The “I AM” of the Storm


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I AMThis is that time of the year in Missouri when the weather patterns begin to change too quickly, and we find our TV shows are constantly being interrupted with storm warnings. We sometimes hear the meteorologist tell us we need to seek shelter immediately.

When I think about storms and shelter, I often envision the eye of a storm. Did you know that in the center of a tropical cyclone you can find a region of calm weather and sunshine as much as 20-40 miles in diameter?  It is called the eye of the storm.

In this life, we are often faced with other types of storms. We get bad news, negative reports, face difficult obstacles.  Read below one of my favorite passages of Scripture, which talks about the shelter that is available to the believer.

Psalm 91:1-2; 9-16 NKJV

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust…..”

9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

If you are facing a storm in your life, I want you to remember that no matter what kind of storm you encounter, He is the “I AM” of the storm!

Eye of the storm verses “I AM” of the storm 

  1. He said to Abram, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I AM your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Gen 15:1 NKJV).
  2. He said to Jacob after he wrestled with Him all night. “I AM God Almighty!” (Gen 35:11) He changed his name from Jacob meaning supplanter to Israel “may God prevail”.
  3. He said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14).
  4. He said to the prophet Isaiah, “I AM the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God” (Isa 44:6).
  5. He told the disciples:
    • I AM the bread of life” (John 6:35).
    • I AM the light of the orld” (John 8:12).
    • I AM the door” (John 10:9).
    • I AM the good shepherd” (John 10:11).
    • I AM the true vine” (John 15:1)
  6. He told Martha, “I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
  7. He told Thomas, I AM the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
  8. He told John the Revelator:
    • I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Rev 1:11).
    • I AM He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Rev 1:18).
    • I AM He who searches the minds and hearts” (Rev 2:23).
    • I AM the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev 22:16).
    • “Surely I AM coming quickly” (Rev 22:20).

One of the most famous “Peace” Scriptures is about Jesus being the “I AM” of the storm.

Mark 4:35-40 NKJV

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

In this passage we not only see Jesus demonstrate speaking peace to a literal storm, but we see Jesus show us what perfect peace looks like when He can sleep while the others were so overcome with fear.

I have heard it said, “Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His Child”.  Our peace is often a result of our ability to cast our care over on Him and trust that He has us.  I will be the first to admit; this is easier said, than done at times, but I want to encourage you today to do that.

We can be confident that He is our great I AM, He will be what we need Him to be at each moment in our lives, and we can find the shelter that we need in the Great “I AM”!


Our Infinite God!

There have been moments in my life when I have stood on a sandy beach looking across a body of water with no visible end that I had an awareness of the vastness of my God. Recently during my devotional time, He has challenged me to realize that just as in His very nature He is infinite, so is His love for us and His power and anointing that is available to us.


Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?  They are higher than heaven— what can you do? Deeper than Sheol— what can you know?  Their measure is longer than the earth And broader than the sea.

Job 11:7-9 NKJV

A short time ago as I was meditating on this passage, I had my iPad in my lap and I just asked Siri to tell me the definition of infinite. She responded with this on my screen:

Infinite (adjective):  Limitless or endless in space, extent, or size, impossible to measure or calculate

  • Very great amount of degree
  • Greater than any assignable or countable number
  • (of a series) able to be continued indefinitely

Infinite (noun):   A space or quantity that is infinite

  • God

WOW! I didn’t expect that!  Even the on-line dictionary that Siri references equates infinity with God!  In contrast, as a human I do exhibit certain limitations. Elijah was a mighty Old Testament prophet, and we are told in James that he moved beyond his human limits through the power of faith and prayer.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual].

James 5:17-18 AMP

This passage speaks a powerful message! It tells me that while I may have human limitations, through prayer and the Holy Spirit Power we read about in 1 Corinthians 2:10, we can move from being humanly limited to accessing supernaturally power that is limitless and infinite!

For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].

1 Corinthians 2:10 AMP

Have you put God in a box? He is an infinite God!  He is limitless.  He is immeasurable!  He is indescribable and all powerful!  His love for you is endless, and His power available to you has no boundaries!

Elijah had the same human limitations that we exhibit, yet through prayer and faith he tapped the power of an infinite God! Can we live by his example?

In my mind’s eye I can visualize a green field with a white fence at the far end. As I move closer and closer to the fence, it continues to expand out and forward encouraging me to understand that through our infinite God, there is a place without borders.  He can enlarge our capacity and create in us exponential expansion if we will only believe!


The Force of Frustration


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frustration.pngFrustration can be a powerful negative force in an individual’s life. According to Wikipedia, “Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition.  Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will.”1

For many frustration can be extremely paralyzing. It has both external and internal forces.  Externally, we feel frustrated when there is some kind of obstacle hindering our progress or success.  Internally, if we are unable to overcome the emotions that come with the perceived hindrances, we can be tempted to give up.

If you are a Christian, you have an enemy who wants to use frustration as a source of discouragement in your life. He wants to stop the plan of God for your life and your purpose.

We find a great example of this in the book of Ezra. There was great opposition to the purpose of rebuilding the temple.

Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.  Ezra 4:4-5 NKJV

Their enemy wanted to “frustrate their purpose”! Look below at the meaning of that word “frustrate” from the original text.

