Tell me when…

Doug and I went to out for dinner this past weekend to celebrate his birthday. I spent some time alone at our table and rather than whip out my phone and check Facebook or my email, I took those few moments to look around and observe the people sitting near me.

I watched two interactions that looked similar. A lady at the table to my right had ordered a salad and the waiter had come over to offer her fresh ground pepper. I watched as he slowly sprinkled the spice over her plate and quite quickly saw her hold up her hand and smile saying, “Thank you, that’s enough.”

Almost at the same time, a gentleman just beyond her was having parmesan cheese freshly grated over his pasta. He too was allowed to tell the waitress when she had given him “enough.” He smiled and watched her turn and turn and turn the crank on the cheese grater and laughed with the whole table when he finally held up his and and said, “thats enough.” His dinner guests were commenting loudly how they were afraid he was never going to stop, that he may have taken all of the cheese.

Both of these interactions were almost the same, and yet they weren’t at all. I’m curious why pepper and cheese get special treatment at restaurants, why are those the two items that are important enough for personal service? A little or a lot? It sort of depends on what is in the grater.

Have you ever felt like you were looking up at God saying, “That’s enough, thank you?” The pepper of life falling down on you and you are quick to say, “no more.” Or, have you ever looked at your life and had it feel like God was grating Parm all over your days and you didn’t want to ever say, “Stop.”

I’m not sure where this analogy goes but it makes me chuckle. Doug and I discussed at dinner how blessed we were, “beyond measure” is how the Bible puts it. I could sit here and list all the amazing blessings I have been gifted with; a complete A-Z list with footnotes included. I’m overwhelmed when I drink in all that God has given me. The “cheese” of life is gooey and melted and makes me feel a little guilty because He has given me so much.

And yet, at the same table where Doug and I discussed how richly blessed we are, we shed tears. It’s was such a strange juxtaposition. We miss Dad, we know Emily is going away to college soon, there are prayers we’ve prayed for years that still feel unanswered. It’s the pepper of life.

King David wrote about pepper and cheese, maybe he didn’t know it but he did. Not every psalm but many start with praise and adoration. He gives voice to the many blessings of God. Then for some reason David also includes what he is struggling with and talks about the people or circumstances that plague him and cause his heart to ache. He then ends with an affirmation of who God is and testifies that God will never change.

Our lives can overflow with blessings and our hearts can ache all at the same time. Laughing through tears isn’t abnormal, in fact, it’s the most real any of us can be.

I encourage you to open up the Psalms today and see for yourself what King David has written. You may find a voice for the unspoken words of your heart. Laugh with Jesus about the blessings he has given you but also let him see your tears and allow him to speak to your pain, to your fear, to your longings.

Pepper and cheese may not be the deepest thing I’ve ever written about but I hope it does make you think…and maybe laugh a bit too.

PS. Happy Birthday Doug!

 

 

 

Time Out

When my kids were toddlers they spent a fair amount of daylight in a time out chair. Some of them were more familiar with the phrase, “Ok, time out!” than others, believe me.

Using “time outs” was a great tool for me to establish order to my home, give each of us a quiet minute to collect our sanity and distract my child from whatever it was that warranted the consequence in the first place.

Sometimes, I would put them in time out and when I came back to “free” them, they had fallen asleep. Most of the time, I knew that what they really needed was a nap but they would have never believed me. They were tired, they were worn out and sometimes I think it was when they were learning new skills that they needed more sleep than what they could gain from a normal routine.

The image of a “time out chair” hit me as I looked at the last date of my last blog post, December 28. It’s been a long time. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I really have. It’s not even that I had nothing to say even, its just that I wasn’t able to write or speak or pray. I’ve been in “time out” and I believe God placed me there.

Why? 

As I look back, I see so many reasons.

This past year has been filled with so much. Much to be thankful for, much to mourn, much to be exhausted by, much waiting, much processing, much longing…much.

My relationship with my children never changed when I put them in time out. Although they might have been spitting mad at me, I always knew they still loved me and I always still loved them. As they grew older they adopted the silent treatment as a way to communicate their displeasure with my parenting…even through that, my love was never questioned.

I’m so relieved that I can say the same of God and so much more. Even though I’ve chosen silence, He has chosen relationship. Even though I’ve chosen anger, He has offered joy. Even when I’ve chosen to be ungrateful, He has continued to give me more than I need. And when I’ve cried, even if I didn’t invite Him in to comfort me, I know that He never left.

