John 20:19-21 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

The disciples were locked up in fear.  Jesus came to them, and His first word to them was “peace.”

Peace, is the Greek word eirēnē according to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is: Comprehensively, of every kind of peace (blessing), yet with a predominance apparently of the notion of peace with God.

When I am filled with anxiety, fear or worry, Jesus wants to come to me and speak “peace.”  How many times do I lock Him out of the situation, not allowing Him to speak peace into my circumstances.  I seek other’s opinions.  I rationalize in my own mind.  I seek out experts.

PeaceYet Jesus just speaks “peace” when I quiet myself enough. He will meet me where I am.  He will show me what to do.  He may use someone, but it is rarely the voice I sought that will guide me where He wants me to go.  He may lead me to an expert, but it is rarely in my own searching.  When I see Him in my anxiousness, the answer always starts with peace.  It comes from a place of peace.

The second thing that John recorded that Jesus spoke after His resurrection to His disciples was again “peace.”  Even as He was sending them out into the world.  Peace is what He wanted them to have.  He knew in order for them to walk through their journey, and complete their God given mission, they would need to be at peace with God wherever they were in life.

So it is with me.  I become ineffective in my roles whenever I loose my peace with God.  I must stay connected to His peace if I want to be successful.  For a long time in my life, I didn’t have His peace.  There was such a deep anger inside of me, that I quickly lashed out at whoever was around.  I was not content with where I was.    It could be the littlest thing that would set me off.

It takes a lot more now for me to get to that place, but unfortunately, I know it is still there.  I was it on vacation with my family.  A trip we planned for months.  It erupted when the kids were fighting.  I saw it with my grandchildren when their behavior is wrong all weekend. I have seen it rear it’s ugly head with my husband. I have lost my peace, only to have to come back an apologize  later when I had the opportunity to regroup and reenter the situation with a repentant heart to ask for forgiveness.

I want to get to the point that I really am just peaceful all of the time.  Where I let God lead even when the storms are raging.  God showed me earlier this year that I have to let Him be the One stable thing for me when all else is uprooted or unstable.  He can be that peace, if I will not lock Him out but will go to Him, or better yet, just abide in Him.

Lord, thank you for Your peace, the fruit of the Spirit that you have grown in my life. Thank you for your faithfulness, even when I have not sought you. Thank you for your forgiveness when I have lost that battle lately.  I need your peace, the peace that surpasses all understand.  Continue to grow Your peace in me.  Thank you for speaking peace into my life.   Thank you for your gracious love. Let your peace go with me.  I want to be known as a woman of peace. 

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My Pastor preached a message today on honor. He reference a few passages and the television show Gold Rush. One of the passages of scripture was:  “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44 HCSB

He talked about how the man not only got the treasure when he bought the land, but also all the dirt that went with it. He related it back to our own lives and how we all have a treasure within, but we have to dig through all the dirt to get to the treasure that God already sees. He pointed out that often other people have a treasure to give us, but it is hard for us to receive their treasure because we know the dirt in thier lives.  Our perception of them is tainted by what we know – the things they do, their past, or their struggles and allow that to keep us from receiving from them.

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines perceptions as a transitive verb meaning:

1 a : to attain awareness or understanding of
b : to regard as being such 
2 : to become aware of through the senses

He talked about how it takes mountains of dirt being moved to find one ounce of gold, hence the reference to Gold Rush.  He said people don’t go looking for the dirt, they go looking for the gold, the treasure. They put up with the dirt for the reward of gold in the end. Depending on the reported source, and likely also the land where it is being mined if you watch Gold Rush, it can take between two and ninty tons (1 ton is roughly 2,000 pounds) of dirt to mine one ounce of gold. That is a lot of dirt!

As I drove home from church I was just meditating on the message. Over the years, I have realized that God can and does speak to me through some of society’s “dirtiest” people. I have worked with the richest of people and the poorest.  I have learned to receive His revelation regardless of where it appears to come from. I perceive, if He can speak through a donkey, there is probably not a person alive I can not receive something from.

perceiveYet, when it comes to me, I often believe that my dirt is too much for Him to want to use me. I know this is a lie, and have been renewing my mind that God can and does use me. He might want to use me more, but I often let my own perception of my life keep me from stepping out in obedience.

He shared the story of the Samaritan woman at the well found in John 4 and how Jesus revealed her sin which then changed her perception of how she viewed him. She went from questioning how Jesus, a Jew, would even talk to her to perceiving that Jesus was a prophet.