OT:6565 : parar (paw-rar’); a primitive root; to break up (usually figuratively, i.e. to violate, frustrate

KJV – any ways, break (asunder), cast off, cause to cease,  clean, defeat, disannul, disappoint, dissolve, divide, make of none effect, fail, frustrate, bring (come) to naught,  utterly, make void. 2

We can see from this definition that the enemy uses frustration to STOP us from accomplishing the plan of God and to destroy our destiny. Let me share five simple steps found in Psalm 37:1-7 to help you overcome the negative force of frustration in your life (the full text is at the end).  Every time you feel frustrated, replace those feelings with the below instructions.

  1. FRET NOT: Replace fret with faith. Instead of focusing on the obstacles, rehearse past victories. 
  2. TRUST IN THE LORD AND DO GOOD: Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, concentrate on what you can. 
  3. DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE SECRET DESIRES AND PETITIONS OF YOUR HEART: Cultivate dynamic devotion to the Lord! Take your attention off the problem and delight in the problem solver! 
  4. COMMIT YOUR WAY TOO THE LORD, TRUST ALSO IN HIM AND HE WILL BRING IT TO PASS: Stay committed to the purpose. You will not have opportunity without opposition. Allow the delay to increase your determination that the outcome is worth your perseverance. 
  5. BE STILL AND REST IN THE LORD; WAIT FOR HIM AND PATIENTLY LEAN YOURSELF ON HIM: Remember if you are getting tired, you are getting close! A distance runner does not get tired in the first part of the race, this happens close to the finish line. A position of rest is an attitude of trust that God is big enough to bring His purposes to fulfillment.

Next time you feel like you are pushing against a brick wall and you are overwhelmed with feelings of frustration, I hope you will stop and remember these five simple steps to turn the force of frustration into a force that propels you into a deeper trusting relationship with your Heavenly Father. 

Psalm 37:1-7 Amplified Bible (underline added for emphasis)

FRET NOT yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against those who work unrighteousness (that which is not upright or in right standing with God). For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday. Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

  1. Frustration. 2015. In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 17, 2015, from
  2. Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.



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Do you remember when you were young trying to learn the concept of greater than and less than? Perhaps your teacher used the image of a hungry alligator to demonstrate that the open mouth is always toward the side that was greater.

Today I want you to see the (>) greater than sign in a completely new way. I have been meditating on this word “Greater” since the beginning of this year after my pastor said it is our word for 2018.  He began the New Year encouraging us to dream big and expect “Greater”, and that is exactly what I have been doing!

We are now far enough into 2018 that many people have already given up on their New Year resolutions, but I want to continue with some New Year declarations!

Years ago, I sang with a couple friends and one of our favorite songs was one that talked about not being satisfied. We called it our “Sick of church song”!  Before you misunderstand that statement, let me explain.  We were saying that we didn’t just want to “Do church and walk away”.  The power that Jesus provides when we become His child, should transform us to live differently than the world.

We read in 2 Timothy chapter 3 a description about the perilous times in the last days. This passage seems to describes the world we currently are living in!  Be careful about thinking this passage only applies to the reprobates or evil people in the world.  Verse 5 might just be pointing to those of us occupying a pew in our local church every time the doors are open!  It says, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:5 NKJV).

I recently posted this picture on my Secret Place Revelation Facebook page. This image demonstrates such a powerful truth.  We should be exponentially greater with God on our side!


Do you want 2018 to be greater than 2017? I do!  As I get older, I find that one of the greatest challenges is a temptation to become complacent, especially in our spiritual life.  Think of it this way, your teacher taught you that there was “greater than” or “less than” choice.  If this is true in your spiritual life that you have two choices, which will you choose?  Do you want your spiritual walk to be less than last year or greater than?

Jesus said this:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” John 14:12 NLT

When I think about what we read about Jesus in Scripture, and this promise, I realize that there is so much more! I am not satisfied with a form of godliness without the power.  I am contending for something greater!

My Christmas Wish to You



26102915_10211152629351451_2129966095_n.pngHere I sit in the quietness of an empty nester’s home on Christmas morning just reminiscing about all the December 25th mornings when my children were young. I am thinking about the current fun happening at my son and daughter’s houses right now, as my young grandsons have awakened to find presents that have been left for them and overflowing stockings full of their favorite goodies.  It warms my heart to know they are creating memories and traditions that their family will recall someday too.  These are moments to cherish.

Many people do not have the pleasure of joyful Christmas memories and that makes today difficult. Some are faced with their first Christmas without someone special due to broken relationships or the loss of their loved ones this year.  Some have arranged for an amazing family time, only to have weather or illness cancel their plans, leaving them full of disappointment.

My Christmas wish for all today is that we find joy in the reason for this season, which is Christ our Savior, and allow Him to help us live our lives in a way that we bring the love and joy of Christmas into every day of this coming year. If we could be still long enough in the business of life, to count the many blessings we have received, I believe we would realize they usually outnumber the challenges that we face.  If we could live our life loving our neighbor as ourselves, how differently would this year be?

Take a moment today and thank God for all the people He has placed in your life, cherish those moments together throughout the year, not just at Christmas. Find a way to encourage and show compassion to others, you will find it is an amazing gift to give and receive.  Lastly, make room for Jesus in your life every day, not just during this season.  He is the reason we have an opportunity for eternal life.  He is our greatest gift!