Time outs kind of suck if I’m honest. I wrote that sentence many times but couldn’t find a more eloquent way of saying it, sorry. But I needed this time out, I’m at least mature enough to see that ….it took me 6 months so don’t even bother being impressed. I’m not even sure this time out is done yet?

Maybe this is my time to “think about why I’m here?” I used to use that line on my kids too.

I think I may be ready to come back? I think.

I woke up this morning with this line on repeat in my heart, “The evidence is all around, that the Spirit of the Lord is here.”  repeat, repeat, repeat.

He will lift up my head. That is a promise.

Psalm 3

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

 It’s with tears falling down my cheeks that I share this song with you. My heart is so full and so raw. This song seems to speak truth more than my words right now.
https://youtu.be/IR-7O57IQUA Elevation Worship, “Here as in Heaven”

Book Review: Waiting for Wonder

Waiting & patience have never been two of my strongest character traits. I’ve spent so many hours on my knees begging God to move things along and telling him exactly how He should and could as if he needed help.

This past month has a been an extreme test in patience as I watched my oldest endure some of the most intensive pain and suffering with complete TMJ replacement surgery. God and I have had countless conversations about why he was requiring my son to put his schooling and career on hold, why God would give such an amazing musical gift and then seem to take it away with a defective jaw, why it seemed that God is playing a cat and mouse game with my son? Giving him a passion for saxophone and music only to then yank it away as soon as that passion was realized seems like a cruel joke and a terrible plan.

If it was left up to me…and then I fill in the blanks with unrelenting speed and accuracy.

Waiting for Wonder Book Review

I volunteered to be a part of a book review this month, something I haven’t done in over a year. The book is called, Waiting for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky. The subtitle is: “Learning to live on God’s timeline.” Who says the Creator of the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor?

This book is a fascinating study of the life of Abraham and Sarah. The author combines a historically accurate yet fictional account of Sarah’s waiting for the promise of a child along with actual accounts from the author’s own life. I’ve never read a book in this form before and honestly I have never studied the details of Sarah’s story either. I learned so much from walking along side this hero of the faith as she waited and waited for God to fulfill the promise he had given her.

I have so many quotes from this book highlighted and underlined, I wish I could share them all with you. There are gems in this book when the author names truth so honestly it takes your breath away. She carefully reveals God’s loving nature in a way that shows a deep and profound understanding of Him. This is not a one note book but a symphony of love and patience and acceptance. Revealing a God who is bigger than most of us ever can believe. She also puts her finger on the painful truths that most of us privately harbor in our hearts and by naming them allows the reader to examine the holes in such beliefs.

“For a moment, I see God’s truth so clearly: he is the God who calls us at the very place of our deepest shame, our deepest pain, and transforms that place into something with breathtaking beauty. No one but God-no one but Elohim-would dare do such a thing.”

 

“God does not forget. He does however, sometimes let us wait. And in that interval between promise and fulfillment, in the “not yets” of life, we typically do not lose faith in God’s omnipotence; rather we lose sight of his love.”

Waiting for Wonder has been a balm for my weary soul. It has challenged and uncovered so many questions I have for God and it also has given me hope as I see how God fulfilled his promise to Sarah.

As we head into a new year, add this book to your reading list and allow the God to speak truth and hope to your soul.

“God sees us in the shadows of our tents, in the places we hide because we are afraid to hope anymore. He sees us and he speaks.”

Click this link to order your copy from Amazon.

 

Lessons from the edge of the ocean

I spent the first two weeks of December on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico’s beautiful water. Each night I watched the sun change the colors of the sky into something unique and different every night at 5:45pm as it melted into the horizon. If you’ve seen it once, you’ll never want to miss seeing it again. There was never a repeat of the same colors or the same sounds, each day was completely different from the day before. The condo we stayed in was only hundreds of feet away from the the water’s edge, the only thing separating my bedroom from the ocean was fine, soft, powdery white sand.

The noise of the ocean is a constant. There were days when the surf was minimal and the waters were calm but the sound was still persistent. The days when the waves were tall and angry the volume would be turned up 10x! The ceaselessness of the ocean’s call amazed me, it just never stopped. That may seem like a ridiculous statement but for a girl who grew up in the midwest, I kept waiting for the ocean to “turn off.”

