Day 6 ~ Walking With God ~ I Smile With Him

Tuesday. It’s one of my favorite days.

The alarm goes off at 4:30am. I steal away into the dark morning, first of several hot cups in hand. I greet five girlfriends at the local ice cream / coffee shop. We opt for coffee rather than ice cream. With French Vanilla please and thank you. And we will take oodles of that conversation you advertise. We only have an hour before they are off to work or back home to gather their chicks and get them off to school. IMG_3239

It’s their thirst for the Living Word that draws them to sacrifice sleep, to leave the warm comfort of home in the dark. I smile with God.

Jesus [John 6:35] is to the Believer as ice cream is to the pallet. As music is to the ears. As a sunset is to the eyes.

Jesus is delicious. Amen.

And the fact that I get the honor of serving the Gift, of praying for them, over them and their families, feeding them the Bread of Life ~ it lays me low. I’m completely humbled by the joy of that precious hour.  Often I feel astonished that they keep coming back. But delighted because I know it’s not for me. It’s because of the power of the Living Word to guide and heal and Set. Us. Free.

After they leave, I flip open my laptop – for free internet. [If you live in the ‘sticks’ and have a dish on your roof, you understand…does anyone else have to “purchase tokens” five days before the billing cycle ends?]

Many locals gather at Ellie’s every Tuesday morning, though not as early as our group. Most of them, I’m guessing, are over 70. As I work on my laptop, they walk past and most of them say “Good morning!” and ask what I’m doing, or sometimes I’ll hear a tale of days gone by. Several of them comment on my lengthy time on the computer. :) Because they “never found any need for it.” I smile with God

Sometimes I pause and listen to their light-hearted banter in the background. I smile with God, and get back to work.

Lately I find myself thinking of the process of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [okay, I’ll just say it . . . aging] I really never gave it a thought before that day I realized I was. Aging I mean. I guess I was in denial or too busy to notice. Seriously. And then from my parked Jeep, I watched an old man walk across the street one day, his feet heavy, slow, small-labored steps gaining him just a few feet, but I noticed that he had accepted it. He seemed at peace with his pace. IMG_5478

Lord Jesus, help me be content with whatever you allow in my life!

That day I realized that the road ahead was . . . something I’d need to reconcile with and perhaps at some point, take more slowly.

So I pay attention now. [I’d be ashamed, if not for grace, that I didn’t much before.] They have become more precious  to me because of my time at Ellie’s. I love their respect, their humor, and their attention.

But even so, when I look at my own reflection , the changes don’t illicit the same fond feelings. But I do feel God smile, and I find comfort in that. He will be with me through it all. Whatever is ahead.

His grace is sufficient, 2 Corinthians 12:9

His power is made perfect in weakness.

He’s smiling at me just as I would with my children if they were feeling resistant to change.

Do you Friend? 

Do you smile with God?

Email Subscribers: Everything Is Grace by Matt Maher

Day 5 ~ Walking With God ~ Hearing My Daddy’s Voice

His voice, I’ll never forget it.

Raspy. Perhaps it was a vocal strain – I feel it in my own voice. Talking takes energy for me and I’m guessing it did for him too. I see him take a deep breath before he talks.

I hear him as he plunges the tin grain scoop into the metal cart, heavy with grain as he rolled it down the isle between two rows of black and white furry faces, instructing me on the number of scoops to give each cow.

I walk beside him; he’s carrying a metal pail filled with snow-white ground limestone, he demonstrates scooping lime by handfuls and broadcasting it over the concrete floors where we spent morning and evenings. Like gravel, it crunched under our shoes as we carried the milking machines from one cow to the next.

Rowing the duck boat through thick weeds with him, his voice comes from behind me, gently instructing me on where and how to place the paddle in the water. How to safely store the gun until we arrived at our destination. Then how to aim and shoot if I saw a duck fly overhead. I don’t recall ever actually hitting a duck, but his voice carried in it an anticipation I was very familiar with, seeing his ‘student’ succeed meant as much to him as getting his own trophy. He let me take the shot he might have taken. IMG_5450

Loving fathers sacrifice for their children.