I am so thankful for all of my treasured friends and family!  Christmas blessings and love to all!

The Christmas Question


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IMG_0027.PNGAs the holidays get closer this year, I am reminded of a Christmas question which happens to be the title to one of my very favorite Christmas songs, “Mary Did You Know?” (Click on the song title to listen)

Most know the Christmas story, but I am seeing it from a different viewpoint this year….Mary’ perspective.

Luke 1:26-36 NASU

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.  

Even though the angel came to explain, what was to happen, can you imagine walking in Mary’s shoes and trying to make any sense of this unusual destiny that she was called to fulfill?

Most individuals love it when God gives them confirmation, especially when He gives such an unusual assignment as He gave to Mary! Joseph was planning to send Mary away secretly when she told him she was pregnant, but then the angel of the Lord told him what she has said was true.  Thankfully, not only was this assignment confirmed through Joseph, but confirmation also came through Mary’s relative Elizabeth.

Luke 1:39-45 NKJV

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Even with two witnesses I cannot begin to imagine the exciting yet difficult path that Mary was commissioned to walk. Understanding this unusual conception was only the beginning.

When it was time for delivery, Mary was again in a remarkable predicament. While traveling to register for the census, the time came to give birth.  There was no room in the inn so she was forced to delivery baby Jesus in a stable and lay him in a manger.  Read below this amazing story.

Luke 2:7-20 NASU

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

I love that last verse….”Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Let’s quickly review this unusual assignment. First Mary is chosen to have a child fathered by the Holy Spirit while she is a virgin.  After walking through this pregnancy and all of the questions that I am sure came with it, she has to deliver this child in a barn!  Now she is faced with the next challenge, which was the need to go into hiding because Herod wanted her child destroyed.  We pick up reading after the wise men had left the manger:

Matthew 2:13 NKJV

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

Mary wasn’t able to return to her home because her life was now dictated by the destiny of the child she bore.

We don’t read much more about their unusual lives until Jesus was twelve. His family traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. His parents realized He was not in the group on the way home.

Luke 2:46-51 NASU

46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. 48 When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” 49 And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. 51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

We have seen a common theme in the Scriptures we have read….Mary treasured or pondered these things in her heart. The song I referenced at the beginning of this writing asks the questions so well. It says:

“Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.” 1

Mary was the one who encouraged Jesus to perform His first miracle, turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). She must have been so proud as she observed Him heal the sick, multiply food for thousands, and raise the dead.  She must have felt such concern when she watched as He was rejected, ridiculed, and falsely accused.  Eventually she finds herself at the foot of the cross (John 19:25-27).

Now she is asked the most difficult question, “Mary did you know your son Jesus was born to die?”

Can you even imagine a mother’s heart breaking in this moment? This innocent Son suffered unbelievable agony as He bore stripes and died for all humanity, so we might have eternal life.  I believe Jesus knew Mary’s pain.  Look at this passage:

John 19:25-27 NKJV

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

He was making sure she was taken care of when He was gone.

Jesus was resurrected three days later, but not long after He ascended into heaven. Jesus fulfilled the mandate He was given on this earth, yet I am sure Mary missed her Son.

She pondered many things in her heart during His lifetime….now I expect her heart felt the pain of loss. Mary was an amazing woman.  She walked a difficult path, but one that benefited us all.  She went where none had gone before.  Where would we be if she had refused?

During the Christmas season, we celebrate the glory of God that came to us first through a baby and now exist among us in the form of the Holy Spirit. This glory enables us to walk the path that God created for each of us to travel.

At times, our human strength is gone and our willingness to persevere the challenges life brings wears thin. We have asked the question, “Mary did you know?” I could ask each of you reading this if I called you by name, “______ did you know?”

Between the prediction and the fulfillment of the promise, there is a process. Any time you are pregnant with promise you have a process!  I am sure that when that angel first visited Mary she had no idea the process she would walk through, yet where would we be had she not been faithful to the assignment?

I don’t know where you are in the process, but just as Mary had a destiny to fulfill, so do we! Wherever you are in the process you can be strengthened and encouraged in His presence and by the example that we have seen through the life of Mary.

My Christmas blessing to you is that you will receive encouragement today to complete all of your assignments and that the Glory of the Lord will shine through you brightly during this wonderful season and into next year.


1. “Mary, Did You Know?” Lyrics written by Mark Lowry and music written by Buddy Green

Compelled by Compassion


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This post is dedicated to a dear friend of mine, Peggy Parks, who was one of the most compassionate individuals I was blessed to know.  Rest in Peace Peggy and enjoy the beauty of heaven!


Have you ever felt compelled by compassion?  I hope that we all could respond positively to that question, but I had an opportunity a short time ago to experience this on a different level.

Recently I shared a blog post called “Restore” where I described a difficult personal journey.  It seems many have experienced similar circumstances and could relate closely to this teaching.  I was invited to share that lesson at our annual Women’s Retreat for the Southern Missouri District of the Assemblies of God.

Every year there are specific mission’s projects that the women’s department sponsors.  The theme for this is “Compelled by Compassion”.  I sat there in that mission’s service listening to this year’s focus projects, and my heart was so full of compassion unlike I had ever experienced before.