The first few days we were there the sky was clear, the sun was warm and the breezes were gentle. The water looked like a lake, calm, clear and soft. After 5 days of the same, suddenly the ocean turned into an angry companion.

The skies turned gray, the waves roared and stood up 6 feet in the air. It looked and felt like a completely different body of water. It was hard and frothy and filled with energy and warning. I’d sit for hours looking at the different colors and wondering about how so much change could occur seemingly overnight. My position hadn’t changed and yet my view was 100% altered.

And then, the fog rolled in. Thicker than any autumn midwest fog I had ever seen, this fog appeared out of nowhere and completely clouded my vision. It was even hard to breathe the air, it was so thick. From my position on the balcony where I just moments ago had been able to see where the water met the horizon, I suddenly couldn’t even see where the water met the sand. I was surrounded on all sides and felt like I was blind.

The one constant was the rhythm of the ocean, a pounding that never ceased. Even though I couldn’t see it, I knew it was there just beyond my sight. A sustained and staccato crash that assured me it was still there.

As I sat and pondered the mystery of the ocean, I heard God’s voice of compassion and reassurance. “I am like the ocean,” he spoke to my soul. I am constant, I am continual, I am powerful, I am beautiful.

I Am.

Nothing will separate my love from your soul. Nothing. You may choose to leave but when you return I will still be here. You can not predict what I will look like, sound like, feel like or how I will behave but you can be certain that I am fixed, I am eternal.

I Am.

 

I could tell you so much more about the ocean. I could write about the multitude of colors I saw, more than I’ve ever experienced in my life. I could go on and on about the diversity and life that I experienced just along the shoreline and how my imagination ran wild as I contemplated what was under the dark waters. I could describe the endless mixture of birds I observed and their unique personalities.

Or the mixture of shells and sea sponges, rocks and sea grass that collected on the shoreline. The creativity that surrounded me on my little patch of sand was endless and overwhelming and humbling.

And I found myself asking,

 

Who is this King of Glory? 

Psalm 24

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

I am small.

That is ok.

The Lord Almighty-he is the King of glory. He is the creator.

And He calls to us just like the ocean.

I Am.

The Empty Chair

the_empty_chair_91605860_2-2The empty chair has always been a “concept” for someone else… until this year.

Since June 6, when dad left us so suddenly, we have had an empty chair.

The first place I noticed it was walking into his house and seeing the place on the couch where he sat all the time. The blanket I made him last Christmas, draped over the back with no one to warm. It was startling and it took my breath away…and I turned my face so that I wouldn’t have to acknowledge the pain.

A few days later he wasn’t sitting next to my mother-in-law in church. She was there but he wasn’t. I pushed through the emptiness to encourage and lift her up and I turned off the pain so that I could be strong for those around me.

He wasn’t in the driver’s seat of his new car, a car that he never got to drive. I remember him in his old car, teaching my daughter how to drive. I see him in his van hurling down I65 as the rest of us hold our breath in fear. I see him in the ugly brown Pinto he used to drive. But not anymore.

He is not in my kitchen, he isn’t sitting on my couch, I can’t see him on my patio or in my pool or at any birthday celebration we’ve had since June; not at Emily’s or mine or Wesley’s or even his own. He wasn’t there. But I turned away and felt all the business of life and the attended to all the stresses on my plate because that was safer.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m afraid that I can’t turn away anymore.

There is an empty chair and it is his.

My tears fall with no end.

My tears fall for all the little things that won’t. Seeing him carry in a crazy amount of boxes filled with goodies, taking his coat, giving him a long hug, hearing him say “Happy Thanksgiving.” My tears fall because no one will be crowding me at the stove or asking “am I in your way?” or giving my dad that look that says, “I got her!”

Every day since June 6 has been a first. The first June 7 without him, the first June 8, the first June 9…etc… Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving.

Not once through his battle did he ever curse God. He wouldn’t even allow me to complain or express my feelings that God was being unfair without reminding me that God was good.

My reading today was from

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

These words describe dad’s outlook and his countenance. He would always tell me that I shouldn’t be consumed with the current circumstances but to rejoice in God’s faithfulness.

It’s not going to be easy this year.

I can’t turn away from this emptiness any longer. It will be impossible to not see his empty chair. It’s real. We are here, he is not.

