcomes.  But I also need to remember that God will be with me, helping me, setting me up to win!!   I need to make choices for my future based on faith.

And then I looked at the reason the one talent servant was afraid.  He thought the master was a hard man, who took things that didn’t belong to him.

He didn’t believe the master was good.

And it struck me how much we also don’t really believe that God is good.  When it comes down to it, and making a decision with our lives, we don’t believe He’s going to bless us personally — maybe someone else, but not us.  We’re scared things won’t work out.

I always got tripped up on this parable before because it sounds like the master admits he is a hard man —

He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

But the master never agrees that these words describe him.  He just asserts that if he is a man to be feared, then at least the servant should have done something.  Instead the servant let his fears rule him.

We have to start seeing God as good, and not as the hard man.  And if our faith in this is weak, then at least our fear of God should motivate us to push ourselves to live righteously, instead of living a tame, comfortable, retreating life.

God LOVES faith. There are so many stories — David and Goliath, Jonathan and his armor bearer, Peter walking on water, the centurion.

God does NOT like it when we allow our fear to paralyze us:  but if he withdraw himself, he shall not please my soul.”  Heb 10:38

It’s not so much making the right choice with my life, as it is stepping out each day with confidence and faith, even boldness, knowing that God is good.  I can’t hoard my life.  I have been given much.  Yes, my actions may cause challenges.  I may make mistakes.  But God will be with me, helping me, and working for good.

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  I Tim 1:7

…since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  II Cor 3:12


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Awake on Christmas Eve

Childhood Christmas

Too excited for sleep

Watching the night sky through the window by my bed

Trying to glimpse the twinkle of sleigh lights

Every sound magnified, every moment an hour

Dozing and on and off dreaming of Christmas morning

Finally enough time passes. My brother and I sneak down and get our stockings

Tiptoeing through the shadows

Giggling, hearts beating loud, when we bump and make a noise

Bringing the stockings back to our room

Pouring them out on our bed, immeasurable riches of candy and trinkets.


Other Christmases visiting family

Driving through a night so dark and bright with stars it embodies Christmas

Coming to a porch light on the prairie

Loved ones spilling out the door, enveloping us with hugs


Nights of Christmas caroling

Arm in arm in the frozen air

Hearts bursting with togetherness

Then gathering around the piano

Singing song after song while my mother played

Eating cookies, mounds of chocolate, nuts and marshmallows, indescribably good

Never wanting the moment to stop, just one more carol.


Then married, still not sleeping on Christmas Eve.

Still getting a stocking

Anticipation still keeping me awake.

At the in-laws’, walking through the neighborhood in the balmy Florida night to see the lights

Santa driving around in a golf cart, bringing candy for the children

Talking late by the fire, drinking boiled custard

It’s still magical.


Children come

And after we put them to bed in their Christmas pajamas,

Leaving cookies for Santa

My mother and I stay up late

Assembling toys and stuffing stockings

There’s a special feeling in the air we share


And then she’s gone

And it’s become work

Baking, shopping, wrapping, attending parties and programs

Trying to recreate the magic for my children

Finding that it can never be made, only experienced

In blissful unexpected moments

I fall asleep on the Eve more easily now.


The children grow up and leave

For years, I can’t bring myself to get out the decorations

But today, I put out the little houses that were my mother-in-law’s

Hope shining from their windows as I light them

I arrange the memory laden things throughout the house

The elves wink at me as they’re frozen in play

The mantle sparkles

The figures from Rudolph look like they might come alive when we go to bed

And the child in me awakes

The magic lives on

And maybe this year on Christmas Eve

I won’t be able to sleep.




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The Lord is My Helper

Some of the gifts to deliver.

Some of the gifts to deliver.

Yesterday was such a crazy day.  I woke up at 5:30 and ran through the cool grey of dawn, watching pink smears of clouds illuminate  the winter sky.  I prayed as I ran, then came back and wrote a poem entitled, “Peace.”

What irony, because almost as soon as I wrote it, my peace was disrupted.  I was supposed to deliver Christmas presents to an underprivileged family in Tuskegee almost thirty minutes away, and part of the delivery was bikes.  I had switched cars with my husband so I could load the bikes in his hatchback.  Then I got busy, and forgot to move the rest of the presents from my car to his car.  He drove off to work in Columbus, 45 minutes away in the other direction.  The presents were gone.

When I realized this I felt terrible.  It stinks growing older and more forgetful!  I had carefully made an appointment with several people involved in the gift drop-off, and I hated to move the appointment.  So I decided to deliver the bikes anyway, and set up another time to get the rest of the presents there.