In the afternoon, before it was time for me to share my “Restore” message, I was asked to assist during a prayer service where we prayed for women who had specific needs.  As I listened to each one share with me what they needed prayer for, my heart was so sensitive to their pain.  As I began my lesson, I realized I was in an unusual state after these activities.  I was trying to get through my introduction, feeling very emotional, and I happened to turn where I could see over my shoulder the Mission Theme Banner that said those words, “Compelled by Compassion”.  In that moment, I had a realization that this was exactly what I was experiencing!  I was being compelled by compassion on an unfamiliar level!

Why was that?  I could think of many reasons.  In my previous state, I was so overwhelmed that there was no room in my mind to be as sensitive to others.  In some situations, I was feeling enough pain myself, that I wanted to block out the pain of others.  I also think in my situation, I was running at such breakneck speed that I was doing two or three things at once and never stopping to be “In the moment” that I was currently experiencing.

Some of these responses are simply habits and choices that we can make a decision to change, but some can only be changed when we allow the Lord to do a work in our own heart and restore our soul.  I began to realize that since experiencing my own “Restore” journey that I my heart had changed, I was sensing things that I was overlooking before, I was feeling compassion on a different level, and I actually had a totally different perspective on aspects of life that I was previously oblivious to.

As Christians, I believe that we should be different.  The challenge is that often we are living life so broken that there isn’t any capacity left to show love and compassion for others.  Often our lives are so busy that there is no margin left in our lives to express love and compassion.  Lastly, as hard as it is to hear, there are times we are just simply too self-absorbed in thinking about our own needs and desires to open our hearts to show love and compassion to others.

I have to be honest, I still fail at times in these areas, but I am so much more aware of the pain, suffering, and needs of others than I was before this journey.  I realize that I can’t be everything for everybody, but if all of us could be compelled by compassion and love, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, how much differently would this world be?

Philippians 2:1-5 NLT

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Compassion is defined as, “Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”1  Jesus was the ultimate example of compassion.  Look at a few examples.

Matthew 14:14 NLT

Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Mark 1:40-41 NLT

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”

Mark 6:34 NLT

Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Luke 7:12-15 NLT

A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

All of these are examples of times Jesus had a, “Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it”!1  There are many more examples of times He was moved with compassion during His ministry, but I want to show you an example of what I call ultimate compassion.  We see this example when He was dying on the cross.  Not only did He love you and me enough to bare all those stripes for our healing, and pay the supreme price of His death for our salvation, but also while He was enduring unbelievable agony and suffering, He saw those in pain around Him.

Jesus had compassion on the thief who was dying on one side of Him during His own crucifixion.  He told him, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

We also read that while He was on the cross He had compassion for His mother.

John 19:25-27 NLT

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

During His own agony, He was making sure His mother was going to be cared for when He was gone.  What an example for us to follow.  The Word tells us in Luke 6:36 NLT, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate”.

Too often, we feel that if we are suffering, we get a pass on showing love and compassion to others, but I believe Jesus shows us a different example.

If you are like me, you are likely thinking it is a tall order.  The good news is that the Christ in us enables us to love and express compassion this way.  Perhaps you are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13, often known as the “Love Chapter”.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 NLT

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or  rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

I often say that in my own humanness, I cannot love the way this passage defines love, but the Christ in me can!  If we will open ourselves to God and let Him do the work in our own hearts, we can have the capacity to love this way with His help.

I believe we are living in a time where showing Christ’s love and compassion is more critical than ever before; not only to our fellow believers, but also to a lost and dying world.  The world we live in is dark and it is getting darker!

Think about it a different way.  How many of you like the dark?  I like it to be dark if I want to look at the stars or if I want to sleep.  Darkness often does different things to different people.

Some may like the dark, because it provides cover or protection.  For example, deer season is upon us and my husband likes to be in his stand when it is still dark in the morning or until it is dark at night.  The darkness provides him cover so the deer don’t see him, and the deer are braver to move out in the open when it is dark.

For some darkness brings fear.  Fear can lead to panic.  Sometimes fear leads to people turning inward or to self-preservation mode.

Sometimes darkness leads to hopelessness, weariness, or depression.  I remember when I first started working in the home medical industry, someone called wanting to know if we could provide a SAD lamp.  I had never heard of such a thing and immediately misunderstood the request.  I thought they meant “sad” as an emotion, but SAD is actually an abbreviation for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can often be treated by artificial light.  Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms.

At times darkness can compel us.  If you have a power outage in the evening when there is no outside light, you are compelled to do something about it.  You will find either some candles, a flashlight, or some source of artificial light.

Why did I give these examples?  Because I want us to think about how we are allowing the darkness of the world we live in to affect us, specifically how is it affecting our ability to show love and compassion?

Are we using the darkness as a cover?  Do we have an attitude that because the world is getting darker and darker our efforts don’t make a difference or no one will notice or expect me to express compassion?

Are we allowing the darkness to bring fear that is causing us to turn inward and be in self-preservation mode?  Are we only worrying about our own needs and ourselves?

Are we allowing the darkness to bring sadness, hopelessness, or weariness?  Do we have the mentality that we have carried the torch long enough and we are tired, it is someone else’s turn?

On the other hand, are we allowing the darkness to compel us to do something?  Are we looking for ways to let our light shine in a way that demonstrates the love and compassion of Christ through us?

