Sunday, November 30, 2014

Conditional Generosity?

Conditional Generosity?

I believe that we are really good at cheapening some of God’s most beautiful gifts. One of those gifts that I have most recently been aware of abusing is the gift of generosity. Christ lived a life that showed that love is not conditional. Yet I fall short in the area of viewing my generosity as being a conditional kind of thing. I would say that I was unknowingly of the mindset that some of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit are things that are earned and deserved and others are not. Because I felt this way about giving I had a hard time with true generosity, always trying to decide the difference between the deserving poor and the undeserving. I would see a homeless man for example and wonder about the choices he made to get to that place rather than just allow the conviction of true kindness to win out.

I was putting a list of requirements on it like I do when I tip at a restaurant. Like a waitress that makes several trips to check on my food and fills my drink I feel the generosity well up inside of me to bless her hard work, but then I penalize a waiter that lazily sits in the break room smoking, while I go thirsty. I wanted my mandatory “gift” to be deserved. This mindset then followed into the not so mandatory areas of giving. I would question every situation in which it was in my power to act with thoughts like “Would the homeless person use my gift to eat or would he waste it on alcohol and drugs.” I felt justified in my questioning and I decided that giving should be something I would be wise and shrewd about and only if God truly put it on my heart to give, would I give. I didn’t understand that most likely by the time that God spoke it would be too late or that by the time he broke through all the callused layers of my heart I would have lost an opportunity to love. I didn’t know that I had gotten so judgmental about those in need until I recently had an experience with giving that really showed me that I needed to let God purge a little bit of my selfishness out of the mix.

It was just a gas station, I was getting gas, some drinks and snacks for the long six hours ahead. I had my youngest with me, a sweet little three year old full of joy and excitement as we chose our special treat. In the next isle over a father and two little girls were also picking out snacks and drinks. When he went to pay his card was declined. He went out to get money from his girlfriend and when he came back he told the excited girls to put it back, because they had to go. I didn’t even hesitate, maybe because the girls were a reflection of innocence, maybe because God got through to me, but I offered to pay for the snacks. “No just put it on mine.” I said to the teller. He felt embarrassed and starting to decline it, he said, “I feel bad.” I said, “No, don’t feel bad, you have some really precious girls, consider it an early thanksgiving.” He thanked me more than once and we went our ways.

My original thought was that he was acting a little strange, like a man on something, or coming off of something (probably drugs). But that was usually the case with me, I find a million reasons why I shouldn’t just give. I felt a mix of feelings getting into the car and driving through the flat uninteresting prairie of Nebraska. For miles I had nothing to do but count windmills and plenty of time to think. I thought about how good it felt to show Love to a stranger, but I also felt a deep conviction at how new that feeling felt. I would be lying to say the good feeling somehow made up for the selfishness I had been passing off as good judgment or discernment. I felt as though that little bit of light was shining a whole lot brighter because this area in me was a dark and unfamiliar place. I was exposed.

I am not meaning this to be a word that brings condemnation but sometimes revelation to our not so pretty areas tends to feel a bit disturbing at times. I prayed for that man and his family, for those girls, for Jesus to be revealed in all of his goodness. I prayed for forgiveness for the times I just shut out others because I was uncomfortable or uninterested. I also asked God to continue to work in me in this area and to help me not to put stipulations on his goodness. We tend to get a little prideful and want to bless those that we feel are deserving but when we do the choosing aren't we playing God's part? Only God knows what God knows and he has given freely to all. I remembered a verse from Proverbs that spoke to this very situation. Proverbs  3:27 Do not withhold help from those who need it when you have the ability to help.

I am so thankful that Christ took this verse to heart. He was the only one who had the ability to help us. His very life showed compassion and mercy and grace and forgiveness. It is never about what we have or have not done with Christ. With Christ it is the message that no matter how much or how little sacrifice we put before him, His sacrifice was enough to cover our bill. He didn’t ask us how we got there, and he didn’t even care because he saw us as a valued creation, as God’s beloved children and he offered his life to be the sacrifice that would bring us into a place where we could finally know our Father, know a God who this world claims has long left, a God that in truth has been waiting for his children to seek him, rather than chase them as they run. Make no mistake our God has pursed us even unto the death of his very son who offered himself as the way to show that he would go to hell and back for us. He came for us all, he died so that we could understand a love that puts no shame to our name. So as I contemplated my decision to call myself a child of God, I realized that I, not unlike Christ need to show his unconditional love, his unconditional grace and his unconditional generosity.

God may we become more like you, more generous, more kind and more open to love. You are a generous God and if we are really your children than we too should be a reflection of your unfailing generous spirit. Holy Spirit breathe your truth in us and teach us how to stop reacting to the worlds ways and start acting out of love and kindness. We want to honor you in all we do and we know that one of the ways we can do this is by reflecting the truth of your loving kindness.  You are the perfection of balance in all things and we ask for that balance of wisdom and generosity to be present in our lives. We can never love too much, or give too much, or show you too much to others. Let us be as generous with others as you have been with us. Amen

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Language Barrier

The Language Barrier


Maybe its pride or maybe just lack of understanding but how many times have I found myself blankly staring into space wondering why I can’t hear God, or why I don’t understand what he is speaking to me.  I say maybe its pride because in our culture we expect everyone to meet us where we are instead of going the extra mile to meet them in the middle.

Several years ago I traveled to Paris with my best friend. We had just spent a week in Ireland and thought it was worth a few extra bucks to hop over to the beautiful city of love, enriched in culture. The week in Ireland that we spent was amazing and very successful due to several things; one, we had a tour guide and two, the Irish speak English. The further south we traveled in Ireland the harder to understand the dialect but it was still possible to communicate on a somewhat sophisticated level. The three days following when we arrived in Paris however was another story altogether.

Arriving in Paris the two of us (neither one knowing a lick of French) began our adventure. We managed to find our way but found many obstacles in not knowing the language. It was often frustrating and I found myself resenting the French people for not speaking English. Here I am in someone else’s country and I, in my arrogance think that they should know my language.  We found ourselves lost and unprepared for this giant adventure more than once.

I find this story enlightening because it is a direct parallel to how we interact with God when communicating with him. 1 Corinthians 13 describes the language barrier very well. God speaks love and unfortunately that is not our native language. “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I spoke like a child but when I grew up I put away childish things…” The love chapter describes a language and gives us the blueprints for speaking it. Love is patient, kind,… It is not selfish, it does not want,… It keeps no record of wrongs…”

So very often we get very upset when we can’t hear God, or when we don’t understand what he is saying. We want him to speak our language so that we can communicate and understand but he loves us too much to let us operate in the world’s native language.

