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, November 12, 2013

Good, perfect, and pleasing.

I've been holding so tightly to what I think is mine--my relationships, my time, my job, my resources, my life, my goals, and all the rest.  I strain to maintain the status quo.  I vacillate between relief that these things will remain and fear that they won't.

Of course, these things have never been mine. But my acknowledgment that these things are instead from and for our Lord is often inconsistent with my lifestyle. For that reason, I've found the points below to be particularly challenging.

Because God is good, God's plan is good. If I'm seeking the Lord with regard to my relationship, time, job, resources, you name it, then I must trust God to bring good through those things--even when it is not the good I had planned or fails to fit my perception of good.  If it's God's will, I must trust that it will remain.  If it's not, I must trust that there's something good instead.  In either event, I trust God.  And it becomes less about wanting good and more about wanting God.

Because God is my ultimate good, I must replace whatever I'm seeking with God.  In reality, I'm replacing the disappointment and burden of believing the good in my life is defined--and determined--by me.  I so often pursue whatever good thing I'm attempting to maintain, while failing to pursue the One who makes that thing good.  Maybe you can relate. 

And I find myself at both the most challenging and sweetest point: God's will be done. God's good, perfect, and pleasing will be done in my relationships, my time, my job, my resources, my life, my goals, and all the rest.  God's will be done in yours.

God's will be done because my finite mind cannot fathom the good God has planned. God's will be done because only through God can I fully love others. God's will be done because that is where our experience of God's love, glory, and plan is at its fullest.  I don't always feel it, but I'm learning to want it.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, perfect, and pleasing will.  Romans 12:2.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.

"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever."  Hebrews 13:20-21.


Ahem. Ahem. Allow me to introduce the robust specimen I encountered during my trip to Colorado. Try not to lust, my friend.

Much love to you,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In marvelous ways.

It was during my recent time of waiting on God that I realized my expectations of God had started impeding my experience of God.  

And my expectations of God could be described with two words: convenience and predictability.

Convenience.  I’ve become accustomed to the incessant convenience and stimuli present around us.  I group convenience and stimuli together because they both perpetuate my consistent state of expediency and excitement.  I remain inundated with new information.  

It’s not that technological stimuli or convenience is inherently bad.  It’s that my relationship with God has been shaped by the unending and often overwhelming availability of almost every resource I could ever want.  

My description of earthly stimuli and resources became my expectation of God: convenient, predictable, quick, handy, stimulating, pleasing, thrilling, and fleeting.  I waited for the Lord to speak to me.  I waited to experience the Lord on a deeper level. The Lord is always near, but my expectations thwarted my experience of the Lord’s presence.

I fear I’m failing to adequately communicate this concept.  Who I expect and know God is and how I expect God to move are vastly different ideas.  We can always expect God to be who God says God is.  We can always expect God to speak to us.  For instance, our Lord is always present, constant, reliable, and powerful.  But how God speaks to and manifests that presence, constancy, reliability and power in us may vary.

If my expectations of God’s movement do not change, I will experience less of God in my life.  When I expect God to speak to or move in me in a specific manner, I limit my communion with God.  

Predictability.  And sometimes my expectations of the Lord are limited by my prior experiences with the Lord.  Maybe instead of confining God to convenience, we have confined God to predictability.  It makes no sense that I could fathom, determine, or have already experienced the only ways God will speak to me.  But this is exactly what I  do when I expect God to speak the same way God spoke to me yesterday.  I become so fixated on recreating God’s last movement that I miss the powerful movement of God in this very moment.  

I do not want to miss the splendor of God in my life because I’m clinging to how God last moved in me. And I absolutely do not want this for you.  

Whatever the limitation I’ve placed on God's movement, I must surrender it.  I implore you to do the same.  And it’s been a struggle for me lately because my expectations of God feel safe. 

I trust that we cannot begin to comprehend God’s movement in our lives when we become open to whatever form that movement may take. I pray God opens you and me to Christ’s unbridled movement. I pray we experience God's voice in marvelous ways that far exceed our understanding.

“Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.  He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.  After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice.  When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.  God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.”  Job 37:2-5.

‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”  Isaiah 55:8.

“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.

Speaking of marvelous. Don't mind if I do.

Much love to you,



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Keep me free.

During many seasons of my life, I’ve found myself paralyzed by the opinions of others. When it’s not the opinions of others, it’s my mental projection of those opinions. In either case, I am trapped between the work Christ has done in me and the work Christ has yet to do because I fear what others might think. It pains me to admit that I’ve ignored or delayed my execution of Christ’s prompting solely because of my addiction to others' approval.  

But even more confining than what people think of me is the fallacy that I can define what they think. My addiction to this false sense of control feeds me artificial solace. By projecting others’ opinions and responding accordingly, I’ve idolized myself. Then, it is a trap to think my issue is merely with the approval of others.  

The problem goes deeper. The problem is my heart. Maybe you can relate.

It became a heart issue at the very point I elevated that something or someone or whatever over following God’s prompting. If anything obstructs our response to God's prompting, it is an issue of the heart.  

Until we allow our Lord to address the underlying heart issue, we will remain similarly vulnerable to other fallacies and impediments. In my case, it's never really about others' approval. And it's not about that person—or fear, object, insecurity, obstacle, you name it—that’s preventing you from executing God’s prompting. Indeed, whatever holds us back now will later be replaced with something else if the condition of our hearts remains unaddressed.    

I fear you can identify with me. And I fear that you’ve similarly failed to address the fallacy underlying whatever it is that impedes your obedience in Christ. I pray Christ unveils whatever fallacy anchors our spiritual paralysis. I pray we have courage to dig deep and address it. I pray we trust wherever God is leading us will abundantly overshadow the fallacy that confines us.

Praise the Lord that we are free from the trap.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10.

“Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.” Psalm 31:4.

Here's to you, my friends. It's been too long.

Much love to you,