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Category Archives: God’s Love

Didn’t see that coming…

We have lots of trains around here.

I’m not a fan of waiting on trains.

I do everything I can to avoid them. In fact Sometimes I drive out of my way to make sure I don’t have to sit and wait. My theory is …At least I’m moving!

But sometimes I get right up to a track and the light starts blinking and the arms go down and there I sit stuck waiting on that train.

I didn’t see it coming.

And if I am intent on getting somewhere it makes me crazy. I try to occupy my thoughts so I don’t focus on the inconvenience that is currently traveling at an all too slow of speed in front of my vehicle.

Trains aren’t the only things that I don’t see coming. At times I am completely taken off guard by other circumstances in my life and it’s not that easy to just “occupy” my thoughts as I wait for the inconvenience to pass. Sometimes the intensity of the situation


and I am left with a large question mark…

What now?

I didn’t see that coming.

And all the what if’s and why now’s come marching in a parade blowing their horns. There is no candy in this parade. No sweet drippings. Only loud noises and confusing messages.

So I look up to my papa and say, “Is there room on your lap for me? I’m scared. And I don’t like these loud noises. ”

And he always says, “Yes come… Come sit, I will give you rest. Wait here while I  make all things new”.

And sometimes the thing that makes us tremble the most becomes the exact thing he uses to build something new in us.

The things that hit us out of the blue are never out of his control.

I am believing this today.

“Be still” when all is crashing in.

“Be still” When the waters rise.

“Be still” When the noise is more than you can stand.

Be still and know that I am God“. ps 46:10


Friends…Who are yours?

I love people.

I do. I love them in a box I love them with some sox. 

I love the way they make me laugh. I love them if they take a bath… 🙂

I know we are all made different.

Some people only like to have a small circle of friends. Others delight in large groups. People of various personalities and beliefs. All sizes, colors and ages.

I have tried to instill the concept of being friendly to all in my children. Not that we are on top of our game all the time. Some weekends I just like to crash with my little family and lock the world out. I think we need that too.

But the idea that I would only have 2 friends in the world seems a bit restrictive to me. So I always encourage my kids to play with many kids on the playground, not just the same one every day. You never know who might need you…and you’ve gained a new friend.

But is there a downside to friends?

Are you vulnerable with your friends or do you keep all your inner secrets to yourself? Do you have certain friends that you know are only around for what you can give them?

Who do you trust?

What about when the friends you thought you could trust aren’t loyal to you? What about when the money runs out and they decide they don’t really want to hang with you anymore? What about friends who believe the bad report someone else gives them about you and they no longer call? Or perhaps even spread the news along.

What do you do with that?

It hurts doesn’t it? And sometimes it’s easy for us to take that pain and spew it out all around and over everyone we see. Even if others are not interested. They hear us rant about our horrible friends.

What about when your friends disappoint you ?

When they don’t come through in your crisis?

Maybe in your mind you tally up how many times you were there for them and of course they should return that favor. Of course they of all people better step up when you need them most.

And then they don’t. And you wonder if they really care about you at all.

Have you ever heard this… “You really know who your  friends are in times like this”.

Or maybe this…  “They were my friends, and they call themselves Christian, but they haven’t been very Christian to me “.

What do you think of comments like that?

What does a “Christian” look like?

They are followers of Christ right? So we try to follow what he did right?

I go back to how Jesus  treated  his friends.

He had many friends. Jesus knew everyone he saw. And I believe most of them had heard of him as well.

But He picked a group of close friends to be in his inner circle. He asked them to follow him and learn from him. So he has these guys who live with him. They saw him in his down times and in his upfront ministry…when he’s teaching and working miracles. They had constant access to their friend who is also the Messiah.

But when Jesus needed them most…When he could’ve used a friend…. Judas betrayed him. Peter swore he didn’t know him. And the others disappeared.

Could Jesus have said… “Well I certainly  know who my friends are in times like this”?

But instead what did he do?

He said, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they do.”

Do you think you could do that?

The thing is… If I say I’m a Christ follower it doesn’t matter what other people do. I am accountable to him for the way I followed. And sometimes we have to repent that we haven’t followed him at all. Instead we have chosen a fleshly response that looks no different from what we may be accusing our friend of.

Sometimes my kids fight. I know.. we’re unusual… but I see one of them whacking the daylights out of the other and I say “Hey, Hey.. quit hitting”.  Invariably the child responds… “well he hit me first”. Justification that he has the right to hit back harder because he was not the initiator of the fight.

