Wait on the Lord

1 Samuel 26 and Psalms 27

1 Samuel 26 reads like a repeat of 1 Samuel 24, that we explored two days ago with Jennifer Armstrong.  The circumstances are two different events, although  similar, with Saul once again pursuing David. David has another opportunity to kill him, yet he shows mercy for the second time.  The picture Jennifer painted of choosing reconciliation over revenge, and trusting God’s authority, is applicable to this chapter as well.

I love how Psalms 27 so clearly describes David’s experiences outlined in 1 Samuel. He shows us that putting the Lord at the center of his life removes his fears (verse 1). Surrounded by enemy armies, he declares his confidence in God’s protection (verse 2-3). Even when David had the opportunity to take control, kill his enemy, he chooses to show mercy and allow God to work how He will.  TWICE!

Like David, we can trust God to deal with our enemies. Do you have a Saul in your life that you need to commit to the Lord’s hands?  He is the supreme authority, the righteous judge, and the ultimate miracle worker.  As a mentor once told me, “Let that go… it’s above your pay grade. That’s work that the Lord will do”.

I’m so encouraged by David’s cries out to the Lord in this Psalm, seeking wisdom and leadership (verse 11) in the middle of his drama. He chooses to WAIT for the Lord, even when under duress.

In contrast, my instinct is to take action. The Lord continues to give me opportunities to be patient and wait on Him. I’m a problem-solver, coming up with a mental action plan for the 12 “what-if” scenarios I create in my mind for any given situation. Inaction can make me uneasy, even when I know that immediate action isn’t always the best solution.  Waiting – whether it’s on direction from the Lord, or for my kids to get in the car – does not come easy.

I can think of a big season of waiting in my life, while handling hurts at the hands of others. God used this time to grow my trust in Him, He provided more wisdom, and delivered hope.  He protected my heart from seeking revenge, and in time, turned it toward reconciliation.  Had I taken immediate action, the outcome would be very different.  While the waiting can be the hardest part, in hindsight, we can see the beautiful work God does. For me, more time brought more truth.  And more time and truth brought more healing.

Lord, Thank you for being a righteous judge.  Please give us an ear to hear your direction and a heart to follow. Help us to know the difference of when you are leading us to wait and when you are leading us to action. Amen 

What Are You Waiting For?

Joshua 18 & Proverbs 18

Chapter 18 of Joshua continues with the land division process for the final seven of the twelve tribes.  BAM!  Joshua hits them right between the eyes with his question of What Are You Waiting For?, as he charges the tribes to go get what God has given them!  I love the different ways this question is asked in the different versions of verse 3:

  • How long are ye slack…King James
  • How long will you put off…English Standard
  • How long will you wait…New International

We do not know WHY they’re slack – or HOW LONG they planned to put it off.  We do know that Joshua doesn’t mince words and clearly he wanted them to get a move on it.  I wonder if their reasons for waiting are much like mine?

  • Comfortable – were they cozy in their current stomping grounds and life was going along okay – why shake up the apple cart?
  • Fearful – were they concerned about some of the current inhabitants of the land and wanted to avoid conflict?
  • Doubting – did they question if the Lord REALLY intended this land for them? Really, God?  THIS land, for US, right NOW?
  • Unsure to Start – maybe they were ready and willing, but genuinely didn’t know WHAT to do first. Were they waiting around for someone to give them their marching orders?

What has the Lord given you that you need to take hold of? Do you have a gift or talent ready to be used for His Kingdom? Has He put a promise in your heart that you need to BELIEVE today?  Does He have something that will bring you much joy and delight?

I can think of a specific time in my life when God put it on my heart to take the next big step in healing a relationship.  While I felt God calling me to this deeper level of healing, it was definitely uncomfortable and didn’t feel like the easiest road.  In addition to the doubts I had about myself and if this was even possible, I also didn’t know HOW or WHAT to do FIRST.

When we are called to a purpose or given something to take hold of, God doesn’t promise it to be easy and without trials.  He promises to be WITH US through it. He will guide us – sometimes right through the center of a mess, that brings us to a deeper reliance and rest in Him. He will surround us with His presence when we do not know what to do.  He will place His Word on our heart that will speak to us. He will send brothers and sisters to minister to us and share wisdom.

