Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doubt or Strength?

I read a quote on power yesterday.  Here's my version of it:

"When you doubt your strengths, you give strength to your doubt."

You've been gifted with talent and skills for a reason.

Don't let misguided thoughts or other people's criticism squash them.

People need what you have to offer.

It's okay to accept that you're good at something!

You need to elevate your self to educate others; not in pride, but position.

If you see yourself as less able than you are, you have disabled yourself.

Trust what you know to be strong in you and put it to use today.

That is real power.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Run Your Race To Win

Her breathing was heavier now.  If not for the noisome rush of air being drawn in and then forced from her lungs, she swore she would have heard her heart beating directly into her ears.  It was now a struggle to keep her legs moving, pushing her body forward down the track.  Highly tensed muscles burned from the demanding task required, but she willed them to keep going, to press on.

A quick glance over her shoulder confirmed that her best friend and constant running companion had fallen behind in this race.  It saddened her to think of going ahead without the one who got her racing in the first place, but slowing down was not an option.  She had trained to win.  Surely, her friend would understand that.  It wasn’t her fault that her friend hadn’t trained as hard or wasn’t willing to put forth as much effort.

No, she had to shake these thoughts from her mind and refocus.  She was losing ground with her daydreaming.  A groan escaped her lips as she desperately tried to wrench more energy from within.

Suddenly, she caught sight of the runner in front of her.  The race was too long to see the finish line, but she knew that if she could just catch up to the runner ahead of her she’d be that much closer to it.  Yes!  The runner ahead would be her immediate goal.  As her mind wrapped around this challenge, her body was instantly infused with new strength.  Her pace quickened and gradually closed the gap between the two runners.

Exhilaration coursed through her whole being as she found herself running neck-and-neck with this faster runner.  Her mind thrilled to the sound of their feet pounding the ground side by side in near unison, kicking up a veil of dirt behind them.

And then she saw the next runner ahead.  She was getting closer to the finish line.  It was time to move on from here and press harder still.  She refocused her energies toward this new goal, summoning new reserves of power to get her there, one step closer to that finish line she so desired to cross a winner.

Pretty intense stuff, right?

I’m not a runner, and that’s exactly why.  It’s too intense a sport for my body and my mind.  It is a pretty dramatic illustration though of my walk as a Christian so far.

I see the finish line as being my completeness in Jesus - gaining Christ.  That end seems so far away to me that it’s easier to measure the race by how far ahead I get, step-by-step and goal-by-goal.  God leads me to new and deeper revelation in many ways, but mostly, He teaches me through other believers who have already received it.  I learn by walking alongside an individual until the point is reached where I can learn no more, so I need to move on to someone else.  I am never satisfied for long with the amount of revelation I have.  My spirit is always wanting more.

I’m not talking about Christian-hopping until I find someone who comes into agreement with my way of thinking.  I’m talking about Christian-hopping until I find someone who feeds my spirit with deeper truths and renewed faith.  I’m talking about walking alongside solid Christians who take the Word of God as the Gospel Truth (pun intended) and strive to live it.

Along the way in my “race.”  I’ve had to leave some good friends behind.  It’s sad when you’re on the same spiritual page with someone for so long and suddenly you realize that they are rejecting the deeper stuff of Christ that you’re just eating up as if it was life itself.  (Oh, wait… it is: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life [Jesus].”  1 John 1:1)

But what could I do?  I had a lot of lies in my head telling me I should stick by my friends and be happy with what I already knew.  I also had this sense of dread that if I didn’t press on I was going to miss out on something really good.  It hurt that I couldn’t translate that same idea to my friends and encourage them to come with me, but I couldn’t stay.  It would have been death to stay.  A growing baby would die if you continued feeding it only milk.  At some point, you have to introduce solid foods and some day steak!

So I have decided to set my sights on believers who have more revelation and more actual experiences with touching Jesus, ones who are seeking so hard to cross that finish line as complete in Christ as they can be that they can almost reach out and take hold of it now.  They have a passion and a vision for the things of God.  Here’s how Paul put it in Philippians 3:7-11:

“7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Like Paul, I am DESPERATE for the deeper things of Christ.  The things around me that once were so valuable to me are no longer important.  In fact, they are like rubbish if they are standing in the way of me getting closer to Jesus.  I don’t view people as rubbish, but if someone I’m walking with is slowing me down or blocking my path, I need to cut them loose.  I can’t stay with them.  They are like a ball and chain weighing me down.  All that can be done for a person who would rather hold you back than run forward with you is to pray for them, but by all means, move forward!  Paul continues in Philippians 3:12-14:

“12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

It's a prize to gain Christ.  That's what God is calling us to do and the very reason Jesus took hold of us to begin with.  I want that prize!

