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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Everything that hinders.

Too often the little things that affect the attitude of our hearts go unnoticed.  We become comfortable with combating the unconcealed sins in our lives, and we leave the concealed sins unattended.  The blatant sins are my focus, while the flawed attitude of my heart remains. 

That which affects the attitude of my heart needs to be addressed, even if that which affects the attitude of my heart is not patently sinful.    

Because that small thing that keeps me from experiencing the fullness of God is a big thing. 

We must regularly examine the attitude of our hearts.  We must allow our Lord to prick the hidden areas of our hearts that are displeasing to Him.  It is not that my behavior has been overtly sinful.  Actually, my wrongdoing has been subtle and indirect.   Even when our behavior is not directly affecting our walk with God—if it is even indirectly affecting our walk with God—it must be addressed.  And this means even good things.  And this may include inherently pure things. 

It is not that we are to be fixated on purity.  The obsession with purity in itself can be unholy, for God is purity for us.  It is more that our God wants us to be fixated on seeking after Him.   Because that which hinders us may be good in itself, we must that more diligent in safeguarding against the subtle, the delicate, the feel-good, and seemingly untainted diversions to our pursuit of God. No impediment, no distraction, no obstacle—no matter how minor—will be worth forgoing whatever more of the Lord I am failing to experience.  Whatever more of the Lord you are failing to experience. 

That which impedes us is that which suppresses our desire for God; that which is an obstacle to knowing God more; that which satisfies our craving for fullness in our Lord; that which causes us to believe contrary to God’s promises; that which muffles God’s voice in our lives; that which undermines our trust in God or causes us to trust in something other than God; that which hardens our hearts to God; and that which mutes the manifestation of Christ in our lives. 

You have been called to life in God.  If anything is impeding God's fullness in you, I implore you to let God remove it.  I implore you to give it to God.  Even if it is small stuff.  Even if it is insignificant.  Even if it seems trivial.  Even if you are unsure if it is impeding your walk.  If you are questioning if it is an obstacle to God, then it is likely distracting you.

May our Lord search our hearts.  May our Lord prompt us to extract that which clouds our pursuit of our Lord.  Praise God that we can unswervingly follow after Him.    

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9 NIV).

“[L]et us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).

It is only appropriate for me to acknowledge that which brings me closer to God: Dunkin' Donuts Toasted Almond coffee.  Praise God.  Add some sweet-cream creamer and some natural sweetener, and you will be praising God too.

Much love to you, 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Humility is opportunity.

Recall that feeling in the pit of your stomach.  That feeling that almost makes you indignant.  That feeling—the feeling of a bruised ego.  Oh, the feeling of humility.  And if you are having trouble remembering the pleasant feeling of humility, let me remind you.  I recently experienced it. 

And I attempted to reason with myself.  If I could pinpoint the basis of my inadequacy, I could cure my inadequacy.  Surely, inadequacy was the exception, not my condition.  But, we are inadequate.  Thus, humility is inevitable.   

Humility is opportunity.

Humility produces an opportunity to acknowledge our utter dependence on God.  Humility propels me to call out to God because I am not enough.  Humility, even in meaningless circumstances, serves a purpose: we are inadequate, but our Lord is not. 

I am nothing.  I am nothing.  I am nothing without God.  We are nothing without God.  And I too easily forget.  And maybe you forget too.

Our nothingness does not stop there.  We must remember our nothingness, but we must not wallow in it.  We are encouraged because our Lord has made us beyond capable. 

We will never experience the height of our Lord’s strength if we do not experience the depth of our inadequacy.

Our Lord urges us to humble ourselves before Him.  God calls us to voluntary humility.  Too often the only humility I experience is involuntary humility.  And even in those instances of involuntary humility, God is so gracious to remind me of the blessing I am missing.  Once we humbly submit ourselves to God, we no longer have a bruised ego; we have no ego.  And when we lack an ego, we are more capable than we have ever been: we are at our fullest communion with our Lord. 

