Small Stuff-Big Distractions

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  “Aint nothin but a meatball.”  God’s version of these sayings is found in Jeremiah 12:5. “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?”

Essentially Jeremiah 12:5, is saying if you are frustrated and worn out by people and situations of little meaning, then what will you do when real problems emerge? And if you are filled with unrest in a time of peace what will you do in a time of war? If you are in a church or family where love abounds, how will you survive when you are amongst enemies?

If we get bent out of shape or offended by minor issues, what will we do when valid concerns arise? This huge tactic of the enemy to distract us works pretty well. God is saying don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes the things we think are important really aren’t. We can get offended at someone by the way they look at us, by the way they stand, meaningless words they say, or by a simple gesture. Worse we get offended because our mind makes things up or adds lies to situations. Offences send us spinning out of control, causing us to be completely distracted by trivial things. So when something of substance happens we won’t have the where-with-all to fight and handle it as we should. Instead we waste our time chasing our tail, being angry at those we should love.

When God pointed this scripture out to me, the light bulb went on. I realized how distracted I could become over stupid stuff. Disgusted from acting as a double minded 40 something year old, junior higher–I repented, changing my heart and behavior! It is so amazing how much freedom there is in not being offended! Not only that but when things happen as they do everyday, I don’t have to lament, instead I forgive, keeping my heart soft, my mind sharp and single focused.

Every time something comes up I say to the Lord, with a question mark…”footmen issue???” Every time He answers “Yes”.  Once I was positive an issue I was dealing with was not a footmen issue but that I was running with the horses. I said to my best friend “surely this is not a footmen issue” as I uttered the words, the familiar check in my spirit arose. When I hung up the phone I said “God this is huge-it can’t be a footmen issue” He didn’t agree with me. Furthermore He assured me salvation was the only “run with the horses” (important) issue. This put my life into perspective. God is concerned with people’s salvation, I was concerned with people’s behavior to me. Yuck.

It’s likened to Joshua before he went to fight the battle of Jericho. The angel of the lord appeared to him and Joshua asked are you for us or against us? The angel said neither. God doesn’t take sides with His people. He loves us all the same and wants us to be good kids and get along with each other! If we sulk, back bite and devour one another, we are no good to God and we will not be able to run with the horses. But on the other hand…we will be very resourceful to the enemy! No thank you!

Offence is a choice, we can’t let little things make us mad and steal our peace. Remember we control our emotions they do not control us.

Jeremiah 12:5, a random scripture in the Old Testament, about footmen and horses can save us so much grief! Everyday we must be aware of the footmen and purpose not to let them weary us.

Keys to a distraction free life style:

* Pray without ceasing and read the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

*Submit our heart and soul daily–setting our mind, will, and emotions in their proper place–under God’s Word.  (James 4:7, 1 Corinthian 10:5)

* Keep our heart free from offence.  (Philippians 1:10, Proverbs 4:23)

* Grace is needed–be Humble.  (James 4:6)

* Repent and always forgive.  (Acts 3:19)

* Remember God loves everyone!  (John 3:16)

* Put on the breast-plate of righteousness and take up the shield of faith, so offences won’t penetrate our heart.  (Ephesians 6:10-18)

* Remind our soul to bless the Lord and be thankful.  (Psalm 103:1-2, Colossians 3:15)

* Be mindful that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, don’t let the enemy distract us by stealing our peace.  (Isaiah 54:17, John 14:27)

* Remember love never fails–love at all times!  (1 Corinthians 13:8)

* Be willing to be misunderstood

* Recognize feelings are feelings–not facts

* No drama! Don’t make more out of things then need be!

* Keep in mind we are on a journey—we have not arrived!

* Enjoy life–enjoy our family, don’t let finances, bad attitudes, misfortunes, misunderstandings or a messy house rob us of joy!

Above all remember God is for you and He has a plan for your life!

Philippians 1:9-10 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ”

No Apologies

Drink this in…

When it comes to living for God there should be no apologies.