I think back to that trip to Ireland, I mentioned that we had two things that made the trip effortless; a tour guide, and we spoke the same language. Also when we had a hard time understanding the southern dialect our guide doubled as a translator. God is offering those same things for us in the spiritual realm. He gives us the Holy Spirit and his word. Both are vital in learning this new language. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work but I can only imagine the great reward that is in store for those who start to learn this new language.

If I had applied these principles to the trip to Paris several things would have looked different. I would have been a lot less frustrated and also I would have been protected from a very dangerous situation. Honestly it was very stupid for two attractive young females to go to foreign city known for human trafficking with no understanding of the language, not to mention they knew no one on the entire European continent who could help them if they had gotten into trouble.

We learned three whole words the entire time,: “Merci” and “Excuse Moi”. “Thank you” and “Excuse Me”. Joking that that is all you need to communicate in France. But how arrogant and sad is it that we thought we could get by with three words? And yet we try to speak the language of love with God, saying only “Thank you” and “I’m sorry.” Never furthering the conversation.  

We can go through our entire lives trying to get by with a few words we know but the depth of our relationship will be at stake, and chances are we will default to our selfish tongue as soon as we are agitated or tired of not being able to communicate. Or as soon as we hear something from God that just seems too hard to translate. When I look into the eyes of my child after speaking the enemies native tongue of evil, I vow with my whole heart to learn how to speak love but then I go about doing it on my own, only getting frustrated by the process. God desires for us to spend intimate time with him, sometimes there is a little bit of work involved but most of the time we learn his language just by spending time in his presence, we learn by emersion. We learn by doing.

If you are finding yourself saying the words… “I just don’t hear God.” Or “I just don’t understand what God is saying.” It is very possible you are either not listening or you are trying to translate with the wrong language as your base.

God doesn’t let us walk into a place of peace and rest while carrying luggage laden with worry and doubt and fear and hate, unforgiveness and bitterness. If you feel like you are standing in front of a door and He just isn’t letting you in. It’s probably time to check your luggage. He wants you to enter into his freedom with Thanksgiving and Praise, with the lightness of all your burdens laid at his feet. Sometimes it seems as if God is the security guard, checking our bags for harmful items before we get to go any further, but the truth is, it is a long road ahead and we won’t make it with those heavy bags. He has a plan for our success, we have to lay down some stuff. We need to accept his helper, his translator, The Holy Spirit. We have to quit trying to get God to speak our language. He wants to speak to us with His language of love. But as long as we cling to the past of what we have always known and reject the tour guide and translator of this beautiful language we will never understand or comprehend what God is doing or saying.

Do we want to go on being childish, arrogant, lacking knowledge, confused, afraid and alone? God doesn’t want us to feel alienated. God morns for His Children as we sit in our ignorance.  So often we blame Him for the silence as we refuse to walk into the sound of His beautiful voice. Are we ready to break the language barrier?


God I have gotten by on the words “Thank you” and “excuse me” for far too long. Please forgive me for not learning to speak your language more fluently. I have been arrogant and childish and I want to understand you. I want to hear you and I want to speak love to others the way you speak love to me. Thank you for the Helper that you have given us. He is such a beautiful translator of your truth and love. I need him every day to guide me through. Holy Spirit take this my broken and imperfect tongue and give it words of wisdom and life. I want to follow your every move. I don’t want to miss the beautiful surprises that in store for me as I obediently follow you into places I would never find on my own. Your word oh God is such a perfect guide. Thank you for giving us a way to hear you. I pray we would not waste our days here but bring heaven to earth and speak your love every day. Amen

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lock Out

It was my first school lockout. I quickly held in the overwhelming emotion to keep my son from seeing my fear. The words, “No one goes in, no one comes out.” It was any ordinary day, all except for the fact that when I took my son to school at 12:30 for half day kindergarten, I couldn’t drop him off. My daughter was in there, in her second grade class. Was she o.k.? Was she scared? Was she safe?

I immediately called to God, and he quickly responded with a peace that can only be explained by the beauty of his desire to comfort me. I could feel his touch, hear his voice and my heart quickly calmed to the gentle pace of his smooth breathing. As a child who lays her head on her father’s chest to rest and find the comfort and warmth of the sound of his beating heart. It was a second, only a second, but enough time for my nerves to be calmed and to remember that my children are in his loving hands and their safety is his responsibility. One child locked in, One locked out.

These are the moments we call upon our faith and we see just how deep our well is. On this day it was full, thankfully full. But some days it seems as though the tiniest hiccup can derail me all together. We don’t see the need for our source of strength (God) when we think we have enough on our own to carry us through. I found myself in a different kind of lock out the other day. Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual in nature this lock out was caused by the threat of a less mysterious danger… Myself. 

Maybe you have experienced that moment when you fail someone so badly, you wonder if you can come back from it. For me it was with my son. Was the cause of my anger toward him some horrible thing he had done to deserve my wrath? I guess that depends on if you think spilling some oatmeal on the floor is worth the death sentence. The way I reacted you would have thought so. I guess the idea is that if you keep drawing from the well and never put back into it, eventually you come up empty. And unfortunately this well was not the living well, it was my own personal well, one that had been completely drained by a lack of sleep and my desire to carry my own burdens and try to do everything myself.

In that moment when you realize that you just called your child stupid, or you hit him out of anger, you truly feel the shock of the “lock out.” What have I done? You see the child that you love, close himself up out of protection. And until the threat is resolved, you are locked out. The shame I felt and the possibility that my son would not be able to forgive me created what could have been a very long lock out. But as shame crept further in I chose to break its hold with the simple offering of a genuine apology. I asked my son to forgive me and I explained that I was wrong to say those words and that in fact the very opposite is true. The living Well inside of me was in that moment filled with life as I allowed the truth of God’s love to enter in and flood my being.

I guess you could say this mommy experienced a few obstacles this week in her attempt to hold it all together. But in the end whether it was realizing that God is holding them when I can’t, or still holding them when I should be and fail to. He showed me that I need to be filled at all times with his love and mercy, not just utilizing his living water as an emergency store house but that his life is forever flowing and that I can use it all the time. I guess we get in the survival mindset that we should save it up for a drought, but like a steady rain God desires us to be drenched in this living water living in the understanding that it will never fail or run out.