Doesn’t it simplify our lives to simply acknowledge, “yes, that was hurtful, but I was forgiven, how can I withhold forgiveness? Even if they didn’t ask for it.”

I’m not talking about reconciliation. We could not be reconciled to the Father without first coming and confessing our sins and accepting Jesus as the payment for us.

The same is true for us. We cannot be reconciled to some relationships unless both are willing to confess the sins we commit against each other. Sometimes Trust is completely destroyed and it would not be wise for us to enter into such a close relationship with that friend again.

Judas could not grasp that he could ever be forgiven and he destroyed himself.

But Jesus used Peter to build his church.

That betraying, cussing, no good friend of his, was used to bring about God’s great plan for the message to go out to all ends of the earth.

Could we consider how we cast stones at other friends who aren’t always so gracious to us? Could we stop for a moment and the next time we hear that phrase…”well you really know who your friends are in these times”…. and simply say, “Father forgive them… they just don’t know.”

Could it be that God is actually teaching us how to forgive in those moments? Maybe it’s about us relying more fully on Jesus to be the friend that no one else could ever fill. It is never God’s will that we sin against each other but perhaps God is using that experience to draw you in.

I am convinced that as I walk the path he walked and learn to die to my self daily I am happier.

Not a self gratifying happy. But a happy in my soul. A happy that I can be free to love when I haven’t been shown love. A Happy because I am forgiven.  And in turn I can forgive my friends.  Even when they disappoint me.

How about it? 

If we are truly following him…. How will we respond differently when our friends mistreat us?

Calling all Nobodies

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You know what I think?
I think most of us have something inside that cheers for the underdog.

I mean really who cares if a famous person has a child that grows up and becomes famous? We expect that. A king’s son is the one who will take the throne. A famous singer will have a child with the name behind him and what do ya know…they too get the spotlight and record deals.
But what about an average, hard-working person who has no background, no money, no power… when over night they become a success we cheer and all talk about how exciting this is.
It’s all over the news.
Who doesn’t like a cinderella story?
My favorite movies and books almost without exception take a nobody and turn them into a somebody.

The stories I read in the Bible that hold that kind of fascination for me are David and Esther. Average people like Moses and Abraham. Women like Ruth and Mary. It’s the disciples that he called…. Matthew and Mark, Peter and John.
Not people of royal birth… just people like you and I.
And yet he called them to do great things. And we still talk about them today.

Jason and I were at a pastors conference in Texas a couple of years back. It was a small conference of about 50 – 75 couples but there were some “big” name speakers at the conference. People like Howard Hendricks and the president of Moody, Michael Easley.
We had dinner one evening seated at a table with 2 other couples. One pastor and his wife were from a church in Dallas.They were very nice but quite soon after we started getting acquainted I made a discovery. This was a young man who had high aspiration of climbing the church rank and status ladder. He wanted to know what church we were from and how many attended. After realizing we couldn’t do much for his aspirations I felt his attentions were no longer on our conversation as he started looking over our heads like he was straining to see the “big dogs”. He appeared to be looking for the somebody in the room. People that could make his own dreams come true.

I think God strains to look for the nobodies in the room.
Without exception he personally calls each of us to follow him. Both People of royal and pauper positions.
But when Jesus walked the earth it was people like Peter, the fisherman,  who he called by name.
And the children were the ones he held and said we must be like. He didn’t tell us to try to be like the important teachers but the little children.
The nobodies.
The powerless.

People who find no self-esteem from our name, position, wealth or rank.

Rather people who find their esteem only in knowing him.
I think that’s why he called David, the shepherd boy, and claimed he had a heart like his Father’s.
David did not see himself as mighty king and so try to make it happen. He saw himself as the shepherd who cared for his father’s flock. Routing out the lions and bears. Keeping the little flock safe.
I believe that’s why God esteemed him.
Because he did not esteem himself.

And in the process God took that little boy and made him king.
Turning his name from a nobody into a somebody.

God always does that.
If we let him.
He takes average normal( and sometimes abnormal :p ) people and makes them royal.
If you esteem him he esteems you as royalty.
Oh my.
That is some kind of story.
I think it’s the kind that should make the front page.
You are his and that makes you on the most amazing list of somebodies you’ll ever find.
We don’t have to look for it.
He’s already got that covered.
Instead accept it

 and spread the news that he’s looking for more nobodies to add to His wedding feast!

