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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My times are in Your hands.

I want to control my schedule.  By controlling my schedule, I can control my satisfaction in what I think I should be accomplishing.  By finding my satisfaction in my to-do list, I also derive peace from that to-do list.  By finding my peace and satisfaction in my to-do list, I control my life. 

And when I believe this, I believe a lie.  And maybe you believe this lie.

Our schedules may be ours, but time is not ours.  Our Lord is the creator of time.  Our Lord is the keeper of time.  And our Lord is the owner of time.  Surely the creator, keeper, and owner of time can manage our schedules better than we can. 

The Lord wants my schedule.  And the Lord wants yours.

I am sorry that it took this frustration with my schedule for me to give control to God.  Yet, this frustration reminds us that we must entrust every aspect of our schedule to the Lord.  And I believe this requires that we stop believing the lie that time is ours.  Because when we stop believing the lie that time is ours, we stop expecting our schedule to be ours.  When we stop expecting our schedule to be ours, we stop becoming frustrated when our schedule is altered. 

This propels us to rest in God throughout the day.  Thus, we place our satisfaction in God and not in our to-do lists.  And I am speaking just as much to myself as I am speaking to you.  Each day we trust that the Lord helps us accomplish exactly what we need.

And it is not a meaningless schedule in which we find our peace; it is our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we find our peace. 

I pray we rest in God every moment of this day.  I pray we deliberately turn our schedules over to God.  For me, this has meant repeatedly saying, "My schedule is Yours, Lord."  I pray we trust that each day the Lord and what He has for us is enough.  Praise God that the creator, the keeper, and the owner of time is most equipped to manage our time.

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in your hands. . . .”  (Psalm 31:14, 15 NIV).

“And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’  And there was evening and there was morning—the first day.”  (Genesis 1:3-5 NIV).

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”  (James 4:13-15 NIV).   

Easy on the creamer this morning . . . at least for those of us who had to waddle to the coffeepot due to the Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes stuck to our booties.

Much love to you,


Friday, November 18, 2011


My Pastor has said that you will never reach God's potential for you unless you gather with other believers.  I do not want to overstress this point. 

But I will.  Because it is of utmost importance.  Because God uses relationships founded on Him as channels of God’s grace; God’s kindness; God’s encouragement; God’s voice.  Upon every step of my journey in Christ, I see a partner God sent me.  
Praise God for His kindness toward us.  Praise God that He inhabits these relationships founded on Him.  I encourage you to find a partner in faith.  One for whom you can pray; one whom you can encourage; one whom you can hold accountable; one with whom you can bear; one with whom you can grow.   One who will do the same for you.
My friend and I call these kingdom friendships. 
It is not that these relationships are flawless.  They are far from it.  They are often even more challenging because they are premised on Truth and accountability.  But it is this mutual commit to pursue God together that distinguishes these relationships.  It is Christ at the core of the relationship; it is the Christ I experience in my faith partner that gives me a glimpse of our Lord’s kingdom.    
And it is contrary to many of our superficial relationships.  And it is so refreshing.  
I pray the Lord prompts you to seek these kingdom relationships.  I promise they will change your life.  I thank the Lord for the kingdom friendships we already have.  Praise God for His kindness that He pours out through others.  
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 NIV). 
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone . . . .’”  (Genesis 2:18 NIV).

I would like to take a moment to reflect on this past week.  More particularly, I would like to reflect on the morning that I poured coffee all over the front of my drawers while driving to class. . . and proceeded to wear the pants for the entire day.  For those of us who are obsessed with coffee, the aroma of coffee coming from one’s pants throughout the day is not so glamorous. 
Much love to you,
Coffee Crotch  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the Truth will set you free.

