Tag Archives: god

The View From My Mountain

Worry. I worry about my kids, their safety, their bumps and bruises. I worry when they are with me and especially when they aren’t. I worry about my husband, his stress level, his commute back and forth to work, and every time he gets on a plane to defy gravity. I worry about my own health, analyzing every headache, pain, and especially the days when I just can’t seem to get in gear. I worry about my parents; I worry about my grandmothers. I worry about the world in general and many times in specific. What kind of mess are we leaving to our children and grandchildren? I could keep going but I think you understand. Welcome to my looming mountain, Mt. Worry.

We all have things in our lives that start out small and suddenly gain a life of their own. An errant thought, or maybe we feel, correctly or incorrectly, that we have been wronged and we hold onto that. Whatever your mountain is, chances are it didn’t start out that way. We have a way of taking a small speed bump and through our fretting, fussing, and outright obsessing, we feed it. Making it bigger and bigger until it looms in front of us, casting a shadow on everything, and completely obstructing our view. We have created a mountain. Take a moment right now, if you would indulge me, and think about what your mountain is.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. (Mark 11:22, 23 NLT)

Are you ready to claim victory over your mountain? Are you ready to see it thrown into the sea? Name your mountain and then release it to God, for real, mind and spirit, with both hands. Let it go. Talk to God about it, let Him help you understand why you don’t have to be a prisoner to your mountain. Believe that He can not only shrink your mountain but throw it into the abyss. Hold onto His promises. Cultivate your faith.

I know that God holds my today and all of my tomorrows in the palm of His hand, and not just mine. Remember the Sunday School song we used to sing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” Nothing that happens takes God by surprise. That means that all of my worry and fretting over what might be are just a strength draining activity. The God who loves me is in control and if I can trust Him with eternity, why can’t I trust Him for today? I will confess that this doesn’t always come easily but if I can overcome my mountain, believe me, so can you! Prayer moves mountains…

Father, your word says that prayer moves mountains, that You will take my mountain and throw it into the sea. Today, I am struggling Lord. You know what my mountain is, You know my struggle. Rock by rock please help me remove this mountain from my life. Lord, I know that this will not be easy, that I will need Your help. Please remind me of this when I forget and try to go it alone. I also know that this may not happen overnight and so I pray for patience and endurance. And when I fail, please give me the strength and courage to continue on. Lord, I also know that this process may be painful. Please be a salve to these wounds, for I do believe your promise to throw my mountain into the sea. And Lord, I can’t wait for the day when I can claim victory over it! When the world will see your glory shining through me. Father, I love you and I am trying so to keep my eyes on you. Thank you for loving me and for caring about my mountains. In your loving, holy name. Amen.

Do Not Conform – Brought to you by Apple

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Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world…are the ones who do.   -Apple Ad Campaign

Originally written as an advertising campaign for Apple, I read this and heard a personal call to boldness. A call to be transformed in Christ. Isn’t Apple’s message in line with Romans 12:2? “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

How do we do this boldly? By being a round peg in a square hole. That’s about as clear as mud, right? Here is what I mean. You will, even today, be given at least one opportunity to take a stand for Christ, in Christ. Not necessarily in a bold evangelical, accept-God’s-gift-of-salvation kind of way (although He does provide those on occasion.) Instead, we can be bold in showing, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  This is choosing the high road when it would be so easy to just go with the flow and follow the crowd. This is choosing what is right over what is painless.  This is choosing acceptance over anger, forgiveness over bitterness.  This is choosing truth over lies, no matter what the consequences.  This often creates waves, draws attention, and always requires courage.

John Piper says, “The evidence of boldness is whether or not a person is making choices throughout the day that revolve around their desire to avoid conflict. If so, then that is a clear sign that cowardice is winning out over courage.”
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
Wherever you go, whatever you face the Lord is with you.  So go boldly and with confidence knowing you are not alone.  As the Apple ad said, if you are one of the “crazy” people who stand out from the crowd, be prepared because people will quote you, disagree with you, glorify or vilify you. Just don’t let them ignore you and never settle for status quo.  And always believe that you can change things, one bold act at a time.

