Sunday, September 29, 2013



I start awake in the wee hours of morning, darkness consumes the night outside as the anxious thoughts of life consume my mind and will not allow for rest.  I worry and fret and cannot begin to comprehend how I will still my soul to lull back into the sleep my body needs.  Perhaps that this is the first issue: "I".  It will be impossible for me to surmount any of these anxieties and find rest myself, but only through surrendering and receiving the open and all-encompassing love of Christ will I find any release from my captives.

I turn to look at my phone to check first the time...3:38 (or something similar)...too early.  Then, I remember my Jesus Calling app and look there.  It is in those words for the day that I am reminded of the love God has for me and how easily I am swayed from it.  The enemy is fully aware of my flaws and weaknesses.  He knows of my tendency to worry and latch on to the things that are beyond my control.  He knows my struggle to let things go and move forward and how I feel that in some way, by holding on and feeling guilt, I am serving my sentence even though I am well aware the most miraculous act of sacrificial love has freed me.  The enemy loves holding me in this place of incapacity.  And I am not his first victim.  My thoughts turn swiftly to the first act of the tempter in the garden with another woman.  The first act of deception wasn't in the act of eating the fruit, but planting the seed of doubting God's word.  "Did God really...?" (Genesis 3:1)  And I think of how many times I have let that same voice, so craftily similar to my own ask myself the same questions.  Could God really choose you after this?  Does God really love you like He says?  Is His love powerful enough for this situation?  These are the questions that claw and catch me in my moments of weakness, these moments of the enemies attacks at my weakest point, but an answer is at the ready from the One who makes me strong in my weakness: yes.  At first the answer comes in a weak whisper: yes.  Then, it builds to a confident Yes and finally a shouting Yes as a remember God's miraculous word and the wondrous works He has performed in my life.  God is beyond what is required.  His love is all-encompassing.

Sarah Young speaks to this love in Jesus Calling when she writes of the discipline of embracing and receiving God's "boundless and everlasting Love".  We must continually be on watch for the deception we may receive from the enemy.  Because in this deceptive whisper lies a path of tragic disobedience that I have found myself on more than I wish to recall.  Claim that voice for what it is and turn to the Savior whose love knows no bounds, whose embrace never loses its power.  He longs to walk with you each step, guiding you in your pursuit of the abundant and eternal life He has called you to.

"And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent." John 17:3 MSG

May we receive fully this abundant love of God and seek to submit to His authority over our life, so we can know God and the abundant life He has created for us.

Blessings for the journey.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Quiet in the Chaos

The incessant beeping of a large truck is working on the street outside...on Saturday. My one morning i have hoped to rest in quiet thought marred by the American spirit of hard work and continual progress. My body has already awoken at 6:15, wishing for a return to those teenage weekends when sleeping until 11 am was an easy request. I seem irked at the progress outside, but then i think, what have I done to truly quiet my soul before the beeping and scraping outside my window began?

Even before these external intrusions began, I recognized that i had already let internal thoughts and selfish wants for what I thought the day should hold take over. When finally, I lured myself from the constant whir of social media and began my quiet moments in my devotional, I was completely convicted of how often I am disobedient and don't quiet my soul before the Lord. I was so acutely aware of how many times I have been unable to hear the Still Small Voice because of my lack of discipline in allowing distractions to overtake my attention. I find myself yearning for a quiet retreat far away from technology and trappings, but when I think about it, I know that I would somehow find a way to distract myself even in the idyllic setting I have crafted in my mind. It is in these moments that I wonder if the point isn't finding a quiet surround, but perhaps could it be stilling my soul in the midst of the chaos that whirs around me? Is this the disciplined soul training I need in my life? I think so. If I were able to find a way to still my heart in the midst of whatever situation I find myself, wouldn't I began to hear that Still Small Voice all the more clear? God calls us to this and I have a strong suspicion that He will grant us the wisdom to learn how to train our hearts and souls to be still before Him. We are not in this life of discipleship by ourselves. Instead he offers grace and forgiveness for the times we have fallen short and is a constant presence to walk with us in whatever we face.

Elijah found himself in the midst of a chaotic whirlwind, overwhelmed with fear and running from a queen who was out for his life, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for Elijah to calm his own spirit before the Lord. In the midst of his struggle, God provided for him each step of the way. God knew when the journey was too much for him and offered the right provision, so Elijah could carry on. In the same way, I trust God to provide each step of our journeys exactly what is required and as we journey through the difficult times of life, He, too, will meet us with a gentle whisper. May we seek the stillness and quietness of sprint, so we can hear that still small voice of the One who holds the universe and loves us more than we can imagine.