I love how Joshua sends out 3 men from each tribe to do the survey of the land so he can assign the 7 parts for the 7 remaining tribes.  What great wisdom! Parents have experienced this with kids – they’re more likely to split a cookie evenly when they know someone else will be choosing who gets which half.  Twenty-one sets of eyes are better than seven. I wonder how many of Joshua’s decisions were impacted by the gained wisdom from the decades spent with Moses. In addition to the Holy Spirit and the Living Word, God uses His people to pass down wisdom to future generations.

Proverbs 18 is full of challenges for us seek wisdom and understanding before taking action and opening our mouths.

He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire,
And rageth against all sound wisdom.
A fool hath no delight in understanding,
But only that his heart may reveal itself.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts.
13 He that giveth answer before he heareth,
It is folly and shame unto him.
15The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge;
And the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

Just like Moses to Joshua, and Joshua to the Israelites, God has surrounded me with wisdom-sharing people,  especially when I needed it.  At an early age, I had a mentor counsel me (drill into me) the importance of seeking wisdom, staying coachable and ‘easy to help’.  He taught me to proactively seek  feedback and surround myself with experienced Godly people. Over the years,  I’ve leaned on this huge life lesson.

Back to Joshua’s original question for us: What are we waiting for? When will we take hold of what God has for us? Let’s move forward with wisdom!

Thank You Lord, for your gifts. Thank you for making Your wisdom available to all of us.  Help us to seek wisdom through Your Living Word and surround us with believers to point us to You.  Amen.

Pruning

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15: 1 – 2; 4 – 8).

I never used to be much of a gardener until we moved into the house we currently live in. The previous owners had created and lovingly maintained several beautiful gardens. They reminded me of English gardens, the kind you see on the cover of a novel – lots of colorful flowers, plenty of tall green grasses that turned golden in the late summer, and a white picket fence encircling it all. There is even a little stone walkway that curves between the two main sections of the garden.

The gardens are still here today, but we have changed them a bit, made them our own. We did this because we realized what a big job it is to care for and maintain a garden. So we took some plants out. We planted more perennials. And we continue to prune the gardens regularly.

Pruning is certainly one of the most time-consuming parts of gardening. (As is weeding…definitely weeding!) We do quite a bit of pruning throughout the year. Every few days during the growing season, I go outside and cut off any dead flowers from our plants. And, at the end of every autumn, my husband cuts back every plant until it stands just above the ground. This pruning – both mid-season and at the end of the season – allows the plant’s energy to be directed to feeding the good, healthy parts of the plant. Pruning also encourages the roots to grow deeper. The plant grows back full and strong the next spring.

John 15 opens with Jesus talking about how our lives as believers are to be entwined with his, and he uses a gardening image to help us to understand His words. He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2).

Did you catch that? God removes the dead stuff completely – He takes it away – and He prunes the still-alive parts! He prunes “every branch that does bear fruit”. That means that He may choose to prune good things, beautiful things – because He knows that pruning results in even better things. Sometimes those better things are new versions of pruned branches, and sometimes they look nothing like what was pruned.

Without pruning, a garden begins to look faded. Its colors soften and become muted. Pruning eliminates the non-productive and encourages the healthy. Pruning restores the vibrancy of the garden’s colors. This weekend in Central Illinois, the temperature hit 60 degrees, which is rare for late November. My husband took advantage of the day to cut down the rest of our garden. Today, as I write this looking out the front window, the plants looked short and bare, almost shocked. But I know that deep underground, within the roots, lies the promise of new growth, and if I am patient, I will see sprouts of green come springtime. May it be so with us, too. May we not resist His pruning, and may what God prunes grow back even stronger and healthier.

Take Notice

Today’s reading is Matthew 6 and Psalm 79.

Do you ever have situations where things happen that you know are not a coincidence, and God gives you the right message (usually multiple) at just the right time? So many times, daily devotionals fit right into exactly what you need to hear that day due to what’s going on in your life. I had a couple circumstances this week that all fit together telling me they were not a coincidence.