Going out with him to fix a fence the cows had pushed through, “Hand me another staple Bean.” I dug out another one from the five gallon bucket sitting at my feet, scrounging through random hardware that farmers save, but have no time to sort. He pulled the barbed wire tight and hammered in the staple he’d just taken from my hand. barn picture

“Now the Lord said to Abraham, “Go . . .”  . . . so Abraham went.” Genesis 12:1-4

I doubt God just showed up out of the blue that day. I’m guessing there was an ongoing relationship already in place to a certain extent. If a random stranger said, “Come with me, we are going to fix that fence.” I might be inclined to tell him to go fix his own fence.

“Teach us to pray Jesus.”

“Start like this: “Our Father who art in Heaven . . . “ Matthew 6:9

I began to hear my Heavenly Father’s voice as a child. [Do you recall it?]

I heard Him when my mom read Bible stories to me. “I Am The Author of Wisdom.”
I heard Him when I was faced with decisions of integrity. [I didn’t say I always listened…]
I heard Him when I struggled with relationships. “I’m with you.”

When I sang Christmas Carols and Hymns. “Good Christian Friends Rejoice . . .”
When I smelled my Dad’s aftershave when he readied for church. Old Spice
When I saw my parents laugh together. Or when they fought and I cried and she noticed.
When Mom turned chokecherries into jelly.
When I worked with my parents. “Honor your father and mother.”
When people were mean to someone I loved. “Love one another, love comes from God.”
When my mom baked a dozen loaves of bread and let us have some fresh from the oven with large doses of butter. “I am the Bread of Life” [okay, I didn’t hear Him say that, but now I know how yummy He is…!]

I heard His Spirit whisper to mine. I heard His words. I sensed His nearness. I knew I had a Father in Heaven. [Do you remember knowing?]

“See her there? She needs a friend.” He instructs me to mentor. His voice barely discerned, it’s more like a nudge than a voice.

“Send her a text, she is struggling.”  He guides me to encourage someone.

“Start a Bible study outside of your church. Go out into the community.”  Heather comes to mind. I intend to ask her. A year or more later, I ask and we gather women in a restaurant for STUCK. He leads me in the plan He has for me. Ephesians 2:10

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4

It’s like I said before, I learn a lot about my Heavenly Father through considering my relationship with my dad.

And I’m learning that we often make our relationship with God more complicated that it is.

God is our Father who walks with us and talks with us. He assures, comforts, guides, provides, leads, teaches, holds, and lavishes us with love and good gifts.

The more I know God as my Father, the more readily I trust Him, and the more I enjoy the journey.

For Day 1 & 2: Walking With God
For Day 3: Walking With God ~ He Hears
For Day 4: Walking With God ~ On Sunday


Day 3 ~ Walking With God  ~ He Hears 

  I love the Lord, because He hears

My voice and my supplications.

Because He has inclined His ear to me,

Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. 

Psalm 116: 1-2

Yesterday I heard Him remind me to remember. 

When I call to mind the ways He has cared for me, the ways he has answered my prayers, my faith soars.

No wonder our enemy wants us to lock our gaze on our circumstances.

“Look at that mountain in your way! You’ll never be able to get past it.”

“Look at that barren land! Your dead womb, your lack of finances, your dead relationship, your inability…”

“Just look at that desert, those giants, that big Red Sea!” 

As Dale and I set out to hunt for houses today, I’m carrying this reminder with me. To remember how God has always brought us to a place suitable for us. A place where we flourished in His will.

Even so, I felt my heart sinking around four hours in, and fifteen or so “drive-bys”

We are crossing the river into a leap in housing prices and a reduction of space as well as financial limitations.