As my pastor shared about how her changed perception had transformed her life, I couldn’t help but reflect on the bigger picture. Her perception transformed her life, but it also changed a city. She shared what happened to her and more people came to hear Jesus and also beleived. What if we realize that our correct perceptions have the ability to not only transform our lives, but the very cities we live in?

Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what He said. And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.John 4:39‭-‬42 HCSB

Maybe my dirt really isn’t the barrier, maybe it is just my perception of it. Jesus in a moment took this five-time divorced woman who was living with yet another, and removed so much dirt from her life that the treasure she found was enough to transform a city. She went from the ostracized woman at the well, to a spokeswoman for Christ who led many to believe. Her dirt wasn’t enough to stop her from sharing the treasure she found whe she got the right perception.

I look at my own life still, and know that there is still a lot of dirt in my life. I spent the weekend sifting through dirt in another area where I needed a perception change. So my thoughts turned to Joseph, the son of Jacob. He tends to be one of my go to people as the misunderstood younger sibling with big dreams. I find myself learning a lot from His life.

He also started out with a wrong perception. Joseph shared too soon what God had placed inside of him. He didn’t have the character yet for the vision within him. So he went from favored son with big dreams to the pit. Then he went to the palace but didn’t stay.  From there he went to prison. His dirt was pretty deep, but God was using the time and process to refine Joseph. When it came time for God to fulfill the dream He had placed inside of Joseph, his character had caught up to the vision. Despite all the dirt that had gone down in the past, the transformation was of great magnitude.  It was not only Joesph’s life that was transformed, but his brothers’ lives, his father’s life, his city and multiple countries were saved and tranformed by his perception.

Our perceptions may not save a country, but they certainly have the ablity to impact more than just our personal life. We all have influence, and that influence to others, influences more, and they influence more. It is when we have a right perception of our position and our purpose, and our passion is aligned with God’s that we will reach our cities, our states, our nation, and eventually the world as decribed in Acts:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 HCSB

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Where You are

I have not been able to get this song out of my head that we sang at church. It is a song by Hillsong Worship “You Came to My Rescue.”  Part of the song says “I called, You answered. You came to my rescue and I wanna be where You are.” It is a powerful song, with obviously a catchy tune based on scriptures.

Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and
while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and
mighty things, which you know not.
Psalm 22:8 “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”
Psalm 35:17 Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, My precious life from the lions.
Psalm 136:24 And rescued us from our enemies, For His mercy endures forever;

I know God’s Word is true.  I know this song resonates in my soul.  Still there are some times in my life though, I might say “I called and God didn’t answer. God didn’t come to my rescue.”  In the moment of my pain, that is a true statement. There are times in my life that I have had to walk though some really difficult circumstances where I really wanted God to intervene in my timing, AKA immediately.

whereyouareAnd yet, I realize there is not a situation that I have called out to God for that I am still in now. His answer rarely looked like I wanted it to.  His answers rarely came in the timing that I was looking for.  Every time though, He did answer. Every time, He did rescue me.

Looking back, it is not in the answer or the rescue that my thought that “sometimes He doesn’t answer or rescue” comes from. When I get to that point, where I am really calling out to Him in desperation, I really just want Him to answer. I want Him to rescue me from whatever I am experiencing at the time.  Yet rarely has my desire before I got to that moment been to “just be where He is.”

At those times I have really cried out, in desperation, needing the answer only He could bring; I rarely before had a cry in my heart to be where He was.  I am not naïve enough to believe things can not go wrong when I am truly abiding with Him.  However, I tend to have an inner strength that helps carry me through even the toughest times when I am sharing my burden with Him daily.  Jesus says in Matthew 11:29-30Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I need to stay in the place where the cry of my heart is to be where God is.  I won’t have to travel so far then when I need to call on Him.  I will know that He is answering.  I will know that He is rescuing me.  I will know that regardless of what I am up against, I am right where I am suppose to be, in His presence, seeking His help.  There may be something that I am suppose to be learning.  There may be something that You are trying to work out in me or through me.  It may be my own poor choices or the actions of others.  Regardless of the purpose, I will be where You are.

