Tag Archives: God’s plan

From Eden To Calvary – A Journey Of Purpose

20140311-135636.jpgJourney with us, O holy God, as we make our way to the cross. Sharpen our focus, that our attention may center more on you than ourselves. Lead us through the shadows of darkness and prepare our hearts, that we might be a people of prayer, ready to perceive and respond to your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. In his name we pray. Amen.
~The Worship Sourcebook

We are making a journey right now. Each in our own way, but have you ever thought about Jesus’ journey to the cross? I came across this as I was doing some Lent reading.  I believe it is from Max Lucado…


Jesus died…on purpose.

No surprise.  No hesitation.  No faltering.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way he dies.  And the way Jesus marched to his death leaves no doubt: he had come to earth for this moment.

Read the words of Peter.  “Jesus was given to you, and with the help of those who don’t know the law, you put him to death by nailing him to a cross.  But this was God’s plan which he had made long ago; he knew all this would happen.” (Acts 2:23)

No, the journey to the cross didn’t begin in Jericho.  It didn’t begin in Galilee.  It didn’t begin in Nazareth.  It didn’t even begin in Bethlehem.

The journey to the cross began long before.  As the echo of the crunching of the fruit was still sounding in the garden, Jesus was leaving for Calvary.

Thus began Jesus’ journey to the cross, the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Our own daily journey can at times be long and trying. Sometimes we find ourselves wandering off the path that God has directed. Even today as we have recommitted ourselves to drawing closer to the Lord, to the observation Lent, we find our hearts and mind are prone to wander.

“Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  He is eager to relent and not punish.  (Joel 2:13, NLT)

In the first part of this verse the prophet Joel warned Israel to “tear your heart, not your clothing” (Joel 2:13). One commentator  summarizes the point like this: “What was needed was not ritual alone, but the active involvement of the individual in making a radical change within the heart and in seeking a new direction for one’s life. What was demanded was a turning from sin and at the same time a turning to God. For the prophets, such a turning or conversion was not just simply a change within a person; it was openly manifested in justice, kindness, and humility.”

This is a tall order as ritual is much easier accomplished than heart-involvement. I know the words, I know how I am supposed to act.  I can do this in my sleep.  This is compartmentalized ritual.  But what would happen if we allowed our head knowledge of God and what he has done for us to seep out and penetrate our entire being. From head…to heart.

This season, regardless of your current state, no matter how many times or how far you have wandered, you must “Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”   After all, Lent is not about your faithfulness, but rather about the faithfulness of Jesus on your behalf. Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s plan.  Today He is waiting patiently for you.

Saved by His plan, His grace…this is why Jesus journeyed to the cross.

This too shall pass…


I have recently found myself pondering some very important questions. For example, is my car invisible? I have really begun to believe this may actually be truth with as many people as have pulled out in front of me, even though there are no cars behind me! This has not been a one time occurrence but instead more like a daily treat! And then as a follow up question. Why, if you are in such a hurry, that you must pull out in front of me, can you not at least do the speed limit? I have also been recently questioning if my speedometer is not set correctly as every car I am behind seems to be doing 15 miles an hour less than the speed limit. I am not a speed demon by any means, and I try to build some flex time into my travel, but not 15 extra minutes of flex time! This is white-knuckle driving, not because of bad road conditions, but because of the death grip I have on the steering wheel in frustration as the minutes tick by and I get later and later for wherever I am on my way to.

Quick, how would you describe your life right now in five words or less?