Jesus said, “….I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 NKJV

Another familiar passage found in Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV reads like this:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

In closing, I want to share a story that Jesus shared, one that is familiar to most about the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:30-37 NLT

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Jesus said, “Go, and do the same”!  I believe He is counting on us as His children to be His feet and hands extended, to show love and compassion to those around us.

I have a few questions for you to consider.  Are you still so broken yourself that you have no capacity to show compassion on others?  If that is the case, He wants to restore your soul!

Are you in a place where you have no margin left in your life?  I realize there are times when we have many priorities and many things to do, but if you hear yourself constantly saying, “I don’t have time!” Maybe you need to get alone with God and ask Him to show you where you need to make some changes.  If we are honest with ourselves, we really have time for the things that are important to us.

Lastly, ask yourself the hardest question….am I too self-absorbed?  Am I so concerned with my own needs and desires that I have no room to think about others?  Am I willing to sacrifice some of my time and energy, or even my finances to show compassion and love to others?

These are important questions for us to consider.  I believe God is asking us to live our lives compelled by compassion!


  1. “Compassion”


If the Shoe Fits

img_0086It is that time of the year where in many parts of the country we begin to change the style of shoes we are wearing. For me, I have accumulated too many shoes, so in order to make room, I pack away my sandals, and I get out my boots.  It is important to have a variety of types of shoes in order to be prepared for every season, but today’s inspiration is less about the style and more about the fit.

I have a great video of my daughter when she was about 18 months old trying to wear my heels. I heard the clicking sound on the floor and I peeked around the corner to see her trying to walk in shoes that did not fit.  It was video worthy and something I enjoy watching, but trying to walk in shoes that don’t fit for any length of time is simply exhausting.

She no longer needed those cute little white walking shoes I had purchased for her, but she was not ready for mommy’s heels yet either. In fact, as I watched my daughter grow into the wonderful young woman she is today, she never fit in mommy’s heels.  First, she inherited her shoe size from her dad instead of me, but more importantly, heels were just never her thing.  I remember in her teen years how she tried to fit into the mold of wearing what her friends wore, but she quickly went back to the style that was more comfortable for her.

Have you noticed that in every shoe store or shoe department there is a section that houses all the accessories for those shoes we buy that really do not fit? There are pads you can put on the back of a shoe to keep it from slipping off.  There are pads you can put in the bottom of the shoe to keep your foot from slipping forward.  There are barriers we can put on the sides to keep our shoes from rubbing blisters.

The interesting thing is none of these items is needed if the shoe fits!

If we go to a store to buy a suit, it is common that it will not fit every person just right. There are individuals trained to alter a suit jacket so it will fit in all the right places and be comfortable as the person moves around in it.  This may work for suits, but not shoes!

If they are too small, they hurt you because they stifle you and hold you back. They are not satisfying at all to wear.  If they are too large, they slip off when you try to walk. You cannot effectively walk, climb, or progress in shoes that are too large for you.

While our foot size grows during stages of maturity, for most people there is a point where your foot size is maximized and it often will not change for the rest of their life. That is why I have too many shoes!  I have been wearing the same size for a very long time.  Over the years, I have collected a variety of styles and colors for many different seasons and activities.

I love that I am not limited to one style.  Seasons and conditions require us to have choices.  These are options but the size is not. The creator determines the size!  Look at this passage of Scripture.

1 Corinthians 12:4; 11-12; 14-26 NASB

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…..11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ….14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 


I have a passion today to remind each person reading this of how much your Creator loves you and how He wants to see you walk in the shoes He has selected for you. He chose them long ago before you were even here.

Psalm 139:13-17 NASU

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!


YOU WERE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE! Each one of us unique and distinct.  No two of us with the same thumbprint, but each with precious thoughts and plans from our Father!

The thing that we must contend for is our own unique size or our individual identity in Christ. Each unique one is critical to the kingdom and if you are trying to wear someone else’s shoes, then yours are left abandoned on a shelf creating missed opportunities ordained by the Father.

Let me share an example. My sister-in-law and I are very much alike in many ways.  Years ago at her first Christmas with our family, we showed up wearing the exact same sweater and what was so funny was we didn’t even know each other then.  A couple years later, we actually came to vacation and had bought the very same swimsuit, the very same cover-up, and the very same shoes!

We are the same age, we have the same last name, and we even have the same shoe size. However, those who know us well will attest that if I tried to wear many of her shoes, it would not end well!  Here style is often very different from mine, and she wears heel sizes that I cannot tolerate.

This paints such a vivid picture of the fact that even though we have many similarities, I can’t be her and she can’t be me. We can only complement one another, encourage each other, and fulfill our own unique callings.

While it is such a simple principle, I feel this very thing is what has caused too many of God’s children to abandon the plans that He has for them….trying to wear shoes that do not fit!

We often feel like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, trying to fit the mold, or meet everyone’s expectations. Let’s change that today and become free to be who He has called us to be!

No apologies! Just be who He is asking you to be!  No comparison, no intimidation, no jealousy, or envy, just wearing the shoes that fit you in the right season, and on the right occasion!  Make a commitment today if you have not already done so, to walk in the steps He has ordered for you.


Signs of the Times


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IMG_0427Today on the eve of a North America total solar eclipse, I cannot help but think about Bible prophesy. One particular passage that stands out is the words of Jesus found in Luke.