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Confessions of a Cranky Christian

I would love to blame it on

  • The full moon,
  • Mercury being close to the earth last month,
  • Not enough sleep,
  • Working too much,
  • The behavior of those around me,
  • Circumstances outside of my control
  • The series of unfortunate events that played out in just a short span

Anything to take the blame off for my crankiness over the past three days. I certainly could make the above excuses.  I could gain some sympathy from those around me to my unfortuante plight. However, while all of the above might be true, the only one responsible for my attitude is me.

CrankychristianIt is easy to make an excuse for my actions; it is much harder to accept responsibility. It is even harder to take action to change things, especially when every ounce of your being is cranky right down to the core. That is where I have been the last few days. So cranky, I didn’t even want to be around myself.

I admit, a lot of people around me didn’t realize how cranky I was.  I do a pretty good job of masking it, much better than I used to when even the dog next door could sense my crankiness.  I have learned over the years to not express the full extent of what I am thinking.  I realize I am better at hiding the crankiness, because I found myself wanting to apologize for my snappy attitude, which I did to two of my coworkers.  It was met with a “You were not snappy.”  and a “I thought you were funny.”

However, I also am not good at hiding it with those closest to me.  By the end of the third day, I had provoked my husband with my attitude to the point he asked if I wanted a divorce.  That is a word that neither of us has mentioned in over a decade.  I would not typically allow myself to take responsibility for his words or actions, because I am not.   I will certainly say that I really provoked his response in this small time frame, and that he resisted most of my cranky instigations.

I knew that my focus had been on all that was wrong in the moment.  Nothing life shattering, just small inconveniences in the larger spectrum of life.  On day three, I finally decided to stop walling in my crankiness, and reluctantly give it to God. I recognized it as a spiritual battle, because any other time I can count my blessing, naming them one by one, with a gratefulness that allows me to proudly proclaim, “I am blessed and highly favored.”  I had given away my joy, by allowing myself to focus on the things that I am discontent with, not on the amazing things that I have seen and walked through.

So here is my confession, I know the secret to fixing crankiness, especially as a Christian; although I know that it works for non-Christians too.  Crankiness, can be fixed by changing what you are thinking about.  If the focus is the negative, you will always find it.  If the focus is on the good, you will find it too.  The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.   What we think on has a powerful ability to steer our behavior.  So if you need an attitude adjustment, change your focus.

I will be the first to admit, it is easier said than done.  However, if we keep taking the thoughts captive that are not true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise, we will eventually find our attitude changing.  It took a few hours once I started doing it for my attitude to change, but it was a complete makeover, not just a mask I put on.

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I reached into my pocket and found the folded paper that I had taken abruptly just a few hours before.  I am always amazed at how loudly some lessons come across.   It probably spoke louder because I had been praying the day before on a passage in Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  I unfolded the two crisp dollar bills and held them in my hand.  It was suppose to have been the grandchildren’s offering at church.  Instead, we were back home and I had just pulled it out of my pocket. 

What part of my life do I offer as a living sacrifice?  If I am honest, although at times I may sacrifice time, or comfort, or convenience, or control, I do not live a life of sacrifice.  I live a blessed life.  While I don’t take for granted that I am blessed, I feel God calling me to sacrifice my comfort, to spend more time with Him and to be obedient to the call as He shows me what steps to take.

What do I present to Him that is holy?  Christ has made us holy, so when I surrender to His will, it is a holy offering.  

What do I present that is acceptable?  As I reviewed the scriptures, His Word reveals that there are several acceptable ways to live for Him:

  • With righteousness ( Proverbs 21:3, Romans 14:17-18),
  • With justice (Proverbs 21:3),
  • With joy (Romans 14:17-18),
  • With peace (Romans 14:17-18),
  • Living a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and reverence (I Timothy 2:2-3),
  • Living with a renewed mind (Romans 12:2),
  • Learning to show godliness to their own family (I Timothy 5:4)

Living as He designed is our reasonable worship to Him.  I have found myself the past few weeks pondering how I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable.  What am I offering to God?  Here I stood with a small offering in my hand, a child’s offering.  I often feel like what I have to offer is small, childlike in the scheme of God’s great plan.  I question if my offering would make a difference, and yet I know that God takes small things and can do big things.  All we ever have to offer is what is in our hands, that is all God asks for from us.

OfferingsMy grandchildren always want to make sure they have offering for class.  However it often fails to make it to the intended destination because they don’t have pockets or hand it to me to hold.  If I remember, I will take it to them.  So often we seek the gift we want to be able to give, but yet never allow it to be used for its intended purpose.