Praise God that our God is so full of grace that God sends gentle—although somewhat painful—reminders of our dependence on God.  Praise God that He does not let us miss the joy of reliance on Him.  Praise God that we are nothing on our own, but we are everything in Him. 

How painful the reminders.  How gracious our God.  How lovely our dependence.  How powerful His strength.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”  (James 4:10 NIV).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  (1 Peter 5:6 NIV).

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  (Luke 14:11 NIV).

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:29 NIV).

After I lugged my bruised ego to the car, my husband would not quit staring at me.  Eventually, he asked, “Does that zit hurt?”  Yes, I have a horn. . .on my chin.  And yes, I left my fly undone the other day.   

Is it due time yet, God?

Much love to you,


Friday, January 20, 2012

The love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

The security we have in our Lord and our Lord’s love is unlike the security or love we experience in any other relationship.  This truth is nothing new; we hear this all the time.  And we believe it, while we fail to experience it.  It is mind-blowing.  It is life-changing.  It is eternal.  And like most of God’s qualities, it baffles me.

If anybody is entitled to do whatever he wants, it is certainly God.  God, the most powerful being who was, and is, and is to come, has every right to be inconsistent.  God has every right to leave us to ourselves.  God has every right to not follow through.  God, by His sovereignty, has all authority to be contrary to the God we know—and to still remain God.  Our Father, the most loving being that will ever exist, has the absolute prerogative to withhold His love or to love us conditionally.  Our Lord, the epitome of grace, would be wholly justified in condemning us. 

But because God is consistent; because God does not leave us to ourselves; because God loves us unconditionally; because God is full of grace; because God’s qualities are unchanging; because God is infinite, we are secure in God.  

We must ground our understanding of God’s love in truth before we are able to fully experience the love of God that is Christ Jesus.

And because our relationship with Christ is unlike any other relationship, we must be careful how we characterize our relationship with Christ.   If our characterization of our relationship with God is based on our experiences with any other, we must be scrupulous to address any mischaracterizations of God’s love.  While much of my understanding of God is based on my relationships with those I love and those who love me, I must be careful to confirm those as truth.  And I am not just talking about bad characterizations.  We often project wonderful qualities we experience in those who love us onto God—and perhaps those characterizations are not premised on truth either.

The love of parents, the love of spouses, the love of family, and the love of friends certainly help us better understand God’s love.  But, God’s love does not stop there.  While my spouse; while my parents; while my grandparents; while my friends have very much exemplified what love is—what God’s love is—they will never be able to love me like God does.  And even though a parent or any other human being has loved you with everything they have and in the purest sense of love, that love will never be as perfect, as unconditional, or as whole as God’s love for you

I must identify the characteristics of the relationships that I have projected onto God that do not align with God’s Word.  I must separate them from my understanding of God’s love.  You must do this too.  For the godly love we have experienced, we must understand that God’s love goes far beyond that. 

Because of this love, we are secure in God.  We can be secure in no other love or individual, but we are secure in our Lord. 

When we lose everything, we do not lose the love of our Lord.  When we stumble through the valleys of life; when we commit the most repulsive act imaginable; when we deny God; when we repeatedly fail; when we do these things again and again, we still remain in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And if that is all we ever have, it is far more than we could ever ask.  And it is far more than we will ever need.  And we are secure in it. 

Praise God, praise God for the unending, all-encompassing love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38, 39 NIV).

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”  (Psalm 16:5 NIV).

“[T]hrough the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”  (Psalm 21:7 NIV).   

“If I go to the heavens, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”  (Psalm 139:8-10 NIV).


There's nothing like starting the day with a party in your mouth.

Much love to you,


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discipline before desire.

I wish that my everyday desire for the Lord scintillated with passion.  I would be lying if I told you my emotional desire for the Lord were constant.  But, I am continually learning that there is a difference between my emotional journey and my spiritual journey.

While my spiritual desires remain disciplined and steady, my emotional desires can be fleeting and ever-changing.  While I always desire Christ with my heart, I do not always desire Christ with my emotions.  And I think this is true for many.  And perhaps this is true for you.

Then, it becomes about what we do despite our emotions.