I feel things. I feel claustrophobic in areas with close-together houses and junky yards. Though we were not in neighborhoods like that today, still I felt squeezed by the search and imagining life in more confined places.

God heard my cries for help and showed up in my husband insisting on lunch at Green Mill. I thought we needed to grab a roast beef at Arby’s and eat on the journey.

He got a little “fatherly” with me, “I think you need to just chill and let’s sit down together and talk!” 

Well, I don’t need a lot of convincing to dine out. :)

As we were seated, the smell of chlorine from the adjoining hotel threatened to nauseate me, so I requested being moved outside where it was just a bit too chilly for most-but the fireplace was blazing, we got our jackets out of the truck and had the entire outdoor patio to ourselves.

It was delightful.


And I “chilled!”

I have favorite verses that I often pray boldly for others, but sometimes fail to claim them for myself.

And even so, even when I forget to remember, the goodness and mercy of God chases after me and reminds me that He perfects that which concerns me. Psalm 23:6; Psalm 138:8 He gives me the desires of my heart and works all things for my good. Psalm 37:4; Romans 8:28

We didn’t find a suitable house today.

We pegged 27 possibilities and drove by them. It wasn’t as fun as it has been in the past, but we returned to our temporary home with our hope firmly fixed in God’s perfect timing, leading, and provision.

Because we remember how He has cared for us in the past.

We are resting on His unfailing love and faithfulness. He has a plan and we believe He is good.

Days 1&2: Walking With God [or running or tripping as the case may be]

Thirty One Days of Walking With God [or running or tripping as the case may be]

So, there is this “Write For 31 Days” blogging thing that happens every October. I’ve watched from afar over the past several years. IMG_5410

Many of my friends join in.

Like Jacque Watkins – you don’t want to miss her 31 Days of What You Should Know Before An Affair – and you will love her podcast (shameless plug!) Mudstories!

My daughter is doing “Write 31 Days” for the second year at her blog The Creative Jayne.

And I’ve considered it.

Since my best writing seems to come out of pain . . . I resist a strong urge to ‘be a writer.’ [although I am a writer because I write-but you know what I mean…]

The desire lurks in the background of my heart since my first “article” was published in the Forest Lake Times. I was in fourth grade. :)

I wrote about a little girl getting a doll for Christmas.

Original, I know.

My mom raved about it. AND anything my mom raved about has become an interest in my life. So there’s that. #BlameMom :)

Since I’ve been thinking of it for a whole two days and it is October 2nd already, I figured there is no time like the present, and better late than never!

Since I’m naturally a rule-follower, I can’t skip yesterday. So now you get two days in one.

Free of charge. :)

October 1st:
My mini pumpkins looked puckered as I passed by on the way out the door to meet friends for breakfast in town. “They could NOT have frozen!” I thought. But upon inspection, found them to be squishy on the bottom. I paid money for them, and now they are ‘dead’. IMG_5188 This is the ‘before’ picture. I can’t take an after because I promptly sent them sailing into the woods for deer food. And watched them smash to smithereens. 

“Really God? It’s too early for frost on the pumpkins!” 

I didn’t hear Him say so, but I’m guessing He thought differently.

I did feel Him smile with me though. 

I ordered a bagel with butter and an egg over hard. Three friends + one sister = lots of laughter. Lanni had eye surgery on one eye. Which made us laugh when she had to hold one eye closed and her phone a mere 2″ from her ‘old’ eye to see.  And there may have been a few jokes about aging.

My sister was caught with her phone -notably often- to search out whoever came into conversation that she didn’t know.

“Is she always a Facebook Stalker?!!” Becky, who had just met my sister asked.

“She’s researching.” I said. [Note: We were talking about our children . . . or a few other relatives like Jaci Valasquez – because her aunt sat next to me having eggs and hash-browns.]

“Thank you God, for friends and laughter, and relatives . . . and friends . . . and time with my sister and friends!”

