Keep Going

Keep Going

Squeal with delight

I thought my life was about to be over.

The excursion was my idea. After all, I’d craved adventure most of my life. But I had no idea the predicament I’d gotten myself into. My goal to see the sunset from the top of the massive granite mountain (Enchanted Rock, in the middle of the Texas Hill Country) seemed impossible after only a third of the way up.

My heart raced and fear took hold when I realized the difficulty of the climb. I reasoned with myself, uncertainty setting in. I don’t know how I’m going to get down.

My 16-year-old son ran and jumped from one boulder to another, loving the climb in this rock paradise. He heard the distress in my voice and stopped long enough to encourage me to keep going. Holding out his hand, he gave me a pull up a time or two.

I continued taking one step after another, over one rock pass to the next until only a smooth rock slope lay ahead. Looking up was the only option. Looking down caused queasiness, so I forced my eyes straight ahead and up.

Alone with God

The task seemed insurmountable. As soon as I hiked far enough to see the horizon, I sat down, frozen in place. My son hiked up the last incline and out of my view. I couldn’t know if he was safe because I remained rooted in my spot.

I watched the sunset but mostly prayed because I doubted my ability to survive the hike down. You probably think I’m being dramatic. My son did. But my fear was as tangible as the rock dome in front of me.

The sun dropped below the horizon. I sat completely alone with my God as I watched the sun’s decline throw pinks and purples against the sky. I half-heartedly thanked Him for the view.

Eventually, I found the courage to stand. (I certainly didn’t want to walk down in the dark.) Taking one step, then another, I weaved my way down inch by inch.

When my feet hit level ground, I looked back at the mountain with a sense of awe and accomplishment. As sure as the shadows deepened from the setting sun, I knew I couldn’t have made it on my own.

Lessons learned

God taught me some things from that experience.

  • Keep going. Do you have an insurmountable task in your life? As my son shouted to me from a distance, I speak those same words to you. “You can do it. Keep going.”
  • God walks or runs and even climbs with you. Take His hand and let Him lead you one step at a time. One rock at a time.
  • Be sure to look forward to the reward at the end and enjoy the adventure. Looking back, I wish I had enjoyed more moments at the top instead of worrying about the journey ahead of me.

This experience reminds me of other challenges in my life. Can I apply these lessons learned to other areas? Absolutely.

I find it interesting and reassuring that God uses distressing situations to inspire us to work on other areas in our lives.

Often, I convince myself I can’t accomplish something because of a lack of discipline. I question God’s calling to this ministry. Will I trust Him and put in the effort to climb to the place He wants me to be? Can I release my worry to Him and enjoy the journey? Do my children see my joy throughout the day, or do they only hear my correction?

You might have similar questions or challenges, or a mountain to conquer. These words speak to us all. Keep going, take God with you and enjoy the adventure.

I thought my life was about over that day. But I found God had so much more in mind.

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It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

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The Powerful Presence of the Lord

The Powerful Presence of the Lord

Squeal with delight

It was about 57 A.D.

Paul stood before a group of Christians in Troas in the land of Troy. He must have had a lot to say to the followers of Jesus. Quite literally. We don’t know when he began his speech, but he talked, and people listened, until dawn.

I find this story funny and convicting. Did Luke record it with a chuckle as he remembered that night?

 “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted,” (Acts 20: 7-12 NIV).

Raised from the dead

Imagine this. A young man falls asleep in a window and then falls from the third story to his death. Paul, apparently without losing momentum, walks downstairs and throws himself on the boy, bringing him back to life.

The crowd must have gone from shock to horror to awe and reverence, followed by joy and adoration.

I’m unsure if Paul portrayed God’s presence through his words and tone. However, I feel certain the people listening experienced the powerful presence of the Lord when Paul raised Eutychus from the dead.

God was among them, working and moving within this new family of believers. Paul’s actions taught them more than his words ever could. He did not panic. He did not cry in horror or apologize for the length of his speech. Paul simply demonstrated confidence in the Lord and faith through his actions.

Determined to finish

Nothing could deter Paul from communicating what he wanted the people to hear. He did not seem at all surprised by this event. He didn’t change one thing – except a few minutes away from his speech and food. I think Paul must have demonstrated multitasking before the term came along.  He ate, preached, got distracted and rescued the boy who died on his watch, then went back upstairs and continued preaching and eating.

