Monday, December 03, 2012

Words Matter...

Predictive text on my phone usually drives me crazy.  It's always "predicting" things that are no where on my radar!  Today something happened in predictive text that has happened to me before, but today the word caused me start thinking about the word it chose instead of the word I was typing.

Now that you are totally confused....!  I was typing the word praying into a text message and predictive text popped up the word orating.  While the obvious first conclusion is that I can't spell, or more accurately I am beginning to have trouble seeing the letters :-) it was really strange to me that the word orating was the word that it chose.  And, I have noticed that every time I typed the word praying wrong, the word orating comes up.

So... I decided that since I keep seeing it, and even though I know what the word means, maybe I should look up the actual definition.

The actual definition of the word orating means to "speak pompously"!  Wow!!!  That really got me to thinking.  So, I looked up the word pray in the dictionary (also knowing what pray means) and saw the following...  too offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc. to God; to offer; to bring; to make earnest petition; crave.

That is even a bigger WOW!!  To think that the word orating comes up every time I "mistype" the word praying and yet they are such complete opposites and contrasts to each other.  And yet... How many times do we "orate" instead of pray.  There is nothing about prayer that should ever cause us to "speak pompously".  God already knows everything about us and everything we are going to say.  To "orate" our thoughts to God reminds me of the scripture in Matthew and how God warns against it.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

I find it equally interesting that in the definition of pray not only are there words like "to offer petition, praise and thanks", "to bring", but the word "crave" is also there.  Crave by definition means... to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly.  And the most interesting part of all to me is that those definitions for crave are not only what we should feel when we offer prayers to God, but those are also what God's feelings for us are! 

I do not want to be the type of "pray-er" that orates, but rather one that seeks God's wisdom in all things.  I want His ways to be my ways.  I want to look and smell like Him.  I want to have the compassion for others that He does.  I want to get out of His way and let Him work.  I want to crave Him as much as He craves me!

Lord help us all to be the type of people that move past ourselves and begin living into the passions of God;  The type of people that have the passion for loving all people more than we love ourselves; The type of people who have the ability to see others the way you see them.  And help us to realize that You are God and we are Not no matter how much we "orate" our thoughts out in public.  And most of all, help us to crave you as much as you crave us!

1 Corinthians 13 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Perspectives from 50 Something

 Well, I hit the big 5-0 last week.  And I must say, I have been dreading that number for a while.  But... it came and went and I'm still the same... at least until things start falling apart!  I realized that the most important thing about being 50 is that I have my husband, children and precious grandchild still with me on this earth.  I know for some of my dear friends that is something they long for.  I have family who loves me and I have friends (our small group) who would literally walk through fire with me.  I know they are always there no matter what life holds and I know that I can call all of them at a moments notice and KNOW they will be there!  For all of things I am extremely grateful!  And I realize extremely blessed! So because of these great blessings, I realize that 50 is just another number.

For my 50th birthday Chris and I had planned a trip to New Orleans.  We have been once before and love the history of the city and the amazing food! Initially we had planned to ride our bikes, but when they started forecasting rain, we decided we would drive. But then, Issac decided to blow in so we had to cancel our plans literally the day before we were supposed to leave.  Since we were initially supposed to ride Chris decide to just plan a spur of the moment ride away from the storm!  He said, "It may be a tough ride."  I said, "Let's do it!"  So, we began our trip Thursday, August 30th, which just happened to be my 50th birthday!

We left Dallas and headed out towards Oklahoma.  A friend had told Chris there was a good hamburger place in Meers, OK so we made that our first real destination. (It's not a bike destination if there is not food involved!) If you ever happen to be traveling that way, stop in!  You won't be disappointed!!  From there we traveled on to Dodge City, Kansas and stayed for 2 nights there.  Another worth the stop place if your passing through!  We hit the road again around 5:30 am on Saturday and headed for Colorado.  We had planned to stay in Pueblo, CO because it was on our path, but they happened to be having their state fair so everything there was booked. So we drove about 40 miles out of the way of our destination and stayed in Colorado Springs for the night.  The next morning we were up early again and traveled to Roswell Mexico and then headed home on Monday morning back to Texas.