"After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper". 1 Kings 19:12

Blessings for the journey.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Through the Fire

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Three men bound up and tossed into the fire by order of the king for not worshipping something other than their True King.  The reality and consequences seemingly inescapable...and yet, they are brought out of the fire completely unscathed.  The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of my favorites because it shows God's almighty power and His profound immanence, his "God with us-ness", all bound together.  Not only did these men walk out of the fire with "no hair singed", no tunic damage, and no fire smell, but when they were in the fire, they were not alone.  God was with them the whole time for when the king looked into the furnace, he saw not 3 men, but 4.

Oh to live a life so fully trusting in the powerful love of Christ that I would not allow my situation to overpower me, but trust completely in God's unfailing and relentless love for me.  My prayer is that I would release those situations and circumstances that claw and grasp for control of my life, my thoughts, my energy to the Only One who rules in perfect sovereignty, acknowledging that difficulties and struggles will arise in this life, but facing them alone will not.  Will you join me?

Blessings for the journey.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Living as Mist

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image courtesy of dan at Image courtesy of dan at[/caption]
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money."  Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that."  James 4:13-15

As I read my Jesus Calling devotional on Saturday, this scripture stood out to me and in particular the descriptor, mist.

When I hear the word mist, two images come to mind.  In one, I think of spending the day at Six Flags Over Texas in the heat of the summer and occasionally stumbling upon an oasis of misters spraying the finest spray of water that offers a brief refreshment, but not a thorough soaking to the bone that you will experience on the Log Ride or "the Flume" as my grandmother refers to it.

The other image is one I have rarely experienced in the hot Texas weather, but it is in the beauty of an early morning right before sunrise when misty droplets hover over the grass with only the slightest hint of the day that is about to dawn painted on the sky above.  This mist I have seen more in photos like the one above and draw me to think of the far off British Isles as a place where mist may dwell more frequently.  But what does it mean to be mist?

1.  Brief

Our time is brief.  I think of how quickly my experience with mist vanishes as soon as the sun burst forth and it is those moments that help me recognize my place in the world and remind my too frequently puffed up self that it's not about me. In the book of James we see this concept of planning out life and I think of my paper planner recently purchased from Target and filled with dates of events for the months ahead and I remember: I am mist.

The writer of James seems to think that planners are okay, though.  He doesn't say throw out all plans, organizational systems, Google calendars...  Instead, he gives focus to the plans.  He encourages a new context.  He reminds us Whose the plans are.

"If the Lord wills."

What would my days look like if instead of making plans here and there on my own, I first consulted the Creator of all life.  I think a lot of the planning challenges I face: overprogramming, disappointment, loneliness, etc. might look a little different if entrusted to the Master Planner first.  Would my stress level drop if I sought God's guidance?

I think of a recent and special event I helped plan: my and my husband's wedding.  It was the most beautiful day of my life, but would I have been more calm and at peace in the days leading up to it, if I had constantly remembered my mist-like state?  Yes.  Without a doubt.

Focusing on God in any planning stage puts the emphasis where it belongs -- on Him!  It is so easy to get wrapped up in our world and lose sight of our only Hope -- Jesus Christ.  It is only through Him that we have meaning and purpose at all.  When we recognize our lives belong to Him and actively seek His plans, we will not be over scheduled and overburdened because we will be resting and trusting in Him, recognizing His guidance and direction.

How our perspective changes!  Let's begin this today, knowing Jesus wants to be an active part of all of our life.  So before we commit to a request, let's pray about it and before we make a decision, let's pray about it and before we invite friends for lunch...pray. about. it.  The Holy Spirit will guide you.  Plans bathed in prayer are never disappointing because they are God focused, so when maybe things don't turn out as we thought they would, we have peace because we are resting in God.  I want to add that because there is sin in the world, situations may occur out of our control, but nevertheless, God is with us no matter the circumstance.

2.  Refreshing

The other word I would use to describe a mist is the refreshment it brings.  Whether at Six Flags on a blazing day or the peaceful refreshment of an early morning, the mist has purpose and meaning.  It may not last long, but still it is valuable -- you have value.  Your life is so valuable to Jesus -- "You were bought at a price" 1 Corinthians 6:20 -- don't forget that.  We are called to be light in the world.  We are called to bring refreshing hope and love to a world that is desperately overburdened.  I think recognizing our brevity helps to give more focus to the meaning and purpose in our lives.  What are gifts God has indwelt within you?  What do you love?  What are you passionate about?  Seek God's plan in those things!

Ahhh, the refreshing perspective of living as mist.  Let's refocus and face our day renewed and refreshed ourselves, so we can refresh the parched desert that surrounds us.

Blessing for the journey.