As I drove my husband’s beat up old rattling Hyundai Accent, I prayed to God, “How can I feel better when I mess up?”  In time, it came to me that God can make all things better.  He can take what goes wrong, and work it for good.

And that is what happened.  When I delivered the bikes, it turned out that one was too small.  I would have to take it back and get a larger one.  Another trip would need to be made anyway.  And then one of the young men in our Tuskegee ministry who was going to help me with the delivery volunteered to take the presents to the family later this week!  And then when I went to Walmart to exchange the bike, I ran into a young woman I had shared my faith with when I bought the bikes, and she gave me her phone number, and I connected her with a sister who lives near her!

Here are some Biblical examples of God working in situations that seem like things go wrong —

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?  You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result–the survival of many people.”  Genesis 50:19-20

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”  Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”  . . . He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).  And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.”  Mark 5

Lazarus now lay sick. . . So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4

1.  NO FEAR – In reading these examples, it struck me how much fear was involved when things went wrong.  That has been my battle lately, to unclench the tight fist of fear in my heart, to acknowledge it and deal with it.  I have been repeating over and over to myself the words of Ps 45, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way…”

Even in trouble, even in situations when we mess up, we do not need to fear.  God can ALWAYS help.

However, when we do make mistakes, we do need to take ownership of them.  Fear is counterproductive.  It makes us close in on ourselves, try to hide, instead of opening up and facing what we have done. We need to work it out through our relationship with God.  “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight..”  Ps 51:3-4

2. FOR GOD’S GLORY – in each of these situations, God intended to be glorified.  God works things out not just because He cares about us (which he does — he wept as Mary wept), but because that is who He is.  God is always working good amazing purposes.  This was true with story of Joseph, and how the nation of Israel would survive and be built in Egypt.  It is true with the story of Lazarus, which caused many to have faith, and allowed some of the most famous teachings of Jesus to come forth —

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”  John 11:25-26

The raising of Lazarus was also pivotal in bringing about the persecution and death of Jesus, which in turn opened the way to his resurrection.  It furthered God’s plan

3.  GOD HEARS – Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.”  John 11:41  God is close to us, listening, caring.  We can talk to him as we would talk to someone standing next to us.  We can work it out with Him.  His hearing results in action.  (Think of Ps 18)

So yesterday was a roller coaster of things not going as expected.  At Walmart, when I returned the bike I decided to get some of my other shopping done as long as I was there, and it took my whole morning and put a crimp in my schedule.  People emailed me and added unexpected tasks to my day.  My discipling group time got cancelled.  But I also got so much done — a budget for church, scripts for Challenger films, shopping accomplished, butternut squash soup for dinner, even working out at Pure Barre and seeing Merike!  When I look back on the day, it was great, full, blessed.

As I list the things I am thankful for, I see God’s hand so clearly.  I also see that His hand will be in every day going forward.  It makes me feel strong and capable.

Let me face the day without fear, knowing God hears.  He is my HELPER always, even in my weakness and failure.  Let me go so far as to THANK HIM that He is working good!  His exciting purposes are being accomplished.

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”  Heb 13:6

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me  Ps 54:4

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Snowy path

Walking in Your grace

With assurance, all’s in place.

Bowing, on my face

Breathe the stillness, cease the chase.

Dancing to Your pace

Beauty seen makes my heart race.

Thanking for each trace

Signs of goodness fill my space.

Lifting up Your case

Seek to please You, Your embrace.

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Filed under Beauty of God, Peace, Poetry, Synchonicity

The Power of Naming

Sometimes we struggle.  These conjoined twins were born this week and only lived a day.

Sometimes we struggle. These conjoined twins were born this week and only lived a day.

It is so hard to not let things get to me, even the simple things.  Last night I went to a party, and today I find myself going over what happened, asking myself if I should have done something differently.  I discovered yesterday that the footage we shot on Monday was in standard definition instead of HD.  I gave the correct instructions to the cameraman, but he didn’t understand.  I feel terrible about it.  All that work, and the piece won’t be what it needs to be.

When will I be able to really hold onto God and trust Him consistently at a gut level?  When will I be able to be at peace consistently?  I only have periods of trust and peace.

I need to fight much more for it.  I need to slow down and put this all before God, and say, “This is not my day, it is Yours.  Let me be silent before you and see how it unfolds, and appreciate each nuance along the way.”

I need to consult God about each thing that gets to me, so the underlying uneasiness doesn’t build.  I think I’m too busy, but nothing is worth unresolved anxiety.