Weekend reflections

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I had several inspirations this weekend.
One was a book I read… ” Heaven is for real”. It’s a true story of a little boy who seems to have encountered a heavenly experience. What was especially touching to me was his description of Jesus. He repeated numerous times how much Jesus loves us. His eyes are full of kindness. He loves us so much.
I don’t know about you but when I think of good motivation I am much more inclined to be motivated by a God who loves me then a God who watches to make sure I never mess up.
When I think of a Jesus who is overflowing with love for me it causes me to NOT want to hurt him. And it also makes me want to spend time with him. Who doesn’t want to be with someone who loves them fully? And accepts us for who we are?
But when I think of a rules and condemnation Jesus I worry that I won’t ever do it good enough and it makes me nervous to be too close to someone like that. I’m afraid to move or not move. And I don’t typically run to be in relationships with people like this.
When we start with a wrong perception of our Maker we will undoubtably lose touch with him on a personal level. How then do we keep a strong vibrant relationship with God? How do we live our lives so that when we reach heaven we will know him and he us?

Yesterday in Sunday School our teacher gave us several ideas of how to keep every minute of our lives devoted to Jesus.
As he started giving out different thoughts on daily disciplines of reading scripture one idea caught my attention.
Read 2 chapters from the OT and 1 from the NT And one Psalm every morning.
Well I’ve been reading out of Kings so I just continued that but added 1 NT chapter as well.
But this is what really peaked my interest. Out of those chapters ask God to give you 1 verse or phrase that you meditate on throughout the day.
I liked that idea because it gives me a consistent method. I don’t know about you but when I was growing up I didn’t really fix my bed at all. It remained unmade most of the time. Sometimes when I cleaned my smelly teen room it would get fixed but it wasn’t a routine and therefore I never realized how good it felt to crawl into my made bed at night.
When I was getting ready to marry at the tender age of 22 my mother gave me a little piece of wisdom. “Never have a messy bedroom. Even if the rest of the house is chaotic make sure your bedroom is a haven.” Well, that has stuck with me and when I got into the routine of fixing my bed every morning it drives me crazy to have it unmade now. If I walk into my room with my bed messed up I quickly fix it again.
I think that’s what a consistent patterns does for us. We feel like somethings missing when we don’t continue following the pattern.
So thinking about one verse today is what I’m doing…
And my phrase today is “Jesus heal me if you want to…and Jesus said.. I want to, be healed“.
I love that Jesus responded with I want to. And then he went ahead and healed the leaper.

I am thinking of some people that I know that need some physical healing and others who need emotional healing. I am praying for some of my friends that feel like mental healing is what they need. And I’m thinking of others who need healing in their marriages and family relationships. I know you Jesus are the great healer. I ask if you are willing…bring healing to your children. Thank you for your amazing love that flows from your throne and fills our hearts.

Do you have a method you use to walk daily in the word? What helps you to stay close to the Jesus who loves you?

Even the winds and waves…

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I have become very uninterested in TV viewing for the most part over the past few years.

I found I was becoming so discouraged….so I just stopped watching.

We love our DVR and anything we want to watch usually gets recorded for viewing at a conveinient time.

Well in my lack of TV consumption the large catastrophic tornadoes that have hit the US in the last month have missed my attention. So I had to watch some clips online to understand the devastation. I didn’t watch because they bring encouragement but rather empathy for the poor, poor families that have undergone such tragedy!

My heart aches for the many losses.

This morning I awoke early from a dream. I was crying. In my dreaming I had gotten everything stolen from my van. Which included my purse and my camera with my 2 sd cards that held over 3000 pictures. I didn’t care so much about the wallet all though I knew it would be a pain to replace but the camera and pictures I knew could not be. I had such an empty feeling as I woke. My emotions were heavy.

And then I awoke so glad to realize it was just a dream. But I instantly thought of all the people who have been affected  in some way by the storms in the past weeks and I thought of all they had lost. Some precious memories that will never be replaced, others homes and cars and places to work. And finally others have lost their family members.

And my heart breaks as I think of their tremendous loss.

I think God cares about it too.

Do you remember the story of Jesus in the boat?

His disciples were in the middle of the biggest storm of their life. They were trained on the sea. They had spent years as fishermen. They knew that the storm they were in could kill them. And they were scared out of their ever lovin skin.

And Jesus slept.

It must have felt like he wasn’t really getting the picture.

What was he doing?

Why didn’t he use this moment to step in and save them?

Did he care?

Was he punishing them?

They were completely out of control of their environment! Rockin’ on the boat without land in sight.

But Jesus knew that the sound of his voice would make the wind be still.

And that’s what makes him different than you and I.

He knows the wind and rain.

He is in charge of the direction the wind blows and how much or little the rain falls.

