When I was a little girl, I was a bit of a tomboy and spent a lot of time outside. On nice days you could find me up a tree or walking through woods or wading through a creek. I also loved to dig holes. I really cannot imagine why and probably need therapy, but I dug holes. I remember digging down through the sandy soil, down to the hard clay level, and it would be cool. No matter how hot the topsoil was, that clay level was cool.
The things of God are like that. It takes time and dedication to get down to the cool level. The Bible says that the Word of God is life to those who find it, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:22). That says to me that we have to find it. Finding something means you had it look for it, you had to pursue it.
Life is hard and the sandy topsoil level can be really bleak, but if we’ll dig into God’s Word and pursue His precious promises that are there for us, we’ll find relief.
We have some wonderful ministry friends, Pastor Jim and Ireta Willoughby, who I adore. They are a great family, and they are real people, my favorite kind of people. Ireta was a guest on Lindsay’s program (Make Your Day Count) a few days ago and she said something that stopped me cold. She said, “God doesn’t want you to carbon copy somebody else’s prayer; He wants to hear from your heart.”
Sometimes when I hear ministers give wordy and highfalutin prayers, I admit I get kind of irritated… maybe because somewhere inside me I feel a little less qualified. But in my heart, I know that God doesn’t care how fancy the words are, He just wants to hear from me. I also feel funny when I hear people talk about their prayer closets. I don’t have a prayer closet. I really can’t pinpoint a place where I do my praying. I guess the world is my prayer closet.
I pray in the car, I pray in the shower, I pray at work, I pray while I’m doing dishes. I pray when I need to, I pray when I want to. I just pray. And I think that’s the key. God wants to hear from us, anytime and all the time.
He wants to hear from us when we are in trouble or triumph, when the day is awesome and when it’s not. I know that I don’t like it when people only reach out to me when they need something. I imagine God doesn’t appreciate it either.
My friend Ireta reminded me that my Heavenly Father is my friend. He is tuned into my heart. He speaks my language. And He speaks yours too.
Lynn is a hard taskmaster. He’s recently found CrossFit and has been forcing this brutal regime on me. Just kidding. But I have been doing some exercises at home in the privacy of my living room.
Last night he told me I was going to do 100 squats. And I resisted the urge to slap him. But then he told me to just get 10 and rest, or just get 5 and rest. And then when I was really hurting, he said just get 3 and rest. And when I was at 70, I stopped and did my push-ups. 50 of those. And when I thought my arms were literally going to fall off, he said, “Now get the last 30 squats,” and I wanted to slap him again. But I started squatting and was shocked to discover that my legs had recovered a little and I was able to knock out 10 without too much agony. Then I took them 5 at a time until I reached my goal. I was exhausted and a little nauseated, yes, but I did it.
You see, the thought of doing 100 squats was pure insanity to me. There was no way to wrap my brain around it… until there was. And that’s how we have to approach a lot of tough situations in life. Problems may seem huge and insurmountable, but if we take a small step of faith, and then another, and then another, then we find ourselves moving steadily through the problem until one day, we look up and realize we are on the other side.
That’s how faith works.
We do not see the whole picture, we do not know how it’s all going to work out. But we have to do what we know to do, a step at a time, a day at a time, or sometimes even a moment at a time, all the while putting our trust in Him, our answer-giver, our way-maker, knowing that God works all things together for good to those that love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That means He can use every drop of blood, sweat, and tears along the way to bring something beautiful out of our journey.
I have been writing this blog for about 2 ½ years. This is the 219th post. In the very beginning, I learned from WordPress that I should “tag” each post or categorize it so that when people search for a topic, my blog will show up in search engines. I did not know how to categorize my posts so I just began with the obvious ones: faith, Bible, Holy Spirit, encouragement, and real life. I have probably used a dozen or so different categories but those are the 5 that I have used the most. (As evidenced by my nifty screen shot.)
It was not at all on purpose, that’s just the way it came out, and that’s exactly what this blog is. It is encouragement in real life using my Bible, my faith, and the constant help of the Holy Spirit. And that is my journey; that is my life.
I’m a working wife and Mom. I drive an SUV in the suburbs to baseball games and the like. But it takes those same entities to make life work in New York City, Los Angeles, or Timbuktu. Those are the necessities of living this bumpy Christian life. And boy, does it get bumpy.
Whatever bumps you may be traversing tonight, take this with you: You are not alone, your situation is not hopeless, and God’s mercies are new every morning.
What a great week I’ve had in Branson. If you know me at all, you know I joke about being at a preacher convention and sitting in nonstop church until my tail hurts. I joke about wearing layers of makeup and using a half a can of hairspray. I lament the prices of food in the hotel and how all I really want is a pbj, not a $30 steak. Not that I don’t enjoy a good steak, but when you’re in a hotel for a week, you just want a piece of toast, or a bologna sandwich… Things from your own kitchen.