Still Moments – Wait

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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Do you feel like you have been placed in a holding pattern by God? Circling and circling, just waiting to land? Maybe more accurately it feels like sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off. Quit pushing yourself harder. Stop trying to do or force just a little bit more. Stop the search at God. Leave the battling to Him. Today, just rest and abide in the Great I Am.

Be Intentional

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So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. (Romans 14:12 NIV)

Joyce Meyer writes “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who wait for something to happen and those who make things happen. God has called you to do great things for His Kingdom, don’t shy away from it.

You need to be intentional. You need to live life ON purpose. Don’t just wait around to see what everyone else is going to do & then follow the crowd. Stir yourself up, make a decision, & get going!”

I ask you the same question as yesterday. What if God is waiting on you?

What if…

20130815-081150.jpgMartin Buber, in Tales of the Hasidim, tells the story of Rabbi Zussia. Rabbi Zussia said, “At the Last Judgement, I shall not be asked ‘Why were you not Abraham? Why were you not Moses?’ I shall be asked, ‘Why were you not Zussia?’ ” So, I ask you today, why are you trying so hard to be anything other than what God created you to be?

Galatians 5:25-26 says, “Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original (MSG, emphasis mine).

Be you! Stop comparing yourself to others. God created you uniquely. He created you with specific gifts and for a specific purpose. There are things that God has planned that without you, your gifts, your input, will not be fully developed. We can so easily get caught up comparing ourselves to others, where we excel, where we fall short. In our personal quest to “measure up” we can easily sideswipe opportunities that God has planned for us. This is what happens when our eyes are on others, not the God who created us. God will meets us, where we are, with remarkable opportunities specifically suited for our talent set. You must only make yourself available.

We are needed to be the light in a broken, dark world. God does not call the dark to be light, he calls the light to be light. The light, you and I, we all must do our part. There are so many corners and nooks and crannies that need lit up. It doesn’t matter how big or small our part may be. And I speak personally when I say sometimes that is hard. I want to do big things, see big changes, big results. But it is all important to God, the big and the small. They all play a necessary part. Mother Theresa writes, “God will not ask how many books you have read; how many miracles you have worked; He will ask you if you have done your best, for the love of Him. Can you in all sincerity say, “I have done my best”? Even if the best is failure, it must be our best, our utmost. ”

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NLT)

You can sit and complain about the way things are, in your church, in your school, or in your community, but there is another option. Today, linger on this question…What if the change is supposed to start with you? What if instead of complaining you are supposed to take action?

This world needs God
But it’s easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong
But I refuse
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move, but I refuse
-Josh Wilson, “I Refuse”

What if God is waiting on you?

Still Moments-Start Talking

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God is Never Too Busy to Talk
May 13, , 2011 by Rick Warren

Here are three encouraging facts to remember about God:

God is never too busy – “The Lord is near to all who call on him.” (Psalm 145:18 NIV) He’s never too busy to talk to you. He’s always near. He never says, “Some other time.”

God loves to meet your needs — He’s not annoyed by your request. “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

God is sympathetic to your hurts — “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT) When you hurt, God hurts. When you grieve, God grieves. He is there. And He cares. That is the Good News.

Inside Out

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You want to be remarkable? Then here is the first question I have for you.
How far can your car go on empty?
No doubt we have pushed it to its limits sometimes. The low fuel light comes on in our vehicle and we either aren’t near a gas station or we think we can make it just a little ways further. Eventually, if we don’t stop to refuel, our car will come to a sputtering halt alongside the road. Like our vehicles, we need fuel. Obviously we have physical needs, rest and nourishment, but spiritually we also need to be refilled. How do we do this? By spending time with God.