Inside the Royal Gorge
We traveled 1905 miles, across 5 states, in 5 days! We even traveled on more than 150 miles of the historic Sante Fe Trail! And it was absolutely one of the most amazing things I have ever done!  We saw the hills and windmills of Oklahoma, we saw corn galore through Kansas and passed more manure farms than you can imagine!  We were literally holding our noses through about 15 miles or more of Kansas.  In fact one area we passed literally had a cloud that was settled over the land!  Yes... it was bad!  We saw corn fields, cantaloupe fields and chili pepper fields and the most amazing mountains I've ever seen through Colorado.  We saw the hills and mountains of New Mexico and then traveled through over 125 miles of cotton fields in Texas! 

As I said, the trip was amazing!  What was even more amazing were the things we were made aware of or reminded of while traveling through all of these places.  The insights into history and the recognitions of God were amazing .  I start spending some time with the spiritual formations minister at our church a couple of weeks ago.  Sometimes my schedule gets so crazy that I either don't have the time or I'm too exhausted to spend what I call "real time" with God. She helped me realize that the times I am closest to God are in nature, the outdoors, the smells of things around me. She challenged me to start "seeing" God in all of the things around me.  I am convinced that God caused just enough to happen with Issac to cancel our trip.  Because He had something much grander in store for me.   

It began in Oklahoma, just seeing all the hills and yes small mountains.  (I know it's Oklahoma, but they do exist!!) It continued all the way through the trip and even into the Texas heat the last day.  About 90 percent of our trip was off of the main highways!  That in and of itself was a blessing! We traveled through the farmlands of Kansas and felt like we could hear the faint calls of Auntie Em through the wind. We traveled on roads through the mountains for hundreds of miles with mountains literally every where you looked in Colorado.  Sunsets and sunrises that were incredible.  We traveled through a stretch in New Mexico called Apache Springs with incredibly flat top mountains.  You could just picture the Indians sitting all along the top ridges of those mountains. That was the one places we could not take pictures.  There was literally no place to pull over. So we just traveled in awe!  We traveled through a lot of open prairies and you could just imagine the covered wagons and horses riding across the land. There were amazing stretches of over a hundred miles at a time when we would see maybe 2 other vehicles on the road!  It was like we had stepped back in time 200 years.  Totally amazing!  

Some of the gorgeous mountains in Colorado!

The entire trip was the most surreal thing I've ever experienced. When you travel by motorcycle (at least when you take the roads that we did) you see things you would never see in a car.  You travel roads that are off the beaten path.  It's about the experience not about how fast you get there. As we traveled through the quiet mountains of Colorado and the prairies & mountains of New Mexico where those before us traveled so long ago, it was if God had given us this incredible gift!  There were no cars on the road, the wind was so tight around you it was as if God himself had His arms wrapped around you saying, "Behold, this is what I created just for you!". It was as if were traveling someplace that was private, some place sacred, that had been saved just for times such as these. God's presence was everywhere and it came at a time when I needed to be reminded that He is everywhere.  In fact there was one time when we were riding along the road and I started feeling this overwhelming awe of the gift that was all around us.  Tears began flowing down my face as I thanked God for all that is His and all that He has given to us.  
Colorado Sunrise!

We can make sure a mess of things in our busy, sometimes messed up world.  But out there, on the bikes, in the presence of the Almighty, His creations and nothing more, we were reminded... How Great Is Our God.

Yes, at now 50 something, I am blessed beyond measure and God gave me the greatest gift of all for my birthday weekend.  The incredible gift of seeing things as He created them, before we messed them up.  It was an incredible gift and an incredible trip.  One I will never forget!  Thank you Chris for coming up with it at a moments notice... and thank you God for your amazing gift.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:3-5

He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord God Almighty is his name.

Amos 4:13 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Resting in God with the "Things" Around Us

I am so very blessed to work where I do!  As you probably know, I work for Highland Oaks Church of Christ.  Every Monday we have an hour of staff spiritual formation time.  Sometimes singing, sometimes contemplating, sometimes using word pictures.... and always resting with God.  I am so thankful for Monday mornings!

Today, our spiritual formations director gave us the following scripture...

But God made the earth by his power, 
and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens.  
When he speaksin the thunder, the heavens roar with rain.  
He causes the clouds to rise over
the earth.  He sends the lightning with the rain 
and releases the wind
from his storehouses.