I have an English Bulldog named Serge who is as stubborn as a mule.  If you know anything about Bulldogs, you know that stopping them once they have decided to do something is like attempting to stop a freight train.  Although we have Serge on weight-management food, he loves to eat our other dog’s food. 
It usually goes like this: two bowls of food are sitting out, and Serge has finished his quota.  I will see him sitting five feet from the other dog’s bowl.  If I see Serge even glance in the direction of the other bowl, I know he is going to go for that food.  It is a chain reaction every time.  I must constantly remind him that I will beat his rear end at that moment I see him thinking about going for the other food.  Otherwise, he is a goner.  At the point he even looks in the direction of the forbidden fruit, I must stop him. 
I imagine our minds work this way. 
A friend has told me that our feelings start with our thoughts.  Thoughts lead to feelings, and feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to habits.  And before we know it, that one thought that was contrary to Christ led to habits that are contrary to Christ.  
And this is why we must take every thought captive.  The humor in my anecdote is not meant to trivialize this principle.  Just as I must address Serge at the moment I see him even considering the other bowl of food, I must address my thoughts at the moment they are inconsistent with our Lord.  By addressing these thoughts, we also address our feelings that affect our actions that affect our habits.
And this is not a passive exercise.  This exercise is also more than combating sinful thoughts; we must combat discouraging thoughts; we must combat fearful thoughts; we must combat thoughts stemming from satan’s lies; we must combat flesh-filled thoughts; we must combat any and every thought contrary to the Spirit within us.  This exercise is more than deliberately realizing my thought is contrary to Christ.  We must then make every thought obedient to Christ. 
This is a two-step process that will not happen on its own: we recognize a thought is inconsistent with Christ, and we replace the thought with Truth.  And this requires that we know the Truth.  And this requires that we are relentless because often we are replacing the same single thought with Truth over and over and over. 
I pray we spend more time with our Lord and in His Word so that we may know the Truth.  I pray the Lord prompts us to recognize our thoughts that are contrary to our Lord.  I pray we recognize the lies that have pervaded our thinking so much so that we accept the lies as truth.  I pray we take these thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ.  Praise God that He has set us free from mental strongholds.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
“The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”  (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:32 NIV).
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8:36 NIV).

What if I told you I am a coffee-creamer hoarder?  If this is a sickness, I don't want to be well.
 Much love to you,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Because the Lord sustains me.

I imagine parents are delighted when their children seek their help.  Just as any parent wants to help his child, the Lord wants to help us.  Although God does not need to be needed, we certainly need God.  By need, I am referring to more than just needing our Lord to redeem us.  That is absolutely our greatest need.  By need, I am referring to our Lord as our help in everything—especially the little things.
When we fail to recognize our need for Christ, it is no less a reality that we need Christ. 
Our Lord is our creator, our sustainer, our refuge, our provider, our redeemer, our help, our protector, our peace, our joy, our healer, our strength.
And I can go on and on and on.  Because we cannot do even the smallest act apart from God.   
Our Lord does not need our recognition of this dependence.  But, our recognition of this dependence is praise to our Lord.  Although the praise this gives God is most important, what this recognition does to the attitude of our hearts is invaluable. 
The more I recognize my dependence on God in everything, the more I ask God for help.  The more I ask God for help, the more I am  deliberately relying on Him.  The more I am deliberately relying on God—because in reality we are always relying on God—the more I am communing with God.  
And I want us to ask God for help in the small things.  And this takes humility.  But our need is reality.
Of course, it is easy for us to ask God for help in the overwhelming things.  But let us ask God for help in the minutia of life, in our everyday tasks that we have accomplished so often that we have become conditioned to think we are accomplishing those tasks.  If I cannot inhale without God, if it is God who sustains me, then I certainly cannot do one thing without God.   
I pray we recognize that our need for our Lord is so great that we cannot even perform the trivial duties of life without our Lord’s help.  I pray we deliberately ask our Lord for help—especially in the areas where we are falsely conditioned to believe we can do something on our own.  I pray we ask for help in the small things.  Praise God that He is our everything.
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”  (Psalm 3:5 NIV).
“But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God.  You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.”  (Psalm 70:5 NIV).
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”  (Psalm 146:5 NIV).

 Mmmhmmmmm.  Fall feels good.
Much love to you,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


If you are anything like me, then you want the one who wronged you to initiate reconciliation with you.  I may have very well forgiven whomever wronged me, but whoever wronged me must lead the resolution process, must come to me to make amends. 
But Christ has always been the initiator. 
How contrary this is to our carnal nature.  That our Lord, whom we have continually wronged, would pursue us to be reconciled to God.  It is as if I have wronged you over and over and often in the same way, and every time you have chased me down to reconcile me.  And even while you were pursing me for reconciliation, I was still offending you.   
And it makes me emotional because our Lord’s love for us is nonsensical.  
It was not that we did one offensive act; we were perpetually offensive.  And He still came after me. And He still came after you.  Christ came after us while we were in the wrong.  Besides understanding the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, I want us to be this love of God to others.  
The goal is not to be right when somebody offends you; the goal is to be reconciled.  Because God was absolutely right in not pursuing us, but God cared more about reconciling us than demonstrating He is right.  May we be like this in conflict.  When somebody hurts us, may we chase down whomever has hurt us to reconcile that relationship.  It is illogical; it is humbling; it is painful because you were the one hurt, but it is refreshing; it is life-giving; it is pleasing to our Lord.  
And it is what our Lord did for me.  And it is what our Lord did for you.  And our Lord will give us strength to do it.    
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8 NIV) (emphasis added).
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  (Matthew 5:23 NIV).  
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  (1 Peter 3:8,9 NIV).  

