My hope is that this blog will be a conduit for conversation between you and me, between you and others, and most importantly, between you and God. Experience has shown me that my best conversations with the Lord and with others come coupled with the stillness of morning and a cup of coffee. Whatever your experience has been, I hope you will join me as I share what God puts on my heart.

Friday, September 30, 2011

We know. We receive. We find.

I hate to belabor the topic of discovering God’s will for our lives.  But, it is something about which I often stress.  Maybe this is true for you.
A friend recently asked why God would want us to miss His will.  This question likely exposes a common flaw in our understanding.
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:8 NIV) (emphasis added).
Perhaps the waiting is more important than the knowing.  The seeking is more important than the finding.  The asking is more important than the receiving.  When you wait, you know.  When you seek, you have found.  When you ask, you have received. 
I thought the process was linear.  After I wait on God, then I will know what God wants.  After I seek God, then I will find what God wants.  After I ask God, then I will receive what God wants.  This presupposes that waiting and knowing, that seeking and finding, that asking and receiving are separate occurrences. 
They are indivisible.  By waiting on God, we already know what God wants; by seeking God, we have already found what God wants; by asking God, we have already received what God wants.  In Matthew 7:8, there is no “then” before receives, finds, etc.  By placing the “then” there, I created a linear and a causal relationship between asking and receiving, seeking and finding.  I was the cause of the effect. 
I was mistaken.  In reality, this process produces an undeniable reliance on God that we quickly forget about when our query ends; when we think we have found the answer.  But, Christ attunes our hearts toward Him during this process.  And the process becomes what matters because the process is the result.  We know, we find, we receive the moment we seek God, we ask God, or we wait on God. 
Praise You, Lord, that we do not have to strain to discover Your will.  Praise God that by the waiting, the seeking, and the asking of God, we are in His will. 
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”  (Proverbs 8:17 NIV).
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”  (Acts 17:27 NIV).
Happy National Coffee Day a day late.  And boy, is God good to give us that sacred holiday. . . . . . .

I may or may not have celebrated with this.

I may or may not have celebrated with that.
Much love to you,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I trust that God will supply all of my needs today.  Not yesterday.  Not tomorrow.  Today.  When I propel myself into tomorrow or when I dwell on the problems of yesterday, I do it without God’s presence.  But, God has given me strength for right now.  By becoming encumbered with yesterday or tomorrow, I forgo God’s presence today.  Right here, right now is reality.  And the reality is that our Lord is here.  And the reality is that our Lord has given us everything that we need for right now. 
If anybody had reason to worry, surely it was the Son of God who foreknew God's plan.  Even so, our Lord prayed and taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”  (Matthew 6:11 NIV) (emphasis added).  It is counter to my desire to control this life.  It is refreshing; it is freeing.   
Our Lord is enough for you today.  Enough for today.  Enough for tomorrow.  Enough for yesterday.  Of course, our Lord is more than enough.  More than enough for yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day after.  But, I pray you will focus on today; the present; right now; this moment.  Because that is all God promises us. 
Rest in Christ for what is accomplished.  Rest in Christ for the unaccomplished, the unplanned, the unresolved, and the unknown.
The Lord will give you strength to accomplish what you need to today. 
Praise You, Lord, that You are more than enough for us always.  Praise, You, Lord that you will meet our needs today.  You are sustaining me right now, so I will rest in You.        
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  (Isaiah 58:11 NIV).
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:34 NIV).

That's right.  I'm drinking espresso as dark as the hair on a caveman's chest.
Maybe I lied.  My friend sent me this picture yesterday--apparently she regularly enjoys coffee-that-is-black-enough-to-put-hair-on-your-chest.   Kudos.  I'm just a wannabe.
Much love to you,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is that one small step.