Luke 21:25-32 NLT

25 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” 29 Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place.”

Two years ago, I posted a blog “What Will September Hold?” At that time, many voices were predicting possibilities about end time events.  I said then that I didn’t know what September holds, but I know who holds September!  As I look at the signs all around me today, I find myself feeling the same way.  I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow!  The passage above so describes the current events we are experiencing.  Never in my life have I witnessed the unrest we are experiencing today.

I realize that we cannot predict the exact time of our Lord’s soon return for His church. I have been taught all of my life that He could come back to take His children home to heaven any day.  I fear that many have become cynical about the rapture of the church and have become immune to the warnings of the times.  The Bible tells us that we must not do this!

1 Thessalonians 5:2-7 NLT

2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. 4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

There are many other signs that could be considered beyond the solar eclipse. I read a very compelling set of examples from Mark Biltz from El Shaddai Ministries that I am pasting in at this link for those who are interested in reading.  BiltzScriptures_b

This is not a time to be sleeping, we need to do as the above passage instructs and be on guard. We should live each day looking for the Lord to return.  The question I like to ask is this, “If you knew for fact that the Lord was returning tomorrow, what would you do today?”  Let your response to that question drive you the remaining days of your life on this earth.





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IMG_0364.PNGSome may find this graphic that I chose to be a bit confusing, because it contrasts something beautiful and full of life behind broken glass. I hope your curiosity will cause you to read to the end where it will likely make more sense.

Have you ever felt broken? If you have lived long enough, the answer to that question is likely, “Yes!”  The depths of our individual brokenness vary, and the circumstances that bring us to that state are unique, but the result is often the same.

For me personally, I came face to face with that state of brokenness while I was driving to the airport early in the morning back in March of this year. The Lord interrupted me with a statement that shook me to my core.  It sounded as if He was riding along in the passenger side of my car speaking to me as if I had a friend riding with me, but the words that He said surprised me.

He said, “I can’t turn you loose because you are too fragile. It would destroy you!”  Now that may seem like an insignificant statement to you, but it sent my mind reeling.

After going through security, while sitting at my gate waiting for the time to board, I did what people do on the game show when they are stumped; I chose the “Phone a friend” option! I called a friend and told her what had happened, and she began to cry because she said she totally got it!  With that confirmation, I set out that week to try to understand better the meaning of the Lord’s words.

I began to research and study the Word of God about that word fragile, trying to uncover the message the Lord was giving me. The best picture to describe what I sensed and felt when God spoke those words to me was a fragile bowl or vase.  This particular verse stood out to me when I was searching.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NLT

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

I then began to search and read all the key Scriptures about being strong and courageous because in my natural mind, that seemed like the solution to being too fragile.

God told Joshua in Joshua 1:9 (NASU), “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I also read in Psalm 27:14 AMP

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

I read about David’s instructions to Solomon and Hezekiah’s instruction to the people to be strong and courageous (1 Chronicles 22:13) (2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NLT), I read Paul’s instructions in the New Testament:

Romans 16:25a NLT

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says….

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

I began to feel that the solution was proximity. I started meditating on Colossians 2:7a NLT

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong…

I prayed and quoted words that came from the book of Psalms.

Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord….he is like a tree firmly planted and rooted and fed by streams of water….” (From Psalm 1:1-3)

I told myself that the solution to overcome my fragility was planting myself in close proximity to God and if I rooted myself to His supply, I would receive the nourishment to grow stronger.

All of this is truth! In many cases, this is the solution.  However, sometimes when we get in that close proximity to God, we get additional directions.  The more time I spent seeking the Lord, the more I knew there was more for me to do and my solution only began in this place.  Next, I set out on a mission to try to understand why the Lord would call me personally fragile.

I realized that I had not been feeling quite as strong and courageous as I used to be, but I had not fully realized the state I had allowed the disappointments and challenges of life to bring me to. I knew I didn’t always feel this way, because I remembered many times feeling as if I could do anything I set my mind to do.

I thought if I worked hard enough and long enough, there was no mountain I could not climb. Yet one day I found myself somewhere on the side of Everest! I couldn’t seem to climb anymore and I also couldn’t allow myself to descend, so I was searching for a cave to hide in.

A place of shelter where I would be relieved from the striving and the climbing, but I could at least hold on to ground I had gained below me. The problem was I found myself in a cave much like Elijah was when he ran for his life in the Old Testament.

I could hear God say to me as He did Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (See 1 Kings 19:9-10) Elijah had his excuses just as I did. Elijah told God he was the only one left, I told God everything I tried to do was a failure.  In this state of mind, the more I beat myself up for not being strong, the more fragile I became.

While I was in this state, my pastor hit a nerve while preaching one Sunday morning. He described an event from his childhood when his dad was teaching him to sing the scales.  One day when he kept messing up his dad spanked him on the leg out of frustration.  Pastor said that he looked up at his dad with tear-filled eyes and said, “I don’t want to ever sing again!”

When I heard that statement, I could not hold the tears back! He had described exactly how I felt!  I wanted to tell God, “I don’t ever want to ____ again!”  I could fill that blank with so many words at that moment.