He wasn’t punishing the disciples…they were with Jesus.

He was with them.

And as they cried out to him he stopped the wind and rain.

But what about when he doesn’t stop it?

What about the people who cried out this past week and Jesus seemed to continue sleeping?

Those are hard questions. Ones I can’t answer.

But I don’t think it’s punishment nor do I think he sleeps.

He watches every hair on our head. He knows when the sparrow falls and he knows when my toe gets stubbed.

So you better believe he is very awake when his children face storms.

Yes he is very awake.

And he is right in the boat with us…speaking peace.

Peace…fall into my arms when your world falls apart.

Peace…Give me a chance to bring you clarity in your storm.

Peace…Be still and know that I AM God.

He is.

And while a storm is so huge and furious that it can rip apart a city in 20 minutes is hard for me to understand…

I can rest knowing that if that happens here to my house and neighbors he is still in charge and the winds still have to submit to him.

I want to have a calm assurance that no matter what the storm looks like today. …

Jesus is in the boat!

I love him for that!

If God is for me…Why does it feel like he is against me?

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Have you ever asked God…”Why do you hate me?”

I have.

There have been times when I wondered if I had done something to make God really angry with me. Angry enough that he would make everything in my life miserable.

I mean we can talk all day long about his mercy and kindness and love….but sometimes it doesn’t feel like he loves us.

When 10 bad things happen all in row we may ask what we did to deserve such contempt. We wonder.

We might not even know that we’ve done anything at all but it sure feels like God is against us.

And we hear the preacher tell us nice things about God and read blogs and listen to people who tell us how good he is and we wonder why we aren’t experiencing God like that.

Maybe if we were better or had a godly title then he would be good to us too. Maybe everyone is just fibing to us…if they would just be real they would admit that they too think God is fickle. He would like to pound us and if we aren’t careful that’s exactly what he will do.

But maybe it’s like this…I wonder if God is so for us that sometimes it feels like he is opposing us.

I tell my kids all the time…. I am for you! That’s why I’m asking this of you. I want you to be the best you can be so we need to take care of this issue. Sometimes it’s not even because they have done anything that needs correction. Sometimes we ask them to do something to help them grow in responsibility. Or we ask them to wait to stretch them in patience.  Maybe we don’t give them everything they ask for because we know it’s not good for them. It’s because we want them to be all they were called to be. We hope they will be responsible citizens of heaven and earth. We ask things of them to help them grow up.

It’s because he is for me….

Romans 8:31….If God is for us, who can be against us?

that sometimes I feel like he is against me.

 I Peter 4:5…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Is He For me?


Does that mean he doesn’t need to correct me?

Or that I don’t need to grow up?


As long as I breathe on this planet I will need to grow. He is preparing me for another life. The life to come. And so while I should be making strides in the growing up direction I have not yet arrived.

So…I will need to have lessons all along the way.

And if I look at those lessons thinking God hates me  I will become hard and bitter.

God’s word will no longer mean anything to me…because his word is only for those he loves…and I am obviously not one.

I become a victim and victims always need someone to blame. So I turn away from the very one who could heal me and give me all I need.

In Judges after Joshua had led the children of Israel into their promised inheritance, the next generation grows up and forsakes the God of their fathers. Judges 2 says that the Lord’s hand was against his people. He had promised them that if they worshiped other gods he would be against them. Then it says…He raised up judges(or leaders) who saved them out of the hands of their enemies. And they still didn’t listen. Because God had compassion on them he continued to raise up leaders and the people refused to give up their ugly ways. So God finally decided to turn them over to other nations to test Israel and see if they would obey his commands.

God continued to fight for his people even when they refused to recognize him. He can’t seem to get their attention so he measures out  different methods of discipline.

He is for them.

If we are his he is for us!

Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

I would dare say my kids don’t always feel like I am for them. Especially after I have issued out correction  to them.

But I love them like Crazy!

And if I, in my imperfect love, know what they need how can I ever doubt that the perfect love of the Father knows exactly what I need. He will go to great lengths to bring us back to himself.

I think maybe his opposition is the very thing that can bring me back.

It is the very thing that I need for growth and maturity.

It’s painful. And I’m not gonna say I love it.

But I need it.

He is for us!

Why can’t I hear you- Part 3

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If we have taken care of sin in the camp and we have been faithful to inquire of our Father but we still can’t hear….what should we do?

There are certainly times that we know our hearts are clean but the way ahead looks foggy and unclear. We have no certain direction for the future. We may only be able to see enough for today. And maybe that’s even a struggle. So we cry out… “show us the way”.  But God seems silent.