I am fortunate to be running with a group of believers who are striving for the finish line with the same or greater passion and vision than I am.  The more we ask God for deeper things, the more God is faithful to take one of us to a new level so the rest of us can follow.  Sometimes God points out a runner outside our circle who is walking closer to Him so we can catch up to that person’s level of revelation.

The closer I get to the finish line, the more evidence I can see in me that I am closer to “gaining” Christ.  I don’t look so much at the other runners for encouragement to keep going.  I’ve found that I am letting God Himself energize and motivate me along the track.  I just need to keep willing my flesh and soul (mind, emotions, and will) to keep moving forward, which actually is easy to do when you feed your spirit with food that is more nutritious than simple milk.  The more you feed your spirit, the more your spirit wants to commune with God’s Spirit.

Being that it’s almost 4:00 am that I’m finishing this, I can only pray that it makes sense.  Only God knows why I get insight to write at odd times and a compulsion to “do it now” in the wee hours of the morning.  I hope it encourages you to seek out a runner ahead of you for your edification.  Don’t worry about the friends you have to leave behind.  God can take care of them where they are.

Just run your race to win!

Monday, May 24, 2010

His Marvelous Light

This entry is based on revelation received by me from the Lord during prayer on July 29, 2009.

My husband is a collector of flashlights.  Every time he goes on a trip he comes home with a new one.  Sometimes it’s the size or color that lures him – he prefers palm-sized and dark in color.  Sometimes it’s the cool features – red beams or color lenses.  But always he looks for a high intensity light.  He’s looking for a light bright enough to see exceptionally well no matter how dark it is.  He wants to find what he’s looking for and walk without fear of stumbling.

Jesus said that He is the light of the world.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  (John 8:12)

He also said that if we follow Him, we are the light of the world, and that we are to shine just like Him.

"You are the light of the world… In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14,16)

The light of Christ is brilliant and perfect.  There is nothing we can do to make that light any brighter.  It was given to us in full intensity for the purpose of never having to walk in darkness.

So why do our lives still seem so dark sometimes?  Why do we seem to give off less light than the Scriptures say we can?

Here is what the Lord said to me last July during prayer:

“From darkness, even a dim bulb or candle flame seems to be a great light, so you may think you are good to be here, but I tell you My light is greater than what you see.  To walk in My marvelous light, it is so bright you can see all things around you.  There is nothing hidden in the shadows; all is exposed to my light.  No lie escapes your view, no stonghold has a place to hide, no enemy lies in wait unseen to cause you harm.  The intensity of My light is up to you.”

I asked Him how to increase the intensity of His light in me and he showed me John 1:1-5, which boils down to three points:

  1. Jesus is the light
  2. Jesus is the Word
  3. The Word = light = life

Let me share two quick stories to begin illustrating this.

Twenty-some years ago, I had a Tupperware party at my house.  It began in late afternoon and went into evening.  After all the goofy games were done we sat down in my living room to look through our catalogs and write out our orders as the demonstrator talked about various products.  By now, it was evening, but we really hadn’t noticed until the room suddenly became brighter and we could all see the booklets and order forms more clearly.

My father, who was the only man who stayed around during this “girl event,” was standing in the other room drinking coffee while watching us.  From where he stood, he could see the difficulty we were having in the growing darkness, so he flipped on the light switch.  We ladies thought we were just fine in the light we were already in, so we were amazed (as evidence by all the “ooh’s” and “aah’s”) when the light intensified.

Earlier this year I was washing my white teakettle, which get pretty spotty with grease and such if I forget to pay attention to it.  When I felt it was thoroughly clean, I switched sinks to rinse it.  As I moved the kettle, I found a grease spot that I couldn’t see before because the shadow of the faucet was enough to hide it from my view.  The brighter light exposed it.

Before we give our lives to Christ, we are walking in complete darkness.  We don’t know how dark it is until we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and He puts His light into us.  Suddenly our lives seem radiantly bright.

But the Lord is saying that there is more!  He's saying that even though we are walking in light, there is still darkness around us.  He has more light to give us for our life.  It comes in the form of the revelation of His Word.