Fighting against being consumed sounds almost too hard.

It is ok to let the tears fall, they must, right?

I will walk through tomorrow with my heart aching because I miss dad. I’m praying my eyes will be open though as well. Open to God’s great love and compassion. Open to the people who are still coming and praying they will crowd me in my kitchen, for dad’s sake.

The empty chair is no longer just an analogy, it is very real. It hurts.

Dad would tell me, “Life is hard…but God is good.”

Sometimes, that’s all you have.

 

Peace vs Frantic this Holiday Season

Phill4My turkey is already thawing in my fridge, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Ready or not, the holiday season is coming and with it comes all the expectations, traditions, and general busyness that is wrapped up in the season.  The music, the food, the togetherness, the shopping, the concerts, Elf on a shelf insanity, Santa, etc…

Do these things come as welcome interruptions to our normal lives or as intrusions? Or do they fall somewhere in between?

I am generally a calm and peace loving person by nature, that is my role: the peacemaker. I go out of my way to avoid conflict when it is at all possible: it’s a sickness.

However, there is something about the holidays that brings out a side in me that is not something you would brag about in a Christmas letter. I have a lot of expectations for the holidays, they need to be special and inviting, include the many traditions that are important to me, include the foods that I have deemed “right,” include fast moving compitent cashiers and free delivery. I know that the song says “the streetlights blink bright red and green,” however, I’m really only interested in the green ones, the red ones are for the rest of you.

I become incredibly opinionated during this “most wonderful time of the year.” I’m easily offended. I tend to sped my precious girlfriend time to sit and chat about how disappointed I was or outraged I had become or shocked I am…

The complaining can go on and on and it doesn’t stop when I’m alone. Sometimes the most avid listener to my complaining is myself. I can reck havoc on someone’s character and worth inside my own mind for the benefit of making myself feel better or simply enjoying a good rant.

I think it has to do with the fact that I fear disappointment during this season. I want the magic and the mystery and the “Ah-ha” factor. I work so hard at engineering the holidays that when someone disagrees with me or simply has another opinion or heaven forbid slows me down in this quest, watch out!

I’ve discovered that becoming offended, angry or frantic during the holidays and just in general, is a choice. Crazy is not inevitable. It may feel like the season is out of control but I certainly don’t have to be.

This year, I’m choosing not to be offended, not to get angry, not to be frantic. I’m choosing to put others needs in front of my own. I am choosing to refocus how I view stress, people, and expectations. Why? Because that is where peace hides and I want peace in my life. I don’t just want to talk about how I want a more peaceful life, I’m going to choose to be intentional about it.

Philippians 4:5-7 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I need God to guard my heart and my mind this season. Friends, don’t lose sight of the fact that God will help you through this season. He can teach you gentleness. He will bring you joy. He will give you peace that transcends all understanding but you need to ask him.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” This Christmas song is a beautiful reminder of how we can effect the world around us, God helping us.

Media Warning: The danger of listening to yourself

mediaI’ve been fascinated by the media coverage of the election for the last year and a half. As a communications professional and a self proclaimed student of politics, I’ve never seen or heard anything like the coverage that has been provided in America this year.

Journalism used to be held to a standard of objectivity, fairness and a pursuit of the truth. These standards have always been a difficult pursuit and with the advent of cable news and talk radio the quest has become even more difficult. However, what I saw this year was a complete and absolute abandonment of ethical journalism.

In it’s place, journalists forgot that their most valuable tool, their job, was to listen closely to everyone and they replaced it with a narcissistic infatuation of listening to themselves.

Harsh? I suppose it might be. However, I think as Americans, we can demand and should expect better from the media. If there is only one positive outcome from this election, I hope it is that the journalism profession takes the time to examine themselves and fix the issues that have allowed them to stray so far from their professional expectations.

Last night as I watched election coverage, I was amused to see looks of surprise on the faces of journalists who were stunned by the outcome they were being required to report. Phrases such as “unprecedented victory,” “shocking turn of events,” “we never saw this coming,” and “complete shock,” were uttered over and over again. “How did we get this so wrong?” was asked countless times.

You stopped listening. You stopped reporting and you got caught up in editorializing and that is why you are so dumbfounded.