Our relationship with God is based in our prayer life. Prayer is our way to communicate with God, and without communication how can we have a relationship?  As Christians we often treat prayer as something to be checked off a list and we miss the part where we are building our relationship with the Creator of the universe. We miss out on the refueling that happens when we commune with God. Prayer is a stepping stone to worship, to devotional time spent in His Word, and then to outwardly reaching towards others. We have to start our road to a remarkable life internally. If our cup isn’t overflowing with the love and Spirit of Christ generated in our time spent with Him, how will we have enough to share? Maybe you don’t feel like you know how to start a conversation with God.  It’s been so long or you don’t know what to say.  Mother Teresa says “We want so much to pray properly and then we fail.  We get discouraged and give up.  If you want to pray better, you must pray more.”  God is waiting and He just wants you, not a fancy prayer.  Mother Teresa goes on to say “If we don’t pray, our presence will have no power, our words will have no power.”  Without prayer we will not be remarkable.

I could never do justice to the extensive topic of prayer in this sitting, volumes and volumes are dedicated to it. So for today, let me bottom-line it for you. Prayer-just do it. Talk to God as you would a friend.  Build your relationship with him and begin the journey towards remarkable. Enjoy the light-hearted look at prayer through the eyes of The Skit Guys below and see if you can identify with any of it. I know I did.

Have you taken the Challenge To Be Remarkable?

A Remarkable Challenge

20130812-080246.jpgStop and think about something this morning.  Here is what I am asking you to “Be Still” over this week. You leave your fingerprints everywhere.  This isn’t a matter of hygiene but instead a matter of the heart.  The people you work with, the stranger at the grocery store, your spouse, your children, your teammates, your friends, everyone of these groups of people are marked by your fingerprints.  How are you marking them?

Jesus in is the everyday dealings in our lives. I believe this is where He lives.  Yes, He is most certainly in the grand, big plans.  He is in the mega-churches and the revival conventions.  He resides in the Joyce Meyers, David Jeremiahs, and Billy Grahams of the world but no more so than he does in you or I.  Stop and think about that for just a moment.  If, you are a follower of Jesus, a disciple, He is as available to you as He is to each and every notable disciple that has come before you.  More than that, you have every bit as much opportunity (and dare I say responsibility) to reach out to those people that He places in your path on any given day.  There is a need for the “big-leagues” but never discount the “little league” games that you and I are involved in every single moment of every single day. These can be just as remarkable, sometimes even more so.  Think for just a minute, how many people can one person reach, even if they have the platform of television and radio?  (And that requires a the listener to be actively searching for something.)  Now, how many people can you and I, and every other follower of Jesus reach in a single day, where they are, bringing a message that person may not have even realize they needed.  I am not talking about preaching hellfire and brimstone, but reaching out instead in love, kindness, forgiveness.  These, the fruits of the Spirit from Galations 5:22, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness are things of this world that are quickly disappearing.  We are called to be different.  We are called for something more.  We have an opportunity, everyday, to plant these seeds and maybe, through God’s careful tending though everyday people like you and I, that seed will grow into something bigger.  If that isn’t remarkable, I don’t know what is.

Today, you will have at least one opportunity to be remarkable and it doesn’t require a huge gesture, it just requires eyes that have been opened by Jesus to see people the way he sees them.  Ears that are listening for the prompting of the still small voice of Jesus.  A heart that has experienced the love of Jesus  and in response is overflowing in gratitude.  Feet that are following in Jesus’ footsteps.  And hands, to leave the fingerprints of Jesus on someone else’s life.  No matter how small and insignificant that gesture may seem to us we are part of a much larger plan and all of the pieces have to be present for the puzzle to be complete.  Today, I am writing as much to myself as you.  Don’t get caught up in the grand gesture, the desire for greatness.  Be diligent in the small things, see and take every opportunity that God presents and you will gain an understanding of remarkable.