Then I switched restaurants to meet my friend Holly. She’s in the midst of a major project which I was finally going to get a chance to help with, but  we snuck in a half hour away from the chaos for her-sanity mocha. Then we were off to her newly acquired old house which she is renovating to be her ballet studio. [She reported during ‘mocha time’ that God had been providing in AMAZING ways for this extremely low-budget project-which I hope to be able to tell you about in the future!!!] IMG_5361 I prayed for the project her parents are working on in this photo-making two rooms into one large one, and for Karar Academy IMG_5362 These are the benches in the dressing room in process.

After painting a table, we got a little giant ladder to hoist onto the stairs, and I finished the high wall above the stairway before I left for a quick visit with my daughter-in-law and Mr. Adorable. It had been TWO whole weeks since seeing them!!!

He’s saying “Mama” and “Da-da” now. And “Uh-OH!” when something falls to the ground.  IMG_5257         I had to show you that. For obvious reasons. :)

October 2:
Briefly ~ I know you are busy!

Daily I start out with God in ‘my little corner’ on a love seat in my living room. Most often I spend  2-4 hours reading, praying, and occasionally I create graphics to go with what the Lord speaks to me about.  I text people God puts on my heart or who I’ve prayed for and then I browse social media to encourage friends and get my news. I sometimes turn on the TODAY show at 7:00 and pray for the top stories.

I get my inspiration for graphics while reading the Bible, or the words of Oswald Chambers of Charles H. Spurgeon in my little corner.

This morning we had our MOPS steering team meeting where we solidified the plan for next week’s MOPS meeting.

And then . . . [I’ve been waiting for this all summer!!!] I got to go horseback riding with my friend Wendy who is employed at the local camp and houses the horses at home through the winter. Today they were ‘going home’ and so it was our last chance to ride.

And it was a HEAVENLY day which had me all kinds of praising the Lord who gives and gives and gives – not the least of which are these rich friendships that I get to celebrate.

FALL!!! How I love a crisp 60* sunny, colorful day!  IMG_5372 (1) Wendy, getting Diesel ready. My horse Barbie is behind. IMG_5384 IMG_5397 IMG_5400 I’m a dork and wore my running holster on my arm so I’d have my phone with me. I had three layers on today. A plaid shirt, a wool sweater and my jean jacket.  IMG_5403

Barbie would NOT stay still for a photo. This is as good as it got.

Upon returning home I paid bills – YAHOO!!! I thanked God for His constant provision. He is a Promise KEEPER!!! 

And then just as the sun was shimmering on the lake outside my window, I decided to trade in my planned grocery shopping excursion for a phone call on the deck to my North Carolina friend Renee who had texted of her rare availability.

In over an hour, we caught up on blessings, challenges, and family before ending the call with prayer over one another.  Her words were balm as she prayed about my recent necessary UProoting. God had already told me this morning “Remember my past works” and without her knowing it, she prayed that very word, “remember.”

And that is really the point of this series topic. I am praying that together we can see God more clearly in our every day lives. That we can celebrate the daily moments and remember them more readily in the future because we’ve taken note of them. Praying that my daily journey might inspire you to make note somewhere of yours. Perhaps in a journal at the end of a day . . . or a week.

I’ve begun using these hashtags on Instagram. If you want to gather your memories of walking with God, join me by using the hashtags: #SeekHim #ListenToHim #LoveHim #KnowHim #WalkingWithGod

There Will Be Days Like These: A Necessary UP-rooting

Days like Saturday I’d rather not repeat. Days when I wake up and plant my foot on the floor next to my bed expecting the cloud from the night before to be gone; lifted by an adequate night’s rest. But three steps to the door, I realize – it isn’t. The dense cloud of sorrow, frustration, and limitation-linger.

The imposing heaviness, when you awaken with it . . .  actually seems to increase due to the fact that it is STILL there!