The question God asked me this week was “What do you lack?” If we are connected to the source we should lack nothing.  Check your connection and make sure that you are truly pulling from the source.

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing
James 1:2-5
 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Prone to Wander

Prone to wander

In my Study of John 15, The Vine and the Branches, I have been contemplating the importance of abiding in God. It isn’t that I don’t want to stay in his presence, it is just that I seem to wander a bit and create situations that require me once again to run back into the shelter of his arms. I feel like a little lamb that gets a little too far from the shepherd in her quest for greener pastures and then sees that she is too far away and runs back in a frantic gallop. As I was thinking about my childish tendency to wander I remembered a story about a most exciting fishing adventure.

A father took his three daughters to a lake to go fishing. The oldest daughter and the youngest daughter were content to stay by the shore as the father cast the poles into the water and sat waiting. The middle daughter waited for what seemed an unbearable amount of time (probably less than five minutes) before deciding to go make her own luck. The father knew that she was inexperienced and needed his instruction and guidance but allowed his daughter to wander.
She was easily distracted by the rocks at her feet and the bubbles created by fish down below. She would cast once in one spot before quickly moving on. As she wandered around a bend that was out of the site of her family she noticed a very large fish floating on the surface of the water. Everything inside of her knew that this fish was probably compromised but she wanted to please her father and show him that she could do amazing things on her own. She used her pole to drag the fish into the shore, and then placing the hook in its mouth she made her way back to the group.
Everyone was so excited to see the catch and praised her abilities. It felt so good to be praised but inside she knew that she had not earned the praise that she so deeply desired. Her worry that she would be found out a phony consumed her and as they loaded up the fish to head home her stomach grew ill at the thought of what would happen when they cut open the fish. When they got home the father started to fillet the fish and as he got closer to the dreaded fish the middle daughter became more and more aware of the impending doom. As he picked up the fish she screamed uncontrollably “NO! Don’t do it, I didn’t catch it…. I found it.” She hung her head low in her own disappointment. Her father (trying to hold back his laughter) tilted her head up to meet his eyes. He was not disappointed, but very amused. “It’s okay, we have plenty of other fish.” No rebuke, no “I told you so”, just a loving father realizing that his daughter was prone to wander and he would have to keep his eyes on this one.

I think we tend to think that our loving father has a switch, anger and love. And that He is displeased with our tendency to wander. But God says that He "is" love. No matter how far we wander we are never fully out of his sight. It was the little girls’ loss, who wandered from her father and never got to learn or experience the company of her fathers’ wisdom and presence.
The whole point of the trip wasn’t to go fishing and bring in fish it was to enjoy each other’s company. All too often we set off on our own because we misunderstand the idea of staying close to God, we think that he wants us to go do something for him, when all he really wants is to do something with us. If we misunderstand the purpose for his nearness we will miss the opportunity to be loved on a very intimate and personal level. God wants to spend quality time with his children.
Isn’t it funny that when we go off trying to prove something often we come back with counterfeit spoils. Whenever we think God is looking for some kind of accomplishment, or product, or work, we lose the point of spending time with him. As a result of spending time with my father I would have learned to fish and probably caught a few, and I would have walked away with joy in my heart knowing that it was a day well spent hanging out with my daddy. And on the plus side I wouldn’t have had to bait my hook all by myself. God wants our presence not our catch of the day. When we walk off trying to do some great thing to impress or please God or others we find ourselves often coming up short.

The girl in the story is me. For all those others who are prone to wander, who maybe want the title of best fisherman ever, to be praised for our accomplishments, or are so distracted by creation we miss the creator; let’s remember to wait upon the Lord, let’s remember to set aside time just to be with our Father. Not so that we can become great but so that we can bask in his greatness. And in the process we are transformed into his likeness, we learn to rest and we learn to listen to his voice.

Father, Thank you for your greatness, thank you that you let me wander but have never let me out of your sight. I know that I have had a hard time sitting still so I ask you to help me be seated with you. I want to spend time with you and I have felt you calling me for such a very long time. Bring me into your presence and help me to make that place my home. I love you so much, I feel as though I need to go and make you proud but I know that the thing that brings you the most joy is when I come with no expectations and just sit with you. Help me to be silent and to listen when you speak and to not try to fill the silent moments with noise. I just want to put my head on your chest and rest in you. Thank you that you are patient with me. And that you have waited for me. You overwhelm me with your goodness. I love you Father. Amen.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Devil's Playground

The devil’s playground 

Have you ever found yourself sitting on the ground with the wind knocked out of you? One minute you are flying high, thinking everything is going your way and the next minute there you sit in your own disbelief of badly something went for you. Let me say that chances are you were playing on the devil’s playground.

We all know the verse: "Pride comes before a fall". But what most of us are very unaware of is that pride is not as obvious as one might think. Sometimes we are sitting on the floor before we even realize we in fact were the ones who put ourselves there.

A very long time ago the very first lie was told in the heavens. It was a lie that an angel told himself as he began to desire the praise and the glory all for himself. It was the lie that He would rise above God and be exalted. Sometimes God creates things that are just so beautiful that for a moment our eyes shift from the creator to the created. And in this moment we begin to believe in the notion that we ourselves are in a position of power.

Spiritual battles have been waging on ever since that moment that the heavens split due to the arrogant notion of a created being. We tend to think that we are equipped to fight these battles because of God’s favor and blessing in our lives but our Father has warnings for us in this fight. The enemy knows more about pride, selfishness, and greed than any other creature, for it has become his wardrobe and his skin, his mind is consumed by it. He is a master of deception and lies and clothed in his garments of pride he can not help but use these things against us at every turn.

We have to choose not to play on the devil’s playground. God has given us authority over the Prince of darkness. But unless we stand on the ground that God has set our feet firmly upon we will fall to the enemy’s deceptions.

God showed me a while back that worship is one of our greatest weapons against the enemy. I loved that idea! I was all excited about it! But as time went on my curiosity of what that meant grew and I wanted to understand why worship is so powerful. God simply showed me that there is one place the enemy never goes and will never go again (willingly), and that is the feet of God, and the foot of the cross of Christ Jesus. When Satan elevated himself in his pride he distanced himself so far from humility that worship to God is the furthest most point we can get from the enemy. God in his righteousness not only made a way for us to be clean and free from sins bondage He also made a safe place for us to go (No matter where we are) far from Satan and his lies.