I had taken the grandkids offering for safe keeping because the were distracting me during pray.  My granddaughter had taken out her dollar, and my grandson saw it.  He started getting upset, saying that she had taken his offering.   I thought about how many times I had discounted what I had to give because I thought someone else had that gift.

A wise friend reminds me often that it is in the expression of the gift that transformation occurs.  I know often in speaking with my kids I can repeat the same thing over and over and it seems to have little impact.  Then someone else can come along and say the same thing in a different way and they receive it as a fresh revelation like they have never heard the concept before.  The message may not make sense to me, or even to everyone, but to that one person that God means it for, they need to hear the gift as I express it, no someone else.

When my grandson reached into his own pocket, he realized he still had his offering.  He took it out and started playing with it.  He eventually dropped it.  I thought about the times that I have just dropped my offering.  Unwilling to acknowledge the gift. Unwilling to believe that God would use me.  Unwilling to express it.   I’ve left what God placed inside of me right there, hopeful that someone else would pick it up or that God would be willing to bring to opportunity again for me to pick it up and be obedient to Him.

Eventually they both gave their offering to me.  I thought about how many times I have wasted what I have to offer, giving it away for something else.  I don’t give my offering because I would rather waste time watching television, or on social media.  I busy myself with things that are good, but not things that God is drawing me to in that moment.  I choose comfort over sacrifice.

  • As I stood there looking at the offering, both grandchildren realized it was what they had intended it give.   God also sees what we are holding in our hands.  He knows sometimes we are going to miss it.  He knows when we are going to make an excuse and say someone else has it, when we will drop what we have to offer, and when we are going to waste what He has given us on something else.  Yet, in His grace and mercy, He gives it back to us.  He gives us other opportunities.  He redeems the time.


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Talents and Gifts

I have spent much of my life questioning how I can use my talents for God’s glory.  I think much of the time I have confused my God-given talents with His gifts.  He asked for us to increase or at least invest our talents, but His gifts are for the building up of the Church (I Corinthians 14:12).  They may complement each other, but they are not the same.

In the parable of the talents Jesus shared in Matthew 25, there is an important lesson:

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

While the talent was a form of currency in Bible times, God has also entrusted His people with talents.  In the parable above, He praised the servants who took the talent He gave and increased it.  He asked the one who did not increase it why the servant did not at least invest it.

God has asked me to increase and invest the talents that He has given me.  The talents that He has given me can be enhanced through education with worldly knowledge.  Talents can be fine-tuned through application and experience over time.  God gifted me the talents, my gift to Him is how I grow them where He has placed me.  I have to be faithful to build on what God has freely given.

Gifts on the other hand, are a spiritual gift from God that can only be developed through time with Him.  They can only be fine-tuned through obedient expression.  They are meant to build up the Church, both locally and globally.

gifts and talentsHe asked for us to increase or at least invest our talents, but His gifts are for the building up of the Church (I Corinthians 14:12).   I have spent much time cultivating the talents He has given me, while at the same time resisting the use of His gifts outside of those talents.  I am thankful that He allowed to grow in Him and be comfortable in some of His gifts as I invested my talents.  I recognize that the success I saw in those I was brought along side of, the transformed lives and miracles, were His working of gifts through me.

However, I recognize that I have not been faithful in the obedient expression of His gifts because I have withheld them outside of that comfort zone.  I may have shared them with members of the Church, and in such helped build up members of His body.   I have not always been faithful to use those gifts where He has planted me.

His Word says in I Corinthians 3:17 that whatever we do should be done in His name.  That thought really brought me conviction tonight.  I have been praying for years that the Church would rise up and not just go to church, but really be the Church.  I long for the day when the needs of our communities are met not by nonprofits and government subsidies, but by the Church as it was at the beginning of the Church.  I know that it will take every person doing their part, and yet I had to admit if I was honest, I hadn’t been doing my part.  In the world, yes.  In the church, no.  I pause on the brink of action, and yet want others to jump the hurdle.

I reflected on my own life, and I am grateful for those people who answered the call “Here I am Lord.”  Those who share their gifts to build up the Church.  I wonder where I might have ended up if it hadn’t been for the gifts of encouragement shared with a little girl in a messed up home.  Or the gift of teaching that planted God’s Word in a real way so that when I strayed the Holy Spirit would have something to draw me back through.  Or if some had said no to the expression of the gift of mercy, how a homeless mother of three might have taken a different path.  Or if the words spoken through the gift of prophecy over my life had not pulled out what the world had tried to bury in me where I might have gone.  I don’t want to stand in the way or be a hinderance to another who is walking down a path that God has called me to minister to through His gifts, and I know my talents aren’t usually enough.