Why can’t I just turn off my emotions?!! 

IMG_5316 IMG_5311 (1) It’s as if I have the will, but not the power.

I’m facing another loss.
[You don’t like loss either?]

Time and again we suffer it.

Loss of someTHING, or worse, SOMEONE. And following any loss there comes the processing of emotions . . . sorrow, anger, disbelief.

Like you, I’ve had my share.
Losing loved ones.
Leaving a career.
Losing money.
Leaving a town.
Losing a house.
Leaving a season.
Losing a tooth. [I didn’t grieve that one, but I feared it]

In June, I thought I had reached some imagined limit to loss – like God wouldn’t have anything more to ask me to give up – at least for now – after we sold our farm, emptied our nest, and closed my business, I lost a tooth [hey, it was my first surgery!], and . . .  the shock of losing my Dad, then a year later, in August – we lost Theodore.
And that happened on the heels of finding out we were going to have to move.


It was like a punch in the gut.
In my mind, in this house, I was planted.

We’d been mapping out plans for an addition in the future, building a garden shed, planting grass and perennials. I’d been dreaming of events with family and friends. I even had a secret dream of building a little writing cabin below the hill to offer for retreats . . .

I am not at liberty to share the details of why or how this happened, but I will tell you that it is totally out of my personal control-I am not a factor in the change of circumstances, but more a passenger on this train.

But I want to talk about how I’ve had to fight bitterness that threatens to lodge in my soul over this loss because I live here in the midst of it, finding my ‘former dream-mode mindset’ to be an enemy of my emotions.

And how I’m winning this battle-with the exception of yesterday morning- because God is my Father.

[The strategy that has worked in the past when I’ve been tempted to feel sorry for myself, the strategy of considering and praying for families in Kenya who are forced to live in slums, or those in China that have to live confined with several other families in tiny apartments helped a little, but it hasn’t given me total freedom from my pain.]

Because somehow, for some reason I discovered in this battle, I had put my roots in this earth more deeply than in our previous homes. Even though it’s only been 16 months.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been working hard for half-a-century and I just wanted to be done. I am tired of moving. Maybe that’s it.

Maybe it’s because we have had so many wonderful memories here. FullSizeRender (13)
FullSizeRender (17) FullSizeRender (16) FullSizeRender (15) FullSizeRender (14)
Maybe it has a lot to do with the lake view that has lifted my soul a thousand times with joy.

And the stone fireplace reminding me of the stones my parents used to build the retaining walls I was so fond of in my childhood home.

Perhaps this outdoor office where the presence of God was tangible in the quiet, the breeze and the sun’s reflection on the water . . .

IMG_5313 And likely the struggle has something to do with our current perceived limitations. I say perceived because, I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I so often forget to factor God into the equation. Or the promised testing of my faith intended by Him to prove the genuineness of it. [1 Peter 4:12]

So yesterday morning, with the weight of the loss threatening to implode my heart, [which may or may not be a bit pathetic] I texted my 70+ year-old mentor an S.O.S. “Will you please pray for me!?!!”

And she called me, listened and prayed.

I needed to be heard. I needed perspective. Someone else’s. And I needed someone to pray for me since my own prayers were limited by my skewed emotions. I needed encouragement. And a reminder of the TRUTH. [2 Corinthians 5:7] IMG_5321

VICTORY is my word for 2015. I knew when I heard the Lord impress it on my heart that it meant ‘battle’. There is no victory without a fight, right?

The greatest battle I fight is the one in my soul. And I have had some “bloody ones.” [at least it felt like a blade slashed at my heart!]

I’m being trained in battle. [1 Peter 2:11] Maybe you are too. I’m learning that to walk in victory requires others to join me in my battle. We are in this thing TOGETHER. [Hebrews 10:24-25]

I’m being reminded that my roots should not go down into earth, but extend upward into Heaven. [Hebrews 11:13-16]

It requires an intentional shift in perspective – Eyes OFF of the circumstances and ON to God. And often, as my mentor reminded me, we need to just rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus. “Get behind me Satan, you don’t have in mind the things of God, but the things of man.” [Matthew 16:23] and restate your claim. “I’m a child of God.”

