What Fortune Lies Beyond The Stars

Occasionally, music swoops down and lifts my soul, twirling joy, and spilling light . . .

. . . the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  ~John 16:27 NIV

Humus. It is the root word of humility. It is also the root word of human.
Men, made of earth.
We are the lowly, ashes to ashes material. And dust to dust.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 5:3 NIV

Humble humans get heaven. The ones who know we are empty until.

One Man, not from dust, came down from Heaven.

Jesus.

We are told, and we sing it, He is the Light of the world.
Jesus, Fully God, full of the Holy Spirit, and the exact representation of God the Father.
Hebrews 1:3 NIV

A kind King. A beautiful Blesser. A radiant Redeemer. A generous Giver.

The Father, He would give His greatest Treasure to humans.

A Diamond delivered to dirt.
And dirt, surrendering becomes encapsulated in Diamond.
He Makes All Things Beautiful

To highlight His lavish love, He came encapsulated in skin. Light entered through darkness,
and came not to a Mansion, but to a manger.

To show His mercy, He chose a brutal, bloody, humiliating display of human-hatred toward His human-loving glory.

The One whose very name holds such power as to make men bristle or to make them rejoice.

The Rock of Ages.

Humans, we all return to earth, but Diamonds rise.

We can fall on the Rock humble, and rise up. Or we fall under the Rock, proud and crushed.
Matthew 21:44 NIV
That is the one decision.
Resist the Diamond or surrender.

“I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.” ~Hillsong United [Touch the Sky]

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. . . . Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. ~James 6:4, 10 NIV

When You’re On The Edge Of Your Seat

When your favorite team is in the playoffs, they’ve come up from behind and the score is tied.

The morning of your Daughter’s wedding after months of planning, and there is so much to do.

When you are waiting for the signature on the offer you made on a house.

The day you get the call-finally! The baby is coming!

That is what it’s like for me today.

Writing Contest

[THANK YOU!!!]

You have enabled me to hold on to the front page in the writing contest through the weeks since I submitted my piece. And there are still THREE DAYS left! A lot can happen in three days, so I’m here asking for your help.

I’m hoping for a stone to roll, for a door to be opened.
Will you please pray for me and for God’s will in my writing?
[Thank YOU!]

Just today I’ve noticed wider-known authors have risen up to the front page (all ten of the entries are non-fiction so in order to be “in” the judging I will need to remain on the front page)

If you have already voted, would you consider sharing this with a friend and asking them to read and vote? Click on the image on my side bar or HERE.

Gentle Reign Descend Upon The Weary Land

Gentle rains descend upon the weary land,
Soldiers served, so often died to keep men free.
Curs-ed domination veiled by evil men,
Burden of lost souls oppressed, longingly plead.

O Lord, descend upon the weary land,
For soldiers serve, die not for liberty.
Curs-ed domination veiled by evil men,
Burdened souls deprived, now eager plead.

Veil that captures darkness shrouds high eyes,
Over-seers captivated by deceit.
Fear – the death – the noose that severs life,
Hardened hearts unfree -a vile pursuit.

When You O Lord of love will have your way,
The innocence You sent to us, Redeem.
Men bound by earthly men whose hearts hold war,
Oppose You here, then there shall live no more.

May we, the grateful soul unburdened captives,
Press on in faithful service to our King.
Though men deceived believe they have dominion,
Assuredly the God of love will reign Supreme.

[I wrote this poem this morning, and have failed to find an image to satisfy what my heart sees.]

I pray you have enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend.

God BLESS all those who serve and the families who endure long waiting for their return and those who have lost loved ones on behalf of service to our country.

You Can Trust The One Who Made You ~ He Loves You

I do not know the numbers of hairs on my head.

And even if I were interested to know, I’d not consider it a worthy investment of time – not to mention a most boring and tedious endeavor which would result in absolutely no benefit whatsoever . . .

Likely you feel the same way. Especially if you have as much hair as I do. My poor hairstylist usually goes over the booked amount of time due to the amount of hair that accompanies me.

God has numbered our hairs. All of them. Luke 12:7 and Matthew 10:30 [Seriously!]

And I think this tells us so much about His love.
And a love like that speaks of His goodness and faithfulness.
Unfailing Love in the Morning

If you have ever created art,  built a business, prepped for a wedding, or remodeled your home; if you’ve raised children, invested in a project, then you understand the intricacy of your investment and how your soul intertwines with the work you’ve done.

Have you learned that no one really knows what goes into what you do unless they have done it themselves?

In shopping for my gift shop, I drove five hours down to Madison, WI. I carried with me a rolling trash can. Upon arrival, I unloaded it, carried it up a flight of steps, across a road, over a curb and into the Alliant Energy Center where I waited in line with other shop owners until the market opened.