Oh baby.  My first gingerbread latte of the season.   
Much love to you,

Friday, November 4, 2011

But the Lord was not in the earthquake.

Recently, I wrote about our deliberate stillness before God.  Even more critical than our stillness before God is the stillness of God.  It is essential that we understand this undeniable quality of our Lord.  I urge you to grapple with it. 
Because it is imperative that we discern the voice of our Lord.
And many times I am needing an answer from God, but I am straining—straining to hear God’s voice.  And I feel turmoil, and I wonder if the turmoil indicates that I am in the wrong.  And I wonder if the turmoil is God’s voice.
But the Lord was not in the wind.  But the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And he was not then, and He is not now. 
If our Lord is our peace, and if our Lord does not change, then our Lord does not speak through chaos or fear.  Although those may be our natural reactions to the Lord’s voice, we must discern what is truly God’s voice.  And God’s voice is consistent with His nature. 
And God’s voice is still.  And when God speaks, even when what God wants of me is contrary to what I am doing; even when I am fearful to obey what God has asked; even when I am in disobedience, God’s voice is no less still. God’s voice is peace.  What I am experiencing does not change God’s nature.  If God’s voice cannot be contrary to God’s nature, then what I am experiencing does not change God's voice either. 
I do not want to mislead you: God’s voice is certainly powerful; God’s voice is certainly majestic.  But we must not confuse the power of God’s voice with His voice.  Although God’s voice may cause chaos in us when we are living contrary to God’s will, God’s voice is certainly not chaotic.  The power in God’s voice is mutually compatible with the stillness in God’s voice.  When God speaks to us in a gentle way, it is no less powerful. 
And it is overwhelming to me at times to distinguish God’s voice.  And much like discerning God’s will, we can become obsessed with discerning God’s voice.  But the solution is not unattainable: the more we know the Lord, the more we know His voice. 
We must consider if the voice we are hearing is our Lord’s. Consider if the voice is consistent with our Lord’s nature.  Are you hearing condemnation?  Because there is none in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 8:1 NIV).  Are you hearing that God is harming you?  Because God is always working for the good of those who love Him.  (Romans 8:28 NIV).  Are you hearing that God cannot forgive you?  Because if you confess your sins, Christ will purify you from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9 NIV).  Are you hearing that you are not enough?  Because God’s grace is sufficient for you.  (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).  
I pray we talk to God more and listen to God more—that we may know His voice more. 
 “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  (1 Kings 19:11, 12 NIV). 
“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.  The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.”  (Psalm 29: 3, 4 NIV).
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV). 
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives….”  (John 14:27 NIV).

Speaking of voice. . .my husband likes to wait until I am belting a song in the car, so that he can stealthily turn the radio off as I am miserably attempting to hit the high note.  Awkward
Much love to you,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In quietness is your strength.

How sweet are those moments when we experience God’s presence in a tremendous way.  It is not that God is more real, more present, more engaging during those moments.  It is that we are more aware.
I want this communion with our Lord more often.  I want this for you.
I notice that my awareness is intensified when I am quiet before our Lord.  By quiet, it is not that we never speak; for often, we lament; we praise; we plead; we seek; we intercede.  By quiet, it is that we are fully engaged; it is that we are seeking to quiet all else besides God’s voice; it is that we are listening restfully to our Lord.
Stillness in our environment is uncommon.  Deliberate stillness in our environment is even more uncommon.  But the more we experience the Lord’s presence in such an intense, undisturbed way, the more we hunger to experience the Lord.
I pray the Lord fills you with the desire to be still before Him.  
I encourage you to be intentional about exercising quietness.   And it is not always fun.  And sometimes it is grueling.  But this practice of denying all other things besides our Lord is good.   And you will experience Christ in a more keen way.  
We are inundated with stimuli that dull our awareness of the Lord’s presence.  Deliberate stillness will sharpen our communion with Christ.  The more we practice quietness before Christ, the easier it will become. 
I pray we become acutely aware of God’s presence—our Lord is everywhere.  I pray we exercise deliberate stillness before our Lord.  I pray our distractions decrease, and our communion with God increases.  Praise God that we can always experience Him in a deeper way. 
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  (Psalm 46:10 NIV).
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  (Lamentations 3:26, 27 NIV).
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it….’”  (Isaiah 30:15 NIV).

And sometimes it's a drink-a-full-pot-of-coffee-by-yourself-kind-of-day.  For those of us who are still trick-or-treating in our adult years, please put on another pot.   
Much love to you,