I wonder if the silence gives us the urgency to press in harder and be more vigilant about hearing him correctly. And sometimes God says wait I am not ready to move yet….so we stand at attention….Waiting.

Is waiting as hard for you as it is me?

O my goodness! When I’m waiting in line behind that person who forgot to bring the tag along with the item….or they have a question that requires the clerk to look through her flyer…and the light pops on for additional help and a phone call is made….and I wait….while others check out in the lanes beside me. It’s all I can do to stay calm without even one eye roll.(that may or may not be visible)

It all seems so trivial as I type because really what’s 30 extra minutes? But at the time it seems like 300 years….and it’s always stretching. I do think I am getting a little bit better at waiting. Sometimes I try to think of other things or distract myself with magazines or browsing the web on my phone. And that usually works but it’s when I’m trying to get out of that store to the next thing I have scheduled that makes me get a little crazy.

And so it is when I am waiting on God to open a door. When I have no agenda but simply to do what he has asked me to do and lay down what he asks me to lay down I am able to rest and smile in the middle of the wait. I can faithfully do the right thing.

Simply saying… “Okay God, I know you’re in control and if this isn’t moving as fast as I think it should….I know you have a different plan. If this is moving me in a completely different direction than I had dreamed….I see it as your hand and even though I don’t understand it, I am moving with you. Bring me a new dream.  And God, if this is the way you want to be glorified in me than no matter what you bring me I want you, more than my own agenda…even if it costs me my life.”

One of the many things I’m struck with is how God gives specific directions for each battle the Israelites faced. He didn’t tell them ahead of time what the next 30 years would look like. He gave them specifics for the day. The last chapters of Joshua God is silent. He allows the Israelites rest from battle. He brings them to a land, gives them their inheritance and lets them rest.
They had been reminded through a theophany (a physical manifestation of God) for years back in the desert. He had led them with a pillar of fire. He had spoken directly to their leader..Now God hasn’t been as visible to the Israelites, But that doesn’t mean he isn’t very involved with them. He is still right there with them.

Joshua exhorts the people in the final chapters… “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses(their only Bible) without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them.  You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast(or CLING) to the Lord your God, as you have until now.”23:6-8

God speaks to us through his Word. And God speaks to us through those who teach us His Truth.
Sometimes we are looking for a voice like we were sitting across the table from him. But most times God speaks to us through his Written Word and Through those who teach us his Word. 

Joshua was telling the people the Truth of the Word God had already spoken. God’s truth doesn’t change. Not from month to month, year to year or century to century. His truth remains the same. We can be sure we are following God if we are following his truth… “not turning aside to the right or to the left”.

I love what Joshua reminds them of…. “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” 23:9 -11

GOD FIGHTS FOR YOU! That is so powerful! God is fighting for his own. He may not be speaking in a loud physical voice but if you are walking in his paths and loving him with your heart and soul… he is Fighting for you! Doesn’t that give you confidence?! He is with you!

Joshua finally says my very favorite part of the passage…this is So good!

He says “Now I am about to go the way of the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord you God gave has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But….just as every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. if you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.” Joshua 23:14-15

Joshua was reminding them of the faithfulness of God…He has fulfilled EVERY promise!! And then he’s encouraging them “don’t be unfaithful to God”. God is Justice and he will bring about your sure destruction.

That’s the healthy fear of God that we need to embrace. He will be faithful when we love and obey him but he will withdraw his blessing if we turn away from him.

God is still faithful to us today. He loves us and fights for us. He is Mighty to save his people!

My encouragement for you today is this… To hear God’s voice go to his Word. Seek him. Ask him to speak his revealed word to you. What is he saying? Check it with people you trust who also seek God’s face.
He may just say walk faithfully in my commands…just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t turn away from me. Stay close, in fact, Cling to me. I will show you the way for today.
Sometimes he says, “Today is the day. I will do something new. Hang on to me…this ride is gonna be bumpy.”
And Other times he simply says…”Take your inheritance. Rest in the land I have brought you to. Be faithful to me in the land…Don’t forget me. I will not forget you.”

Father, You are a good and gracious God. You have faithfully led us never forgetting your promises! May we love you more and more each day. Give us a Love for your law. Give us a love for obedience. May we have clear hearing and unveiled eyes to be willing to walk into a new thing if you call us to that. We are your humble servants. We love you and want you near. Thank you for teaching us your ways!
Open our eyes to be fully seeing. Open our ears to hear your voice! We will move when we hear you speak. We wait for you.