When the doors were open, it was kind of a mad rush, waiting in lines, navigating around loaded carts and trash cans like mine, making insta-decisions with hard-earned money on what my customers would purchase.

When the trash can was full, I’d roll it back to the holding area where I was given large tags on wire to number my things. I’d add my address label to each one, [or write my name and address when I forgot the labels] and twist them on bags of potpourri, posts of birdhouses, wrought iron garden decor, etc and then go back into the fray, where I would start all over.

I’d shop for four hours or so, back the Tahoe in to the loading area, strategically load it-sometimes it took unloading and reloading to fit it all in. Then upon returning the five hour trip with a loaded Tahoe, the next day [I did sleep!] I’d unpack, remove price tags, put my own price tags on, and work the merchandise into the displays.

People always said of my shopping trips, “That must be so fun!!!”
I’d smile at them and nod, thinking, “If you only knew.”

What I invested in, I followed through on.
What you invest in, you continue to care for.

You are motivated because of your investment to maintain it, to protect it, to see that it thrives.

Our Creator is invested in us. We are His workmanship. He has numbered our hairs.

Often I marvel at how quickly my heart can default to fear upon hearing some piece of bad news, because by now I have quite a history with this faithful God of love that I’ve grown to know.

But I find that when I dwell on His attention to detail – he numbers my hairs! Matthew 10:30-31
Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowing. Matthew 10:29
And that He delights in every detail of my life. Psalm 37:23NLT
I am more prone to trust Him more readily.

 Would God have put up with us this long if He had only a limited amount of grace? If He had only a limited amount of anything, He wouldn’t be God. I shouldn’t use the word amount, because amount means “a measure” and you can’t measure God in any direction. God dwells in no dimension and can be measured in no way. Measures belong to human beings. Measures belong to the stars. ~ A. W. Tozer “The Radical Cross”

He cannot be measured, yet he measures every detail of our lives. Even the hairs on our head.
Can you now trust Him more readily too?

You Are Made For It | And You Reflect It | LOVE | The Impact Of Your Life Will Create Ripples

At thirtysomething, I was still searching for significance.  I was a wife and mother of two, homeschooling in a tiny town. My family of origin was over an hour away, and phones had plastic-coated spiral cords attached to the wall.

There was no internet, no smart phones, and many days I felt confined. 

I wondered what in the world I was here for.
The woman on the platform was shining light on our value and uniqueness.

And on God, our Master designer.

A few of us mamas had  left our little people in the care of their dads to get a spiritual recharge. We were sitting in the evening session at a weekend retreat.

My friend Lisa was sitting to my right.

As the speaker went over God’s gift list, she expounding on the gifts of teaching, giving, faith, helping, overseeing, encouraging, speaking, wisdom, discernment, etc . . .

And I was leaning in, hoping to glimpse mine. [1 Corinthians 12:8-10]

The desire for significance is universal. We all have an ache, a deep longing and I believe we are created to thirst for it. And like all of our inner longings,  it is meant to be fulfilled by our relationship with the One who’s image we bear. The Living Water.

When the speaker began to describe the gift of encouragement, Lisa leaned over to me, cupped her hand on the side of her mouth and said, “THAT one is definitely you.”

Her affirming words penetrated into the depths of my soul.

The description of encouragement was resonating with me already, and then she cemented it there with her pronouncement of what she had observed in my life.

You might say her affirmation stoked a fire in me.

I’ve been considering the significance [there’s that word!] of Lisa being with me that weekend and affirming what she saw in me. She greatly impacted my life. And there are ripple effects from that one whispered sentence. The Lord has enabled me to encourage and build up many women with confidence that He had gifted me to do so.

Your Precious Presence I mentor five high school girls on Wednesday night, and last week I took them to the flower shop to purchase flowers for the planters at church. After getting them in planted, we still had a half an hour of time, so I drove them to the beach where I got a bit camera happy.

And they were happy too! [have you noticed high school girls love “silly”?]

Together we came up with this “LOVE” on the dock. What I didn’t realize until editing the photos was the reflection in the water. And my thoughts wandered  . . .

What if one of the five were missing? Would there still be LOVE? No, it would be incomplete.

And what would happen to the reflection if even one were missing? It would be incomplete.

Do you realize, that without YOU, the world around you would be incomplete?
Do you have the freedom in your soul – by knowing and trusting the LOVE of God for you?