The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the Giver of all good things . .   If I weep, let it be as a woman who is longing for her Home . . .

Yes, this world is not my home, so my roots need to be UPward. I am a citizen of Heaven, an ambassador on earth just passin’ through. [1 Peter 2:11] I must remember. I must “go” where He chooses, go where He sends me.

Lord, grant me a willing heart to sustain me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Seeing Stars? Songs Of Hope

Musicians are genius.

Few words, immense impact. I admit, I fight coveting their gift.

There are two songs playing on repeat here (I told you about one already.) With minimal words, they summarize our desperation as humans and the ultimate hope we have only in God.

“Sitting in the rubble, I can see the stars . . . ” The Unmaking by Nichole Nordeman

fireworks1 “I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground . . .” Touch The Sky by Hillsong United rainbow1

When we are down, we have two choices.
Stay down, or look up. “Who will help me?”
[In my life, downs have turned out to be a gift from God]

Face upward, we see light, glory, hope . . . 

In true life, the way up is down. Matthew 20:26
[if you are an email subscriber, click over to the blog for live-linked scripture references]

He stooped down to make me great. Psalm 18:35NIV

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6NLT

It’s been fifty years since my lungs first took in air, and the teaching of time’s impact is greater than that of words. But as time and experience teach us that life is a continuous circle of fractures and rebuilds, words become richer. Understanding greater. Life more restful – yes, even in the rubble.

As I look back, there isn’t one single year that has been rubble-free.
Nor has there been one where I haven’t sought to be free of rubble.

And there hasn’t been a year that I haven’t needed to assume the posture. Knees hit the ground. Though I haven’t always done so . . .

And always this promise of God, I’d have worn out if it were possible: Romans 8:28 [He works ALL things for good for those who love Him.]

God bless the broken road that led me straight to you . . . Broken Road by Rascal Flatts [bonus song :)] IMG_5457

Jesus, Son of God came as a lamb in a barn. He descended into our ‘rubble.’
He stayed long enough to show us God, to fill up on our pain, then take it with Him up a hill to be crucified.

And after burying it with Him, He resurrected to take us up with Him
[He turns us-the rubble rousers into His stars] Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:14

We must look up that hill to find deliverance.  John 12:32

Sin dies. We live.


This is resurrection power.
Resurrection only happens on the other side of death.

We all die many deaths on the way to Heaven. I think it helps to know this-to remember it when you are sitting in your rubble.

Broken? Sorrowful? Lonely? Discouraged? Fearful? Sit here and listen, look up to the Hill from where your help comes. Read Psalm 121

And after you have suffered a little while, He Himself will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
And then go strengthen your fellow sojourners. Luke 22:32

How can I pray for you this week? Leave a comment or private message me on Facebook and I will lift you up.

What Is Flipping

D and I flipped a house.

My sister teaches girls and boys to flip.

Soon we will flip the calendar to September.

image (44)

And I’m thinking a lot right now about how Jesus flips. And how His flipping is always for good. Whether flipping hard or flipping happy.  And how hard usually precedes happy. Matthew 21:12-13, Psalm 30:11

Yesterday I read  4 Really Good Money Questions, and my heart began to do some hard flipping.

This morning I read a story about a rich guy who hoarded all his wealth and ended up in hell. He was wishing for a flipping. But it was too late for him.

The beggar named Lazarus, who had agonized in hunger, pain and humiliation at the door of the stingy-rich man, had gone to heaven.

When the now-impoverished rich man who was burning-up in hell saw forever-wealthy Lazarus free in heaven,

. . . he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ Luke 16:24

I notice the rich man has no name known to Heaven. He probably never gave Jesus a thought as busy as he was – devouring grace on earth.