It started with an unplanned conversation with a successful Christian business owner with much experience and wisdom through years of faithful servanthood. He said many times in his life he became anxious and tried to push and rush initiatives on his own timeline. He said over the years he learned when you trust in God and live life for His glory He will bless you in ways you cannot even imagine, but it will be on His timeline, not your own. We just need to live for Him and trust Him, and He will provide in ways you beyond what you can think of. Does this sound familiar (Matthew 6:25-34)? He compared this to the 2017 Super Bowl. The game looked like there was absolutely no way the Patriots would win.  In fact, it couldn’t have started any worse for the Patriots and their fans. Then, in ways no one could have imagined, everything went perfectly and the Patriots won leaving everyone thinking, “How did that just happened?” If you were a Patriots fan (which I am definitely not) and you knew the ending, wouldn’t you have felt differently during it? Would there have been any anxiety, stress, and maybe even anger in what wa occurring? Absolutely not! Maybe just a thought of, “Did we really wine this game..are you sure?” As a University of Illinois basketball fan, I still feel this way when watching our 2005 game vs. Arizona to advance to the Final Four. As Christians, this gentleman said when you live to glorify God, He will make things fit perfectly to eventually “win the game” throughout life on Earth, and ultimately assure us we will “win” the only game that matters by giving us eternal life. This man is doing some amazing things with his resources with more things in the works to glorify God, and he shared some amazing stories about how God fit the pieces together perfectly leaving me shaking my head in awe.

The second non-coincidental occurence came while traveling with a Christian brother, Patrick Scheina, the same week. I was telling him about this conversation, and we both began to share very challenging situations we had in the last year where God “bailed us out” and fit the pieces together in crazy ways that if you would have given us a million chances to figure out how things would play out we wouldn’t have guessed how they ended up coming together positively. How often do we even slow down to notice how God is working in our lives? If we did, why would we ever worry? It’s really almost silly when you think about it. Not only do we have his Word hear in Matthew 6 which we know is true, but we also have our own experiences! It’s hard to not judge and condemn the disciples when they get stressed about running out of food, a bad storm, and even His death. I can read it and think…”Umm..hello..don’t you guys remember what he just did a few days ago?” Then, I sigh and think, “Am I really any different?” No…we just have to wake up and look for the ways God works and reminds ourselves of them when trials come our way. We need to listen what what He tells us in His word. “Be still and know I am God.” Psalm 46:10. And also in Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

As Patrick and I were discussing things, he mentioned how important remembering and praying the Lord’s prayer is. He said how perfect every statement is and how if we really prayed it every day and reflected on every part, it covers everything we need to remember and request. If we applied each part to what was going on in our lives, it would be all we really need. There’s so much wisdom in Patrick’s statement. When I read Psalm 79, I couldn’t believe how much of it seemed like an Old Testament version of the Lord’s Prayer.

I was left shaking my head when 2 days after my conversation with this Christian business owner and the night I returned home from my trip with Patrick, I checked my next Bible Journal writing and found it was on Matthew 6 which included the Lord’s Prayer and a section on not being anxious. Coincidence? God is speaking and working in your life to write your story, and make it a part of His story. Are you noticing?

 

THIS

Today’s reading is Luke 17 and Psalm 65.

Luke 17 contains messages around temptation to sin, increasing faith, unworthy servants, and the coming of the Kingdom of God, but we will focus our time on the story of Jesus helping 10 lepers from Luke 17:11-19.

In this story, Jesus heals 10 lepers when they yell and ask for help from a distance, but only 1 comes back to thank and praise him. At first read, it’s easy to be judgmental, and think “how could they not come back and say thanks!?” It’s also easy to condemn members of the crowd yelling “Crucify Him!” when he’s on trial with Pilot.  After reflection, I realize when I take Jesus name in vain it’s just the same as someone yelling these words. When I don’t thank Him for answered prayers or completely forget about it a few days later, am I any different than the 9 lepers who didn’t come back to show their gratitude? It’s so easy to quickly forget about the answered prayer for a negative test for cancer, a successful surgery, a new job, retention of your job amidst downsizing, a new home, or a significant other you’ve been asking God for. How quickly do we forget these things!  I’m guilty of forgetting these things within days, hours, and even minutes! What about the answered prayers we don’t even realize occurred? For example, we pray for safety and then get really upset when spill coffee on the way to work and have to go back home in anger to change clothes causing us to be late to our first meeting. We had no idea this situation kept us from getting into a car accident.