You can and should from time to time – celebrate the wonder of YOU. It’s okay you know, as long as you give credit where credit is due. Credit should always go to the Master Artist whose image we bear. :)

In The Valley Of The Shadow of Death: A Call For God’s People To Pray

At the checkout in the grocery store, the boy who was buying the apple beer – there was something about him that made me want to know him. Maybe he reminded me a bit of my own son. His playful demeanor and winsome smile drew me to engage him in conversation.

Since I don’t regularly drink beer, and actually I haven’t for such a long time that I didn’t even know that beer could have a flavor other than, well . . . beer.

I’ve seen the advertisements in magazines, on the posters outside of the grocery store. Vanilla Beer. Apple Beer. Peach, raspberry, chocolate, coffee, and upon googling it just now, I found there is even beard beer. [Yes, you read that right-and if you click over to read the description you will find that they even use -ohmygoodness- bull testicles in modern craft beer making!]

Thirsty?

Back to the boy . . .
I’m curious and I ask him, “Does it really taste like apple?”

He said “It’s good, but you have to take a drink after you open it and then add vodka to it. It’s just not strong enough to get drunk.”

I smiled at the boy, wanting to mother him, remembering that it was the assumed goal of cracking open a Miller Light  when I was 19, and I told him he didn’t need to get drunk.

He smiled back, amused that I’d be his mommy-in-the-moment.

After I paid for my groceries, I headed out to the car and he was just getting into his, parked a two spaces beyond mine. He smiled at me again, as he heard this mother tell him, “Please stay safe!”

He assured me that he would. Love Warns

Thirty years earlier I could have been a friend in that car going the same place he was going. To party with my friends, and likely laughing about that lady in the grocery store who presumed to act as my mother.

And I prayed for him as I saw him drive off. That God would keep him safe. Save him Lord. That he would know he is made for so much more than a temporary high that often ends in puking your guts out. Or nearly dying from embarrassment when you remember your antics from the night before. [Yes, I am speaking from experience.]

And sometimes, worse than dying from humiliation, there is really, truly dying.
We never think it will be us . . .

Just three nights before I surrogate-mothered this boy buying apple beer and vodka, I was at the visitation of a 20 year old boy who, after leaving the bars in his college town somehow drown in the river.

He wasn’t reported missing until the third day. I cannot tell you how my soul grieves.

My husband and I drank beer with his father when we were too young to be drinking.

In 1987 [or maybe ’88], I was bar hopping with a friend in the same town that Robby drowned.

After the bars closed in River Falls, we drove to Beldenville where they stayed open until 2:00 am. It was what my girlfriends and their friends did in R.F. [that’s what we called it] on the weekends. On the way home from Beldenville, my friend lost control on a curve and we rolled into the ditch, her body landing on top of mine. I stood on my door and helped her climb out of hers . . . then I jumped down into the ditch . . . her family came for us.

It was a sobering experience. My friend’s mom took us to the hospital in the morning to get checked out. God’s grace kept us from harm other than my bruises. Her mom talked about God that day. The gift of a mother who loves . . . 

That world I once lived in seems so far away now. It was a world of carelessness. Of living for the moment.

I keep finding myself wondering why I lived through those days and others don’t. Only God knows. As I have been in prayer for this young man’s friends and family, in my own grief, and in lieu of the barrage of river drownings of drunk college students: [from the article linked above]

“Sontag’s death is one of several which have occurred in the past under similar circumstances in the Midwest. Reports of students drinking and drowning have been reported at numerous universities including UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse, the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State.”

Will you please join me in prayer for the college students, prayer over the waters that are meant to give life, but are instead stealing it? Pray that God will put a hedge around the waters. Pray that the Holy Spirit will thwart the plans of the evil spirits intent on stealing, killing and destroying life. Pray that young people will value their lives, love wisdom, and that love will surround them.

An Opportunity. Will You Help?

Hi Friends!

I’ve just submitted a piece to a writing contest at Faith Radio.

Would you go read and vote for it? The top ten favorites in each category will be voted on by the official judges, so you would be helping me get the chance to be judged.

My piece is here:  When You Want To Ask The Question “Why God?” IMG_3170

Rescued By Love

Life Is Here Today!

Life Is Here Today!

Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. Galatians 1:4

The alarm jolted her awake. And it was there again, the feeling of foreboding. The sense that failure was imminent. It was like a background noise, this dark cloud in her mind. A weight of dark.

So common was the morning greeting, she’d become accustomed to bearing the heavy weight of it. Barely living.

Limping through her day wondering why every step felt shaky.

There were pressures to STOP IT.
How she wished she could.
Just.
Stop.
It.

“How are you today?” He’d ask upon returning from work.
And she’d hated to say it again, “Not great.” and his disappointment showed on his face. Frustration even.

He was sick to death of whatever it was that was going on with her. Why can’t she see life is good?

