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Psalm 23 (part 1): The Pastures

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     Though one of the shortest psalms, Psalm 23 is undoubtedly the most famous of all the psalms.  It is carved into headstones and quoted in foxholes.  It is familiar but seems dreamlike and something we have seen on flannel graphs and paper fans at tent meetings.  Sometimes, we dread hearing it.  Other times, we crave to hear it audibly whispered in our night of despair.  Because, more than ever, our world needs a Shepherd.  Someone to feed us.  Someone to lead us.  Someone to give us rest.        This song of praise was most likely written near the end of David’s life.  Undoubtedly, David is feeling nostalgic.  The way I do every fall.  He has grown past the despair that so often laces the psalms and truly realizes that to be a captain and a king, ultimately he only needed to be a sheep.  Psalm 23 speaks of God’s ever abiding presence as our Good Shepherd, not only sustaining us and leading us to still waters and green pastures but leading us beyond the valley of the shadow of deat…

The Invisible Place

Today, I choose to be thankful for the people who have truly seen Clark and me. That probably sounds strange, but in ministry, you are either in the crowd, or you are not. Most often, we have been on the outside, looking in. I'm not completely sure if God put us there or if God's people put us there, and while it is a familiar place to us now, I won't pretend it is not a lonely and painful place. It feels like a very unfair place.
   But it is a place of honesty. And it has directed my eyes past the ones who socially recognize us to truly find the ones who "see" us...the ones who just see sinners saved by grace who are trying to walk as closely to their invisble God as they can draw through His Word.
      Living in the invisible place has also helped me spot fellow outsiders. And while I would never want to label you as an outsider or spotlight the pain of it, if you feel like you share this place where we seem to live...I hope I have spotted you and that y…

Occupy

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I pray you have come through 2016 with many blessings. Mostly, I pray you have come "through." I must confess that this was a year of survival in our family, but thanks be, we made it through. If you have landed on my blog today with a gut-felt realization that, like me, you can look back on the previous year and not really count your accomplishments, but you can see that your only accomplishment is that you didn't go under, first of all, thank the Lord! Next, move on, knowing that sometimes, we simply are called to a season of standing (for truth, to strengthen others, or just to prove that Jesus is bigger than all this sin-crazy world can throw at us.)  But remember, that His command to "occupy" (as in, occupation) never implies inaction.
     I have been taking a college hermeneutics course (the science of interpreting the Bible), and the following blog is an excerpt from one of my assignments, with a few changes made here and there. It was very ti…

In Tune

"Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?  They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.  So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship." - A.W. Tozer
     Hmmm...that's a pretty strong statement!  I can be as unified with a believer from a foreign country, whom I have never met, as I can be with the friend I see every Sunday and mid-week service.  I can also be spiritually estranged from Jesus if my focus is on a closer relationship with people rather than a relationship with Christ.  Ultimately, for the believer, if we are "tuned" to one another, rather than to Christ, the result will be an unrest in our …

Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here

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A very long time ago, when discussing a personal struggle with my mom, she told me to ask myself if the thoughts I was having were the Holy Spirit whispering to me. It was a very convicting thought, and I have tried to ask myself that question each time I feel my emotions (indignation, doubt, fear, caution, frustration, anger) running away with me. I have certainly failed countless times, but her advice has doubtless made all the difference in my life. I am terrified to think of the relationships and opportunities I would have destroyed or missed if I hadn't begun to make this a habit in my everyday life!
     I don't want to sound judgmental, but it saddens me to see so many professed believers leading everyday lives where they almost blush at the verbally spoken Name of Jesus...or never talk about seeking comfort from Scripture...or never speak of feeling (Yes! Experiencing!) the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in a situation or time of personal prayer. (Your corpora…

Be Changed

 "We can underline our Bibles til our pens run dry without a drop of ink splattering our lives. Self-deception slithers in when we mistake appreciation for application or being touched with being changed." -Beth Moore       Avonlea is dealing with fear, tonight, so I'm in her floor in a beanbag chair doing my reading and trying to blog from my phone. (I'm sure there will be a gazillion typos to correct tomorrow.) Since I only blogged three times in 2014, I have resolved to blog once a month, this year. Most of them will be short, I am sure, but I hope they will somehow encourage you.      I have probably admitted to you that I have a list addiction. Sometimes, I literally write accomplished tasks onto a list for the sheer satisfaction of crossing them out. "Sometimes" is really the wrong word. I do it on a regular basis. There is just something about seeing it checked off my list that helps keep me on track. I always accomplish more on the days I stick to t…

Choose Life

My friend, Bethany Dillon, posted an article entitled "What to do When Your Church is Changing" to her Facebook, this afternoon. It was exactly what The Lord had been speaking to my heart. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my heart with you today.
     Though some of us would like to temporarily revisit the birth or infant-hood of our children, only an unnatural affection for that child would wish them to live a life without growth and change. To wish that for your infant would be to rob them of their life, because life is just that...a series of growth and change. If we were to receive the tragic news of a loved one receiving an injury or illness that left them physically alive, but incapable of walking, talking, or speaking - if they could breathe and all of their organs function normally, and perhaps they could even think, but possess no means of expressing their thoughts or feelings because they could only communicate on the same level as an infant - we…