Me? I would say I am on my way. That’s how I feel like I live. I am always on my way somewhere. On my way to take the kids to school then depending on the day, I could be on my way to work, either on location or at home. Once there I try to cram as much as I can into the hours between 10 and 2 before being on my way back to pick the kids up from school. Then we are on our way to a music lesson or sports practice (or both), or possibly to feed a sports team if it’s an away game day (which often means fitting baking somewhere in between those precious “working” hours.) Then I am on my way to a sporting event, or on my way to the grocery store to pick up a random item that I need (even though I make lists, there is always something missing when I get home!) Many days I can be found at both. Then it’s on my way home to make dinner, probably do a load (or two) of laundry, help with homework (the dreaded math!) tidy up the mess we have all left in our wake throughout the day, then maybe work a little bit more if 10-2 didn’t accomplish everything on the day’s must-do list and then I am on my way to bed. A picture of a fairly typical day, where a lot of hours are spent on my way to somewhere, in my invisible car.

As the saying goes though, this too shall pass. There are plenty days when the last thing I want to do is get back and the car, and be “on my way” but there is going to come a day, in the not so distant future, when I won’t have to, so I am not complaining.

It seems like just yesterday I was tripping over toys strewn across the family room, changing diapers, and buckling kids into car seats. And now, I look at my two quickly growing children, young adults really, and I realize where we are really on our way to. I pray that as we quickly make our way towards the next chapter in our family that we can teach them enough, prepare them enough. I can’t always protect them from the world, although I try. I can’t save them from themselves some days, although I try. Some days I feel like I am literally in a tug of war match with Satan over them. We mess up, we get angry, I am far from a perfect mother, and I do not have perfect children, or a perfect family, but we try. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to be perfect. Perfection is not our standard. We just have to have a little bit of forgiveness (sometimes a little harder to come by than others) and love. Love the Lord our God, love our neighbor, love our children (and our parents), love our enemy. (That last one can be tough, I know, but this isn’t the a la carte menu. We can’t pick and choose, so love your enemy, with some help from God.)

I don’t know how you described you life (or if you even humored me when I asked you to.) I don’t know where you are in life. Today, I share my “spot in time” with you in hopes of encouragement. Know that whatever you are facing today, whatever your description was, good, bad, or filled with a little bit of crazy, I can only tell you this…it will pass. Sometimes that passing is bittersweet, but if you can keep God-centered, you won’t lose your way or your hope.

If you are having a bad day today, you are not alone. God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Heb 13:5) Find rest, refuge, and peace in Jesus. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If you are having a good day, remember the Lord, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalms 107:1) “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.” (Psalms 103:1-2)

And if you find yourself more like me, with an invisible car, smack dab in the middle of crazy, hold on tight and use the Lord as your balance. Crazy can be wonderful if you don’t let it run you over. Remember, in the midst, God wants to be the center of our day, seek Him first, His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33) In all things (this goes for the good and bad days too) pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17.) Talk to God, share your day with Him. This is real life, and He wants to be a part of yours, no matter what it looks like.

And remember, this too shall pass…

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest… A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecc 3:1-2,4)