We get revelation in two parts:

First, we must read His Word – get it in our heads and hearts.  God speaks to us with what we have put inside us.  If we don’t have the Scriptures hidden in our hearts, He doesn’t have much to work with!

Then, we need to let Him speak to us about the Scriptures.  We can read the whole Bible cover to cover many times over and get nothing or very little from it if we don’t give God some time to talk to us about it.

When we go to a Bible Study, it is expected that the leader will be teaching us a deeper meaning of what we read. God does the same thing.  Ask Him to speak to you while you read and then listen along the way.  It’s called meditating on the Word.

Here’s the trick though.  It’s the part where nothing will remain hidden.  It may sound great that being in a brighter light will expose your enemies, but it will also expose your sins.  If we like the sin we’re in, perhaps that is why we don’t want any revelation of the Word and why our world seems so dark.  Or maybe we’re comfortable in the light we’re in and don’t even realize it’s not as bright as we need it to be.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m tired of being smacked down by things I didn’t see coming and tripping over things I’ve kept hidden.  Jesus doesn’t expose my stuff to the world, just to me, so I can let Him clean up my path.  There’s only one way to do it – by the revelation of His Word to increase the intensity of His marvelous light in my life.

Care to join me in the light?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Water Cooler Logic

This is my home water cooler.

I like it a lot.

There are three different temperatures of water to be had, a small refrigerator section under the water dispensing area, and a cool blue light that comes on when the room is dark enough, so I can get my water at night without exposing my tired eyes to harsh white light. 

We've had it in the house for about five years now, so I'm pretty familiar with its function… which is the reason why what I did this morning is so funny.

See how there are three buttons for water - hot (red), room temp (white), and cold (blue)?  See how the dispensing spigot is right in the middle?

Well, I wanted some cold water this morning, so I grabbed a cup and put it on the shelf - under the cold-water button - and pushed.

It wasn't until my foot got wet that I actually looked at what I was doing.  You see I've done it so many times its like second nature to me.  There was no reason for me to think that I would make a mistake this time.  I knew what I was doing.

So, what went wrong?

With my busy day ahead, I was not only multi-tasking things on my to-do list, but I was juggling a few things in my brain, as well.  When your mind isn’t quite on what you’re doing, sometimes you end up with a wet foot.

Why is this important?

Because it illustrates how important it is for me to not depend on my own knowledge.  No matter how much information I’ve been gifted with, there is always room for error.  Details get mixed up, forgotten completely, or colored by my own personal biases.  Mood, health, and busyness can all play a factor in how well that information is retrieved or applied.

What’s a girl to do?

Get out the instruction manual, of course!

When I flip to Proverbs chapter 3, I find this helpful information:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  (NIV)

That seems pretty straightforward and, oddly enough, it works.

When I talk to God about the things I need to do, to remember, or to work through, the Holy Spirit always guides me in the best direction, brings to mind any forgotten thoughts, or helps determine if decisions I make are good or not so good.

Every day I am learning to rely more and more on the voice of God.  I enjoy the ease of thinking with Him.  Everyone knows two heads are better than one, and when one of them is omniscient (all knowing) how can you go wrong?

My goal is to work smarter, not harder.  The longer I live, the more difficult I find it to process all the information that is gathering in my brain or to try to function without information I need.

Choosing to trust the Lord’s voice and not my own understanding of things – in all things – is definitely helping me to walk straighter paths.  When I don’t, well… my feet get wet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Avatar Review

My daughter and I went to see the movie Avatar in 3D tonight.

What an amazingly cool movie it is!  It's science fiction colliding with a primitive culture to make a wonderfully creative and almost believable world.

I'll try to share without spoiling anything of the movie if you haven't seen it yet (and I highly recommend you see it in the theater before it's run is finished), but there is one aspect of the movie I want to discuss.

Let's see... what did I love about this movie:

The cinematography is stunning to say the least

The acting was over-the-top believable

The concept of transferring consciousness to another being was actually kind of cool to imagine (Not a spoiler - you can find out about this in the trailer.)
And I absolutely loved the spiritual connection of the Na'vi to their planet Pandora (Here's where the spoiler alert begins - if you don't want to know anything more about the movie until you see it, bookmark this page to read later and stop here.)

Some of my friends were concerned about the Na'vi worshipping the 'spirit' of a tree and the whole connection to nature with a Mother god, but I pulled out a few positive aspects for Christians to consider.

Above all, remember that this is a fictional story.