I’ve been reading more of “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voscamp.

“To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it,”  Voscamp quotes.

By writing down what I am grateful for, I acknowledge the God given value of that thing.  I move it from the realm of insignificance to significance.

Voscamp also wrote, “God is in the details.  God is in the moment.”

God is present, all around me.  But He is invisible, until He is manifested in the details as I acknowledge them.

I need to NAME things, thank God for the ways he is in the details, to reveal that God IS there.  It reminds me of one of those games where you slowly remove pieces to be able to make out the picture that is behind them.


God is there, earnestly working, so close, so loving.

(Jesus) sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 

Jesus said this after he had just performed a miracle with loaves and fishes.  The Pharisees came and asked him for a sign.

And I realize that I want a sign too.  If I could plainly KNOW that God is with me, maybe things wouldn’t get to me so much.  I constantly want  to see Him as bigger, more miraculous, more evident, more present.

But no highly visible sign will be given me.  Instead, God fills my life with small signs, with miracles, as He is manifested in the details.  I just have to name them to see them, manifest them thanksgiving.

Thank you, God, for carving out a little time for me this morning.  Thank you that I got the presents wrapped and in the mail.  Thank you for the moments of enjoying life, of enjoying my friendship with Marge, of the laughter and conversations at the party last night.  Thank you for my husband leaning over to give me a kiss.

Now God is being revealed.  He not only IS here, he is LARGE, miraculous, powerful.

And then I want the naming to reveal Him more in what will happen in the future, through faith.  Is there a way to pray for things that makes God more real?  If I pray aloud for something, with thanksgiving, is it the same as naming?  I think it is.  By thanking God as I pray, I acknowledge that He is working.  I tear away the darkness of fear that blinds me, the fear that things won’t work out, and God looms large around me, ever expanding His kingdom of light and goodness.


Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for.   Faith reveals the solidity of God.

This week conjoined twins were born in a neighboring county.  They each had a head, but shared a body and a heart.

cojoined twins3

It could have seems like a sad, tragic thing.  But the parents chose to NAME God in what happened, and meet it with faith.  “Why did God send two beautiful angels like this to Earth with one heart” the father asked.  He went on to say that it is a lesson to us all.  “(God) is not happy with the way we’re treating our brothers . . . We’ve got to be good to one another and love one another, as they did.”

cojoined twins4

I am not sure that is why the twins were born.  None of us know what God is doing.  Things go wrong.  We don’t feel adequate to the task. And we don’t know why.

But we can do like the twin’s father, and NAME that God is still there, even when we can’t see him.  Even when things go wrong.

Let us NAME God through words of faith.  Let us reveal Him through words of thanksgiving.

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Genuine Self Worth

My shoot is done!  It went so well, I am thankful.

It was a beautiful day in Mississippi.  I filmed a young man named Marshall, someone who truly represents rural America.  He wore a hunting ball cap the whole time.  And many of the young white  men I saw were in camo type outfits.  Everything about them screamed salt of the earth.  We filmed Marshall sitting next to a tractor, and then walking in between old Mustangs, rusting and overgrown by weeds in a field.  We filmed him hanging out with his family, the kids roasting marshmallows over a bonfire next to their trailer, while his mom and step dad sat on the tailgate of a pickup truck.  We filmed him walking down a dirt road with his best friend, a huge African American teddy bear of a guy, with fishing poles over their shoulders, horsing around as they ambled along.  The best friend was like family to his whole family.  Black or white, it made no difference.

But what I wanted to write about was the drive there.  I left in such a rotten mood.  I didn’t want to leave my safe comfortable environment.

But I had determined to let this be a road trip with God, an opportunity for me to time to spend with God and have God spend time with me.  As the hours went by in the car, I talked to God like he was right there, tangible, in front of me.  And then I was quiet, trying to hear what He said in reply.  I put on an audio Bible, and listened to the book of Mark.

After a while, it really struck me how different this was than my usual life and devotional time,  My life is still so much about me, filtered through me, including my prayer and study time.

This time was totally about God. Totally putting things at his feet.  Totally straining to to seek His will.  Totally stilling myself and my thrashing of insecurity, my shrinking from fear.

Because God is THERE, huge, all around me.  And yet I flap around, oblivious, caught up in my plans and schemes. 

“He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. In fact, he is never far from any one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28

When will I learn to sit in utter silence and reverence before Him?

I focused on just pleasing Him.  I’ve been thinking of this more and more lately.  I get so tied in knots otherwise.  My emotions react disproportionately lately, so if I even perceive someone is unhappy with me, I struggle.  I HAVE to just focus on God and pleasing Him.  Because I’ll never please myself.  And I’ll never feel like I’m pleasing others.