My favorite stories of great victories came at the sound of worship to God. Listen for the sounds of the walls of Jericho coming down due to obedient, vulnerable, sacrificial shouts of Praise to God. Listen to the cells of the walls of Paul’s prison cell crumbling as worship is lifted to a great and mighty God. Do you see the harp of David giving him victory over a cruel Saul? When we position ourselves humbly at the feet of our God we utilize a refuge like no other in our lives.

The Devil has created a playground devised of Pride, selfishness and greed. What happens when we choose to live on the grounds of humility, sacrificial love, and a heart that gives worship unto God? If you have recently found yourself lying on the floor of what you thought was the ground of good intentions and wonder what went wrong, ask yourself the three question test.

Was it Pride (did I think I knew better than someone else)?
Was it Selfish (Did I pursue my (or my families) needs and wants above someone and at the cost of someone else)?
Was is Greed (Did I take something that belonged to someone else because I thought I would be a better manager or because I felt as though I earned or deserved it)?

It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I would go further with that thought and even argue that good intentions are often the cover we use when we are operating out of one of those three actions and don’t want to get caught.
The enemy can bring us down to the ground of his playground every time. He knows his weapons are good. But we know our weapons are God’s. The Bible says that “no weapon that is fashioned against us shall stand.” But that is because we will be standing on higher ground.

So where do we go from here; the dirtiness of his playground? Do we get back on the swings of selfishness, or the slide of pride, or the monkey bars of greed? And we know that there are many other devises he uses. Or do we brush ourselves off and leave that desolate land of unforgiveness and seek out the shelter of our true and rightful king?

As for me, I will find myself asking God and others for forgiveness as many times as I need to, to keep my heart in his hands. And to keep my posture at his feet. I will be as Mary was; finding comfort at the precious feet of Jesus, pouring out precious perfume. This posture is also one that Christ showed us. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet he was showing us a way to be close to the father. Of all the people who should have had the right to accuse, to defend to be prideful and haughty it was the son of the living God and yet even as he was sacrificed in the most humiliating and awful way. Love was in his heart, tears for us in his eyes and forgiveness flowed from the foot of that cross.

Do not for one minute waste the sacrifice of our precious and loving God because you are too busy fighting for what you feel is deserved and due to you. The enemy wants us to lose sight of the power found in humility, sacrifice and forgiveness so that we cannot live in freedom. Are you too busy looking at the flaws and sins of others to see that Christ died for yours. Are you so busy trying to get someone to see that they owe you, that you have missed the penalty paid for you on the cross?

We are poor masters even unto ourselves, but what need have we for a master when we have the greatest of all masters reaching out to us?

So many of Christ’s parables are about the good master. One such parable is of the Good Master forgiving an enormous debt and then having that debtor turn around and go seeking payment from someone who owed him. Another parable is about the servant who worked for a set wage and found himself angry when the master paid another servant the same wage for a less amount of time. And then of course the Story of the prodigal son, whose father welcomed his son with arms wide open after he had foolishly squandered his life savings. Then the brother unable to accept the fathers love for his brother was angry at such forgiveness.

My question is this? Are we so blinded by what we feel is fair and just and right and due us, that we put ourselves in such a prideful stance as to question the goodness of God. Our rightful response should be joy when God shows mercy to another. And we should be pleased when our Father opens his heart to our brother and to our fellow servants. Not too long ago we needed that mercy, we needed that forgiveness, we needed that favor and he gave us his very flesh torn apart to make a way to the Father’s feet.

Pride tends to make us very territorial with our Father. We are very accustomed to his gifts and what we don’t understand is that the abundance of God is so great and his love is so vast, that there is plenty of room in the Father’s house for everyone. Find yourself in a posture of worship at God’s feet, a position of service to others, and God will put you in a place of honor. I believe this is what is meant by Matthew 6:33,   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It was dark. For as long as I could remember, it was dark. I don’t know how to explain that moment when I first saw the light except for the fact that I felt indescribable excitement and a flood of paralyzing fear all at the same time. In my struggle to be free from my little prison cell I had also made it my home so to experience new life was so fearfully foreign to me.

It’s important to remember where you came from. Too many people look at a mighty tree and fail to recognize that its beginning was that of a once small seed. So small in fact that it would be tread upon by many an unknowing foot, and overlooked by almost everything and everyone, but God himself.

I know a little something about seedlings. I used to be one. I know you wouldn’t think of me as ever knowing what it felt like to look up at all. I am the largest, the tallest and the oldest in the forest; I am the Lodgepole Pine. I was born in adversary and in struggle but live in triumph.

Over the years I have collected many stories that are worth honorable mention, but no story as powerful as the one of my pain and suffering. It’s hard to rationalize pain. It’s not an easy subject to talk about let alone an easy path to walk down. The scope of how people react to pain is so broad that it is hard to pin down one way to deal with it. It seems so easy for some to cope and so difficult for others. Whether the reaction is one of fight or flight we still find ourselves in the same place, a place of weakness; a place of inadequacy.

The fight is raw, it is harsh and if we allow the pain to become the lie that the heart of God is cruel then we will grow bitter to the beauty that is still so very real in this world. Without faith it is impossible to please God and I would suggest that without faith it is also impossible to be pleased by God. If we fail to believe that God is GOOD even in the times when life is not, then we will allow the lies of Satan to grow a deep rooted bitterness in our souls. This bitterness will blind us to the truth of God’s amazing Love and taint everything after with a grey unforgiving hue. But if we choose to believe (out of our faith in Him) in His goodness, no matter how awful the circumstances in our life are, then he will grow inside of us, a peace, and a joy, and a sense of his comfort that no words can describe.

Let me take you back in time with me before I became a conqueror of hardship and believer in God’s amazing provision through trials.

A little known fact about us Lodge pole pines is that our seeds are incased in a cone completely impenetrable by any force other than the extreme heat caused by fire. A cone can stay dormant, hanging from a tree for several years. We grow to a hundred feet and produce Cones for two hundred years. We are a king among trees and yet it is the adversity of fire that grows us beyond the tiny safe world of our limited cone.