Naturally a premise has to be applied to this concept. A premise is the basis of something. In this case the premise would be; if we know God and His Word, are obeying it, not distorting it, then we should be able to live our life with no apologies.

“Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, that I may not be ashamed.” Psalm 119:89 informs us that if we walk blameless before God then we will have no need to apologize nor be ashamed of our behavior. The danger of this would be to become prideful, but then if our prayer of possessing a blameless heart is pure–pride will not be our downfall.

Clearly hearing God’s voice will not be an issue for those living a submitted life. God is (but not limited to) eternal and supernatural, when He speaks it will more than likely have something to do with these two attributes. For example when He tells us to love, He’s not talking about cheap, flattering love, but eternal love that requires supernatural grace to execute.

Likewise when we move into action with a blameless heart and soul to what God speaks to us, we keep focused–not looking to the left or the right. Offering no apologies to those who may not like or understand what we are doing.

When we apologize to others for doing what God wants us to do–it discredits His Word.

One of my biggest challenges in this would be in parenting. Two decades ago the Lord spoke informing me, how many children I would give birth to, who they would be, and their purpose. (I love that He did this–it has helped me to be intentional in my parenting.) I have realized; who God created me to be, fits perfectly with what He has planned for them. That’s excellent since He chose me to train and speak into their life!

I fight apologizing for who I am as well as how I parent. God’s not disapproving of me, yet for some absurd reason I fight pleasing others in regard to these two important matters. The devil wants me to focus on the trivialness of people pleasing. This is where the good part of being strong willed comes in–I have to will myself to keep my eyes on Jesus and what He tells me to do. I have a vision–I know what my kids are for–my job before the Lord, is to equip and assist my children to walk out their purpose.

I have experienced the enemy of my soul, wreaking havoc in my family–trying to gain a foothold–attempting to weaken and steal our purpose. If I cared about people pleasing, I would apologize instead of fight. This is not an option! Why give the enemy a chance to gain entrance? Instead I have to take the intensity that God created within me and stand with no apologies, willing to be misunderstood.

Be certain of this; we will be accountable before the Lord, for all He has entrusted to us. Lets determine to be blameless before Him–if not–we will be found apologizing to God, for not being faithful.

Who would you rather apologize to?

Please, be encouraged to live a blameless, apology free life. Standing, for what God has called you to. It may not make sense to anyone, but that is of no matter. Be willing to be misunderstood–purpose to live eternally minded with no apologies.

Psalm 101:2 “I will be careful to live a blameless life… I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.”

Proverbs 13:6 “Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.”

Phil. 1:10 “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”


Who are you called to be a bridge to?

There is something just so intriguing about bridges. Look beyond the simplicity of a bridge, envision the people and vehicles that have made their way across these amazing structures. Imagine who they are, where they’ve come from and where they are going. Will they return again, if so when and how many times? Think about what it takes to actually build a bridge—forethought, planning, design, time, craftsmanship and patience.

As time passes most worthy bridges remain strong, consistent and steady. Some are grand and some are simple. Nonetheless, they survive  the cold of winter, the beauty of spring, the heat of summer and the vibrancy of fall.

God uses people to bridge one another to Him. In order for us to be a bridge we have to lay our life down and in essence let people cross over or walk on us. When we think of ourselves as a bridge, the novelty can quickly wear off and reality set in.

When I explained patience to my grandson, he said “I don’t like that one, I don’t want to do that one.” You may be thinking the same thing right now about being a bridge!

First I want to say, a bridge is not a door mat. A bridge is far more useful than a door mat. Jesus came to earth to bridge the world to His Father, not to be a door mat. Likewise we are called to bridge others to Jesus.

You may not realize it but we act as bridges daily. If you are a parent, you bridge your children to a hundred different things a day! Same with being a spouse, a friend, relative or leader. Seeing a bridge in this light makes sense, and our tune can change to Yes I can do that— I can be a bridge. But what if God calls you to be a bridge as He did Jesus? Jesus literally laid His life down for you and I to cross from death to life. Not only that but He did it for people who disregard and mock His sacrifice.