Our leadership team, thanks to my brother in Christ Josh Waite’s idea, starts our weekly meetings by “going B.I.G.” That stands for “Begin In Gratitude.” We reflect and tell everyone one thing we are thankful for. When you focus on what you are thankful to God for, the stress and problems are minimalized. I’ve heard it said you can’t feel stress and anxiety at the same time. When we focus on and thank God for what we have and what He’s given us, we don’t get stressed and mad about what we don’t have.

Some might ask how they are supposed to be thankful when they just lost their job or a loved one? Well…it’s hard. But, maybe this will help you find your true calling or give you an opportunity to move closer to, or spend more time with, family. How about giving praise that you had that loved one in your life for the amount of time you did or even at all for that matter? When you praise God when things are good and when they don’t seem to be good, it changes your whole perspective and happiness. You see the world through an entirely different lens. Psalm 65 highlights offering praises as well.

As we go into next week, let’s go “B.I.G!” Let’s remember, thank, and praise Him for the big answered prayers we asked for, for the ones we don’t realize were answered, and for the things we didn’t even request. He gave it all to us. Most importantly, let’s thank him for sending his Son Jesus to take the punishment that should have been ours on the cross. For that, we should always and forever be thankful to Him for the opportunity He gave us to become one with Him and have eternal life! He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Thank God for all I missed because it lead me here to This…”

The Rest of the Story…

Matthew 27

Think of a time when someone you thought highly of or ‘put on a pedestal’ let you down by doing something you never expected from them. For some of you this person may have been a celebrity, professional athlete, or politician who you thought was ‘really a great guy/lady.’ This person may have even been someone very close to like a boss, mentor, parent, sibling, spouse, or even a pastor where the wounds from this experience are still deep today, even years later.

Have you ever thought about how the disciples and followers of Jesus must have felt when He was arrested, scourged, crucified, and died? They believed Jesus would be their Messiah (Savior) by sitting on an earthly throne and restoring Israel through freeing them from the oppression of the Roman government. This was their mistaken understanding of the Old Testament prophecies of what the Messiah would do (see John 12:16). They must have been certain He would be king because He could do anything…heal the sick, cast out demons, feed large crowds on next to no food, walk on water, and even raise Lazarus from the dead after four days! Think of the ‘pedestal’ He must have been on in their minds!  Imagine how they must have felt when they woke up Saturday morning with the realization that their Messiah who they saw do many miracles and believed was on a mission from God on their behalf was crucified, dead, buried, and would not save them from the tyranny of the Roman government. Talk about a letdown!

As Paul Harvey (ask your parents if you don’t know who that is) would say, we now know “the rest of the story.” We know the great news of the Resurrection that occurred on Easter Sunday! We know that Jesus saved them, and us today, in a way no one else could through freedom from the bondage and condemnation of sin.

What can we learn from this?

  1. The only person we should ever ‘put on a pedestal’ is Jesus. He is the ONLY one that will NEVER let us down. He is the only one without sin.
  2.  If God can take the worst injustice and event in the history of the world, the wrongful execution of the only person to ever live without sin, and turn it into the greatest event in the history of the world, then God can take the challenges and problems you are facing in your life today and will in the future and turn them into something good. The Bible specifically tells us this in Romans 8:31-32.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Need more assurance? We are told this again in Ephesians 3:20 NIV.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according His power this is at work within us,”

It says that we can’t even imagine what good He can do! Also, did you catch that? It is not our power, but ‘His power’ at work within us….and he made the world and everything in it.

There is a “rest of your story” that He has planned for your life…just like there was for Him and us through His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

So let us move forward today calm, confident, and courageous because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Election Day

November 8, 2016

Happy Tuesday, today’s post is written by good friend Kris Walker who has written for biblejournal.net a few times. Enjoy!

Who are you voting for?

Well? What’s it gonna be?!? Trump? Hillary? Johnson? Where do you stand? Democrat? Republican?! Third Party? Who is gonna be in control?! To some, these are the most important questions going on right now.. and with the election today, how could it not be.. but the reading in 2 Kings makes me think of a couple things.. it really has some horrible characteristics listed about these wicked rulers… it makes me think about the commercials we see these day… What if there were elections back in these times of the kings??

My opponent Manasseh.. he has been responsible for.. rebuilding the alters his father took down. He erected alters to Baal, he led God’s people away!”

It says he ruled for 55 years… that would be a long time to be under a horrible ruler.. 