I would argue with the idea that God brings adversity. This is where I believe we lose our faith in his goodness. We see the pain as being more powerful than His love and so our faith is manipulated. When he refuses to take us out of our struggles and rather through a trying time, we blame him for the pain rather than recognizing that he wants us to conquer it rather than run from it. When people go to the doctor for a broken bone they don't blame the doctor for the break just because they hate having to have it reset. People may hate the process of Physical therapy but it is foolish to blame the physician for the source of pain. Often we get hurt and because we know the power of God, we question the healing process he chooses for us. God has a way of getting us healthy that we don’t generally want to go through.
Most of the fires that have come through my woods have been man made, or a bi product of the elements. I don’t believe that God brings pain into our life to direct us a certain way but I do believe that he never leaves us to be broken by the struggles and his pure love is always the driving force for his presence in our lives. If you go back to the beginning, pain was never a part of the plan. The very first lie of Satan, directed at man, in the Garden was that we should question God’s goodness and his intensions. Eve in turn took that bait and man began to believe that maybe God didn’t have his best interests at heart. The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. He is a liar and he delights in our ignorance to blame God for things that are not in God’s character to be.

Let it be clear that God has created us to be overcomers. My God does not create pain but he does create us to be able to withstand its destructive nature. I am living proof of a creator that wastes no opportunity to turn a painful, destructive element into a life starting environment.

The day I was born, I was born from adversity. The fire came up all around me and death in all of its violence screamed for more. And yet by the design of God, life arose. Lodgepole seeds are only opened by extreme heat, and in that moment I feared that I would be consumed. But I fell into the rich soil that had been created but the fire, I immediately sprang forth and began to grow.

God created a way for us to thrive in the midst of great adversity. He did not bring the fire, he brought the life. He did not bring the death, except that of His only son, so that we could live eternal. Death has no hold on us. Every moment of unforgiveable, torturous pain Christ endured on a cross so that we could be that seed planted in the ashes of His life. God promises that no matter how terrible the pain of loss, that His love is as strong as death, His Jealousy for our hearts is as demanding as the grave.

What terrible thing have you been blaming God for? A death of a child, the rape of your innocence, the abandonment, the abuse of love, the loss of a part of your physical, emotional, mental or spiritual self? What terrible thing have you given a loving God undue credit for, as he has done nothing but hold his hand outstretched to you, pleading with tears in his eyes to seek that place inside of you that was meant to overcome these horrors. God did not do these things to you but he did create you with a failsafe for when times were just too hard to understand. In the midst of great trial we can rise above with the miraculous life of God himself dwelling inside of us; creating forgiveness, wholeness, healing, generosity, and a love that puts itself last and is then exalted above all! Wake up! Arise, you are defeated no more! Jesus was crucified but He also arose from that death and in our hardest moments of unimaginable pain we can lean on this truth that nothing in this world can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do you understand that he is for you and not against you? Do you understand that you have been running away from a loving God and into the hands of a deceitful devil. Do not be foolish, the devil strokes your flesh, selling your soul a lavish plate of all the things done wrong to us, all the while plotting our death. I will not tell you that it is easy to walk through a tragedy but it is harder without the comfort of a loving God. You may at this very moment be in that cone, a dark place where the light is so scary because you have made the darkness your home. You feel the fire coming, you feel the pressure of the change. The world around you is breaking, but do not be deceived into thinking that this is the end. This is your beginning and when this time of fire passes, a time of life will emerge out of death. Do not fear the light. Do not fear being planted in the soil of devastation. For our God exalts the weak, the broken, the lost, the smallest of seeds and he calls forth a mighty tree capable of growing a hundred feet tall. A tree that for two hundred years produces seed. Seeds capable of producing a forest from just one fire. He will not waste your tragedy. Will you? 

A Note From the Author:
His hands are outstretched in times of confusion. We ask the question of God that if he is good, then why didn't he stop something so bad from happening. But is our God confined by the limits of this world? Are we holding an infinite God who is the source of all life to the confinement of our selfish desires and limited understanding? Is this world the only dimension capable of His Life, His Love and His Presence? Has God abandon us to our pain? Was He not there?  At what point did He leave? Did He leave when you accused him of cruelty rather than love?

Mary and Martha lost their brother Lazarus. Martha said "If you had been here my brother would not have died" (an understanding of Jesus power yet an accusation of his goodness). Even after Jesus told Martha that her brother would be raised from death she doubted. Mary Said, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died ." (recognition of his power and a proclamation of his greatness). Same words, but each woman had a very different view of his character. After Martha spoke Jesus had words for her, a conversation, an explanation, a lesson. After Mary spoke, Jesus wept. He felt her pain, he felt her belief, he felt her reaching out to him in the midst of her tragedy. At this point Lazarus did not stay in the grave. Are we still clinging to the power of the grave long after the power of Christ has come to us? How do we ignite the power of God like Mary did? We have to look past our accusation filled pain and engage our faith. A faith that says, I know that there is power in the presence of God, especially in the midst of loss.

He wept. Our savior wept. He not only weeps for our loss but follows through with the promise of new life. What has been taken from you? Is it gone forever or is God big enough to restore? I have lost babies. I have lost hope, I have lost faith, I have lost my way many a time, I have been wronged, I have been cheated, I have been accused. But instead of letting an enemy whisper lies of God's goodness and character being faulty or anything other than perfect, I stand firm in the knowledge of God's love over us. I will be the seed that grows in adversity. I will be the mighty Pine that allowed the fire to burn off the outside so that the inside could be revealed. I am created to withstand anything in this world except for one thing.... I can not live without my Loving God right beside me. And that enemy is counting on us believing the lies of God having a tainted character so that we will not grow, so that we will not rise, and so that we will not feel God's life giving love. Do not let the fruit of your pain be the rotten fruit planted by the seeds of the enemy, these seeds are born of seclusion from God.  May the fruit that is planted in adversity be that of the Holy Spirit. For this fruit is eternal, this fruit is life, this fruit is of lasting glory.