There are people in our life that won’t survive without a bridge. Maybe they need a bridge to grace and mercy, salvation or friendship, maybe to rehab, purity or godliness. Some need a bridge to understanding, others have lost their way do to heart-ache or poor choices, nonetheless they need a bridge.

The hardest people (speaking from experience) to be a bridge to, are those that have hurt or betrayed you. Or those who could care less if you lay your life down for them. Frankly, there are some people who will not accept your sacrifice. This does not change the fact that they need a bridge, there are people who won’t be able to find their way, who will get caught in the undertow of  life’s current, unable to catch their breath. Your life laid down in sweet surrender and submission to Christ, will cause the unstable to find firm footing. Bridging a path into a relationship with Him—making a way for them to cross over to the promises of God for their life.

At first, when God spoke to me about being a bridge I was excited. Later, in the pain of the turned up heat, when I realized I had to bridge the hardhearted and unwilling (my own husband), I knew I did not have what it would take. It meant dying to my presumed rights, surrendering, submitting and completely trusting God. It meant making Jesus enough for my heart, soul and life.

You see, although being a bridge is an amazing concept, it can’t be accomplished in our own strength. Trust, dependency and humility are essential. Trusting that as we humbly lay our life down God has our back—trusting Him to be enough—trusting Him to be our portion and strength.

Unsurprisingly, God did not only require me to just be a bridge, but in His gentle way, He also entreated me not to begrudge my position and be the best bridge I could be. Not some simple wooden footbridge, but sturdy, elegant, confident—parallel to the Golden Gate, where its structure is high and its supports anchored deep.

At every thought of bridging the ungrateful, I would picture myself with my arms crossed in a self-protective stance, not willing to stretch out and be vulnerable, for fear of being  hurt further and used. As I stepped out in faith and began to surrender my fears, God showed me that while I was the bridge, He is the support under the bridge. This revelation made life as a bridge much more bearable.

Again, God would not require anything of us that He would not equip us for. He assured me that He has sustained me.

I love the definition of the word sustain:
Support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure. To bear a burden.
To support physically from below, to maintain.

Psalm 55:22 promises: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” God has our back and He is the only one who sustains us.

The Master Architect has created you in His image, perfect in design and craftsmanship, stately and handsomely beautiful. Be encouraged, as you bridge those God has called you to, be strong and unwavering, anchored deep in relationship with Jesus. Stand sturdy through time, seasons and weather for He sustains you!

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:13 


Treasure in Tragedy part 3

Drink even deeper…

The most beautiful occurrence in history was wrapped in tragedy. The cross which once represented shame and death is now a symbol of life and beauty. Just the same, all our suffering can be given in trade for beauty.

Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. God-our beholder, longs to give us beauty for ashes. Our biggest obstacle would be our inability to believe in the miracle of such an exchange. This is where faith makes an entrance. Treasure for tragedy is only an oxymoron for those who can’t believe. But for those who can believe without seeing, it is a welcomed reality. Of all the hows given in these blogs on finding treasure in tragedy, this quite possibly is the most important.

I used to think pain was my portion in life. Frankly after my two-year old daughter died, I was terrified of pain. I lived with the fear that I did not want my future to be as painful as my past. However because of this fear, it was difficult to engage in the present. Let me give you some more insight into the year Haylie died. Three months before she died, my older brother also suddenly died. He was twenty-nine,  my childhood hero. Less than a year before his death, my marriage took a huge hit and was very unstable. The only way to describe the pain of  that year is to say; it felt as if the music stopped and life was blank. Yet the world continued. And somehow I was expected to continue as well. I was 24 years old and the stubborn stains of pain and tragedy were attempting to embed themselves in my very person. The enemy of my soul wanted suffering to define me. Thankfully, the One who loves me wanted it to refine me.

