Monday, March 28, 2011

Quiet Moments With God: Just Do It.

We're all familiar with the statement, "Just do it." But have you asked yourself, what IT is?

In my reading this morning from My Utmost For His Highest Oswald Chamber's last statement is "Whatever He says to you, do it." The reference he uses is taken from John 2:5. "But his mother told the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

As the story goes, Jesus was at a wedding in Cana and the hosts had run out of wine. Jesus mother told the servants to do whatever Jesus said. He asked them to fill stone jugs with water, a seemingly insignificant duty, yet the servants did as they were told. Mary submitted to Jesus and so did the servants. Jesus turned the water into wine, the best wine. It was his first miracle.

Sometimes it feels as if the Lord is telling us to do something we think makes no sense or is of no importance. Can you think of a time? What did you do?

Too often we ignore his instructions, and decide for ourselves that whatever it is can't be from the Lord or certainly can't be of much importance. He wouldn't ask us to do something insignificant. After all, what can be gained by doing something as simple as filling water jugs, or by gathering a few fish and loaves of bread to feed five thousand? Why waste our time? Serving Christ is never a waste of our time. It is always amazing.

However, my guess is we've missed out on lots of special moments and opportunities because we've tuned God out. We've forgotten who He is, and that even the little stuff matters--that all of His guidance is of value.

When you hear Him, listen. And then do whatever it is he asks of you. We're not the ones to decipher what matters and what doesn't, not in God's realm. Only He knows.

So, do IT, whatever it may be, and watch and see God's plans unfold.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Topic of the Day: Elizabeth Taylor Dies & What of Legacies?

Elizabeth Taylor died today. She wasn't a personal friend of mine, but I feel as if I knew her. She made more than fifty movies, her photo could often be seen in the tabloids and the stories of her turbulent life were snatched up by the press.

I remember my first introduction to Elizabeth Taylor. It was in the movie National Velvet. I loved that movie and still do. She entertained hundreds of thousands of movie goers, stood passionately and bravely for causes and people she cared about. She was beautiful, complicated and controversial. And although she and I certainly disagreed on many issues she left a legacy. Those close to her found her to be fun, compassionate and full of fire. She impacted the world. I will miss her.

Scripture tells us there is a day to be born and a day to die. What we do between our birth day and our last breath says everything about who we are. How do we react to trials and triumphs? What kind of choices do we make and how to we respond to the consequences, both positive and negative? What are we passionate about?

Like Elizabeth Taylor, we will leave a legacy. What will ours look like? Where do we spend our time and treasure? Are we wrapped up in ourselves or in others? If Christ is our example, as He should be, clearly life can't be about "me". He came to testify to the truth. And where do we find that truth? The only trustworthy place is God's Holy Word.

Read it. It's astonishing, mind blowing and life changing. It answers the questions like-Who is God? What is truth? What is sin and where did it come from? How are we supposed to live and why?

Life is a gift. Make the most of it.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Quiet Moments With God: Tsunamis

Like most of you, I've watched the terrifying images of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. My heart breaks for the people who have lost loved ones and who are now suffering. The numbers of dead are staggering.

My grandmother, who lived in Unalaska as a young woman, witnessed a tsunami that swept into the shores on the Aleutian Chain of Alaska. Her encounter was what inspired my first book, The Journey of Eleven Moons. The character of Anna lost everyone she loved, except for her sister Iya. She blamed God.

It's hard to understand the why of tragedies on the scale of the one in Japan. Sadly, since Adam and Eve made a very bad choice all those years ago in the garden tragedies have been part of the human experience.

Most tragedies don't make the headlines. When a doctor's diagnosis, the death of a loved one, the loss of our home, or the impact of (in my case) an oncoming truck hit us, we feel as if we've been swept away by a tsunami--caught up in the turbulence and debris of tragedy. Sometimes our lives are changed forever. We long for what was and wonder if we'll ever find our way back to what we've known.

When our "normal" has been swept away, how do we make sense of it all? Where is our hope? Deuteronomy 31:6 says this. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

When you've been swept away by an agonizing torrent remember, God is with you. You are never alone. "I will turn the darkness into light", he says in (Isaiah 42:16) and "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear." (Isaiah 41:13).

Pray for the people of Japan. Pray for those in the Middle East. Pray for one another. And thank the Lord who loves us and who stands with us in the midst of the storm.

Do not doubt -- God always keeps His promises.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quiet Moments With God -- Gracie's Truth

Perspective is everything.

Four days ago I adopted a twelve pound little girl, half dachshund and half chihuahua. She's sweet and funny and full of energy. Sadly, she brought home a tummy bug from the dog shelter. So today we made a trip to the veterinarian's office. While on our way, Gracie whined, gave me the worried dog look, shivered and panted. Although she was on the seat right beside me and I made sure to remind her everything was fine, she was freaked out. My guess is she hasn't ridden in cars much.

I knew Gracie was safe, but my being there, talking to her and keeping a hand on her didn't help Gracie. She was scared the entire thirty minute trip into town and home again. I couldn't comfort her.

Gracie didn't know the truth. All she knew was that the space she traveled in was filled with new smells, sounds, and sensations. No matter what I did, she didn't believe all was well. She trusted the environment rather than me--the one who loves and cares for her and will only do what's best for her.

As God often does He used something from my life, in this case Gracie, to remind me of the truth. He loves and cares for me and does only what is best for me. However, just like Gracie, when I get into a difficult place I look at circumstances instead of God. He's right beside me. He comforts me. He takes my hand. And yet, I quake and worry and wonder how this problem can be resolved.