And she was sick to death of waiting for some relief, some light to overcome her darkness.
Depression stuck, like last night’s burnt lasagne on the edges of the pan still in the sink.

In her fear, she’d lost sight of love.
In her gloomy state, those who loved her couldn’t. Didn’t know how.

She’d groped. Digging into her Bible, looking for answers.
But she was missing the one thing that would allow the truth to set her free.

One thing that had to be unlocked by Another.

She was missing Trust. She wanted to trust, but something was blocking it.
How often she looked for the key. How she longed to be free from the depressing prison.

How she longed to love life.
Longed to be loved.

Unbelief was blocking love.

One day, Love broke through.

Words suddenly, a mirror to her heart:
“You are listening to the wrong voice.”
“Mine is the voice of love.”

“You are looking for love in the wrong place.”
“You are seeking to make yourself lovable.”

“Do you see that? “Make Yourself?”

“It is I who made you.
I, the One who died for you.
Only I can love you perfectly.”

“You can choose to believe.”

“Do you believe?”

How A Lie Appears True And Where Is Truth?

If I am the only one who believes a lie.
Everyone else will know it is a lie.

If I convince my friend that the lie I believe is true.
Both my friend and I will believe the lie is true.
Lie x 2

If both my friend and I convince two more friends that the lie is true,
then six people will believe the lie is true.
Lie x 6

The lie is in motion.
The lie is growing.
The lie is spreading.
The lie has gained power because more people believe it to be true.

When the six people convince their families, their neighbors, and their coworkers that the lie is true, and if all the people in the families, in the neighborhoods and the businesses believe the lie is true . . .
Lie x 20,000

Lie advances powerfully, fiercely, rapidly.

Pinochio’s nose, it grows, and grows, and grows. Lies Grow

The lie is now believed to be truth.
The lie is still a lie, but it appears to be truth to all the lie-believers.

And all people will suffer for it.
Even, maybe especially those who didn’t believe the lie.

Deception is the enemy of the soul. It is bondage.
Deception is the enemy of life. It is darkness.
Deception is the enemy of humanity. It is hatred.
Deception is the enemy of the world. It is condemnation.

Deception is demonic, darkness, and death.

There is One who Knows, Upholds, and Restores truth.

He came to restore truth.
He came to restore liberty.
He came to light the darkness.
He came to expose lies.

Christ Jesus was crucified by liars.

I was a liar.
I still sometimes lie.
I have believed lies.
I have spread lies.
I have been in bondage to lies.
I have been imprisoned by lies.

I have been entrapped by pride.

Pride harbors lies.
Pride is unwillingness to admit agreement with lies.
Pride destroys.

Humility unmasks lies.

Humility before God enables Truth to rule.
Humility heals the heart of humanity.
Humility paves the path to emancipation, restoration, resurrection.

Humility is the path to peace.

Admitting the truth disarms the lie.
Admitting the truth is confession.

Have you ever lied?
Do you believe lies?
Do you spread lies?

How do you know what you are believing is true?

Jesus is the Way.
Jesus is the Truth.
Jesus is the Life.
Jesus is the Word of God.
John 1:1-5

Jesus is Lord.

What if six people who had heard the lie had resisted believing?
What if the lie was so powerful, there was no resistance to be found?
What if truth-believers remained silent about the truth?

One cannot know what is true unless they know the Truth.
One cannot know what is true unless Truth moves in and exposes the lie.

What if only One knows the truth, but no one believes Him because they believe the lie to be true?

Will He Find Faith On The Earth?

Will He Find Faith On The Earth?

What if everyone believed only lies?

 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

You Want To Know What To Pray

IMG_2801
I pray this most often for the people I love, and for all people.

That God would give us a desire for Truth in our inmost being and fill us with wisdom.

Our inmost desires drive us and determine our choices.
Desire drives our priorities.
Guides our words.

Truth is love.
Truth is the great emancipator. [John 8:32]

Without Truth, there is ultimately death of some sort.
Death in relationships.
Death of dreams.
Death of purity.
Of health.
Of wholeness.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. [John 14:6]
Ultimately I pray for hunger & thirst for Jesus in our inmost being.
The Bread of Life and Living Water that springs up to eternal life. [John 4:14; John 7:38]

He is our wisdom. [1 Corinthians 1:30]
He is our Life. [Colossians 3:4]

#RESETourNATION
#reviveusLord
#RESET2015
#NDOP2105
#praythiswithme2015

I hope you will plan on praying for our nation on the National Day of Prayer on May 7th.

If you are in the Twin Cities area, join us here with Kari Jobe and Francis Chan: [or this year you can participate from your home!] UNITE

Promo Video