His son ruled for 2 years.. and then was assassinated.. crazy… 

I feel this reading was perfectly timed for this week.. no matter what happens, we are going to have a ton of people NOT happy with the results.. for 4, or possibly 8 years.. but can you imagine 55 years under a horrible Ruler? I can’t… a ton of the people I know blown my FB feed up filled of “impeach him” posts to this day.. and that is just from the recent 8 year rule.. kind of mind blowing that it could have been 55… that is my first thought.. I guess it just makes me think that I am happy that we have a relatively short ruler time.. 

What makes me even happier.. is that.. we can think about this spiritually.. we know who really holds the power..  it’s not in the reading.. but …the Most High has power over human kingdoms. He gives them to whomever he wishes.

Daniel 4:17

I really think that’s important to remember.. we have to know God is going to take care of his people.. in this insane election.. it is a really good point to remember.. I also like how God made his promise to punish the kingdom for what was done.. what the leader and what the people have done… God kept his promise. We all know he is our God who keeps his word.. I am so thankful for both of these thoughts..

Politics is not the only thing we can take away from today’s scriptures.. some amazing psalms are in today’s scriptures.. 

I think it’s amazing to think about how well our Father knows us all.. 

Psalm 139:13-14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

I find this so comforting. Our father knows us, and understands us. He has always been there. He always will be there. I think we are so lucky to have that.. and know that.. there are those that don’t. I think it’s important to know and realize that.. when we feel alone, or when we are upset, or when we need someone to talk to.. our father is there.. that’s where I think I’m gonna leave this. I hope everyone gets a chance to vote and make their voice heard.. say a prayer, and ask for God’s hand on our future.. no matter which way it goes.. God is with us.. he knows us.. he will take care of us.

Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 21; Hebrews 3; Hosea 14; Psalm 139 

Comforting Confidence

Happy Tuesday and Post 4th of July!

July 5, 2016

Let’s jump right into His Word.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

God is talking to Jeremiah in 1:5. God speaks with Jeremiah many times over many years.  Actually, He doesn’t only speak with people from the Bible, He speaks to us. How is He speaking to you today? Are you hearing what He is saying?

Is knowing God speaking to us reassuring and comforting in our everyday lives of controlled chaos? It should be. This is true when our human mind tends to make us feel like we are lacking purpose, adequacy, or direction.  But, God has a purpose through it all for you and me. Yet, there will be our tribulations and breathtaking events of awesomeness!  But similar to Jeremiah, Deuteronomy 31.8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  He is always there for you. God should be glorified. He is there for us in the middle of those important decisions  or when you think you are losing a little control of a situation God steps in and let’s you know He controls it all.

As I reflect on life before a relationship with God, I may have a response like Jeremiah did in verse 6 where he says,  “I do not know how to speak for I am only a youth.” To me, this youth represents not knowing God.  I focused only on myself and was hurtful to others in the process. This would include lacking in confidence or being boastful and only being about myself.  In our lives it also can mean being fearful and lacking courage to take that next step.  God doesn’t say, “Go; you are ready” he says, “Go; I’ll go with you”. Today, in all choices He is walking alongside you waiting for your call.

In my “youth” I was unhappy with many decisions I was making in my life. Most of the time trying to answer, prove, and do everything on my own making one mistake after another. This was the point where I was ready to “lose my life” like in John 12:25.

whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I was about myself and stayed there for a long time until God purposefully put me around events in my life that allowed a life-changing attitude to surrender it all to Him. My excuses I would make started to change. “I don’t have enough money. ~ What am I doing with what I have? “; I’m not smart enough. ~How am I using God’s gifts?; I don’t have two parents. ~ Am I being an example for God? I don’t go to church. ~ What am I doing with my time?  The list can go on and on about excuses I could make to allow myself to have a “stay-theist” attitude or I can do it myself! I could just stay in my own dysfunctional world and not let anyone in or do what I had to in order to superficially make connections with others.  Yet all along God has known me and had a plan. He has this plan for you too. Each of us have a purpose, maybe you don’t know it yet? The details of our plan we don’t know and often can change in our lives but we know the root of what we need to do as a Christian. We are to love, obey, and serve God. In doing this our mission will become more clear.