Our Lord prompts us to do things differently than this world: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world. . .”  (Romans 12:2 NIV).  Many may believe that desire follows emotion.  That certainly makes sense.  Yet, the Lord has led me to also believe that desire follows discipline.   We are truly free to make ourselves do something only if we want to do that something.  But, if my walk with the Lord follows that mentality, my walk is unsteady; my walk is inconsistent; my walk is purely based on emotion.

In my mind, I may not feel the emotion of desire—the desire to seek after God when I am feeling discouraged, when I am feeling uninspired, when I am feeling disconnected, when I am feeling empty, when I am feeling negative, and when I am feeling useless.  In my mind, I may also not feel the emotion of desire to seek after God when I am feeling complete without relying on God, or confident that things are going well without calling upon God, or when I feel unaware of my need for God.  But, we are transformed because the Lord has renewed our mind.  And when the Lord renews our minds, our journey in Christ is no longer predicated on emotion.

When one stops consuming food, one eventually stops hungering for food.  Likewise, when one stops consuming time with our Lord, one stops hungering for time with our Lord.  As hunger follows the consumption of food, spiritual hunger follows the consumption of our Lord.  Thus, desire follows discipline.  I pursue God regardless of my emotions.  And God fills me with the joy of pursuing Him.  And my emotions eventually align with the Lord’s Spirit in me.  The more of God I experience, the more of God I want.  And I want you to experience this.    

Praise God for revolutionizing our minds.  I pray we seek God when we do not feel like seeking God, so that God fulfills us despite our lack of emotional desire.  I believe that when we are fulfilled by our Lord, our Lord gives us an emotional desire for more of our Lord. 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  (Romans 12:2 NIV).

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”  (1 Peter 2:2,3 NIV).

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  (Psalm 37:4 NIV).

Many times, the coffee cup I choose each morning reflects how I am feeling.  Today, I am feeling rather delicate.  

I know, I know: there is nothing delicate about that big ol’ booty that follows me.  Like a tin roof in a hail storm, I tell ya.

Much love to you,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day by day.

A new year brings a new start. It is a catalyst for change. It is a beginning. It is fresh. And we get so excited about the opportunity for a do-over.

But every moment is a do-over for us through Christ.

The refreshment a new year brings reminds me of the refreshment Christ brings. Yet, Christ is more than a mere refreshment.

At the new year, we may have a new mindset, and we may truly be in the process of changing. But, we are yet to be changed. We are still digging our way out of the hole. We are still carrying around past follies. We are still making restitution for our failings. Even with a changed mentality; even with different habits; even with new decisions, we begin the new year where we left off—hopeful to not remain there.

This is not so with Christ.

Christ does not just alter our old heart; Christ gives us a new heart. Christ does not solely forgive us only to leave us to continue carrying around our blemishes from our past misdeeds; Christ wipes our slate clean. Christ does not dust us off and leave us where we are; Christ propels us forward through His Spirit within us. Our Lord does not take our burdens to later return them to us. God does not create us anew to trudge through life only to become tainted again.

Christ renews us inwardly day by day. In Christ, we are perpetually new--forever. I am not who I was yesterday, and I am not who I will be tomorrow. And neither are you.

While it is one thing to deal with effects of our past—indeed we must take responsibility—we do not have to bear the spiritual burdens of our past. Therefore, I implore you to stop lugging around your prior misdeeds. And I am not just talking about sin. I encourage you to let go of the condemnation, of the discouragement, of the disappointment, of the regrets, of the guilt, of the anger, of the “the what ifs,” of the “should haves,” of the old, of the past pain, of the enemy’s lies, of the unforgiveness, and of the bitterness.

Praise God that in Christ Jesus, at this very moment, we are new. We are free. Let us start living like it.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

“[A]s far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NIV).

Speaking of a new year, my husband suggested I give up coffee for my New Year's resolution. I could easily give up coffee. I would have no withdrawals whatsoever. I would be a very happy person. It would just ruin this ministry--and I would not do that to you guys.

And I am not justifying anything.

Much love to you,