It is important to examine our attitudes toward tragedy. The story of Job in the Bible was one of those books that I wanted to ignore. Mainly I neglected it because I was afraid of its content. The book of Job tells about one man’s outrageous suffering. Suffering was what I lived to avoid, so why would I want to read and learn about? I was able to avoid the story until about five years ago, when my world completely fell apart. The catastrophe was nothing like the year Haylie died, yet it was devastating. I believe it to be so because of my attitude towards suffering. I had the attitude that I had already suffered enough for my whole life time. I did not have the understanding that suffering is not a tally keeping kind of situation. Neither did I realize that suffering is part of life. God used Job’s story to shed new light on suffering as well as change my perspective and attitude, teaching me to embrace it.

Job 1:1, declares that Job was “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil”  This tells us Job had faith. Job was the kind of person who trusted God, therefore he fortified his life and belief system. Job had seven sons and three daughters. He had good health and plenty of wealth, he was well-known and admired. The tragedy that tumbled his life was this: all his children died, all his possessions were destroyed as was his health and reputation. Sounds like a great story huh? Actually it is, because when the weight of tragedy rested on him, he was unwavering in his belief in God. He said of suffering in Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In verse 22 it says, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” In Job 2:9-10, “his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

The book of Job is a great place to learn of God’s sovereignty and of our human frailty. Job not only held fast to his faith during suffering, but He found God in a way that only suffering can bring. The art of embracing suffering produces the treasure of genuine faith. Following are but a few treasures from the book of Job.

When God speaks to me or when I hear a good sermon, I always ask God; how do I apply this to my life? So likewise I want to give you hows on applying these treasures to your life.

Treasures we can discover from Job:
1. Job fortified his life: Satan wanted to steal Job’s faith, that was not attainable because Job trusted God before tragedy struck. The key here is to be in a close relationship with God and be grounded in His Word, so when life serves up tidal waves we will not drown. Go under a bit; probably, swallow some water; yes, but when we are fortified in our faith, we quickly find God as the life-preserver. We see God’s love as a sea without a shore, never-ending and always available.
How to  fortify:
Surrender and pray. Read the Bible–believe it and do what it says. Get and maintain an intimate relationship with God.
2. Job did not blame God:
His attitude about suffering and God were in balance.
How to not blame God: Embrace suffering as part of life. Accept the fact that God is good, He cares for you and will never leave you. Believe He is trustworthy and faithful, regardless of the circumstances.
3. Job accepted good and bad from God: He trusted God to do His best for him, even in suffering.
How to trust God:
Give up grudges and forgive. Surrender your will. Lean into God and see what happens.
4. Before suffering Job thought he knew almost everything; after suffering he realized he really didn’t know anything: The realization that Job came to during his suffering, was that he was prideful and God is sovereign. Read Job 38-42.
How to deal with pride: Face the truth–God knows everything and we don’t. God allows suffering and we are not above it, come to grips with this fact and allow God to accomplish something good in you through tragedy.
5. Before suffering Job knew about God; after suffering he knew God. This was the biggest reality that hit me after my huge crushing five years ago. I realized I knew a lot about God, but I had yet to actually know God the way He desired me to know Him.
How to know God:
All the treasures above coupled with the Holy Spirit, will lead us to the point of stepping into an intimate relationship with God where we actually hear His voice, do His will and personally know Him. It really is all about surrender. Once we hand our life over to Him and let Him have His way, He meets us and draws us closer to Him. Here He heals and delivers us. In the place of true surrender we find rest, peace and safety.
6. Before suffering Job was upright, after suffering he was holy: Tragedy refined Job and made him holy. Basically the heat of the fire he was in, melted away his self-sufficiency. Setting him beyond normal, away from pride, causing him to see his great need for more of God.
How to be Holy:
Holy–defined as set apart. The applied cross and blood of Jesus makes us holy. Another way holiness comes is by refining, because refining removes impurities. To be holy, we must allow God to be God in our life, allowing Him to set us apart for His good works. Let suffering refine us, making us more like Him, causing us  to see our need for more of God.

The suffering I found in tragedy has strengthened me, mainly because it has caused me to draw all of my strength from God. It has made me realize my weakness; therefore my great need for Him. I no longer live in fear, but in Faith. Faith in Someone higher than I. Also I now know God, not just about Him.