What they were worshipping was their source of life.  As Christians, we do the same thing.  On Pandora, life came from the planet to all living things with the central focus being on a tree.  On Earth, life comes from a living, eternal God who shows Himself in nature, but the central focus is (or should be) on His Son Jesus Christ who died on a tree.

On Pandora, wherever the natives walk, light appears at their feet because of their connection to their source of life.  On Earth, every believer was "once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord," and we should "walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8) The light of Christ should literally shine everywhere we place our feet because of our connection to Him. 

The last thing I was impressed with was their great faith.  No matter how bad things got for the Na'vi, none of them blamed their god or turned away from her.  Instead, they ran to her for protection, guidance, and strength - all of the Na'vi as one body, not just some of them. 

It takes real connection with Jesus Christ to have that kind of faith.  You can be saved, but if you never get to know your Savior - to connect with Him - you won't be walking in light, you won't be a functioning part of the body, and you won't develop the faith to get through the tough times.

I'd like to encourage you to read your Bible daily and spend time in prayer with the Lord.  Get to know Him and experience a greater connection with your Source of life. 

And go see Avatar!  (

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Today I'd like to tell you a story.  It's called "Here Today, Hear Tomorrow."  It's when something comes up one day and you hear from the Lord about it another day.  Sometimes we actively pursue an answer from the Lord on a thing, but other times He just delivers without us having to do much work at all.

Here Today:

Last evening my Praying Wives Group was in discussion after the teaching.  We're praying for a different aspect of our husbands' needs each week and one woman brought up the fact that each week's prayer seems to have elements that are in previous prayers.  Specifically, she was reminded of prayer that our husbands would be satisfied with what the Lord gives them.

Many men (and women too) work and work and work for what they need or want, but God prefers they receive from Him and be satisfied with His goodness, so they don't have to work so hard.  In other words, God wants us to let Him lavish good gifts on us rather than having us work ourselves silly to get them on our own.  I'm not saying God doesn't want us to work!  The Father does not want to raise spoiled children.  He just delights in giving us things and they are always good.

We searched through the material from previous weeks and found references that were close to that, but for some reason never did find the place where the word "satisfied" was used, even though we all remembered hearing or reading it.  After looking for awhile and talking about it some more, we moved on and finished up our session for the night.

Hear Tomorrow:

During worship at church today while I wasn't thinking of anything other than the usual - can my mic cord stretch just a little farther to give me some slack, do I have enough room so I don't hit the singer next to me with my tambourine, am I far enough forward so I don't back into the drums (stuff like that) - I began to focus more and more on the awesome God I was singing to.

When you actively focus on the Lord, you will hear His voice.

We began singing the song No Other by David Ruis and I was praising the Lord with every word:

          There is no other friend
          There is no other friend like You, oh Lord
          No other brother
          No other brother like You

          There is no other love
          There is no other love like You, oh Lord
          No other sweeter
          No other fountain but You

And there it was.  In the very next line I heard it:

          And how long until I'm satisfied?
Suddenly, the Lord began speaking to me while I continued singing the song:
          I must have more of You
          For I was born in Zion
          Awakened love is crying out for You
          It must be You

"Yes," He was saying, "it must be Me.  It must be Me that you draw your satisfaction from.  No human can offer what I can.  Not your husband for you or you for your husband.  Not your kids for you or you for your kids.  Not your pastor for you or you for those you minister to.  You can't get real satisfaction from your job, your home, your money, your ministries, or anything else.  But you will find you are satisfied with all those people and in all those things if you draw your true satisfaction from Me"

Aha!  Revelation!  The more I sang, the closer I wanted to be to God.  The lyrics completely expressed my hunger for more of what He desires to give every day:

          And if I’m healed by
          Just one touch
          of your garment, Lord
          Then how much more
          of Your love is for me
          than I’m tasting, Lord?
          Draw me, take me and I will run
          Over the mountains and down into the valleys
          I will run with You

          All, all my fountains are in You

I haven't quite figured out the fountain part yet.  If it means that everything I need to pour out of me - my time, attention, love, energy, creativity, etc - is in the Lord, that's what I want.  I want Him to be the source of everything I do.

          All, all my fountains are in You

If it means that everything I draw upon to determine my self-worth is in the Lord, that's what I want.  I want Him to establish my value.

          All, all my fountains are in You

If it means that my refreshing is in the Lord, that's what I want.  I want Him to wash over me with His cleansing and life-giving water.