Look at Abraham’s response,

 ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ Luke 16:25-26

You can read the whole story here. It is amazing that the man in hell is humbled enough to ask Abraham a favor, and that he appears to have compassion on his still-living relatives.

I began to assess my life in the light of my wealth, and I realized that in some ways it more resembles the rich man than I’d have admitted yesterday when I swiped my card at the grocery store. I’m floored, like face-down on the floor at the awareness of my self-indulgence.

Two days ago I purchased a $4. coffee without batting an eye. I swipe the card not thinking of denying myself something in my cart so I can give to another. I fly on a plane to a conference, fill my car with gas, go to Target and come home with non-essentials on a regular basis. – I know those things are not bad, many are necessary, but the fact that I don’t think more about the balance of my purchases with my giving – that is the part that I am being heavily convicted about this morning. I’ve become thoughtless regarding my spending.

Today, the Holy Spirit hit “refresh” on these words of Jesus as He flips my heart today:

The first will be last and the last will be first. Matthew 19:30
If you want to keep your life you must lose it. Matthew 16:25
If you want to be great you must be a servant. Matthew 20:26

And my consolation – every day I need this consolation, this is nothing new. My consolation is that by Jesus’ blood, I go free another day. He flips my sin. I’m washed free of my sin of self-indulgence of yesterday. 1 John 1:9

And my salvation – every day I need this salvation, this is nothing new. My salvation is the power of the Holy Spirit in me to enable me to walk free of this self-indulgence. He flips my desires. To deny myself, to take up my cross and follow Jesus in selfless living. Romans 8:12-14

This song keeps resounding in the background of my head today . . . What Have We Become by D.C. Talk

The one in the palace was imprisoned by his riches and impoverished eternally.
The one impoverished on earth, was eternally free and wealthy. 

O God, I beg two favors from you;

let me have them before I die.

First, help me never to tell a lie.

Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!

Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.

For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?”

And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Proverbs 30:7-9


My Anchor Holds When I Can’t Get A Grip

You can sit on the rugged rocks on the North Shore of Lake Superior, like God made you a captain’s chair. Their flat surface, a safe support for spectators.

You get a front row seat to magnificence. The thunderous crash of waves against the rocks below tells of monumental power as their mist descends. Waves receding back to their original reservoir of steel, cold waters.

The day we chose to go up was still. The sound I hear is memories of past trips. But there is no escaping the immensity of Lake Superior even when its waters are quiet.

IMG_4562 IMG_4563 IMG_4567 IMG_4582 IMG_4598 Life is fragile.

I feel small here. Small is how I felt during the nine days prior to losing Theodore. Our fifth grandson was born too early to survive outside of his mother’s womb last Tuesday.

Humans, we are. Small. And powerless to change one single thing – if the mother’s body is laboring.

We got a crash-course on pre-term labor. We learned that administering the drug to stop it is only a buying-of-time before it becomes a danger for the baby. It doesn’t really stop, it only suspends. It was a two day reprieve, a little bit of rest – with hope.

We found that out when the drug wore off, the body resumes its course.

The waves and breakers washed over us. Psalm 42:7  We only had two choices in weathering the storm. Trusting . . . or another way.  IMG_4641

Our son and his beautiful bride named their second-born son, Theodore, “gift of God”.
A tiny boy, perfectly formed, but not yet developed enough to take a breath outside the water.

How earnestly we cried out to God. How we grabbed hold of His promises and pleaded for the waves to cease. And all the while, we wrestled against our own desire to be in control. To demand His will match ours.

We chose  within our cries to be at peace with whatever the outcome, because we trust Him who alone has the right to choose.

How we’d hoped labor would stop and Theo could be with us here.
Just two more weeks they said, and he could go to a preemie unit where they would place him in a womb without water.
But God said, “I want Theodore Here.”