But this week was especially outstanding. I received so much good stuff from the sweet presence of God. I sat under anointed teaching and took notes until my hand hurt. I worshipped God with my hands in the air until my shoulders ached. I stood on hotel ballroom carpet in my bare feet, heels kicked off, basking in the Spirit of God until all hours of the night.
I drank gallons of coffee. I shook lots of hands and hugged lots of necks. I gave of myself and I received in kind. I made the most of it.
I didn’t have to do that. I could have slipped in and out unnoticed, I could have doodled and daydreamed my way through the meetings. I know all the tricks… I’ve had a lifetime of practice. But I wanted all that God was serving up. I wanted the biggest piece of cake with the most frosting. I wanted the coveted corner piece, and you can’t get that if you’re late to the party.
It may be a hassle or uncomfortable or a downright pain in the butt to get to the party, but if they’re serving up heart-lifting, soul-nurturing, life-sustaining cake, it is totally worth it.
I’m posting today from my iPad so I have no idea how this is going to turn out… Guess we’ll find out together.
Aren’t these the greatest running shoes? Yes, I realize they are a little bright but hey, why not have cute feet while you are trampling on serpents and scorpions? That’s exactly what we’re supposed to do though. Trample on them. Squish them. Kill them. Luke 10:19 tells us that.
So why does it seem that they are trampling on us? Why do we keep getting bitten and stung? Because of the devil; the father of lies. That’s what he does.
The Bible tells us he prowls around seeking who he may devour. He is the devourer, and we are his favorite food. Why? Because we are the most dangerous thing in his world.
I heard a minister who I respect and admire tremendously say today, “The devil only attacks what he fears.” Wow, is that ever the truth. That’s why he goes after marriages, ministers, men and women of God, people that pose a threat to him.
My friends, that’s us. We are enemy number one. The devil hates us when we stand up for righteousness. He hates it when we speak out against sin. He hates Godly marriages. He hates seeing Godly children being raised.
You can bet if what you’re doing glorifies God, the devil hates it.
But don’t let that stop you. Put on those insanely bright shoes and run to Him. Run to the One who makes you more than a conqueror. Run to the One who provides more than enough. Run to the One beneath whose wings you can find safety and security.
Run to The Lord. Put on your shoes and run.
Where idiots abound, grace doth much more abound. Oh wait, that’s not quite the scripture, is it? Well, idiots do abound, that’s the truth. But another truth is that we are all idiots from time to time. Some more than others.
I willingly confess to being an idiot on occasion. But what might appear as idiocy, might actually be blamed on many other things. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. We don’t know what crisis they are facing or what terrible loss they are feeling. How often do we think about what the idiot is dealing with?
Yesterday I was stopped at a red light and there was a brand new, beautiful white Suburban in front of me. Suddenly the driver’s door opened and a well dressed man stepped out and headed toward the back. I could tell he was trying to shut the back door which perhaps was being blocked by his multitude of grocery bags. The light turned green and he was still fiddling with the automatic door which stubbornly refused to shut manually. He gave me a quick “I’m sorry” wave and finally managed to hit the button and the door slowly closed. By this time, several cars had honked, swerved, gestured, and Lord knows what else, and I just sat there thinking, “Poor guy, he must feel like an idiot.”
But was he? No. He was just a guy dealing with a new-fangled door. For all I know he was in the middle of some saintly act like taking those groceries to a homeless shelter. He may have been bringing them home to his wife who had been wrangling 14 children all day. Who knows?
We don’t know. And those people who huffed and puffed at him… well, I think they might be the idiots.
Have a little mercy today. I’m quite sure we have all received plenty of it from our Father God who loves all of us idiots.
Lately I’ve been watching an episode or two of Frasier before I fall asleep at night. Before I do a last scroll through Facebook and Instagram, that is. Of course it’s all reruns as the show has been out of production for a long time. I actually never watched it when it was on primetime television. I guess I was too busy watching 90210 and Melrose Place. I was so cool back then.
But lucky for me, the show is on cable every night, sometimes several episodes, giving me the opportunity to enjoy all that Frasier had to offer.
You know who else shows reruns at all hours? The devil.
Remember, the devil is not a creator, he’s only an imitator. He does not have the ability to create anything new. The tools he uses are the same ones he’s been using since he was thrown out of Heaven. Satan is all about reruns. Don’t fall for it. Don’t fall for his attempts to trip you up with things you’ve already conquered. Don’t let him bring things up that you’ve already let go. Don’t let him remind you of hurts. Don’t let him kindle a fire you have already put out. Don’t let him abuse you over something for which you’ve already been forgiven.
That’s not to say he won’t try, because he will. But when those thoughts come, you have authority to stand up and fight back. You have that authority as a child of God, full of Jesus, full of His Word, and full of faith. You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37). Sometimes you just have to let that be your rerun.