This early church came for one experience — a meal and Paul’s preaching. They left knowing the presence of God was real. I’m sure that night was forever etched in the memories of those in attendance.

Power in His presence

What are our expectations when we go to church? Do we expect a sermon and a snack? Or do we come expecting to experience the presence of God?

I admit, I have zoned out from time to time. But I want that experience, don’t you?

Jesus has much to say about it. He even had his servants write it down for us on the pages of His Word.

I pray that today we will know God’s powerful presence in our lives. I pray that we will read, absorb His Word, draw closer to Him, and live expecting the miraculous and powerful presence of God.

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Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

 

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

My Christmas gift to you

I entered my destination into the car GPS as we waited for our fast-food breakfast. The guidance surprised me by giving me an alternative to my usual route to a city five hours away. I reasoned there must be some traffic issue that caused the re-route. We began the drive to my son’s soccer game under a brilliant blue sky, crisp against white wispy clouds.

The map guidance directed me north where I thought we should have turned south.

I didn’t trust it so I pulled into a parking lot to get my bearings. My son beside me — oblivious to my internal dilemma — continued staring at his phone.

After I took a moment to expand the map, I saw the bigger picture.

This route took us through twists and turns and stick trees arching over the road in the winter landscape. Only a small part of the route was in view.

One step at a time

The moment I saw the bigger map, God reminded me that He had a bigger picture for me too.

Isn’t that the way with God sometimes? He uses simple tasks or circumstances to speak to us.

We may experience things that don’t seem right, or required to walk a path we don’t understand. Or we could even be oblivious to God’s direction for us.

Our guidance is there. God sees the big picture. His plan is bigger and better than we can imagine.

We will reach our destination, but the road we travel may not be what we expect and there may be twists and turns along the way. And our doubts may delay our progress.

We don’t need to know the big picture right now. I doubt we could handle it if we did.

However, we can trust God’s guidance. We can trust He knows best, even when we can’t see it.

Let’s focus on the daily walk before us and stay on the path He has designed. Let us remain faithful as God in His wisdom works out the big picture for our lives.

We need not see far ahead. Jesus calls us to take one step at a time with Him.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known,” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB1995).

 

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Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

 

Finding God

Finding God

My Christmas gift to you

“Mommy, look! There’s Jesus!” my 5-year-old at the time said as he pointed to the sky. Taken aback, I quickly looked out the front window.

Early that morning, I had asked God to reveal Himself to me during the day. Boy did He ever. It was a hot and humid summer afternoon, and my heart skipped a beat at my son’s outburst. He then proceeded to name animals and characters he saw in the clouds as well.

Even so, that was a lesson for me. It had been a crazy, fretful, exhausting week and I desperately wanted to see Jesus in my day. In fact, I often prayed for that. This one got my attention immediately.

The message for me? God was right in front of me all along. It reminded me that I just had to look.

So how do we find God?

A.W. Tozer once said, “Brain power is not the means by which we find God! It is in our dependence on God that we see Him. He graciously and in love revealed Himself to us.” (A.W. Tozer was an American evangelical pastor, speaker, writer and editor.)

Maybe it’s in our desperation that we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Saul found God

Consider the Apostle Paul. Before he was an apostle, destroying Christians consumed him. He went to great lengths to drag them out of their houses and commit them to prison. On his way to do just that in Damascus, Paul, then Saul — the accuser and one with power and control — lost all control and found himself to be the helpless one. (See Acts 9.)

Blinded and lacking vision, Saul was desperate. In that moment, he found Jesus. One of the men he traveled with led him by hand to Damascus. For three days, he waited without sight, food or drink.

Totally dependent on God, he was rescued by one of the very people he came to persecute. God ordained his disciple, Ananias, to restore Saul’s vision.

According to Scripture, after a discussion with the Lord, Ananias obeyed and laid hands on Saul.

Two things happened. Saul regained his sight. He was filled with the Holy Spirit.

In that unforgettable event, Saul found God.