          All, all my fountains are in You

Lord, I pray today that I will be satisfied with You.  Forgive me for counting on others to be my source of satisfaction and ignoring Your gifts to me.  I want to dive in deeper each day to take hold of all You have to offer me.  I can hardly believe there is more than what I've tasted so far, but I know there is and I want all that is mine through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for talking to me... I'm glad I listened.  Amen.

Today I am satisfied.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Time for the Beginning

Here’s an understatement I never caught before.  The first verse of the first chapter in the Gospel According to Mark reads:

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”


Imagine being in Mark’s place for a moment.  Here’s a guy who spent time with Jesus, witnessed the miracles, experienced the powerful delivery of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and grew in his personal relationship with the God of the universe as he shared the gospel by divine power and inspiration to a multitude of people on many mission trips.

He completely understood who Jesus was: the eternal God – existing before time - born as a man, died on a cross, raised to life again by the Holy Spirit, and ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede for unrighteous man before a righteous and holy God, so that we would not perish in our sin, but have opportunity for eternal life with Him.

After thirty years of sharing his testimony about how Jesus transforms lives, some people in Rome said, “Hey, this is good news!  Can you write it down so we can go over it when you’re not around?” (Or something along those lines.)

So Mark says, “Sure,” and sits down one day with feather and scroll (or whatever tools he would have used to write with back then) and suddenly it hits him – “Where do I begin?”

How do you begin to tell the story of Someone who has no beginning; who has always existed and always will?  How do you write down enough to demonstrate to your readers that Jesus wasn’t just a great man, but the Great “I Am”?

I believe Mark wrote his Gospel the same way he lived his life – by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God knew who Mark’s audience would be and prepared Mark specifically for this task throughout his life.  All Mark needed to do was sit down with God and let God tell His own story through Mark’s hands.

The Gospel of Mark is the clearest, get-to-the-point Gospel of the four written because that’s how the Roman’s needed to hear it.  I like hearing it this way too.  God showed Mark the right point in time to begin his written testimony.  It immediately captures your attention and doesn’t let go until the end.

Because of His great love for us, a timeless God came into time to carry out the greatest rescue in all of history, and then fit His story into our concept of time, so we could easily understand it.

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Does His beginning fit into your time schedule?  He made time for you.

God bless!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

With every new year there is the hope that things will be better than the year before.  We spend a great deal of time reflecting on the past year’s events and labeling them “good” or “bad” in light of how they affected us.  From our list of “bad” things, we develop our list of “hopes”:
  • we hope the economy will improve
  • we hope there won’t be as much sickness or death in our families
  • we hope the storm seasons will be less harsh
  • we hope we will behave better in certain areas

 Once we fill up our “hope list,” then what?  Unless we plan to do something about each item, we blindly sit back hoping that "good things come to those who wait" (to coin a very grating cliché).

Still, even when we try to make our hopes come true, placing our hope in failed world systems, the nature of life and death, unpredictable weather patterns, or our own weak will-power tends to result only in broken New Year’s resolutions… just like last year… and all the years before.  With each broken resolution comes a sense of disappointment, failure, or hopelessness.

I declare to you today that there is One in whom you can place your hope who will not disappoint, who cannot fail, and who is never the source of hopelessness – Jesus Christ!

He is not waiting for you only at the stroke of midnight on January 1st of every year, but every second of every day all year long!  You don’t have to wait for a new year to find new hope, you can find it anytime you’re ready to receive it.

Lamentations 3:22-23

 22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.
 23 They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 68:19

 19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
       who daily bears our burdens.

EVERY DAY – the Lord is compassionate toward YOU.

EVERY DAY – He has grace and mercy to offer YOU.

EVERY DAY – Jesus Christ, our Savior, is ready to bear YOUR burdens.


1 Timothy 4:9-10

 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

My hope is in Jesus Christ because He succeeds where the world systems fail, He offers renewed health when sickness wants to cripple and life when death moves in too quickly, He can quiet the raging storms in life (personal and weather related), and His will is perfect where mine is not.

My hope is in Jesus Christ because He is a living God – a risen Savior – who rescues all who believe and call out to Him for help.  He is not a dead or hidden God that is hard to find or hard to reach.

My hope for you is that, even if you are already a believer, you will put your trust in Jesus Christ THIS DAY because I know He is trustworthy and is all the hope you will ever need.

How do I know?

I was there when He rescued me and He hasn’t left me yet.

May your hope be in Christ in 2010!