Monday, March 31, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Crazy Drivers

Over the weekend I made a trip to Seattle and back, traveling more than 800 miles. I’ve made the trek many times, but this time it was an enlightening experience. Before I left home I asked God to reveal something new to me or to show me something familiar with new eyes. He’s faithful to answer our prayers, and He didn’t let me down.

The weather was spectacular on my way up, rain, hail, snow, wind, sun . . . a little of everything. The trip was definitely not boring. However, my focus was on my destination and I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the gorgeous surroundings.

As I approached Tacoma, heavy traffic socked in travelers. Some drivers seemed to have a death wish, diving in and out of lanes. Soon we no longer raced along, but slowed to a crawl and finally stopped. The minutes ticked by and frustration set in. I had a bit of a melt down. I just wanted to get to my daughter’s, get out of the car and away from all the “crazies” on the road.

Three days later I headed home, shamefully remembering my terrible attitude when I’d arrived. Again, the weather was spectacular. There were stacks of gray and white clouds that looked like piles of pillows. Others were black walls filled with moisture. Wind buffeted my car, and a mix of snow, rain, and hail pounded my windshield and flooded the highway. Unexpectedly the sun would burst through the mounded mountains of clouds, turning open fields to emerald green and gold. Hillsides and forests were cloaked in white from recent snowfalls. It was a spectacular display of God’s handiwork.

Most drivers were not focused on God’s creation. Instead they gripped steering wheels and kept their feet hard on gas pedals. Most flew past me, intent on their destination and unaware of the journey.

More than once I was forced to move into the fast lane to get around a snail-moving truck or trailer. It usually took only a moment before another car came up behind me to ride my bumper, pushing me to hurry. God whispered, “That’s all right. Just pull into the slow lane and let him pass. You enjoy the view.”

I did and found myself praising God. He had created this immeasurable beauty and most human beings didn’t even notice. He offered a gift and we couldn’t take the time to even look.

My trip home was filled with worship and intimate fellowship with God. It was a blessed time, unlike my excursion north.

God loves to display his splendor; He understands that it ministers to our hearts and draws us closer to Him. In the future, I hope to spend fewer hours being one of the “crazy” drivers and instead be a blissful sojourner on God’s highway.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tips for triumphant living -- Don't just do something, sit there.

Society says keep busy. We feel compelled to race about and do something, anything. But the best thing we can do is to be still and listen . . . listen to the voice of God. Some of what we do is good and productive and necessary, but too often we carelessly charge forward and then miss the best while settling for good.

The story of Martha and Mary and their different approaches to life is an excellent example of the choices we make. Although Martha was doing something good her busyness kept her from experiencing the best. In the end, it was Mary who reaped the greater reward.

So . . . let us slow down and give heed to what God has to say. He speaks to us in the beauty all around, in the voice of a loving friend, through His Word and in the quietness of our hearts. And oh how he loves it when we listen!

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, March 21, 2008

Quiet Moments With God -- The Battle

This Easter weekend has been a reminder to us that Christ went to the cross and died. And that He rose again. His sacrifice offers the greatest of all gifts—eternal life with God. But between here and heaven lie battlefields, wars to be won. In order to win, we must recognize the enemy.

I wrote a series of books addressing the theme that if we fail to recognize our adversary when He comes and if we’re ill-prepared to do battle then He will have the upper hand and may well destroy us. We need not be defeated, for God has given us the armor for victory.

Ephesians 6:10 – 18 has much to say about this subject. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

This is not passive living. Two times we are told to put on the armor of God and twice we are told to take up our shield and then our helmet of salvation. We are called to battle. And when we go, we must heed God's instruction, which clearly state that worldly weapons are ineffective. They are useless against principalities and power. We’re to use spiritual weapons—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. Only then can we triumph against the enemy.

When we are strong in His power we will stand. Be ready. Do not wait until the day of battle and then, being unprepared, call upon God. Generals never go to war illprepared. They train and practice and build up their strength so they are ready when the time comes.

As soldiers in God’s army we can accomplish all that's required of us. Accept God’s gift of salvation, take on faith and peace, know His Word and stand on it. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Be alert. Pray for one another. And fight to win.

We have been offered all we need to overcome the enemy and so let us go forth, standing together with the strength of the heavenlies.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tips for triumphant living -- Face Your Giants

I don’t like giants.

My first inclination is to run from the things in life that are scary, painful or just plain difficult. I try to face my giants, but often I'm quaking in my boots.

When reflecting on battling giants you’d think my first thought would be David. After all, he stood up to Goliath even after being warned not to.