Are there areas in your life where you rely on your talents and hold back His gifts? How are you investing your talents?  How are you allowing God to grow your gifts? What keeps you from using your gifts to build up the church?  How can you give God your whatever and surrender both your talents and His gifts to be used in Jesus name?

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Pray for more…

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:35-39


People were drawn to the Jesus and the gospel, but there were not laborers to shepherd them. Sheep without a shepherd are prey to many things. I read a book on Psalms 23 about four months back that discusses the many pitfall of sheep without a shepherd. I never realized how much care they need. Some of the things that I remember are they easily go astray because they follow others, they are stubborn, and they are easily distracted. They will also tend to stay in a place to long and starve because they eat up everything. They also need special tending to because it is easy to get stuck upside down if their coats get to heavy. And they are prone to infestations. No wonder God calls us His sheep. And no wonder Jesus was so concerned about all these people following Him and learning but not having a shepherd to tend to their regular needs.

As I read this passage I pictured a surgery. I have never been in surgery, so I sought out a friend who worked in surgery. I asked her who all was in the surgery room, and I was actually surprised by how many people are needed. As we talked a student who is training to be a scrub tech joined our conversation.

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I noticed

I didn’t hear it and it would have been easy to miss it completely with everything else there is to see. A single leaf falling from the tree. I dont know if an animal had knocked it off, or if a wind gust had brought it down. It caught my attention, despite the other leaves on the ground because July is not the time for falling leaves, it is summer!

It silently floated down, gently swaying back and forth as it fell until it finally landed on the ground beneath.  There on the ground, it will eventually die because it is no longer connected to the branch and tree that brought it life.  Did the other leaves notice it’s absence?  Did the branch feel it detach?  Did the  tree feel a piece of itself die?

I am reminded in John 15 of Jesus’s words:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  John 15:4-6

NoticedWithout disciple, it is easy to slip away from the relationship we have with Christ due to the busyness of life, the distractions of the world, and the competing interests for our attention.  One day passes and turns into two, and then a week, and then we find that months have passed and our relationship with God has faded into the background.  We find ourselves with our backs against the wall and needing His help.  We call out to Him and He answers, but we could have avoided the situation all together if we had just abided with Him continually.

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The walk of life

For the past few years, when the weather is nice my husband and I walk at our community walking trails. We have a few favorite trails, especially since we moved back home last year. We have three trails that we frequent whenever the weather is nice. We had gotten out of the habit for a while, and this week decided to get back to the trails.

However, he bought a new bicycle and really wanted to start working on building up his endurance. I am not a bicycle rider. I never learned as a child, and while a close friend taught me how; it is not something I feel I have mastered enough to want to do in public. I encouraged him to ride and I would walk the trail, it would give him more time to build up endurance.

The first night, I forgot my headset, so it was just me and my thoughts except when he would loop around me on his bicycle. I would pass other walkers with a friendly “hello” or nod of acknowledgement if they were with others. The rest of the time, it was just me, the sidewalk and nature around me.

I started thinking about the walk of life and how my walk that day mirrored it. At first, I was a little upset that my husband was able to go faster than I was. His mode of transportation was meant to take him farther faster. Sometimes in life, we start looking at where we think we should be.  Usually farther along in a particular journey than we are, maybe in a spiritual sense or in our careers or a specific relationship. People often start looking at where others are and let envy set in.  Or start to make excuses as to why the other person is farther along.  Or excuses as to why they are in the spot they are and not where the other person is.

walkoflifeI remember when a close friend was walking a similar journey as me. She was a newer believer and her husband was not attending church with her. Our back stories were also similar, especially in regards to our husbands. Shortly after our journeys together started, her husband started attending church.  He was really getting plugged in and serving God. I admit that really caused me pause because I had been walking the journey for about twelve years at that time. It was easy for me to start looking at how quickly things were happening for her, and compare it to the stalled progress I felt in my own life. It took a lot of soul searching and prayer to get me past that state of envy. During that time, I also realized that having my husband by my side at church was not an end all that I had built it up to be. Continue reading

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Wavering or “Wisdoming”

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5‭-‬8 NLT

I sometimes ask God for something, and then when He delivers I find myself questioning “Is this really you?” Wisdom is one of those things. We all need it. God has it. And He wants to give it to us. James makes it clear in the passage above “He will give it to you.”. God not only wants to give wisdom; He gives it “generously and without reproach” another version says.