Dear Father, I know that life is full of fire and to wage war against the only one who can carry me through it is foolishness. Forgive me for my unkind thoughts, words and untrue beliefs of you. I know you are good. I know you are love. I know that no matter what I face you will never leave me. I also know that the Devil is scared of this kind of faith in you, because to realize our place in you is realize our strength, power and potential; a power that tears down his disgusting strongholds. Right now in the name of Jesus I claim freedom for all who read these words. For all who dare to know of your great love and be forever changed I claim blessings in your name. I pray for healing, and for restoration but I also pray for abundance for those who come to you and desire to stay with you. You alone are worthy of honor and glory and we lift you up in true adoration and worship. You oh God, are worthy of our utmost devotion. I love you Lord so very much! Amen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More than Dust

Gifts… Talents… Strengths… Abilities… Purpose… Calling…

Powerful words. Are you walking in yours? We look around, we compare. We think that others are stronger, faster, brave, more patient, more of everything we wish we were. But for a moment imagine a world of no comparison to others. Or if we must compare, compare yourself to the very matter of what God used to create you. You are dust. Dust does not compare itself to dust. And somehow you are so much more than dust. For being dust you are pretty magnificent. God makes beautiful things out of the dust. He, in his hand, has crafted and designed something so marvelous that all of creation takes notice. He places us over the beasts and the birds and gives us charge over creation. With such an amazing calling to be more, why do we see ourselves as something so insignificant? God gives each of us talents, who are we to measure those talents with the worlds system of worth. 1 Corinthians 13 talks to this very matter but not in the way most view it. God says we have all these remarkable things that we can walk in, but the greatest of these things is Love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.


I would challenge you to think a little deeper.

Value is measured most importantly by who loves you. Do you know who loves you? Do you know that an infinite Creator has placed you upon his heart?

If you do not trust this to be true, than you will never truly feel valued.  

Secondly: If you do not do, what you do, out of love, it has no Value.

If you want your gifts, abilities, talents, strengths, purpose and calling to be of any value whatsoever, you have to operate out of the greatest of these gifts; Love.

I have a new friend, she is an ordinary woman with an ordinary set of skills. But with one small act of kindness and friendship, she has impacted my life. Without love our words are useless our actions are pointless, and our purpose is meaningless. But when we walk in the truth and light of God’s love for us and others, we make a huge difference!

God is revealing his Love, He is empowering His people and He is pouring out giftedness in people’s lives in new ways. He sees a generation that is seeking His heart, a generation that knows His voice and a generation who will see His face.

We are dust, and with a little bit of God’s creative love we became so much more. Our skills seem like dust to us but with the empowerment of love, our skills do extraordinary things and bring extraordinary people into our lives. Today, let God set his standard of worth in your hearts and let him use your ordinary for the extraordinary.


Father, we thank you that you have such a giving heart, that you love us so much and that you desire for us to see our worth and potential. We thank you that it is nothing we have done on our own but that you have placed within us a compatibility with love, that as we grow in love our gifts grow, and our lives have meaning. Thank you that you do not leave us nor forsake us to figure it all out on our own but that it is a relationship of intimacy and of growing love between you and your children that draws our gifts out. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for your Love. Amen.




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Less is More

     Have you ever seen a child put on layers of clothes? Instead of taking off the old ones first they just put another layer on top of the old. Or when they get ready to play in the snow, those oversized snow clothes seem a bit ill-fitted when they are already wearing layers of heavy clothing underneath. To watch a child try to run or play is almost amusing due to the many layers of clothing hindering movement.
     Keep that image in your head children of God because when you go out and try to spiritually dress yourselves for the day in clothing appropriate for what will come. Ask yourself If you have limited movement and feel no freedom as you go about your day. If we want to be able to go out and accomplish the mighty works of God we need to dress appropriately but often we try to keep the restricting clothing of our past and of this world underneath the new clothes that God has given us.
     I saw a disturbing bunch of pictures called “The People of Walmart” on the internet. Most of the pictures are of people who either have little understanding of how ill fitted their clothes are or how very silly they look. How we dress at Walmart may not be as important in the scheme of things as how we dress for other things but it gave me a glimpse into how important it is for us to clothe ourselves for the day ahead. For example: Your child is in cardiac arrest and the paramedic is wearing a clown costume and has a child’s toy medic bag, would you allow that paramedic to work on your child? Another example would be if you went to the dentist and the man claiming to be the best dentist in town had nasty yellow and black teeth, some rotted, some crooked and falling out, and a few missing teeth. A man claiming to care about dental care who has obvious gum disease plaguing his mouth. Would you allow this man to be your dentist?
     I’m not addressing the prideful idea of self  image, I am addressing the idea that as Christians we seldom dress the part spiritually of someone who even understands the name we represent. We have old habits and life styles from our past that don’t fit well with the new life we have in Christ.
     As a child grows up we have to replace the old clothes. How silly if we just left them on and covered them up with new clothes. But so many of us are living this way. We try to cover up our “bitterness” with a garment of “grace”, or we try to cover up our past “fear” with a covering of “Love”. How very silly we must look, telling others to love when we ourselves are just dressing the part. Have you ever wanted to be more genuine? I have found myself literally yelling at my children to love each other or to be nice or to stop yelling! I think to myself I am so not the right person for the job all too often. I used to keep a clicker in my mind of how many days I had left to become the mom I wanted to be before I damaged my poor children beyond repair. Part of it was that I was looking at my new clothes on the outside, but I could feel the scratchy wool of the old garments underneath.  
     Sometimes we feel like we are back at the beginning when we finally have that melt down moment when the heat gets to us and we find ourselves undressing and see the old garments. Good news people!! God knew this was part of our struggle and he has a way for us to be free.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
     Such Good news for all the layers we get to lay down, how light and freeing! One of my favorite verses is about God giving us his yoke, for it is light and easy to bare. His banner over us is love! On those days we don’t understand why God would have us dragging around so much baggage we have to ask ourselves if it is his baggage we are carrying or just layers of clothing that up to this point we couldn’t bare to part with.
     Are we ready to stop dressing ourselves in our old clothes, leaving on that layer of old desires and worn out dreams of selfish pursuit? Are we ready to lay down the liar, and the thief, the bitter, fear plagued mess that can find no rest, no joy and no peace because the old garments are still clinging closely to our bodies as we try to dress ourselves in the righteousness of God?
Psalm 30:11
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy"
     We need our sackcloth removed! But a word of caution, after we have undressed, we need to put something on so that we are not naked. Sometimes we try to wear it all, sometimes we wear the old garments, sometimes we are naked, but God wants us to be clothed in his garments.
     God has many garments for us to put on, Garments of praise and thanksgiving (Psalms), garments of strength and dignity (Proverbs), Garments of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness and Self Control (Galatians), Garments of Warfare (Ephesians). He has given us a full wardrobe, but to walk in the fullness we must take off the sackcloth.
     This week a spirit of bitterness came over me and tried to clothe me in its apparel. I knew something was off because I was so irritable. I had made myself vulnerable and before I knew it I wasn’t even wearing it under my clothes, like a bad spray on tan it was all I could do to get rid of it. I was completely covered in it until I had some very amazing friends lay hands on me and pray over me. Instantly a heaviness was lifted and spirit of peace fell over me like a blanket. I can’t explain it any other way than to say that this world is full of ill-fitting clothing manufactured with the intent of holding us down and keeping us back from God's love. But God has created us so uniquely that he has said those clothes will never fit. They will only ever be a poor imitation at best of what he wants to clothe us in.  First of all He wants to cover us with his love and it was so important that he did this by covering us in the blood of his Son. He used the wool of his most precious lamb to clothe our nakedness. In response to that we can not carry around all these layers of sin and shame, toil and torment, destruction and despair. It's time to let God strip down the layers and clothe us in his garments.
     Lord Remove our sackcloth, remove the filth of the enemy and the emptiness of this world. Completely clothe us in your righteousness and give us your garments. That we would be dressed in your likeness Oh Lord, that we would radiate the beauty of our king. We want to carry ourselves in such a way that we can move in great power to free the captives and experience the great joys of walking in the light. Thank you precious father for these intimate, tailor made robes. Wrap us in the love that you intend for us to walk in. All my heart rejoices and marvels at your gracious and giving heart. I love you so much. Amen.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Be Still Part 2 (Hope Chest)