And as I spent this road trip time with God, I learned things, I saw things, He gave me answers.  One thing that I  hope will make a difference was my meditation on self worth.  I was crying to God, struggling with feelings of inadequacy.  I thought of how my ministry had changed.  I felt ineffective.  I wasn’t sure what direction my life should take.  I begged God to show me if I should take a part time job, or find something else to employ my time and skills.

Then a friend called, someone I’ve spent several years with, talking about God, studying the Bible, trying to help her come to faith.  She has been so stuck, and the crux of the matter is also her low self esteem.  She tries every day to do so much, and it is never enough.

In the way that God always works, the advice I gave her was the wisdom I need to apply to myself.  I told her self worth doesn’t come from what you do, but who you are.  All the great things we accomplish don’t change who we are, we’re still the same person.  We’ve just taken our strengths and applied them.

I keep trying to prove something.  I keep trying to do things that will affirm that I have worth.  But my worth is in the way God created me.  He made me a person who has to do things that are deeply meaningful.  Someone who needs to see and connect with beauty.  Someone who is creative, and loves to come up with ideas, and organize.  This is who I am.

Everyone is in a similar situation.  It is their unique combination of personal traits that gives them value.  I confess, I want to esteem those with intelligence, talent and skills.  But as I was reminded in the shoot in Mississippi, the people who are the salt of the earth have vital qualities.  After all, Jesus chose fishermen, and entrusted the future of all of us to them.

These people may not have the polished clothes, hairstyles and lifestyles of the “rest of us.”  They may not have the education and “breeding.” But they have just as great intrinsic worth.  And if they have great worth, then I have great worth as well.

I know better, but I realize that I put an emphasis on dressing right, having my house look a certain way, and so on, to show that I have worth.  Then of course, I judge others according to whether they meet these standards.

So instead of running around trying to prove myself, I must do the opposite.  I must do nothing.  I must see that God is ALL.  He is flat out in front of me, solid, the matrix of my existence.

Instead of seeking to exalt myself, I must humble myself, seeing who He is, building a relationship with Him.

And then He will exalt me.  That is the only source of genuine exaltation.  It is the only way to build real self esteem.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.  James 4:10


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Filed under Diary, Self Worth

Ps 46 – Help at the Break of Day

break of day

So I woke up this morning still sick!  And as I lay there in bed feeling tired and nauseous, the dog threw up.  How discouraging!

Fear and dread are like huge lumps in my throat.  But this awesome Psalm that encourages my soul.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of distress.

Refuge-– a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.  This word can also mean hope.  With God, there is always a place to be SAFE.  The situation is never hopeless.

Ever present — literally found.  There was no helper found for Adam.  The dove found no place to rest after the flood.  But God is ALWAYS to be found, always ready to HELP!

Therefore we will not be frightened when the earth roars, when the mountains shake in the depths of the seas,

No matter what is going on around us, there is NO NEED to fear!  This is a theme in Psalms.

  • Though we walk through the valley of death we will not fear.  (Ps 23) 
  • The Lord is my light and my salvation.  Whom shall I fear?  Though an army beseige me, my heart will not fear. Ps 27
  • The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Ps 118

And I love how Hebrews puts it, “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  Heb 13:6 

Look! There is a river whose streams make the city of God rejoice, even the Holy Place of the Most High.

There is a source of unending joy in Christ. “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst..”  John 4:14  “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  John 7:38

This reflects prophesies in Isaiah:

  • Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  Is 35:6
  • The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Is 58:11

Since God is in her midst, she will not be shaken. God will help her at the break of dawn.

God is in her midst: The city of Jerusalem could say that God was with them, in their very city.  He wasn’t just a casual observer or a some time helper.  The same is true for us.  Only now, God is INSIDE of us.   He is involved. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.. . . On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”  John 14:18

Not shaken:  not moved, not deviate from the right course, not falter or slip.  I WILL NOT FAIL, not with God as an integral part of me.

Help her at the break of day: appear, cast out.  God will be like light casting out the darkness.  Just when things seem at their worst, God WILL come and the troubles will go away.  He has never been absent or uninvolved.  He will help at just the right time.

Today, God IS with me.  I cannot fear.  I cannot dread.  The day WILL go as it should, and I must stand firm IN God, even as my physical self feels shaky, joyful in Him as He is joyful in me.   Things will work out, even when it seems like they will not.


Filed under Abundance/Greatness of God, Diary