Jesus didn’t fear Saul’s sin. Instead, he took his darkness, miraculously changed him and welcomed him into the kingdom. Saul still had power but this time he went out with the power of the Holy Spirit to bring light to the world.

God is near

Where do you go to experience the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you feel your life (or part of it) is out of control? 

One day we will see Jesus face-to-face. In the meantime, we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit today.

We can find Him

In our waiting.

In our healing.

When our world comes crashing down.

When we’re walking through a fire.

Or fighting a battle.

Wherever we go, He is beside us. Every moment of the day, He is near.

He is at work in every detail, even in the smallest details of our lives.

“But Jesus replied, “’My Father is always working, and so am I,’” (John 5:17 NLT).

My busyness has often blinded me from recognizing Jesus in my day. The truth is He can show up whenever and wherever, even in a young boy’s imagination.

 

 

 

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Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

 

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

My Christmas gift to you

He called him Precious. Until the day he went to be with Jesus, he called his 6-foot, 13-year-old son Precious. Whether at bedtime, on the football field or basketball court, that name belonged to my now 21-year-old.

Words of endearment stir our hearts and, in our case, give us reason for a chuckle or two. I once knew a pastor who called his beautiful blonde wife Yellowhead. Cute. Right? Even today, the server at Sonic randomly called me “lovebug” as she handed me my order!

My mom called my sons “Sweet Angel.” Of course, one son questioned that name. “Why does she call me that? I’m not sweet and I’m not an angel!”

Affectionate names can even inspire proud moments, lift our spirits and reinforce our value.

Do you have a word for someone special? Or maybe a secret handshake between you and someone else? (My husband had one with our boys.) Maybe you share a heartfelt look with a friend or family member that communicates a message that mere words cannot.

What a beautiful name

The Bible tells us God has special words for believers too. Let’s look at a few, letting them soak in. Let them cover you with His peace and love and encourage your spirit.

Beloved

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)

Chosen and Royal
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

Friend

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15 NIV)

Jewel

“‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’” (Malachi 3:17 NKJV)

Masterpiece (God’s Workmanship)

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Joy of Many Generations

“Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.” (Isaiah 60:15 NIV)

What a beautiful love

You are all these things to Him and more. So many more. The Bible also tells us that God calls us by name, revealing His personal involvement in our lives, the promise of His presence and His love for us. And that love will never be shaken. In contrast, He sets His heart on us.

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,” (Job 7:17 ESV).

Yes, He sets His heart on us! He has wonderful and beautiful names for us. Let the beauty of these names and the beauty of God’s love refresh and strengthen you today.

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Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

 

My Christmas Gift to You

My Christmas Gift to You

My Christmas gift to you

A friend of mine once told me she was praying the 5 P’s over me — God’s peace, power, provision, protection and prosperity. I love that!

I have since prayed that prayer often, but I’ve added a couple more – presence and purpose, making it 7 P’s.

I so want to experience God’s presence in my life, in every decision and in every aspect of my day. I want my life to have purpose and want to live out HIS purpose for me.

One Holy Night

One holy night, Christ came down and blessed us with His presence as a babe in a manger. God came down. He left the splendor of Heaven to meet us here on earth. He came to walk beside us. He came to make the world right again.

Today, I’m comforted by this thought. I am NOT alone. HE is with me.

Through darkness and trial, in light and joy, He is with us.

One Holy, Living God

As my gift to you this Christmas, I offer this prayer over you.

I pray you will be blessed by the presence of the Holy, Living God this week. I pray that you will be able to put aside the worries and anxieties of this world and worship the One True God. May you fully experience the presence of Jesus like a warm blanket on a chilly night.

I pray that you will walk in His power and that you will embrace and rest in His peace at this time. I encourage you to see past the expectations of this life and the world we live in to experience the goodness of God. May you see your God-given purpose as clear as the Bethlehem star in the night sky. I pray that you would pursue that purpose without yielding to distractions or stopping at roadblocks.

May you see the provision He’s already provided and be confident in the prosperity that will come. I pray that you will listen to no other voice than the One who tells you that you are loved, you are valuable and you are not alone.

My friend, I pray God’s peace, presence, power and purpose over you. I pray for His protection, provision and prosperity in your life and that you would have the insight to recognize them.

Amen.

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Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

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