Over the months of the campaign, it was shocking to me that to so many media outlets including radio, television and internet news forums seemed to band together to produce what I would term, “hit pieces” and disguise them as objective reporting. Radio DJ’s, internet reporters, and television news journalists alike created and sustained a media culture of distain, moral superiority and condescending discord. It was a steady diet that was served day in and day out.

In the process of hearing themselves talk and being ever more impressed with themselves, the noise they created halted their ability to listen to the American people. They sought out only those who looked and sounded and believed like they did and completely refused to recognize that there might be another perspective to consider. They closed their eyes to half of the American people and rendered them silent. Until last night.

The polls got it dead wrong. This Trump victory was not a narrow win. It was decisive. How was that not heard or seen or recognized? Am I to believe that there weren’t even rumblings of what was going to happen? That this was impossible to predict?

I don’t believe that. I believe you stopped doing your jobs. I believe you got so mesmerized by your own reflection, you refused to recognize that you weren’t the only ones in the room. Febreze coined the term, “nose blind” and I think it’s a perfect description of what happened to the media.

It’s despicable.

It’s malpractice.

It needs to change.

Journalists need to do better. I hope that as the whirlwind of excitement and disbelief over the results of this election dissipates, the media take a long hard look at themselves. I hope they rightly criticize and evaluate where they went wrong.

Take a look in the mirror and see how badly you have served our country.

Start reporting what you see and hear. Listen to everyone, not just the people who look like you or think like you. Stop trying to influence people’s opinions and instead, start informing the American people so that they can form their own opinions.

Whether you voted for Trump or for Clinton, please be outraged. From the primary elections to November 8 this media has failed you. You were either told you were in the clear majority, and you weren’t; or you were in the inferior minority and you weren’t. How can we begin to come together and understand each other if the media is refuses to represent us equally.

We need to listen to each other better.

The media needs to help us do that.

This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue.

This is an American issue.

 

 

Seeking God Day 31!!!

halden31 days has finally come to a close. I am so honored and humbled by the friends I’ve met this month, by your encouraging words and the sacrifice you made to read my blog all month. Its been a journey of discovery for me and I hope for you as well.

Together, we have taken time to contemplate and consider God. He has shown me through these last 31 days that his love is consistent and continuous. It covers me completely and is unfathomable. How will I ever be able to understand how deep, how wide and how great his love is for me and for you? We are considered his children and there is nowhere we can go to escape his loving presence. He will not abandon us and even when we can’t see Him he is always there.

The most amazing promise of all about seeking God is that he promises:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

When we seek God he will reveal himself to us. We may not always understand what he has revealed, we may not always agree with what he is doing but he will be found.

Jesus says,

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

When we feel alone, afraid, confused, empty, separated or at our wits end, if we look to Jesus he will answer us. It’s a promise, an assurance that we can always rely on. It’s security. It’s rest. We are safe in his love.

A life with Christ will continue to amaze and surprise you if you continue to learn more about Him, more about what it means to follow him, what it means to be called his child. You will never come to the end of his love and his wisdom, there will always be more you can learn. There will always be more of Him to discover. He is endless. And that is amazing!

The words I want to close this series up with are from Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

If we live in the truth of God’s promises, our lives can not help but be transformed and become more like Him. Our minds, our hearts, our wills will change. We will become more true, noble, right, pure, lonely, admirable, excellent and we will be filled with praise. It just will happen. And when we are transformed like this we will be filled with joy. A kind of joy that has no definition because it can not be explained, it can only be experienced…lived.

This joy can be called contentment or peace. It brings space and the ability to breathe. It is clarity and vision, harmony and rhythm. It bursts forth with color and explodes with laughter.

My friends, keep seeking God.

Keep asking him to reveal himself to you.

Rest in his arms and breath in his spirit.

He loves you so much.

That is Truth.

If you have been blessed by these daily devotions, please let me encourage you to sign up as a member of my blog. By providing me with your email, you will receive new posts in your email. You will never miss an update and you will be helping me grow my blog. If you think your friends may be blessed by daily encouragement, please consider sharing this link with them on Facebook or Twitter.   

 

Seeking God Day 30

haldenWe took the kids to Cedar Point this summer for a quick family get away. The first day we were there the humidity was a solid 80% and the temp was an oppressive 98 degrees. Even though we wanted to be having a great time, it was nearly impossible. There is just no way to love what you are doing when you are so uncomfortable.