A series of small explosions

life easierThis morning while I was breezing through the kitchen I caught sight of a Christmas present.  A sign hanging above the mudroom doorway that says “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” A favorite verse, a needed reminder. As I went about my business and tried to focus my twitchy, squirmy thoughts together I was reminded that “still” is so often harder than it seems when it comes to our minds. (Maybe this is just a phenomenon I suffer from.)  I was breezing through the kitchen with a load of laundry to add to the piles that needed washed, while mentally creating a list of things I needed to get from the store before the next big snow storm hits (new totals up to 10 inches in the next 24 hours with wind chill values of -25.)  I was also digesting the last couple of days while looking around at the Christmas stuff that needs taken down (I feel like I just got it up!) and trying to figure out the upcoming week’s schedule for back-to-school, practices, travel, work, doctor’s appointments, etc.   We ended 2013 and kicked off 2014 with a bang! Actually it was more like a series of small explosions.  Curve balls that life keeps throwing and I try to keep batting away, so as not to strike out.  It is mentally exhausting in addition to being at times physically trying.  I am not complaining (at least not much) and I keep asking, “Really? More?” God really does have a sense of humor and my prayer the last couple of days is “Lord, I really don’t need any more raw footage to write about. Some quiet would be very much appreciated.” I refuse to ask the question, “What else could go wrong?” because I really don’t want to know.  Nothing that has crossed the plate over the last few weeks has been a tragedy or crisis and I am thankful for that.  There have been many stories very close to home over the holidays that are tragic and my heart breaks for families and individuals who truly are suffering right now.  What I am talking about is more like what I would assume Chinese water torture would be like, mentally taxing. After a flu-filled “different Christmas” (3 different strains over 10 days) I was looking forward to escaping for a night to Amish country to celebrate 15 years of being married to my husband and very best friend. (Man, I love that guy!)  We were going to watch some college football (I am a huge fan!) browse the shops and eat some wonderful food that I didn’t have to cook.  Then winter storm Hercules hit and canceled our plans.  Not a big deal, we celebrated at home, still watched football, and enjoyed our kids enjoying the sledding hill. We also had plans to finish Christmas vacation at an indoor water park with my sisters and their families.  We checked in on Friday, the kids took a quick spin on the slides and my husband took our son to basketball.  Five minutes after they left I got a notification from our security company that our the alarm was going off at home.  So after he dropped our son at basketball he returned home to talk with the police.  False alarm apparently, no footprints in the snow, nothing amiss in the house.  Then came the call from the basketball coach, our son took a charge, went knee to knee with another player and his was swollen up like a balloon.  We ended up in urgent care where x-rays were done, our daughter left to play in the water park with her cousins.  The x-rays showed no fracture but a small white spot was discovered on his femur, not common and very disconcerting according to the physicians assistant.  She wanted us to stay and wait while the radiologist read it, hoping to hear specifically about “the spot.”  The official reading came back with no mention of the spot, only the news that nothing was broken.  But what about the spot? What do we do with this piece of information? Is it something? Is it nothing? I guess that’s to be continued.  (This after having a scare at Thanksgiving when he had an ekg because of some symptoms that led to a report of an enlarged ventricle and a thickening of his heart muscle. The report was later discovered to be inaccurate but not after 5 days of prayerful wondering, worrying, and waiting.) Friday’s diagnosis was a severe knee sprain, crutches and a knee brace for a week (which we already had from his prior knee injury 9 months ago) and a follow up for an MRI to make sure everything else is intact. (I am not so sure it is…)  Three days later I am mothering a child who is frustrated about missing out on games, practices, sledding, the inability to walk up and down the steps and bend his still swollen and very sore knee.  Our daughter, and her extremely sensitive skin, came home from the water park with a mysterious face rash, and then, we’ll call it the icing on the cake, the check engine light came on in our car on the way home from our tumultuous waterpark stay.  So, to recap, in a 24 hour period, police, hospitals, rashes, and finally car trouble.  Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip.

Now you are up to speed as I again breeze through the kitchen arms loaded down this time with Christmas things that need to find a home, mind loaded down with family, work, and ministry concerns and to-dos, and sense of being tired instead of rejuvenated after Christmas “vacation.” Drip, drip, drip, drip.

I need to remind myself of my new years resolution already, only 5 days in.  Choose Faith.

And as I sit, finally still, and bring my thoughts from my head to the page, I am reminded of a few other things that I am sure will come in handy as we charge into a new year.

There are days when we need to laugh to keep from crying.  And then there are days when we’ll have to laugh as the tears roll anyway.  But laugh, always laugh.

Nobody likes to be benched but sometimes we need to “ride the pine” and get healthy again.  Interruptions are not part of our plan but they are part of life.  Remember always that God is in control, nothing is an accident. Take a deep breath and rest during your break so when your number gets called you are ready to go back in and give it 100% again.

This is real life, not a fairytale and in that some days are going to be good some days aren’t but don’t forget to be thankful. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)   Some days are going to be hard but you don’t need to do it on your own, we can do all things through Christ. (Phil 4:13)  There will be no words for some of the days we will have to face but you are never alone in any of it. (Isaiah 41:10) First, last, and always, prayer. In all of it, quit trying so hard because the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

I leave you today with this, a very dear friend and mentor sent this to me as I was grumbling about everything that had been going on.  A simple, yet effective prayer on days when the Chinese water torture seems to be getting the best of you.