Jeremiah 10:12-13

We were then asked to choose something from a table.  Some of our choices were a rose, cinnamon, dirt, and a slice of a lemon.  We were ask to look at, touch, smell, maybe even taste (depending on what it was!) the thing that we chose.  We then spent time in silence with whatever "thing" we chose and reading over the scripture from Jeremiah.  We could just sit in the quiet we our thoughts, we could write, it was totally up to us.  The point was, we were free to let God take us wherever He wanted to take us during that time of quiet & rest with Him.

For some reason, I chose a slice of lemon.  I first read through the scripture several times.  And then I began to smell the lemon.  Generally, a lemon makes me makes immediately think of something sour.  But today, when I smelled that lemon while reading the passage above, I found myself at the ocean.  The lemon smelled clean and fresh.  I even in my minds eye envisioned squeezing the lemon and the mist of juice that would be created and spraying out.  It made me think of the mist coming off of the ocean.  I kept going back to the ocean.  Feeling the wind blow in my hair; breathing in the smell of clean, crisp air; feeling the mist of the water on my face.  It was an incredibly peaceful place.

As I read the scripture and thought about the storm, I again thought about the ocean. The ocean can be one of the most calming, peaceful places imaginable; but is can also be a place of raging storms, of crashing water all around.  Yet in the midst of the raging storm, a simple touch from God and the storms are still; the ocean is again calm and peaceful.  As I think about the storms in my own life, today's spirtiual formation time is so meaningful.  One minute you can be in the midst of a horrific, raging storm.  But one touch from God, maybe even through the touch or gentle word of a friend, and the waves are gently crashing into the shore, the mist is hitting your face and you are relaxed again by the calming sounds of the ocean; by the calming spirit of God.  

I wish everyone could experience what our staff experiences on Monday mornings.  There are no Monday morning blues for us.  We ended our time together today by singing the following song.

Had it not been the Lord who was on our side
Had it not been the Lord who was on our side
The anger of the enemy would have swallowed us alive
Had it not been the Lord who was on our side

Had it not been the Lord who was on our side
Had it not been the Lord who was on our side
The waters would have engulfed us, we would have surely died
Had it not been the Lord who was on our side

Blessed be the Lord who would not give us up
Blessed be the Lord for His unfailing love
The snare is broken and we have escaped
Our help is in the name of the Lord
Blessed be the Lord!

My prayer for this week is that I will remember to find God in everything around me.  And I know it can be done.  After all, I found God today in a lemon!


Friday, August 10, 2012

With a Heavy Heart...

I don't even know where to begin this post.  I just know that my heart is extremely heavy.  My heart hurts for those who are hurting and especially for those who are fighting cancer.  Cancer is one of those unexplainable things that touches so many lives.  I lost my dad to cancer when I was 12 so this particular disease has a strange place in heart.  

It is a disease that touches so many; a disease for which a cure has made great strides; a disease that seems to continually change. Quite frankly it is the disease that scares me the most.  But it is also a disease for which many are in remission and for that I praise God with all my heart. 

I have 4 friends who are battling this disease at this very moment.  And each one of them is fighting a different battle.  Each one of them is walking a journey that was not of their choosing.  But each one of them is walking though this journey with a Faith and Trust in God that is an inspiration to those around them.  

Cancer is not a fight that easily won.  It is a fight that takes everything you have and then some.  It is a fight I pray that I never have to fight.  But it is also a fight that I will choose to help those in my life fight.  While I cannot physically do much for them, I can continue to hold them up to the One who Can.  I can continue to pray prayers for strength, peace, wisdom and courage for the journey they face.  I can continue to ask God to hold them in a way that no one else can.

I know that there are many who are fighting this disease.  And I know from my own experience with my dad, it can be a lonely place.  If you know someone who is battling this disease, let them know you are thinking about them.  Let them know you are praying for them. Let them know they are not alone and that you have not forgotten about them.  It will mean more than you can know.

I know this is not a typical post.. but as I said, my heart is heavy for those in my circle and my outlet is to write.  I pray God's blessings on each of you.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

Because He is God... and i am not...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Time... It's a Curious Thing

I have found myself thinking a lot about time lately...  And in the words of Alice - from Wonderland... It gets curiouser and curiouser!

I was thinking about some events that happened earlier this year.  It seems like they were a lifetime ago... when in reality they took place only 4 months ago.  We celebrated our granddaughter's first birthday last week and I can't believe a year has already passed since her birth.  Time is one of those things you can never really wrap your mind around.  No matter how hard you try!