David didn't listen to men. He obeyed God and knew he’d been called to that moment, that challenge. And so with nothing more than a sling, a stone and his faith, he brought down the giant and saved his people from slavery.

Still, it isn’t David I think of when my thoughts go to giant slaying. It’s my sister.

Several weeks ago I sat in a courtroom and watched her stand up to one of her giants. She did so with resolve and courage even though the giant she faced was the man responsible for her nineteen-year-old daughter’s death.

Two and a half years before her daughter, Crystal, died in an automobile accident. The man who’d been driving had been drinking when he drove off an embankment. Crystal died instantly. The driver had no injuries and I can only guess at those he carries inside.

With no noticeable remorse he sat in the courtroom awaiting his sentence. My sister remained composed as she faced the accused. Bravely and eloquently she told him all that he had taken from her and her family in hopes that it would impact him enough to change his ways. She spoke with honesty and without malice.

I wept, and in my heart I cheered. I was proud of my sister, not because she spoke eloquently, not because she was honest, or because she lacked malice, but because she faced this “giant” with courage and grace. She offered him mercy. And she told him about the love of Jesus, sharing God’s grace with him. She asked him to place his trust in Christ so that he too could spend eternity in heaven, right beside her daughter who already resides there.

My sister’s strength and faith is an inspiration to me. The same God who stood with David stood with my sister and He stands with me and with you. He offers courage and strength.

He whispers in our hearts, “Do not fear. I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Grace and peace to you from God.


Do you have a story about one of the giants you've faced? We'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quiet moments with God--Unusual Gifts

Ephesians 3:20 – 21 says, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Every time I come to this verse I am reminded of all that I’ve hoped for and prayed for. Even when I thought I was praying big prayers and trusting in a big way God did more than I could have even imagined.

I don’t know about you, but I often think too small; I sometimes forget how great our God truly is. He’s always surprising me with gifts I couldn’t have anticipated. Sometimes those gifts come in unusual packages. In fact, for the last two days I’ve been laid up with my “bad” back . . . again. I’m tempted to feel the wounds of my affliction rather than see the blessings. But God wastes nothing in my life. How can I ignore the extra love I've received the last two days? My husband has seen to my every need and helps me get from from room to room. My daughter has kept a close eye on me and made sure I don't go hungry. And my grandchildren have all made sure to tell me they love me. I've truly been blessed. Therefore, I choose to see these last two days as a gift.

His plans are bigger than mine and sometimes I see his blessings through a veil. I trust Him; He knows just what He wants for me and for each of us. Small thinking has the potential to sidetrack us from His greater purpose.

His course may move us into the unknown but we can trust Him to carry us through whatever storms there are in life and to accomplish what He set out to do. Having faith in our heavenly Father is more than saying yes, we must also step out and do.

Grace and Peace to you from God.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tips for Triumphant Living -- Learn to be content.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content. In any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

There have been many moments of discontent in my life. I remember once standing at my dining room window and looking out at the fields and forests surrounding my home and feeling such frustration with my life. I asked God, “Is this it? Do I have to be content with just this?” His answer . . .“YES!”

That’s not what I wanted to hear, but I knew what He would say before I asked. Did His yes mean that I’d never have anything more than I did at that moment? Not necessarily. What it did is ask questions. “Where is your gratitude? Where is your faith? Have you forgotten that above all else you are to tell others about me?"

God has given me more than I’ve even dreamed to ask. And yet, discontentment shadows my life.

I’m convinced that no matter how much we have there will always be something else that tantalizes us, one more thing that’s just out of reach. We think, if only I could achieve just this objective or possess that one more “whatever it is” then I’ll be happy. It’s a lie. Accomplishments and possessions never comnpletely satisfy.

When I consider the people I most admire it’s never their talent, the kind of car they drive or the beautiful home they live in that I value. It’s who they are that matters. The people I want to emulate are “just folks” whose hearts and minds are set upon Christ. They are people who listen instead of talk, people who give instead of take.

Discontent comes in all shapes and sizes. Our need for more time, more money, more recognition, more intelligence, even more knowledge . . . distracts us from what should be our true goal, God’s will.

How much sweeter life would be if we could rest in Christ; offer up our lives to him and allow His will to be what motivates us above all else.

Take heart, for as Paul says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

Blessings to you,


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Quiet Moments With God -- Unyielding Love

This week, verses I’ve carried close to my heart for many years were part of my reading. I love God’s Word; it’s enduring and compelling. If my mind is set upon Christ I will hear what God has to say to me. And once again Ephesians 3:17-18 reminded me that Christ’s love is a supernatural choice He makes.