I warned you.  I really do not know what I am doing.  Here I am breaking Rule #23525 of How to Blog: to be the world's best blogger, respond to a comment in the comment section.  I know, I know. Here I am responding to a reader's comment in a new blog post.  This is all your fault.
I am humbled that a reader took the time to read my last post (The One Small Step).  I am even more humbled that the reader responded to it.  Thanks for your encouragement—I truly do not know what I am doing (oh my dear goodness).  
I am posting my response because the purpose of this blog is to fuel discussion--I do not want the discussion to be an afterthought, I want it to be the thought.  And, here it goes:
In a nutshell, the reader asked, "How does one discern God’s will for his/her life?
I really can only answer this based on my personal experience—which others’ experiences have confirmed.  I am likely oversimplifying this often agonizing process; this process may also look different in different contexts.  I apologize for being long-winded—even an oversimplified version of my complicated journey is. . .well, complicated. 
The following have consistently been vessels for God’s voice in my life:
1.       Prayer & God’s Word.  This may seem like the cliché answer.  And it is.  But, it is true.  And they are inseparable—you need them both; together.  We understand what God is saying to us through the Bible because we discuss it with God.  You will experience how active God’s Word is—especially in giving you direction.  Spend time engaging in God’s presence.  If that does not give you firm direction, it will shape the attitude of your heart about God—and the latter is most important.     

2.       Prayer & Agreement.  God speaks to me almost always through His body of believers He has given me.  I have a select number of family and/or friends who speak into my life.  (I always refer to these people as “my” body of believers—although they are very much God’s body.).  I have seen their pursuit of God, and I have heard the Lord speak through them.  Most often, God puts something on my heart individually and through prayer, those people are in agreement with what I have heard.  Sometimes those people have spoken into my life before God has spoken to me, and then God confirms what He spoke through those people.  Be careful whom you let speak into your life.  Even godly individuals are humans first, so I encourage you to let the Spirit in you and God’s Word test everything anybody says. 

3.       A Step of Faith.  If you have earnestly sought God through time with God, God’s Word, and others’ counsel and you have not received a no, pray about taking a step in faith.  If the Spirit within you is not at unrest, take that small step in faith.  I believe God will confirm or deny the direction you are headed.  Let me emphasize that we know when God says no—at least God has made it extremely clear in my life when I am living outside of His will.  Also, maybe the waiting is more important than the knowing.  Easier said than done.  God may confirm that he wants you to wait when you take a step and God says no or not now. 
The most important element of all is the Holy Spirit that God has given us.  If you have surrendered your life to God’s call, you have Christ’s Spirit in you.  I understand that differentiating between what the Spirit is telling you to do and what you are telling yourself to do is difficult.  What the Spirit prompts you to do will not be inconsistent with God’s Word. 
Lastly, I want to encourage you.  This all sounds so analytical; so clean; so calculated.  My search for God’s will in my life has been far short of that.  Try messy.  Try impatient.  Try selfish.  Thank God for His grace.  Many times I sought God’s will and never received confirmation about what I was supposed to do.  I look back and see how foolish I am, but I also look back and see how gracious God is.  In those times I really do not think it mattered what step I took as long as the step was predicated on my pursuit of Christ.  God’s grace was over me; it is over me now.
And it is over you.
Thanks for letting me share.  Thanks for spurring me on to seek a better understanding of the Lord and the Lord’s will.  I am certain this understanding will continue to evolve.   And this is why I like dialogue.

Alotttttttttttta coffee for  Alotttttttttttta woman.
Much love to you, 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The one small step.

When God asks me to do something, I often attempt to determine every subsequent step before I comply.  More recently, I listed reasons why obeying God would be impossible, if not foolish, in my circumstances.  The devil must love to create fear in us so that we become overwhelmed and distracted with the end result of our obedience.  And, when we become fixated on what will happen if we obey, we project ourselves into the future devoid of God’s power.  It makes sense that we become overwhelmed. 
But God has only asked that we take one small step.      
We do not obey God for God’s love.  We already have that, and we always will.  We obey God to show our love for God.  We obey because of God’s love. 
How sweet it is to experience the joy of obedience to Christ.  God, the One who created life; the Maker of heaven and earth; the One the wind and the waves obey, has asked you to do something.  Our Father, who has given everything for you; who loves you the same regardless of how you respond; who sustains you, has requested something of you.  How gracious that our God wants to exemplify His power through this broken earthly creature.  How can I say no?
God needs nothing.  God certainly does not need us.  God wants us.   
I become easily overwhelmed just thinking about it. 
If God has been putting something on your heart, putting a call on your life, asking you to step out in faith, or asking you for obedience, I encourage you to do so.  The God who loves you more than you will ever know; who directs you more than you will ever acknowledge; who protects you more than you will ever realize; who showers you with blessings beyond your comprehension cares enough about you to request something of you.  God will be faithful to carry you.  God already has. 
Praise God that we are not called to initiate or fulfill God’s plan in our lives.  God only asks that we be willing.  After all, we can do nothing apart from Christ.  Praise be to God that we are not responsible for perfecting God’s overwhelming plan for our lives.  We only need to say yes.
“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5 NIV) (emphasis added).
“Moses said to the Lord, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord.  I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue.’  The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths?  Who makes them deaf or mute?  Who gives them sight or makes them blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’”  (Exodus 4:10, 11 NIV).
“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119:68 NIV).