You may spend a year planning a vacation and it seems like it will never get here.  Then suddenly it's here and before you know it, it's over!  There are times when you are waiting in line for maybe 5 minutes in a store and we are always rushing around so much that 5 minutes seems like 5 hours. We put something in the microwave for a few minutes (or seconds!) and stand around tapping our fingers because we don't think it's heating up fast enough.

Then you have the other side of time...  Time when you are waiting for news on a job; or maybe you are waiting on the results of some tests.  Maybe you are waiting in hospital waiting room for answers.  Maybe you have been praying over something for years and you continue to wait for answers.  Maybe you are going through treatments for cancer or some other illness.  Those times in life, time can just seem to simply stand still.   

Sometimes you wish you could go back to a certain situation so you could do it over again.  Sometimes you wish time would speed by so that you can get past a particular situation.  Sometimes you wish you could go back in time to see someone you've lost, to tell them one more time how much you love them.  Sometimes you wish you could make time stand still because you are in a particularly wonderful moment.  All of us may find ourselves in any one of these circumstances at any given moment.  Time is one of those things it seems like we never have enough of; and yet at the same time, it's one of those things we seem to waste so often.

Time is one of the most valuable and precious gifts we receive and yet one of the things we squander the most.  One thing is for sure, we never know from one minute to the next how much time we truly have here on earth. We need to make the most of the time we have.  We need to remember to tell the people we love how we feel about them.  We need to let grudges go.  We need to stop saying what if and start saying what can I do. We need to stop saying someday and start saying how about now. We need to love more and judge less.  

Time is a precious, precious gift with no promises of how long it will be here...  But we can promise to use it wisely and not waste a minute of it!

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build, 
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

                     Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Monday, July 30, 2012


On my way into work this morning a guy passed me on a motorcycle who was wearing shorts and one of those thin summer casual button up shirts.  I admit, I have on occasion ridden my bike in shorts when the weather is really hot.  But my first thought when I saw this guy was "he's crazy for wearing those kind of clothes when he rides.  If he falls his skin is toast.  Literally!"  I know the reason I noticed was because of the thin type of shirt he was wearing.  But what really hit me in the next minute was that I was asking that question of him when I myself have done the same thing.

Of course, God loves to use those "moments" to "call me out" because I immediately thought, "how often do we do exactly what I just did in our own lives?".  How often do we question someone else for something they are doing when we ourselves are doing or have done the exact same thing?  How many times do we criticize someone for their actions, when in reality they could be criticizing us for the very same thing.  How many times do we think someone should be doing "more" when we ourselves are doing nothing?

Why is it, that as Christians we are sometimes so quick to point out what others are doing or not doing as the case may be; what we think is "right"?  Why do so many Christians feel the need to judge other people and their actions rather than looking inward at their own actions first?  I know that sounds like a blanket statement and I know very well that all Christians are not like that.  But sometimes, sadly, that may be the only "Christians" the world sees.

I really want to try and live my life seeing things, and more importantly people, how God sees them.  God does not judge you when He sees you... no matter what your circumstances or where you are... He only loves you.  God does not treat us the way we sometimes treat others.  He treats us better than we deserve.  He treats us All with the same grace and mercy that He wants us to show to others.

I really want people to know that I am a Jesus follower and that I want to love His people the way He loves me, unconditionally.  And quite frankly, as long as they know that about me and can see that in me, I don't really care if they know what church I "attend".... because they will know I "belong" to Jesus. It reminds me of the old song, "They Will Know We Are Christians by our Love".  If we don't love everyone... how will they know?

As I said, God calls me out in the strangest ways sometimes.  Who would have thought that me seeing someone riding a motorcycle in shorts and a thin summer shirt would lead to my "rantings" today.  :-)  Oh yah, God did!

I pray that God will always "call me out" when He sees something in me that does not look like Him!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew
a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10


Sunday, July 22, 2012


Today in worship our minister, Pat Bills, spoke on Habakkuk.  It's an old testament book, one that some people may not have heard of.  And even those of us who have heard of it, don't really choose Habakkuk when we want to read or study scripture.  But after today, I have realized that Habakkuk is a place to camp out; a place to find hope; a place to be reminded of God's promises.  