A treasure that I behold, is the importance of submitting my will to God’s will. God’s will is all I want. For someone like me with such a strong, stubborn will, this is indeed a good thing! I have peace where as before, peace was illusive. Living controlled by my will was exhausting, control and manipulation always are. I am more than ecstatic to let God have all control.

It’s my prayer that these blogs on Treasure in Tragedy have helped you at the very least to organize your heart and thoughts in regards to suffering. And at the most I hope you can trust God with all your cares.

The book I’ve written contains details on all the above, my hope is that it will assist the church to find more of God.

Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Treasure in Tragedy Part 2

Drink deeper…

Heartache, if allowed can pave the way to a deep connection between you and God. There was a saying going around when my daughter Haylie died; “you can get better or you can get bitter” I hated that saying. Of course I wanted to get better…but how? (Years later He required broken instead of better…but that’s a different story!)

The day after her funeral my husband and I, along with our four-year old son Joshua, went out-of-town to try to regroup. One night while waiting for a table at a Mexican restaurant  a mass of people scooted in next to us, they sat so close that their daughter’s feet were in my lap. We chatted and the inevitable question came up. How many children do you have? At first we all froze. This was the first, but certainly not the last time that question was ever asked. Truthfully, I still stumble for the right answer. My husband looked at me, I looked at Josh, we fidgeted and looked at each other again. I answered and out came the whole story. The woman who asked the question was a beautiful, subtle blonde who wore a soft, yellow turtle neck. Tears came to her eyes as she told us the story of her two-year old daughter who died, just a few years back. I looked at her and said, “you are so beautiful and look so normal. I don’t think I will ever feel normal again.” Her response; “God and time.”

In the following years when tempted to bend towards bitter I would recall the woman in the yellow turtle neck-adorned in grace-without a trace of bitterness.

God put that woman in my path. He faithfully causes our lives to curve and bend in directions that lead to Him. He had the answer (the how) to the better or bitter question, before I ever asked it. All throughout the time Haylie was dying and clear through the grieving process God in His faithfulness set up situations just as this one. Little helps and nudges that assisted me in healing and finding Him. A surrendered tender heart toward God will allow the treasure of His faithfulness to be revealed.

Another treasure that has helped me through life is the concept of allow. God does not allow anything to happen to us unless it passes through Him first. At first this could be alarming and take us back to the “why” question, (but we already cleared that up in the last blog post). In the book of Job we see Satan asked God if he could wreak havoc on Job. Then we see that God allowed him to devastate Job’s life. We can find comfort in the idea that everything the devil or the world throws at us has to be allowed by God.
It’s comforting because:
1. We trust God and His faithfulness-He is faithful–He loves and cares for us-His promises are true. (1 Peter 5:7)
2. We can rest assured that He will not let anything we cannot handle come to us. This means He has faith in us that we will make it through. (1 Corinthians 10:1)
3. In our weakness we are made strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)
4. We know that God see’s the beginning from the end and will help us. (Psalm 121)

Jesus suffered and in essence made a way for us. (Hebrews 5:8) Through His suffering we are made whole, we are comforted because even though in suffering we might not feel whole, we have faith that we will be. We know that His amazing love fills in all our gaps. There is not a religion and/or pill that can promise that!

We basically have two choices:
A. Be the people who let the punches of tragedy send them on a never-ending roller coaster, allowing negativity to define us.
B. Take advantage of suffering and embrace it. Knowing it’s part of life, and can be a refining fire. Allowing God to define us into pure hearted believers.

A sure treasure I found in tragedy is this..I look at it as purposeful. Why? How? Because it causes me to see my weakness and thrusts me into God–the only safe place to live life. The only place I can take all my pain, questions, misunderstandings and disappointments of life. I can lay them all down, letting them go and make an exchange with Almighty loving God, who cares for and loves me.

When tragedy approaches I try not to even give the devil a second look, I turn to God and ask “What do You want to accomplish in me, through this?”

The “hows” of finding treasure in tragedy are easy…trust God, He will never leave you or forsake you!