You see it is in a state of total brokenness, that you are most tempted to quit, especially on the things you are most called to complete! Elijah one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament was here and we can find ourselves in this state at times.  I certainly did!  I had listened to the enemy tell me that everything I had set out to do in my life and for the kingdom was a failure.  If you listen to lies long enough, you begin to believe that they are true!

In my human or soulish realm of thinking, I could have easily responded, as I believe Elijah did. I could have just proceeded with retirement mentality; feeling as if I had run a good race, fought a good fight, won some big battles, so I will take my chariot ride now please!

Somehow, even in this state, my spirit man was stronger than my soulish one and rose up inside me asking, “What is this thing God want to turn me loose to do?” I wanted to know…..and I still do by the way!

It was about this time as I was beating myself up for not being strong enough, two weeks after I had heard the Lord speak the first time that He spoke again. He clearly said, “You feel like I am taking you to the woodshed, but I am actually putting you back on my potter’s wheel!”

It was true! I felt like I was a failure at everything God had asked me to do.  I felt like if I had worked harder, prayed longer, studied smarter, wrote better, and handled trials and disappointments appropriately, I could have been what He expected me to be, but I felt that I wasn’t.

With His new words, I went back to the Bible looking for direction. I read

Isaiah 64:8 AMP

Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand.

Then I turned to the most familiar passage about the potter’s wheel found in Jeremiah 18:2-4 NLT. I read it from some newer versions and I saw something I had never seen in this passage I had read so many times before.

2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Then I saw a version I had never read before, the Expanded Bible, it read this way,

“He was using his hands to make a pot from clay, but something went wrong with it, so he used that clay to make another pot the way he wanted it to be.” Jeremiah 18: 2-4 EXB

As I stated earlier, people get to a broken and fragile state for many different reasons. In my life it wasn’t one thing, it was a perfect storm of things that had happened over a long period of time, which brought me to this place of feeling as if I could shatter into a million pieces.

The turning point was the realization that it wasn’t something I did or didn’t do, it wasn’t my failure or my success, it wasn’t my could haves or should haves, I had a realization that I was feeling crushed, but it was a perfect opportunity for the potter to make me the way he wants me to be!

I am not here to tell you that this was an easy process. It took some very intense work, some pain, and tears along the way.

  1. I had to allow God to help me see all the lies and replace them with the truth.
  2. I had to allow God to heal my broken heart and help me forgive those people and situations that had hurt me so deeply.
  3. I had to process my pain and disappointments and find purpose for those situations.

IT WAS A PLACE OF FULL SURRENDER! Too often, we say we surrender ALL, but the reality is we surrender SOME!  Too often, we say we give God our pain, but we pick it back up.  Too often, we say we trust God, but we still do it in our own strength in our own way.

I want you to think about it this way. When you get a brand new computer, it will come with certain programs and software loaded to make it run efficiently the way it is created to run.

Over time as you use that computer it is exposed to things that cause it to begin to work less optimally. Sometimes that happens because we overload it.  We try to do too much with it, add too many programs and files to it and it can’t handle the volume.

Maybe you do not have the appropriate protection, so over time you go to places on the internet where you pick up viruses and adware and other threats that attack the operating system and cause it to slow down or stop working properly.

Perhaps you open emails that you think are important because you are trying to do the right thing and you thought it was a responsibility of yours you needed to address, but it was actually a cybersecurity risk attempting to steal your identity.

When these things happen and you find that your computer just cannot function, as you need it to anymore, there is a solution… is called “RESTORE”. Have you had to do this to your computer?  It is painful!  You have to back up all the good things like your pictures and files you will need so you can dump all the bad things and start all over at the beginning.

Using the “RESTORE” function will take your computer back to where it was when you purchased it. Let me take that analogy now and put that in context of this teaching.

When you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation. You are like that brand new computer with a clean operating system.  Over time, you are exposed to things that can also cause you to function less optimally.   Just like the computer, sometimes it is because we are overloaded.  There is always a temptation to try to do more; there are many demands on our lives and all kinds of expectations and obligations.

Maybe you have been exposed to threats like the computer, which is what has left you in a broken or fragile state. Perhaps you have walked through relationship, health, or financial crisis.  Maybe it was loss, the loss of a loved one or a job, or something important to you.  Regardless of the cause, it has damaged your operating system.

The last example I gave with the computer was about opening harmful emails thinking you have a responsibility you need to address. The point I am making with this one is this, sometimes the right thing seems like the wrong thing and often the hard thing.  Sometimes the right thing is to say “No” and the hard thing is to strive to meet God’s expectations more than everyone else’s expectations including your own.

There are many good things we can do, but the question we must answer is if it is a “God” thing for us to do. If you are all wrapped up in doing “good” things God never asked you to do, ask yourself this question, “Who am I keeping from doing this, and what am I missing that I am supposed to be doing?”

This is why God’s statement to me shook me to my core; I want to know what He wants to turn me loose to do! It is worth the painful process of going to the “RESTORE” point!  Backing up all the good things and being willing to allow all the bad things to be removed!