Habakkuk had lots of questions for God.  And sometimes, don't we all have lots of questions for God?  I know I do!  Habakkuk asks of God, "How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?"  Habakkuk questions God and reminds me that when I have questions for God, or I don't understand why God is silent, it's ok to question Him. It's nice to be reminded that God can take whatever questions I have for Him.  That doesn't mean that we will get answers right away, but someday they will come.  God tells Habakkuk concerning his questions... "Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."  The Message says... "If it seems slow in coming, wait.  It's on its way.  It will come right on time."  There are days when I really need to be reminded of that statement.  God's timing, is not my timing.

Pat mentioned today in his sermon how people like to use the phrase, "when one door closes another one opens".  He also mentioned that a preaching mentor added to that statement by saying, "yes, but what we don't know is, how long the hallway is in between doors"! Truer words were never spoken.  We live in a society of quick fixes, quick answers, quick service and waiting can be extremely hard at times.  Sometimes your hallway may be short; sometimes it may be so long you think it's never going to end; sometimes it may take you to a door you never thought you would have to go through and sometimes you may just collapse in the hallway because the next door just doesn't seem like it's ever going to be there.  But God reminds us in Habakkuk that no matter how long the hallway may be, we are never alone.  It's like I've said many times before, it's what we "choose to do" in the hallway that defines who we are and whose we are.  We make a choice every day of what our response will be to whatever hallways we find ourselves in. And even when the hallway seems to have no other door in sight, we choose to continue to trust and we choose to continue to wait.  Because God will not delay; and because He is God and we are not.  As Pat said today, "Faithfulness is not something that comes from us - faithfulness is what comes from God while we are waiting in the hallway." I choose to allow God to fill me with His faithfulness while I wait in the hallway!

We all have hallways in our lives.  I'm going to choose to let God lead me through my hallways no matter how long they may turn out to be!  I will wait for God's open door and until then choose to continuing walking the hallways because I know He is there with me; even if I can't see or feel Him.  I know He will give me glimpses of Himself, and He will shed light through the hallway when it's at its darkest point.  And I will continue to choose to walk the hallway because one day, the open door at the other end of the hallway will show up... right on time.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will be joyful in God my savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights."

Habakkuk 3:17-19


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rejoicing and Questioning...

Over the past couple of weeks, my family and my facebook friends have been fervently praying over the Mock family.  Their daughter Bekah who is 7 months pregnant contracted Pneumonia and consequently Acute Respiratory Disease and had to be totally sedated.  Her initial prognosis was not very good, she was extremely critical, and things were touch and go for quite some time.  Today, Praise God, she is finally awake and back to her old self!  Her lungs and heart are strong and her baby healthy!

We are rejoicing and overjoyed with the news and my heart is extremely full!  But at the same time, my heart is extremely heavy and my heart hurts deeply for other friends I know who fought those same battles with a child but did not get the same outcome; and whose journey was changed for ever and taken down a road they did not want to go.

I know that God has a purpose and plan for everything.  That God's timing is not our timing and His ways are not our ways.  I know that only He has all the answers and only He knows the reasons for why things happen the way they do... but it doesn't make it any easier to understand.

What it does do, it cause us to make a choice.  There are many times in our lives when we pray for things, pray for people, pray for circumstances.  Sometimes the answers are exactly what we prayed for... sometimes we don't understand the answers... sometimes we wait and wait for answers that still haven't come.  But regardless of what those answers are, we have a choice to make.  Are we going to trust in God no matter what, even when we don't get the answers we are searching for, or are we going to turn our backs and walk away because we think God doesn't listen anyway?

I have learned in my own life, that preparing is the most important part.  You can't prepare for the journey, for the events or actions that happen in your life, but you can prepare for how you will deal with it.  You can prepare by talking to God every day; by searching His word when things are good, (not just when they are bad) so that when trials come His words will hold you up and get you through.  You can prepare by surrounding yourself with people who can hold you up when you cannot stand.

I am thankful for a God who is bigger than I am.  I am thankful for a God who is always there even when I may not talk to Him as often as I should.  I am thankful for friends and family who stand in the gap with me and pray along side of me; especially when I have no words left to pray myself.  And it's because of all these things, that my choice will ALWAYS be... to trust in God, no matter what!