I ask you, what does God want to accomplish in you through suffering?

In part three of this post we will look at Job and what treasure he found in tragedy and how?

Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”

 1 Peter 1:6-7 “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trial for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

1 Peter 5:10 “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Treasure in Tragedy, part 1

Drink deep…

The Hero of Grace post talked of finding treasure in tragedy, I now realize the need to share; “how” to find treasure in tragedy. Not only in death but all forms of heart-break and devastation.

First, realize suffering is part of life. It is written into every script, no one is exempt–it visits the rich and the poor, young and old, including everyone in between–only the degree and intensity may vary. We live in a fallen world where death, sickness, loss and all forms of sin and suffering abound.

The common question is why? Why would a good God allow suffering to come to good people?  The truth is; God is all good and all-knowing. God is the only answer for life, especially when it hurts. Good and evil are continually at war. It’s interesting how when tragedy strikes everyone blames God. That’s what I did when my daughter died. God helped me through the time of her sickness and death, then I turned right around and became angry with Him. Why? Why do people automatically blame God as if He were the one who brought the calamity?

Remember good and evil? The fact is the devil, the enemy of our soul is evil. His whole purpose is to kill, steal and destroy, even greater, he wants us to curse God. He wants us to lose faith and turn away from the only One who can help us! The devil is worse than tricky, he brings devastating situations into our life that cause heart ache and pain, getting us to turn on our only source of  hope and help–then laughs. Do you know why he laughs? Because his evil plan has left us hopeless. Not only hopeless but angry, bitter and empty without help.

The way (or the how) that I found treasure in the tragedy of my daughter’s death was as follows. The Lord in His grace showed me myself and I was angrily shaking my fist at Him, blaming Him for my pain. He spoke and said why not shake your fist at the devil–the enemy of your soul? Why not shake your fist where it will do you some good? I realized I was basically working against myself, my hard heart towards God and my anger were hurting me and making my situation worse! Again by the grace of God, I turned my fist to the enemy, to the one who came to destroy me and my family, more than that he came to steal our faith and kill us spiritually, hoping that we would spend eternity in hell with him.

I am not a very passive person and believe me when I caught  a glimpse of the devil’s plan and how he got me to turn on God the One who loves me–my only help, I was furious and I still am! All my anger is harnessed and turned against evil. I will not give the devil one inch in my life or in that of my family. When he comes against me and he does quite often, my faith only gets stronger and my dependency on God only increases.

The enemy’s plan for humanity is to turn us against God and to cause tragedy, his hope is that we will not find any treasure in it. God, in deep contrast to the devil, plans that we find good in all that is bad. Understandably, it is difficult to see any ray of sunshine in thick darkness and pain, but guaranteed if we will make a shift in our thoughts towards God, soften our heart and stop blaming Him, we will find just what we need–hope, help and healing–we will find Him.

The big question at this point would be–how? How do I soften my heart towards someone who has allowed this pain in my life? For me the answer was in surrender and trust. I let myself be loved by God. I surrendered to His love and help, then in the place of true love–I found trust. Think about this; if you don’t soften your heart and surrender what are your options? Be angry and become the bitter person everyone avoids? Surrender to the devils plan; curse God, live a miserable life then die and spend eternity with him? If you ask me none of these are even options. Why not get on God’s side where hope, comfort and real love await?

Surrendering to God caused me to find treasure in all situations. The biggest treasure of all is my relationship with God. Part two of this post will give some more “hows” on finding treasure in tragedy, but for now just let the truths above soak in.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

Living the Dream


I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about prosperity, houses, cars, great relationships, businesses I could start, things I could buy, and places I could see; the list was incessant. Those dreams always seemed elusive. When one was achieved (or not) it was never very fulfilling but rather shallow and empty. It always left me in a place of wanting and/or disappointment. So there I’d go, on to the next dream…or was it fantasy?

After God sifted all my dreams, only one remained—Jesus—the only dream that never disappoints.