In Matthew 6 Jesus pointed out that our Heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air and he clothes the lilies of the field. And he asks, "Are we not much more valuable than they?" Yes. We are.

I'm going to take Gracie on lots of rides so she will learn to trust me and that together we can have fun. Likewise, my Heavenly Father will take me on many adventures, some of them will frighten me, but the sooner I learn to trust Him the sooner our time together will be relished.

The next time I'm feeling overwhelmed or scared by life I'm going to think of Gracie and remember God has everything under control.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Topic of the Day: Vivian Schiller Resigns--Who Is Next?

I've been loosely following the coverage of Vivian Schiller's resignation from NPR. She is the latest to fall victim to political correctness. Last year it was Juan Williams, a man I much admire, but often disagree with. He had the audacity to speak honestly during an interview about the discomfort he felt when sharing space on an airliner with Muslims. That was too much for NPR and he was quickly shown the door.

Today Ron Schiller, also an employee of NPR, was given the boot. During what he thought was a private conversation, he made some disaparaging remarks about Republicans and members of the Tea Party.

The atmosphere in this country is heating up. In recent years we've seen a number of people who live in the limelight ridiculed, fired and even threatened with their lives for stating an opinion that was viewed as being politically incorrect. What happened to the first amendment? Are we no longer allowed to have opinions of our own?

I'm a conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party and therefore a target of Ron Schiller's statements, but he had the right to say them. It is my understanding that he was speaking for himself and not NPR. I don't like what he said, in fact I'm sickened by the climate of disrespect that runs rampant in our nation. Still, Ron Schiller has a right to his own beliefs.

Where will it all end? Who decides what is acceptable? Last time I checked we were still a free country. It is our freedoms that make us unlike other countries and although some of our diversity gets my dander up, it's that diversity which is part of the tapestry that strengthens who we are. We have the freedom to be different and to speak about those differences. Our rights to think for ourselves and speak for ourselves is gradually being stripped away. We are like a home built along an ocean beach. One wave at a time washes away the foundation beneath us and when enough of the foundation is carried out to sea the home crumbles.

I'm a Christian, and every week I enjoy the freedom of sharing my faith and beliefs with my readers. Some of what I have to say may be hard for some people's senses. Will I one day be forced to shut down for fear of offending someone? The idea may sound unbelievable, but If we don't return to common sense and the foundational truths that our country was built upon it's where we're headed. The Truth Police will decide who can speak and who can't. Who will appoint these protectors of our souls?

I understand, sometimes it's downright painful to listen to the hateful fomenting moving across the land, but if we feel compelled to shut them up one day we'll be the ones who cannot speak.

I can't change the world, but I can touch one life at a time. And when I get frustrated it helps to think upon Philippians 4:8 & 9, which says, "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me -- everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."

There's a better way. Let's find it. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, March 07, 2011


Last week I wrote about following God and then yesterday at church our pastor touched on the reason why we follow. I've been thinking on it. "Why do I follow the Lord?"

Take a moment to pray and then ask yourself, "Why?" Contemplate and wait for the answer.

In the book of Mark Jesus made an interesting statement to evil spirits that fell down before him. He gave them strict orders not to tell anyone who he was. Why would he say that? Didn't he want people to know who he was?

Of course He did. But who does the telling matters. The enemy can't be trusted. The demons only wanted to infiltrate and offer alternatives to what Christ was teaching.

The people God wants to speak up about His Son and to spread the truth are
believers--Christ followers. And so we return to the question, "Why do we follow?"

With fear and trembling I walked down the path of self examination. Was it possible that I followed out of a sense of duty? Could it be nothing more than a habit? What about personal gain? Or do I follow because that's what people expect? I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone. I cringe at the truth that my motives are not always pure. The world tugs at me.

While I pondered the question of why my mind carried me back to a day when I first met the Lord. The day I knew and understood, for the first time, that He loves me. I was so overwhelmed by this powerful love that I cried and cried as His Spirit was poured upon me. I wanted to tell the world about the God who loves us just as we are. The God who allowed His son to die for us so we would have a place in heaven. I still want to tell others. I love Him because He first loved me.

I searched my heart and found the truth--I follow because I love Him. I love Him!

Why do you follow?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011


What do we do when we hear the Lord's voice say, "Follow me," and we don't know where that is? Or when we're afraid to step out into the world with all of its uncertainties. And again He says, "Follow me."

We need to take time to rest in Him, to soak in God's love and wisdom. But Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take up your mat and walk." And to the blind man, He said, "Go."

Lingering with our Lord is restful and fulfilling, but it can't be all that we do. Even when we feel faint of heart when our Lord calls us to follow we must go. I always want to know where. Where are we going Lord? But he says simply, "Follow."

When Peter and Andrew were fishing, Jesus said to them, "Follow me." They didn't ask where are we going master? Scripture says they put down their nets immediately and followed. Christ told them He would show them how to be fishers of men. Because they followed that's just what happened.

When the road before us seems daunting and unclear, we don't need to be afraid. The Lord will never lead us astray. Not ever. With confidence we can put one foot in front of the other and follow Him. He has a place for us, work for us, a calling for us. And when life seems to spin out of control, we can place our hand in his and He will hold on tightly.

When worries, doubts and the temptations of the world call to us hang on to the only one who will never let go.

Grace and peace to you from God,