Be Still Part 2 (Hope Chest)

     As I sat before the Lord in Silence, He showed me a Treasure Chest. I would go to the chest and open it up and each time there were new gifts inside. One day before I went about my daily chores I opened the chest and inside was a hat, I heard a voice say “This hat is grace. You will need it today.” That day I especially needed his grace. Later that night I opened it again and in it was a night hat and slippers, I heard a voice say, “This is rest and peace. You will need it tonight.” Every time I went to the chest a new and beautiful gift (that I had no way of manufacturing) appeared.  I opened the chest again and inside was a single piece of paper and a quill. I heard a voice say, “I have something important for you to write today.” Another time I opened it and inside was a book of many promises, and love letters, from God.” I kept coming back almost expecting my luck to run out and find it empty but the promise he spoke was that as often as I would choose to come to him in silence with a pure and contrite spirit, he would continue to give gifts. Some days I sat in my corner of self pity, wondering why God did not show up, in that self-absorbed party that I was throwing myself I had no patience whatsoever for my children and lashed out in anger and then drowned myself in self-loathing, but it could have looked different. I could have been prepared by sitting in silence before the one who literally wanted to dress me for the day ahead. Maybe that day the chest would have had a picture with the scribbles of my daughter and the words I love you, to remind me that I need to love her even when she is throwing a fit, or maybe it would have been a necklace with the words “treasured” written in diamonds to keep in mind that I am a treasure to my king. I don’t know what I am going to need, but night and day God knows us and he wants us to live a plentiful, fulfilling life.
     Does our treasure chest sit in the dark corner of an attic collecting dust? Have we never opened even once? Our lives get so busy and we run out the door before we can even blink or think another thought. I can tell you what would have been in my chest today had I stopped to take the time to care. We were in such a hurry today that as we got to school it was quite apparent that my daughter had forgotten her backpack and lunch causing a whole bunch of events to unfold. I think if we had taken a few moments this morning to get fully dressed (inside and out) our day would have looked a whole lot different. What I feel God was really speaking to me in this eventful day was that we can leave the house without our jacket and although we are not completely naked, we are then very unprepared and vulnerable to the elements. I very often walk out the door without my spiritual clothing, I am not naked but I am living in the carnal part of me, very unprepared to handle what may come my way spiritually. It is so important that we stop and be still before God if we want the fullness. You can go about your day living it the way you want to but chances are you will be settling for a mediocre life if you do. If your being longs for more than what you are currently functioning in, it’s time to allow God to work in your life.
     I found a tasty bit in my bible today as I word studied “Be Still” In Exodus 14:14 Moses is speaking to the frightened Israelites right before God parts the Red Sea, He says “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” How many times do we fight for or with ourselves when we could have just gone to God and allowed a little stillness to come over us while we watch God deliver or bless us? I am so amazed at his goodness! And now I know that we all have a special treasure each day waiting for us if we just come and rest in him. I will call it my Hope Chest. But instead of relics from the past it will hold promises for the future.
     Sometimes the lies of the enemy have us all the way back in the garden looking at one piece of fruit, while he whispers lies in our ear about how God is not good. But that is a lie!! God is good all the time, It is in his very nature! We have a whole garden full of good. How much differently would that scene have gone if Eve had said, “I know my God, and he is good, he has given us all the fruit except this one, I will not take what is not mine and I will ask him about this fruit that belongs to him, to settle the matter.” When we don’t act out of selfish self-entitlement and we go to God with the things that we do not understand, he can give us deeper insight into his love. When the enemy has cast doubt, fear and pride into our minds we must go to God. He can put the enemy in his place; out of our garden! The enemy wants us to believe that God is not good, that we deserve things we don’t and that we can do things on our own that we can’t do without God. But God wants to show us the truth of his goodness, give us gifts of his love, and walk through our joys and trials because we need him through it all.
     In the garden after Adam and Eve had sinned, they heard God coming and hid. They heard him? They knew the difference between the sound of his walk and the sound of an animal; they knew the sound of him coming. The silence required to hear God coming is something I have lacked. I need to start being still before God so that I can learn the sound of his steps, the sound of his voice, the sound of his whisper. I need to be still to recognize the sound of my savior. How sad to know God’s heart so intimately and yet be deceived by the enemy as to doubt his goodness. Adam and Eve were for the first time naked (without the gifts in God's hope chest), so THEY clothed themselves in garments of their own making. So often we recognize our nakedness but try to cloth ourselves rather than allowing God to clothe us. God did not allow them to be clothed in their own garments and sacrificed an animal, (something that had never been done before as the animals were God's special creation as well) God used the skins of the animals for clothing for Adam and Eve. This was a symbol of the sacrifice of the cross, that one day God would give the greatest sacrifice for us so that we could be clothed in righteousness and restored into his kingdom. Now that we recognize our nakedness we need to come before God and ask for his coverings.
1 Peter 3:4  New Living Translation (NLT)
4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
    Isaiah 43 Talks about putting on the garments of praise in exchange for mourning. We need to start dressing appropriately for the days ahead and God desires to give us everything we need if we will only come to him and Be Still.
     Lord as I quiet myself before you, I ask you to clothe me with your righteousness. I ask that as I come into the stillness that you are in, that you would open my eyes to your heart and to your ways. Thank you for you gifts, they are beautiful and my heart is so grateful for your blessings. In the secret, in the quiet place, in the stillness you are there. And so I come into this place and ask for more of these intimate sweet moments. Amen


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Be Still: Part I


I so often forget, or purposefully overlook one of the most beautiful gifts God has given us; Rest. 