So through tears I rejoice with Bekah and her family and so many others who are receiving good news in their own circumstances; and through tears I continue to share the pain of those whose journey's took them on a different path and who are still choosing to continue to trust in God... No Matter What!

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the
shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Psalm 61:3-5


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Today after an amazing worship service, I came home and decided to pull the weeds out of our flower beds. Wow, what a daunting task that can be!! I was amazed at how many weeds had just overtaken what just last fall was full of flowers and blooms. Even the pots on my porch had tons of weeds growing in them!

I admit, once winter starts hitting, I don't do too much with my flowers. I kind of figure, what's the point? Nothing is going to last through the winter anyway. But as I continued to pull more and more and still more weeds I began to realize, if I would pull even just a few weeds each day, even through the winter, when spring gets here my flower beds & pots would be in much better shape! Especially since there were a few flowers already blooming among the weeds!

And then I realized, isn't that the way we sometimes are in our w
alk with God? We go through stages of really trying to be more intentional about our walk with God. We pray more, we read more, we praise more... we just generally put more focus on God, we are more intentional. But then we let ourselves get comfortable, or we get busy, or you fill in the blank. And before you know you it, we suddenly have lots of "weeds" that need to be pulled. What would our walk with God look like if we were more intentional about keeping "the weeds" out all year long? What if we didn't wait for special times (like Christmas or Easter for example) to read more, study more, sit in quietness with God, etc.

My guess is, if we "weeded" all year long it would profoundly change who we are! Just like my flower beds would change if I pulled the weeds all year round instead of slacking off in the winter. We all have "weeds" that pop up from ti
me to time... just like those flower beds. But, if we will take the time to take care of the weeds as soon as they start popping up instead of ignoring them hoping they will go away, it will cause us to grow more deeply and intimately with Christ. It will cause us to grow in ways that will help drown out the weeds. It will cause us to bloom more and wither less.

God wants us to keep our spiritual garden weeded so that there is room for Him to bloom in us! Now that spring is upon us, maybe it's time for some spiritual weeding as well as physical weeding. Even though God can still bloom amongst the weeds, just think of how beautiful the blooms will be if we actually do a little spiritual weeding! I say... let the weeding begin!!

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green

Psalm 92: 12-14


Monday, February 20, 2012

Time Spent in Prayer is Never Wasted Time...

I have been thinking a lot about prayer over the last few days. I think about those in my life who have had prayers answered; those who in my life who have not had prayers answered; and those in my life who like me are still waiting and wondering if God's answers will ever come.

It's easier to continue praying when you see God's hand at work. When you are with a loved one who is sick or going into surgery or you are asking for specific things to make them well and you can see God's hand moving through the situation it's easy to continue praying. It's not as easy to continue to pray when you feel like God is silent; when you are asking for specific things but the answers don't seem to be what you were praying for. It's not as easy to continue to pray when you see God's hand one moment and then the next moment you feel like he's not there.

But no matter what the outcome of prayer, it is never wasted time. God longs for us to be close to Him and there is no better way than time spent in prayer. When you are in prayer with God, when you are talking to God, crying out to God or even screaming at God... He is there. Even though at times it may seem like He is not there, that He is not listening... He is there. And while we may not get the answers we are looking for or while we wait to see what those answers will be, that time is never wasted.

God wants us to be in relationship with Him more than anything else. And there are no stipulations on that relationship. He simply wants us to come to Him. There are days when all I want to do is praise and thank God. And there are days when I simply don't understand. But I know that even if I am screaming at God for answers, He still loves me and cares about what is going on in our lives. I know that even when I'm not sure what's going on or why, there is a peace in prayer that I can not explain. There is a comfort in KNOWING that God is there. There is comfort in knowing that God has a plan... even when I can't see it yet.

So even when you think God is not listening... He is. Even when you think God doesn't care... He does. Even when you think there is no reason to pray any more... there is. Even if you have no words left and you think what is the point... there is a point. Some of the greatest times with God are spent in silence... when we have no words left and we simply sit in His presence. Sometimes it's not about the answers. Although believe me, I would like answers as much as anyone. Sometimes it's about just being with Him. Sometimes God just needs you to be still, He needs you to be with Him and He needs you to be content just to be with Him. So time spent in prayer is never wasted... no matter what we think of the outcome. Because time spent with God, even in silence, is one of life's greatest blessings.