Essentially, when we make Jesus our best dream, everything in life falls into place. This is where the two worlds of fantasy and dream divide. Some might think making Jesus our best dream is a cop-out. I beg to differ. To make Jesus our best dream means we surrender to His plan—His dreams for us. Proverbs 19:21 states “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” We can dream our dreams and strive to make them happen, only to watch them crumble, or we can dream God’s dreams for us and expectantly see them come to fruition. No matter what path we take, in the end, God’s plans and dreams are going to prevail—it’s a no-brainer.

Making Jesus our best dream means we find Him as our only source and contentment. It’s a journey of single focus. It’s the wonder of relationship with an Almighty, Eternal God where in the midst He deposits His dreams in our heart. And not only does He birth them in us, but He strengthens us to make them happen! Philippians 4:13 speaks of this very thing “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

Additionally, Jesus as our best dream is the essence of Philippians 4:13. Little ol’ me and little ol’ you cannot do all things unless we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Running off doing our own thing and conjuring up our plans and then asking God for His approval is not Christ through us. Being in a relationship with Him where He is our everything (our best dream) is the core of Christ through us. A love-sick relationship of a submitted life style is where His dreams are exchanged with ours and where the dreams succeed.

Tired of disappointment? Live the dream of Jesus as your best dream—you will not be disappointed!

Hero of Grace

Drink this in…

A quarter of a century has gone by since my two-year old daughter Haylie Anne, left my arms to be in Gods. It was September 30, 1986. Twenty-five years is quite a while, even so, at times it seems as yesterday.

When Haylie died I quickly wanted another child, so the void in my heart would be filled, I soon learned the spot she held in my heart was hers; and it remains hers till this day. It is interesting how each child holds a certain place in our heart. I’ve given birth to seven children, as each one arrived, their place in my heart never crowded the other. My heart only expanded and made room for each.

The meaning of Haylie Anne’s name is Hero of Grace. God in all His wisdom allowed a hero of grace disguised as a wide-eyed, precious girl to visit my family. For what purpose? How could such a short life, serve a great purpose? Haylie may have lived only two years but the imprint of her life is still alive.

At her funeral a friend sang a song he composed. The words have never left my remembrance, they  rang; “Haylie chosen of God to do His will on this earth and now the princess has married her prince.”

Haylie was never meant to live a long life, her purpose was fulfilled in God’s perfect timing. Yes, her death was tragic and unexpected, but her life warmed my heart, filled my arms and has lasting effect. In tragedy we can always find  treasure. God has deposited numerous treasures in my life through hers. Because of her I live my life with intensity and intention, loving God and others as if I may not see tomorrow. Mainly, Haylie’s life and death have bridged me to God in a way that nothing else ever has or could. For that I am grateful.

Today, I just want to remember Haylie out loud, and to publicly thank God for His Hero of Grace.

Haylie, until we meet again…

The book Thirsty Heart holds many stories of Haylie and how God used her life and death to shape and save me and my family. Look for it soon!


Drink up…

When the manifest presence of God sweeps in, everything normal is swept out. Picture it this way it’s an ordinary day; your walking down the street just going about your business when suddenly a huge tidal wave floods in, knocking you off your feet.  Everything on this familiar street is under water-as are you. Even though your shoulders carry many weights, the rapid current causes all to be tussled about and carried down what used to be a road but now resembles a rushing river. This purging water envelopes you inside and out.

When the presence of God consumed my existence it  looked just as the description above. My whole life was turned upside down, it was painful yes, but not as painful and empty as living a half-baked life. The only recovery in sight was Jesus. Well, I could of chosen anger or any of it’s counter parts but I knew God was at work answering my prayers for more of Him.

For a good amount of my Christian life God was pretty much a room addition. I knew I wanted Him to be more but I didn’t want to loose control of my life. Making God more than a room addition meant making Him the House and me the addition. This concept tweaks with our-I’ll have it my way culture-even in the church.

Finally my life and heart were desperate. I looked for more in a few different avenues that I called God, but knew my more had to come from the only One who could actually give me more. It had to come from supernatural means, hence my supernatural God!