 Oh sweet symphony in a cup!  I hope this finds you doing well.
Much love to you,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Struggling with all His energy.

Although accepting God’s will for my life is the end goal, much of my life has been comprised of getting there.   Maybe this is a reality for you that you have been ashamed to admit. 
I want you to know that it is okay to struggle with God’s will. 
It is one thing to deny God’s will, and it is quite another thing to struggle with it.  I imagine that it is normal to struggle with God’s will for our lives—the will of God is so contrary to our humanity.  While denying God’s prompting produces a spiritual paralysis in us, the struggle can produce searching. 
Christ is our Peace.  And, I believe you will experience that Peace—it is always there.  Yet, the times we wrestle with whatever God is trying to accomplish in us reminds us of our dependence on God; that we must relinquish control to God; that the work Christ wants to do in you is far bigger than you.  My pastor once said that if God’s plan for your life is not overwhelming, it may not be God’s plan. 
Perhaps it is problematic when we never struggle with God’s will.
If what matters is the attitude of our hearts; if what matters is that we are seeking God, then the struggle that produces searching and forces us to rely on Christ is just that.  Be honest with God about what you are experiencing.  Express your struggle to God.  Pour out your heart to Christ.  The sincere cries of a struggling heart must be so precious to our Lord who works so powerfully in us.  Praise You, Father, that our struggle with Your will is an invitation to and recognition of Your power in us.
 “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’”  (Genesis 32:28 NIV).
“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”  (Colossians 1:29 NIV 1984).
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.”  (Psalm 62:8 NIV) (emphasis added).
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).

For you calorie counters, you can just go right ahead and attach that pumpkin muffin to my booty because it was worth.every.bite.

Much love to you,


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How wide and long and high and deep.

Many people have grown up in the church and have failed to experience the love of God.  Many people say the right things; do the right things; believe the right things and remain empty.  For some time now, I have tried to pinpoint what it is in those who hold unswervingly to their relationship with God.  It is certainly not that they always make the right decisions or that they always do the right things—they actually don’t.  Perhaps it is that they are always in love with Christ. 
Those in my life that seem wholly committed to God have vastly different relationships with God and likely believe vastly different things.  Yet, there is one thing in common: a heart committed to knowing Christ.  I cannot help but think that these people—in their response to God’s love—have sought to know God more.  And, as they grew in their knowledge of God, they understood and experienced God’s love more.  And once they experienced and knew the love of God, they could do nothing but love God back. 
I want this for you.   
To know God is to love God.  When you have experienced genuinely knowing God, you have experienced knowing His love, and you can do nothing but love God back.  Our God is the kind of love that often leaves you fumbling for words, so you whisper thank You.  The kind of love that has done everything already for you; has nothing to gain; has nothing it needs.  The kind of love that is scandalous because it pervades the deepest darkest wrinkles of your heart where others and even you will not trod.  The kind of love that wants you as you are but loves you too much to leave you there.  The kind of love that is not premised on emotion.  The kind of love that exists even when you do not feel it—that you have experienced far too many times to deny. 
Too often we have glibly acknowledged what happened on the cross, and we have failed to seek a deeper knowledge of God.  And, we have failed to be transformed.  Too often we have let misrepresentations of Christ define our experience of God’s love and our love for God.  We must go directly to the source.  Praise God for His love that is in Christ Jesus.  I implore you to experience it.  I implore you to respond to it.  And, I promise you will not remain unchanged.   
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.” (1 John 4:16 NIV).
 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3: 18, 19 NIV) (emphasis added).
 “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NIV).

Today is a coffee-that-is-black-enough-to-put-hair-on-your-chest-kind-of-day.  You see, we do not want a repeat of yesterday.  Yesterday, I was so tired that I got dressed in the dark.   After class, my husband informed me that my fly was wide open.  And now you understand why.
Much love to you always,