A very familiar passage reads like this:

Psalm 23:1-3a NASU

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul…

One of my favorite commentators says this about that last verse:

“[He restoreth my soul] literally, “He causes my life to return.” (DeWette,) “He quickens me,” or causes me to live. The word soul” here means life, or spirit, and not the soul in the strict sense in which the term is now used. It refers to the spirit when exhausted, weary, or sad; and the meaning is, that God quickens or vivifies the spirit when thus exhausted. The reference is not to the soul as wandering or backsliding from God, but to the life or spirit as exhausted, wearied, troubled, anxious, worn down with care and toil. the heart, thus exhausted, He re-animates. He brings back its vigor. He encourages it; excites it to new effort; fills it with new joy.” 1

Recently my computer was doing some strange things. I opened my software protection program and told it to do a cleanup, optimization, and identify and treat any security threats.  It ran the program for a few hours and then gave me a report about how many thousands of unneeded temporary files were deleted, and how many threats were identified and destroyed.  I was amazed that all that was needed since the last tune up.  After it was done, my computer was working correctly again.

Have you noticed that you are not functioning as optimally as you should be? Do you find yourself feeling bitter, angry, overwhelmed, fragile, irritable, sad, depressed, sick, tired, and sick and tired of feeling all these ways?

God wants to restore you. He wants to restore your soul.

Psalm 23 NASU

1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This passage is saying that it doesn’t matter what kind of circumstances you find yourself in, you can be still and know that He is your God! That He is with you wherever you go! He will never leave you or forsake you! You are not alone! His staff comforts you! He will feed you and anoint you even in the presence of your enemies! Goodness and loving kindness are your companions! He is your shepherd, you shall not want! He restores your soul!

Too often, we think we will be better or we will feel differently when our circumstances change. Certainly we all prefer the mountain verses the valley, but the Word tells us that in this life we will have tribulation, so the key is to find a resting place in God, to be willing to surrender ALL not SOME, and trust that He has you and He has your life and your situation in His hands.

A place of rest is not a complacent place. Just because you are still in your spirit does not necessarily mean you are physically still.  You are still in your spirit because you are in a place of trust and faith.  He may give you additional directions, He may guide you, direct you for what activities you need to do or stop doing, but then you have to respond with obedience.

FullSizeRenderI posted this picture on Facebook recently and I said that I had a completely new perspective of what this verse means. If you do not have this revelation, I want you to experience it!

Earlier I told about the story of my pastor and his dad. In that state, I told God, “I don’t want to _____ anymore!” To a degree on this side of the potter’s wheel, I still feel that way, but for a different reason.  I don’t want to do ____ anymore for the sake of meeting anyone else’s expectations or mine.  I don’t want to do _____ anymore out of sheer obligation.  I want to be still long enough for God to provide answers and direction for every aspect of my life, and then I want to respond in radical obedience!

When you get still long enough, you will be surprised what you notice, you will be surprised what He says, but we are going at such break neck speed all the time that He can’t get our attention.

It reminds me of a home video that we have. My daughter was only about 9 months old and her dad was busy helping her open her gifts at Christmas while I was videotaping.  My son who was a little over 2 years old was trying to get his dad’s attention to tell him about his gift he had just opened.  He kept saying, “Look daddy, I got Legos!  Look daddy, I got Legos! Look daddy, I got Legos!” Finally, he got right in his face and says, “Look daddy, I got Legos!” His daddy finally responded, “That’s awesome son!”  He couldn’t hear him because he was so preoccupied.

You would be amazed if you will get in His face, and be still what you will see, how He will direct you, and what you will know all around you that you need to do. He will show you not only good things to do, but also “God” things to do!

IMG_0365Look at that confusing graphic I chose with one slight modification. You will notice now that “Rest” is underlined. I want to share from a devotional I have been using in my study time.

“Do you find it difficult to rest? Are you always working or engaging in some type of ministry activity? As you step into the promise God has for you, remember how important rest is.

There is a place of rest in the heart of God. In this place, we learn to trust Him in the midst of chaos and difficulties. As we lean upon Him and hear His heartbeat, we discover its rhythm – when to run, when to rest, and when to release.  As we contend to enter into the rest He has prepared for us, we ourselves become resting places where He can come and dwell in greater fullness.

We can enter into the storms of life and release love only when we have learned how to rest in God. Hebrews 4:1-3 tells us to be careful not to fall short of His rest.  Also we will not achieve rest through the merits of our works, so that no one should boast. (See Ephesians 2:9)  Rather, we need to rest in the promises of God.  We will be safe in the King’s arms.  Indeed, we must learn to live there.” 2

I stated earlier that I felt like if I had worked harder, prayed longer, studied smarter, wrote better, and handled trials and disappointments appropriately, I could have been what He expected me to be. Do you hear the works mentality here?

“We will not achieve rest through the merits of our works….we need to rest in the promises of God.”2

It is in this place that He restores your soul, takes you and molds you and makes you into what He wants you to be. In this place of FULL surrender to His will and His way in your life, you will find the place where He will restore your soul and prepare you to start new in Him again.

Some need to allow God to do what we do to some computers. You need to back up the good things, but allow Him to run an optimization, delete all the bad corrupted files, all the doubts, the pain, the questions and take you back to the “RESTORE” point.  I can tell you, on this side of the potter’s wheel, I am so thankful that God shook me that day on the way to the airport….it caused me to be willing to submit to the process of restoration.  I have never known this level of stillness and rest in God.  I want you to have that too!  Let God make you beautiful and full of life on the other side of your brokenness!

  1. Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Psalm 23:3
  2. Heidi Baker, Daily Insights to Birthing the Miraculous (Charisma House 2016) 316-317