Paul said to the Ephesian church, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I was a young mother when I first read these verses. While my little ones napped I took my Bible, went to my back porch and dropped into a patio chair. It was my “God time”. These passages were a balm to my soul. Yet, I couldn’t fully grasp their meaning. So, as I often do, I asked God to show me. And He was faithful to answer. I looked out over a broad valley that stretched into the hills and up into the mountains. It was wide and long. God said to me, “See that. Even that valley cannot contain the love I have for you.”

As the reality settled in, I took a deep breath and felt awash in His love. Even now, when I think about that first glimmer of understanding my eyes fill with tears. How could anyone love me that much? Only God.

There is no human measurement for His love. The closest I can come is a parent’s love for their child. I remember the first time I saw my son. An indescribable and unfamiliar love swelled inside me—powerful and unyielding. I’d never felt that way about anyone before that moment. And I knew I’d die for that little boy if need be.

When I visited the Grand Canyon several months ago I gazed at the astounding view, barely able to believe the splendor. Again, I heard the voice of God whisper, “Not even this can contain the love I have for you.”

His love is infinite and without conditions. He loves us . . . period. I rest in that, knowing I can depend upon Him to embrace me as a father does his child even when that child lets Him down.

So dear friends, rest in the one true and enduring refuge--the arms of our Lord.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Tips for Triumphant Living -- Choose Life.

When I was eighteen years old, my father was diagnosed with incurable lymphoma. He was a relatively young man. The doctors said he couldn’t be saved. Their prognosis—two years at most, and only if he chose treatment.

He had five children and a wife so his decision was to reach for more moments. Immediately the physicians put him on a punishing course of chemotherapy and radiation.

What I remember is not that he was dying, but that he was living.

His example of courage and his proactive way of tackling each day has stayed
with me. He eagerly grabbed hold of six additional years.

Terminal illness didn’t stop him. He loved to hunt and so he did, spending days alone in his beloved Cascade Mountains. He never missed a day of work, not until the very end. And nearly every night, after working all day, he’d putter around in his shop or put in hours in the vegetable garden. He adored fishing and sailing and whenever there was opportunity he’d sail. Foul weather only made an excursion better.

He made time for his family—taking us camping or on fishing trips. We also enjoyed water skiing, berry picking and a number of other fun excursions. Often he and my mother would dance about the house, all smiles and with love for each other in their eyes.

My dad embraced every moment. And in the six years that he battled I never heard him complain or ask, “Why me?” Instead there was almost always a smile on his face and mischief in his eyes.

I have a picture of my father that was taken on one of his sailing trips. The seas were heavy, just the way he liked them and a tiny bird, needing a place to rest, landed on the tip of his index finger, a refuge in the storm. Someone on the boat took a photo.

That picture is on my office wall. It and the memory of my father, brave and resolute, has been a refuge to me. It is a wonderful reminder that my father had the audacity to believe he could keep living while dying.

His example shouts—LIVE EVERY MOMENT!

Blessings to you from Bonnie.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Quiet Moments With God -- When God Calls

One morning while reading from Oswald Chambers book, My Utmost for His Highest, I was struck by God’s perfect timing. He made sure I was reading exactly what I needed to hear at the precise moment I needed to hear it.

I’ve been struggling about the direction my life ought to take. What is it I ought to be doing? Should I stick with what I know and do well? Should I do what is expected? Or stay with what has proven successful?

Sometimes being reasonable makes absolute sense, but occasionally God asks us to do the unreasonable thing. How do we know the difference? We wait patiently, listen to Him and allow Him to guide us. And sometimes we need to shut out other voices, especially our own practical one.

Oswald said, "The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God."

Weighty words.

I remember when I felt called to write. There was nothing about my education, my brain power or my nature that said “Yes, this is it! This is what you ought to do.” To the contrary. I had very little college, and although I’d always loved to read, I’d written little. But how could I ignore the sudden powerful desire to write, to put my thoughts and my heart down on paper? I was literally dragged toward the calling.

My inner voice told me I couldn’t do it. “Who do I think I am?” I asked myself more than once. I knew I needed to be reasonable. Money was short and a full-time job was a must.

God put a stop to that thinking and set me on a new course. It took months of searching and asking that He show me His will. He did, through His Word and in that quiet voice that belongs only to Him. He opened every door and encouraged me to step through. When I grabbed hold of His plan I clung to it, sometimes by fingertips, but hanging nonetheless.

So dear friends, cling to the Lord, trust in Him not your strengths or your personal desires. He and He alone knows what He’s calling you to do. Go then, and do it.

Grace and Peace to you from God.