Do not say I’m only a youth; for to all whom I send you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8

Struggling with confidence, failures, and insecurity keeps you from doing many things and often making poor choices to compensate. Lacking in my faith because of my inadequate abilities outside of surviving skills, lack of experiences outside of an addiction dependent divorced household, and the tendency to make bad choices for the benefit of myself and no one else around me. This faith that God is with you allows your choices of serving to be about Jesus-Others-Yourself (JOY).

So what changed? Letting God into my life and surrendering to the relationship He planned for me. Not only as a last resort thing anymore. Dedicating waking hours with more consistent communication throughout my day. Being thankful and grateful for giving me one more day to impact His kingdom. I believe now that God is with us all the time and knowing this gives me the confidence to obey His call even if I’m unsure about the results.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

When God gives you a job to do, He will provide all that we need. By no means have we figured out what job He has planned for us, but the doors God opens will lead us to a place he has already prepared.  I pray for our desire to seek His guidance. Turn to Him prayerfully and ask am I doing this for me or for You Lord?

No, we don’t have it all figured out, we are human. We are tempted by sins that sometimes we follow through on and in turn ask for forgiveness. We divinely and prayerfully follow God’s plans other times. Either way, God transforms us by changing our hearts. Whether lacking in confidence or full of confidence or in-between does our decisions, actions, and whole heart trust and serve God?

“Behold I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pick up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

God gives you all you need in order to fulfill His plan for you. In reading, “The Places You’ll Go” by Ortberg I’m reminded of this glory. He goes before us and is with you throughout ALL you do. God doesn’t promise a trouble free or temptation free life but that He will be with us and we need to call on Him. He will walk with us through the storm and calm the seas.

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26

Dear God,  You alone are the Creator of everything.  You have a perfect plan for all of us. You are the perfecter of my faith, and I thank you for the Grace when I didn’t believe or trust in the seemingly impossible dreams you had planned. Help me to have courage to place my faith in You in all things. To trust your strength when mine fails.  Thank you for allowing me to be part of your master plan. Stir in my heart a passion and gratefulness for all that you do in my life. Thank you for the comfort we have knowing you are always with us. Amen

Today’s ReadingJoshua 7; Psalms 137–138; Jeremiah 1; Matthew 15

Unplanned

RMNP-BearLake-DSC07881

Numbers 21; Psalms 60–61; Isaiah 10:5–34; James 4

This last week, I had the privilege of taking my son to the Rocky Mountains. It was a short trip, justIMG_0037 three days, so I wanted to make the most of it. I had two goals. First, I wanted to spend a lot of time with him, and second, I wanted to spend some time planning for the rest of 2016.  If I am completely honest, one major purpose in spending a lot of time with Freddy is to examine how he is faring. I mean, we only have six, or so, years before he sets off for college! As a good father, I need to evaluate his planning and dreaming skills. Additionally, I want to influence what is in his head.

Among my few to-dos while I am on the road is this entry for BibleJournal.net. While reading James 4, early Monday morning, the Holy Spirit thumped my heart. In part, he reminded me that we are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) I couldn’t shake it. The Spirit instructed me, in that moment, that the reason we came to the Rocky Mountains was not to make great plans for the next several years (James 4:13). No, the purpose became clear as we approached Rocky Mountain National Park. Being absolutely captivated by its beauty, I understood that we were here to enjoy and celebrate breathtaking beauty. And that is exactly what we did. We did not sit piously and passively.  IMG_0022How could we? The majesty of His creation blasted its way deep into our hearts. In reply, we stomped and shouted throughout his handiwork. We left giant footprints as our voices echoed throughout the valley. We sang stupid songs, threw snowballs and filled the air with laughter. We saw our breath in the cold mountain air and hollered over the thunderous roar of waterfalls.  We pondered big questions like “why did God make it all,” and “why did he make it so complex?” We settled on really simple answers like “because He can,” and “so that we will never get bored.”  We stood motionless and silent, marveling at how He did it.  We worshipped!

After a long trip home, I find that I have planned nothing. Ironically, my celebration of His creation, left me with a bigger dream than I could have imagined. I want to enjoy God more.  If the Lord wills me a tomorrow, my prayer is to see his beauty everyday, right here, right now, in the place that I live. Father, show me what to look for and where to look.

I found God this week. He was with us.  He is with us. Will we be with Him?