The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Your Path

In December I got to travel to California to meet Chris on a business trip. While he was at work that Friday, I went to the beach. My plan was to sit by the ocean and read. I did sit by the ocean, but I didn't do much reading. I always plan to read, but once I'm there, the beauty of God just takes over! I was out there for over 2 hours by myself. I found myself watching the birds, watching the water, listening to the wonderful sound of the waves crashing in and then as I was laying there on the beach I became mesmerized with the sand.

The sand on the beach was cool. I love squishing my toes and feet into the sand! On this particular day, I started playing in the sand with my hands. It was cool to the touch, and it was actually kind of shiny and glistening. I noticed how many tiny and billions upon billions of grains of sand their were and thought about the scripture in Psalm 139 that says,

"How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you."

God's thought are so numerous that they outnumber the grains of sand! That is something that we cannot even comprehend! As I lay there playing in the sand, I began digging out a hole with my hands. I dug it deeper and deeper and as I dug deeper, I pushed the sand out to the sides to make the hole larger and wider. Then, I just laid back and watched the sand. Some of the sand would slide right back down the center of the path. Other parts of the sand would take a path on the outside on it's way back and still other parts of the sand would would travel down a path and be diverted by a larger piece of sand in it's path. Those pieces of sand would take a longer and travel a more difficult path, but they would still end up back in the same general place.

As I watched the sand I thought, isn't that how we are with God? God has a plan for us, a purpose, and He knows we are going to end up exactly where He intends for us to be. Some of us take the shorter path; Others of us, take the more scenic route, enjoying what life and God has to offer us along the way. Still others take a path not traveled by many. Their path is more difficult and has many more bumps and detours along the way... some by our own choosing. But by the grace of God and the plans He has for us, we still end up right where He intended for us to be.

We all traveling through life at our own pace, at our own speed, on our own journey. But we are all guided by the One who can see the whole picture! And while the picture we see, may not look like much, God is still moving us to the ultimate goal! God sees the whole picture! Praise God that His mercies are new every day!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Real Faith

I ran across the picture today and it reminded me that sometimes, and quite often most times, having real Faith means to wait, to listen, to watch for God. I think we can get so caught up in how the world operates, (express lanes, fast food, microwaves, etc.) that we forget that all things do not come quickly.

In our spiritual walk sometimes things not coming quickly can be very discouraging, it can be hard, it can even be painful. It can even cause us to lose our way if we get caught up in waiting for answers that do not come. It's hard to remember that God's timing is not our timing. It's sometimes hard to remember that God has a plan even if we can't see it yet. But sometimes real faith, means waiting. Real faith means years of tears and wondering if God is really listening. But most of all, real faith means trust. It means trusting in God even when we see no answers. It means trusting that God has a plan even if we can't see it yet. It means trusting that God's timing is perfect.

This picture reminded me of that today. It's reminds that faith is more than just belief. It's trusting, waiting and fully expecting what we pray so desperately for. It's knowing that God's timing is perfect because He is GOD and I am NOT!

but those who hope in the Lord will renew
their strength. They will soar on wings like
eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31


Sunday, January 01, 2012

A New Year

Well, it is now 2012! I have been hearing a lot over the last few days about new year's resolution, changes people are going to make, things people are going to do differently, etc. And while I think it is always good to look toward the future, I think it's also good to remember where we've been. What things or people did God bless us with is 2011? What friendships grew stronger? What love grew deeper? What challenges did God lay before us? Did God call us to do things in 2011 that we didn't think we were prepared to do? If so, did we allow Him to use us even if we didn't think we had anything offer?

These are just some of questions we could ask ourselves about 2011. I am excited about the new year and what it holds. What opportunities God will lay before me, what challenges I will face, what things I will overcome and what things I will have to praise Him for in 2012. But I am also excited to see where I've been in 2011. To be reminded of the things I've overcome, the people in my life that I love dearly, the close friends I share life with, the tremendous blessings God has filled me with in the midst of sometimes terrible storms.

God is Good... Always! And whether I am looking at what God has brought me through or looking ahead to see where He will lead me next, I know that He will always be with me. I know that I will have faith through all circumstances. I know that I never stand alone.

May God bless each of you as move into 2012. May he fill you with the warmth and comfort of His love and may you remember what He has already done for you in 2011.