God in His mercy showed up not in a quiet, soft, gentle presence but in a strong, confident tidal wave, that shook my life to the core and left no prisoners!

Words such as sovereignty, submission, humility, relinquish, surrender and resignation became staples in my new vocabulary. Yes it was difficult, but God never asks us to do anything that He won’t equip us for. My part was to surrender my will, recognize my weakness, embrace the situation and allow God to heal and restore me.

I like to explain the process as follows:
heres me/you………………………………………………………………………………. heres God.
 All the dots in-between are different situations and/or things we fill our life and heart with that essentially keep us from intimate relationship with God. The goal is to draw near to God, to do so we must get rid of the “dots” in-between. This is where the presence of God makes an entrance, here within lay all His attributes. To do away with the “dots” we need His love, mercy, power and grace. Basically we need His presence. The presence of God will purge and cleanse the “dots” drawing us closer to Him.
me/you…………………….. God.

Whether His presence arrives in tidal wave form or a gentle nudge, submitting is the key. James 4:7-8  reads, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” When we submit to God we have the strength to resist the devil, when we resist him he has to flee. Now the good part…we are free to draw near to God, and when we do He draws near to us! In this atmosphere our hands are cleansed, our hearts purified and our double mindedness healed. You have got to love this!! Submission and God’s presence diminish the dots! Leading us into intimate relationship with God, here we no longer just know about God but we know God. This is the more that the deep within me calls out to.

At this present time, when I think of God’s presence in my life, I still see it as water surrounding and filling me, but now even in less than favorable circumstances I am weightless. His presence continually carries me and lifts my burdens. In this place of intimate relationship there is no worrying or fretting my prayers to God just complete trust in His will.

Weightless. Think about it.  It’s priceless.

“In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Still thirsty for more? Check out my new book Thirsty Heart coming soon to a retailers shelf near you.

Never Fast Again

Gulp down some living water…

Jesus said in John 4:32 “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of my Father and to finish His work.” Normally I’m interested in the verses that follow, but God has stopped me here. For two months now, God has been speaking to me about food, using the book of John, chapters 4 and 6. These chapters talk about food.

In John 6:35 Jesus makes a bold statement. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Further in John 6, Jesus makes such a bold statement that some of His followers turned away. Examine John 6: 53-56, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him”

Of course we know this is not literal, in the natural we do not eat His flesh and drink His blood, but what about in the Spirit? In these passages of scripture food represents life and all that it encompasses. As I’ve searched God out on this subject I began to get the picture.

  • Jesus’ food is doing God’s will.
  • Jesus is food.
  • Jesus is God’s will.

Okay, God knows how significant food is to us humans, and He is choosing to compare Himself with food. Whole industries exist because of food. Restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, farmers markets, weight management businesses, fast food, pizza places, fair food, organic food, farming, cattle raising, fishing industries, dairies, antacid makers, the list is almost endless. Just about everything revolves around food. Food is important.

When do we not think of food? Food is vital to our survival. Food gives us energy-it’s our body’s fuel. Food satisfies and fulfills us. Food caters to our emotions and makes us feel better.

Jesus’ food was to do the will of His Father and to finish His work. Ask yourself, do I mirror Jesus in this way-is doing God’s will my food? Am I as satisfied and fulfilled doing God’s will as I am after I eat a big helping of my favorite food? Do I look forward to doing God’s will as much as I do to eating? Do I spend my hard earned income doing God’s will more than I do on food? Do I think about fulfilling God’s will more than I do eating?

Jesus said He is the Bread of Life. Ask yourself, do I crave relationship with Jesus as much as I do food? Do I think about Jesus more than I do food? Is Jesus vital to my survival?

God’s not saying get all fanatical about food but what He is saying is this… is the Bread of Life enough for you and all your needs?

John 6:60 ‘“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” “When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?”’

I ask you, does it offend you that Jesus wants to be more to you than everything you think vital, fulfilling and satisfying for your life? If so, offense is a choice. Instead, choose to be extraordinary and find your fulfillment in the Bread of Life. The good news is you’ll never have to fast this food!

“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” John 6:27