Lord and Savior, my Father and my Teacher, as I begin this week let me do so with a humble heart.  Please release me from the desire to save the world and instead fill me with the desire to reflect You to the world.  Help me to understand the true meaning of living a remarkable life, not in notoriety and fame, but in the quiet dealings of a life lived in your grace.  Help me to leave your fingerprints, not mine, on everyone I touch today.  When I forget please remind me.  I will be tempted by all sorts of things, to distract and to detract, from the message that I live.  In these moments Lord, help me to dwell in You to renew my spirit.  Lord, help me to live remarkably by your standards.

Please join me this week as we continue on our search for a remarkable life.

What are you saying yes to?

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“A world of insight is hidden in four words in Matthew 14:22: ” He [Jesus] dismissed the crowd” (NIV). This wasn’t just any crowd that Jesus dismissed.
These weren’t casually curious.
These weren’t coincidental bystanders.
This was a multitude with a mission. They had heard the disciples. They had left their homes. They had followed Jesus around the sea. They had heard him teach and had seen him heal. They had eaten the bread. And they were ready to make him king.
Surely Jesus will commandeer the crowd and focus their frenzy. Surely he will seize the chance to convert the thousands. Surely he will spend the night baptizing the willing followers. No one would turn down an opportunity to minister to thousands of people, right?
Jesus did.
“He dismissed he crowd.” Why? Read verse 23: “After he dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray”(NIV).
He said no to the important in order to say yes to the vital.
He said no to a good opportunity in order to say yes to a better opportunity. It wasn’t a selfish decision. It was a deliberate choice to honor priorities. If Jesus thought it necessary to say no to the demands of the crowds in order to pray, don’t you think you and I should, too?”
Excerpt from Max Lucado’s “Experiencing the Heart of Jesus.”

What are you holding on to?

20130808-092857.jpgMy son battles with stress-induced anxiety.  When under pressure, he becomes hyper-sensitive.  Everything is enhanced and he will become very aware of any ache, pain, or sound to the point of maddening distraction. He is on sensory overload. He becomes agitated, begins to shut down, and cannot see reason.  He also avoids, at all costs, that which is causing him the stress.  It literally slams on the brakes of his life and our family.  In exasperation I have talked, I have pleaded, and I have yelled.  (I am not proud.) I have prayed over him, prayed for him, and prayed with him.  Yesterday we found ourselves in the middle of one of his firestorms and I finally looked at him and asked that one simple question…What are you holding on to?

He is reaching out for help with one hand but the other hand refuses to let go of the frustration and agitation.  Have you ever found yourself in a pit like that and it seems that no matter how much you climb and struggle you only get deeper?  What are you holding on to?  It is only dragging you back down, slowing your progress.  God is not going to pry it out of your hand. You must open your hand and let it go.

I love the story of the mountain climber who, when stranded, hanging by a single rope with nowhere to go but down, he finally yells in desperation, “If there is a God up there, help me.” To his ultimate surprise and astonishment an immediate reply was forthcoming.  “Yes, ” said a thundering but kind voice, “I will help you.  All you have to do is let go of the rope.”  The startled mountain climber thought about this for a moment, and again raised his eyes to heaven and asked, “Is there anyone else up there?” Author, Gerry Boylan puts it this way.  “I am seeking God without seeking God’s help.”

Stop fighting.  Stop struggling. Wave the white flag.   Release the death grip of control.  Surrender.  The actual act of surrendering is the easiest thing you will ever have to do. Getting to the place where you are ready to surrender may, in fact, be the hardest.  Your victory comes through surrender.

Father, you know what is on my heart today.  You know what I have my fingers clamped around, what I am unable or unwilling to let go of.  You know what my heart is holding hostage.  Please change my heart Lord.  Help me to loosen my grip and let go.  Help me to forgive, to move on, and most importantly open my eyes  so that I can see the freedom that surrender brings through your salvation.  Through You Lord, and only through You, I know that I can claim victory.  Lord, save me!