When the sun finally went down so did the heat and humidity. It was such a welcome relief. Instead of focusing on how miserable I was, I could start enjoying the rides. I’m disappointed at how distracted I am when I’m uncomfortable.  It doesn’t take much change my focus or deter my progress.

The last ride of the night was a roller coaster. It was close to midnight and incredibly dark as we stood in line waiting for our turn. When we finally made it to the front of the line and loaded into the cars my heart was pounding. I made sure that the harness was securely locked; pulling on it two and three times. My feet dangled off the ground and I waited for the ride to begin. The attendant signaled, the coaster hissed and my stomach suddenly was stuck to the back of my seat…away we went. The darkness added to my excitement and my terror. There was no way to know when we would go right or left. I couldn’t see when the dips were coming and had no idea when we were headed upside down until we were already in a full blown twist.

Sometimes following God’s plan for my life feels much the same. Terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Not knowing where the next twist or turn is. Continuing to check the harness to make sure it’s secure.

We sang this song in church today, the lyrics of the chorus go like this:

Where you go I’ll go

Where you stay I’ll stay

When you move I’ll move

I will follow You.

Complete surrender, that is what this song is talking about. Riding a God’s roller coaster in the dark, checking the harness but surrendering to His will.

Do I trust Him? Can I lift my open hands to Him and say, “Your will Lord.”

Or,

Will I continue to hold back? Will I continue to try to wrestle for power?

The sentence, “Yes, Lord” can feel like we are abandoning control. It is really. But instead of being terrified, if we trust God, it can be freeing. Allowing us to close our eyes and enjoy the wild coaster ride He has planned.

Being surprised by God is breathtaking!

Do you dare?

And here is the most amazing thing…

Luke 12:7 says:

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

As risky as trusting God seems, he values you. Every hair on your head is numbered, you may want to be afraid but you don’t have to be.

Do you dare believe that God loves you as much as he says he does?

It’s going to be a wild and holy ride.

 

 

 

Seeking God Day 29

haldenJesus, Jesus precious Jesus how I proved him more and more. Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus, O for grace to trust him more.

We live in a country that is just a few days away from a national election; I don’t have to tell you that. The candidates? Less than desirable from any angle. How does loving and trusting Jesus influence who you vote for?

My Facebook feed is filled with stories about one group of Christians judging another group of fellow Christians. They disagree. Each side believes they are right, each side believes the other is deplorable. How do you love and trust Jesus in this environment? How do you know when you are on the “right” side? Is there a “right” side? If you question it, does that make you less spiritual? Does that make you a heretic?

What happens when we disagree? Are we as the body of Christ allowed to disagree and still be followers of Christ? I ask this with all sincerity because when I read one side’s or the others literature and rhetoric I’m led to believe that there is no room for middle ground. There is no tolerance for confusion or questioning or dialog. There is simply right and wrong.

I don’t want this post to be about any issue in particular but rather I want all of us to wrestle with what it means to seek God in this world full of differing opinions, worldview and choices. Seeking God conveys that we don’t know God fully, that there is still more to discover, that we may only know or understand a small piece of what is happening around us. Seeking God means that we don’t know it all. It’s a belief that we fully expect that He can and will reveal more to us about Himself, His love, His mercy and His grace.

We must be people of conviction but I also think there is danger in being too convinced of our convictions. The danger with unwavering conviction is that it is a fertile soil for pride to grow. Unwavering conviction does not leave much room for humility or learning but it does pave a wide road for self-importance.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

This may certainly expose a flaw in my character but the above statement is one of the only things that I believe with unwavering conviction. God loves me. God loves you. He gave his life for both of us. We only need to believe.

This world is extremely confusing to me. I am positive that I don’t understand all of what God wants or demands or expects of me and my neighbors. There are days that everything seems black and white but honestly, the older I get the more I question if a black and white world is just too simple. As soon as I type that, I wonder if a world full of gray answers is also too easy.

I don’t have the answers. I only have a lot of questions. I would love to tell you how to live but honestly, I don’t know if you should listen to me, actually I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t. Together we are better off as explorers. Seekers doing our best to help each other understand God, His word and His love more.

I’m so glad I learned to trust thee, 
precious Jesus, Savior, friend; 
and I know that thou art with me, 
wilt be with me to the end. 

Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus by Trinity Worship

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