The words “Be still and know that I am God,” echo in my mind as I sit and ponder the tasty fruit God has placed before me today. The message at church today was that he leads us beside the still waters and restores our soul. It was such a timely word, for as of late, I really feel as though auto pilot has taken over. My life is just so insane right now with Cam being gone for work and now this missions trip he is on, and when he gets back he is taking his Masters and then more work. It is just this never ending, ongoing busy life that neither one of us ever remembered signing up for. My world on the other hand is Diapers and Dora the Explorer but no less busy as I try to juggle house, and home. I just feel lost some days, Auto pilot, cruise control, Zombie mommy. I Miss Cameron but I am afraid to talk about it or even think about it. And then in a total unexpected turn of events, my house nearly caught on fire today as I was trying to implement this rest idea. Cambell (5yr) decided to move the applebutter simmering on the stove and put a pizza box there, so that he could help dish it up. I ran down stairs just in time to put the box in the sink and put out the fire! The smoke alarms are (new in the box) in the dungeon (the room for forgetting things… Don’t ask, just another 5 million things to add to the “when daddy gets home list.”) Thankfully, burnt cardboard smells really awful and my nose became the fire alarm.

So again I found myself putting rest on hold. No I didn’t think “Being Still” was going to be easy. In fact it will be harder for me to do that than almost anything. Like the poor widow in the bible who gave from a place of real sacrifice, I feel as though “Quiet Time” is often an extravagant show of my love. I live beside a raging waterfall of the endless needs of others, so the thought of going downstream to still waters sounds very good to me. It is just so loud here that I don’t exactly know how to get there. I feel alone in this struggle and yet I know I am no different from a lot of other women or men who are just wondering how to find the “Stillness”.

The Old Testament story of Elijah and the whisper, always kind of rubbed me the wrong way to be honest. It is a Sunday school classic of how God wants us to quiet ourselves. But often we take what God was trying to say and turn it into church curriculum rather than just looking at truth he reveals of his amazing personality. The scene is that Elijah has fled because his life has been threatened. Forty some days of wandering (in a desert) have passed since he fled and now asleep in a cave on a mountain he is awoken by God.

The Lord Appears to Elijah

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”                            

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”                                                                                                                                           

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.                                                   

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Time and time again it is taught that this verse means you must wait for the storm to pass and for the silence to hear God, but pay attention! God had already spoke to Elijah, in fact he asked him a question that after forty days of wandering you would hope someone would know the answer to. “What are you doing here?” What I see is this:

First. God cares about where we are both physically and spiritually. His first recorded question to Adam and Eve after they had sinned and were hiding from God in the garden was about where they were. Being still before God has to do with the placement of our heart as much as the placement of our feet. He wants to be present in our life.

Second, the storm was not where God was. Elijah had done and seen it all, from the glorious moments of God’s almighty miraculous hand of power to the evil works of the dominions of Hell. The high and lows of Elijah’s life were unlike anything I have ever seen or gone through and here God is showing him a hurricane like twister, an earthquake and a fire. So basically Elijah is on Mount Doom as it is Erupting! God is not in the storm but he is not absent from Elijah while he endures it. Then comes a whisper so powerful that Elijah is forced to cover his head. As he listens God asks the same question as before. “What are you doing here?” Sometimes we do have the choice to leave our storm, we can turn off the noise of the TV, the cell phone, the aps and all the other stuff that we use as dysfunctional and unsatisfying forms of rest. In this day and age of modern short cuts, like fast food, light at the flip of a switch, running water and grocery stores we should have more time than ever to sit and be still before God, and yet we fill it with noise and rushing waterfalls. I have four kids and yet I still have time to get lost in Candy Crush and Pinterest for more hours than I care to admit.  Sometimes we need to ask what God spoke to Elijah, "What are we doing here?"


Other storms are a little less moveable by human means but the truth is that my God is more powerful than any storm and his gentle whisper is loud enough to be heard even after the most tumultuous storms of life. At the sound of his voice what will we encounter? And what will we choose to do with what he has spoken to us?


Many Years after this encounter between God and Elijah another miraculous encounter happened. On a boat in the midst of a great storm a group of men called out to a Savior. And Jesus calmly spoke, be still, and waters were calm before him.

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Are we fleeing from our fears, wandering a dessert and climbing a mountain just to hear God’s voice? Are we in a boat bailing out buckets of water and throwing all of our labor overboard to survive a storm all the while asking Jesus why he doesn’t care? Or do we sleep in the front of the boat, awake and call out “Quiet! Be still” to the storms. I don’t get to choose my storms, but I do get to choose how they affect my peace in this life. I will decide whether I fear, panic, doubt and let the storm consume me, or if I will stand and wait for the whisper that is all I need to remind me of the mighty power of the God that I serve. God is not the devastating storms in our life, and when he asks me, just like he asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” I am going to say, “I am here “In your hand” to do your will.”


I have so many storms, and so few quiet opportunities, but God showed me that on that mountain of every known natural disaster known to man, Elijah wasn’t responsible for quieting the storms. God was. We need to know that God can whisper louder than any storm.  Whether our life is calm and quiet or bombarded by storm after storm, We can hear Him. And if the storms are raging too violently to keep calm, ask him to quiet the storm. He calms the waters, and He brings the moments needed for intimate rest. Psalm 23 Says, HE LEADS ME, beside still waters. He leads, I just need to follow.


Father I pray that as I learn to follow your leading that all the storms will be calmed, and even in those moments where all seems lost that I will remember who you are and what you have spoken over me. Help me Lord to be still. I have a history of noise and motion and need a future filled with quiet and still. You can calm the raging water, so you can calm my wild heart. I love you Lord and ask for you to lead me to those still waters. I don't want you to have to ask me where I am or Why I am anywhere, because I want to be where you are!