And we cried.
“Lord, not my will but yours . . .”
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Four days had passed and we wanted to be near the large lake, to remind ourselves of the God who forms and holds all things together. Colossians 1:17
The rhythm of massive waves not unlike the beat of a tiny heart as heard in a hospital monitor.

Our God chisels [Isaiah 51:1] forms and destines [Psalm 139:16] and imparts life [John 11:25] IMG_4644 IMG_4645

And so, with Job we say it, “. . .  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”     Job 1:21

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Until we meet again Theodore . . .

Fighting For Justice In A Chaotic World #Together

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34


I began noticing in scripture several months ago, that whenever I saw the word “justice” it was partnered with “righteousness” and upon reflection, I understood that the two words must marry in order for our pursuit of justice to flourish.

There will be no true justice without righteousness. Psalm 89:14, Psalm 97:2, Psalm 85:10

The truth of the matter is, we will have no justice without Jesus, who has become our Righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30

The chaos of now is only a slight taste of eternity without Jesus. And if you are on social media, you have an inkling of how painful it is to be seeing, even experiencing the constant conflict of opinion and many of us are weighted by a deep inner groaning.

How will we ever overcome the chaos?

Fighting for justice is good, but it’s only half the battle.

True Justice needs a Righteous Foundation, but we don’t hear many people calling us to “fight for righteousness!”

Righteousness is father and justice is mother. Together they have peaceful children.

God has been so merciful to US as a Nation. I believe that we are still the most blessed nation on earth, but we will also be the most accountable nation at the judgement. You read that right. [To whom much is given, much is required. Luke 12:48]

I landed on these words of Jesus last week where He said, [I’m paraphrasing] “Woe, woe, woe to you cities who don’t pay attention to My Words!” and I had a fresh revelation as He spoke to cities. I considered who he was talking to and I realized that I am personally responsible for my city, as my works will be tested at the judgement. [At the very least, I should be praying!]

The pressing questions for us are, “How do we live in this day of disorder? And how will we reestablish a foundation of righteousness so our world can have peace?” 

I believe the answer can only come one of two ways leading to One place, Jesus. Either by one heart at a time turning the throne over to Jesus,  or by many hearts at one time as the result of a mighty move of the Holy Spirit among us ushering in another Great Awakening.

Read this quote about the first Great Awakening from a history student, Sarah Valkenburgh

In all these Protestant cultures during the middle decades of the eighteenth century, a new Age of Faith rose to counter the currents of the Age of Enlightenment, to reaffirm the view that being truly religious meant trusting the heart rather than the head, prizing feeling more than thinking, and relying on biblical revelation rather than human reason”.

So, you who have been made righteous through Jesus, and have His Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you. The Spirit who hovered over the waters at Creation. What part might you play in bringing healing and peace to our world?

  • Will you press in to love God more by digging deeper in His word?
  • Will you believe and submit to the authority of His word?
  • Will you pray more faithfully than ever before?
  • Will you honor God by discipling your children and others in His word?
  • Will you bless the city you live in by your prayers and testify of God’s goodness?
  • Will you bless the businesses that serve you by offering to pray for their proprietors?
  • Will you bring the light into darkened conversations by communicating truth in grace?
  • Will you mentor someone who is following your season of life?
  • Will you pray for your governing authorities, police officers, schools, teachers, pastors?
  • Will you join the Outcry?

On the National Day of Prayer this past May, before the UNITE event put on by PULSEMOVEMENT, I prayed in one of the suites on the mezzanine level of the arena with a group of about 10 people before the event began. We prayed that God would bring the truth of our need for restoration of righteousness to our land. Here is part of what happened after we prayed that prayer. I hope you can watch  Francis Chan’s message given at the Mariucci Arena on the U of M campus. [email subscribers will need to click over to the blog] Our answer to prayer come through, and specifically beginning at minute 6.