Dear God, I don’t ask you to make my life easier, but I ask You to give me the strength to face every day. Amen

Oh! Happy Day!

AMEN! The day has arrived and I have a real book in my hand! What an unbelievable feeling of achievement but I am also humbled beyond belief at what God has accomplished already through this. It’s been an adventure and I have a feeling it is only the beginning. Books will begin shipping 10/7/13. To pre-order an author signed copy or learn more about the book visit our bookstore or the Run and Be Still book page.

I have had this quote marked for a long time because I loved it. Today, I leave you with it…

If someone writes a great story, people praise the author, not the pen. People don’t say, “Oh what an incredible pen…Where can I get a pen like this so I can write great stories?” Well, I am just a pen in the hands of The Lord. He is the author. All praise should go to Him.



I have a question for you today.  What would you say most people spend their days longing for?  Happiness? Where would you find happiness?  In success?  How do you define success?  Would you find contentment in more money, time, or possessions? Is your joy held captive under someone else’s power? In search of unconditional love have you given away the keys to your kingdom?

Like a junkie, in need of a fix, we compromise what we hold dear, we give away the very best parts of us, in search of love, happiness, contentment.  If I just have this person’s love or approval, this possession, this amount in my bank account, you fill in the blank, then I will be happy.  I promise you, if the “this” that you are searching for is found anywhere but at the foot of the cross you will keep searching. Your “if, then” statement will never be complete.  People will let you down, there will always be something newer, shinier, and fancier to lust after, there won’t be enough hours in the day to climb the ladder of corporate prestige.

There is a bible verse that I bet we have all heard Luke 12:34, wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.  I challenge you today to look again at that verse and commit it to heart knowledge instead of just head knowledge.  To do that, answer this question for a quick litmus test.  What is the last thing you are thinking about when you go to bed and the first thing you think of in the morning? That will begin to tell you where your treasure is.  I am not saying that you have to be super spiritual, we all have things on our minds and hearts that weigh heavy on us at times and become overwhelming. God wants to share in all of these things with us.  He wants us to treasure a relationship with Him.  We need to begin to allow God a voice in our day, in our thoughts, in our plans. Begin to take back control of your life from those external circumstances that we have no control over.  Allow Him to open your eyes to true joy, contentment, and love.  I heard a great quote this week from Matt Chandler.  “You will live your life or it will live you.”

So today, I ask you again.  What do you spend your days longing for? What do you treasure?

Still Moments – A masterpiece of a mess

Don’t let Satan rob you of joy today. Offload whatever you are struggling with today to God, and watch Him work salvation and deliverance in your life. It doesn’t matter what you are faced with or what it has taken for you to get here. God can turn your mess into a masterpiece if you will allow Him to. Cease striving…be still…know God. Psalm 46:10

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?

If God has closed the door…


“God closed the door. Why are you trying to get into the window?”

A very wise person asked me this question one day as I was trying desperately to figure out a way around a very definite “no” from God. It made me pause and think for quite some time about what I was trying to do. In the years since I have come back to this question many times as I realize I am trying to work around God’s answer to my prayer. We don’t really like to be told that we can’t have something or can’t do something, especially when we think we want it so badly. I can tell you with certainty that in the moment, nos can be hard to swallow, but looking back, God’s plans for me have ALWAYS been better than my plans. You may not be able to see it overnight, but God only wants the best for you, just as any parent does for their children. Sometimes that means we have to say no.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG)
The next time you find yourself jiggling the handle of a locked door, instead of continuing to pound or searching for the unlocked window, turn your eyes heavenward. God has big plans for you, even through heartache, even through disappointment. Just be still a moment and listen for His voice. Let Him direct your paths, for what can we really do apart from Him?