Our part is to ask and then trust. God is not going to disapprove of our request. He wants us to receive His wisdom and use it. Why then do we doubt?  Maybe it is just me. When I receive a word of wisdom or knowledge, that is in line with a request from my heart and in line with His Word, I still find myself wavering “Is it really from Him?”

When I ask for something tangible and God delivers, I have no problem accepting it and giving Him glory. If I ask for healing and receive it, I know it is from Him. When I ask for provision and it comes, I know it is from Him, regardless of the source that hands the provision to me. When I ask for anything I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, I don’t doubt. When I have tangible proof that what I asked for is received, I believe.  I don’t ever remember not believing those tangible answers were from God.

wisdomYet Hebrews says: Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT  It is not faith when I am receiving what I can see.  Yes, there are things that I stand on in faith, that I have not seen yet – my whole family loving the Lord with their whole hearts using their gifts and talents to further His Kingdom or seeing the tangible needs of my community met through the Church servings as God’s hands and feet.  I long for a day when the spirits of perversion, greed, poverty, pride and the anti-Christian spirit is no longer prevalent in this nation.  These are things I can not see yet, and until then I will continue to stand in faith for.

Wisdom however, can only be received in faith.  I can not see it.  Sometimes I may see the result of worldly wisdom in the solving of a larger problem, or the facial expression on one receiving it, but I can not actually see wisdom.  So if I ask for wisdom, I have to have faith that God will be true to His word and provide it.  I can not then sit on that wisdom, I must begin to act on it.  God will back it up wisdom with the Word.  He would never give knowledge that is contrary to His Word.

Even when He gives worldly wisdom to His children, it will still line up with the Word.  An example immediately comes to mind, I was helping to raise money for a non-profit once.  It was an annual fundraiser and we seemed to be capped on the amount that we could raise.  We talked about switching venues, raising ticket prices, or sponsor amounts.  We just kept hitting the same amount when we discussed the barriers to each idea.  Budgets were already created for the sponsors they would choose to go down a tier or pick another non-profit.  Venues were already booked up for the year.  Charging more when we were not really changing anything really seemed unfair to the faithful supporters.

I prayed about it for a while, knowing the goal we wanted to hit.  In the midst of brainstorming with the team, I threw out a change to what we provided the sponsors, not changing the dollar amount, but just the seats that we provided which often times would go empty.  When we worked it up, that small change actually got us over the goal.  Needless to say, we raised more money that year, even though there was a slip at the end and there was not a direct ask for additional donations.  It was definitely wisdom given by God for the moment.

For me, I find I waver more when the wisdom that is given is a spiritual wisdom.  Spiritual “wisdoming” is outside my comfort zone (I know God is suppose to be my Comforter, not a zone where I need to stay for my own security), especially in my spiritual circle.  In my sphere of influence, outward, I usually have no problem “wisdoming”. I don’t even mind sharing one on one when I am with others.  When I get in a group, like at church, I really have to push myself to share anything that is placed on my heart by God.  He literally has to confirm, and reconfirm, and still at times I have quenched the Holy Spirit instead of sharing the wisdom He has placed, even though I asked for Him to give it to me.

As I read this passage in James, I realize the risk I have run by quenching His Spirit. I repent of not receiving and releasing His wisdom when He shares it with me.  I understand why James uses the picture of  an unsettled wave, but when I have resisted it, I feel so unsettled, blown and tossed – not just in the moment but for days after.  It literally divides me because I get to the point that I stop wavering and realize I should have just done a little “wisdoming.”  God convicts me of it in love, but it becomes an open door for the enemy to walk through with his condemnation.

When we ask God for wisdom, we have be believe that He will give it to us.  We have to receive it in faith and act on it with obedience.  We can look for confirmation in the Word of God when we feel we have received wisdom in a matter because whether it is worldly knowledge or spiritual wisdom, it will never be contrary to His written Word.  Wavering not only causes internal conflict, but opens the door for the enemy to bring in condemnation.  Instead of wavering in our faith, we need to be “wisdoming” in faith!

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