Tag Archives: peace

Daffy Duck Mouth

Standard

Luke 14:11 states: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” I can’t help but think of all the “duck lips” and selfies and derrieres I’ve seen within the past couple weeks or maybe years. People are proud. Proud of what? Their face? Their booty? A certain amount of self-confidence and a healthy dose of self-esteem is appropriate, sure. But I have to wonder: What are we constantly seeking? Approval? Compliments? Someone to notice how worthy we are of attention? As a whole, I think we are placing priority not on the God Who made us, but us.

I don’t want to exalt those who shouldn’t be, namely me. Anything I do is only because God allows me to do it. I have no talents that He hasn’t given me and until I have prayed about a situation, my ideas are limited at best. It’s not easy to live in this world and be set apart from it simultaneously. We were called to be renewed and transformed by the Word of God and some (I dare not say “most” for fear of my stomach turning) don’t even know what it says because the only time they open their Bible is on Sunday mornings, if they didn’t forget it at home. Ouch. That one stung me just a little bit, too.

It’s for that reason that for the next 30 days, I will be carrying a Bible with me. Anywhere I go, the Word of God will be readily available and at my fingertips, much like the smartphone I’m tired of eyeballing. I’ve come to a place where I need more God. More peace. More wisdom. More of anything He’s offering. “God30” begins tomorrow and I look forward to the insights I expect to receive. My priorities must shift. Instead of studying the “art of myself” and how to take the perfect selfie with ideal lighting in the greatest of angles, I’ll study anything the Creator Himself wants to point out each day. I can practice my Daffy Duck mouth another day.

Recognize

Standard

While reading in Jonah, the book I’ve been stuck in for awhile now (better than a big fish, right? Yuk yuk) it hit me that Jonah didn’t know that he was getting out of that fish.He had no idea what the outcome would be. We know the end of the story and have for years, except for maybe the actual “vomit” part…they left that out when I was a kid. We realize he got out and finally did what God asked him to do. But while in the whale (and please don’t argue with me about what kind of fish it was…I’m not concerned about that.) Jonah had some time to think. God gifted him with that time by providing the huge creature. Does anyone else find that amazing and hilarious? My NIV study Bible literally says that He “provided a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17) God does provide, I’m just wondering if Jonah had to laugh at the irony while covered in muck.

In all of his pondering, he had to disregard what his senses told him. He had to focus on the why, not the scary sights,eery sounds,and nasty smell. (I won’t go into the other senses but to say”taste” EW!) He had to control his thoughts and cry out to the One Who created that fish for help. So, quite a few hours/days, he spent crying, praying, and giving thanks. I would think that would lead to some pretty enlightening epiphanies.It wasn’t that he didn’t recognize where he was, Jonah knew good and well that he was literally in the pit of this big guy’s stomach, but he also began to recognize Who had the power and Who had possession.He eventually grasped the fact that God had ownership of the seas and the sailors that had hurled him into the vicious waves. This God knew Jonah. He knew him better than he could ever possibly know himself. All he could do in this moment of recognition was to confess and ask forgiveness. He had to shake his head and wonder what took him so long to understand. He finally comprehended that God would go to any lengths necessary to not only show His love for one of His kids, but for all of them.

As an added bonus to God’s plan, because once Jonah got that he was lost, he recognized that others were lost exactly like he was. Salvation comes from the Lord and all it took was a few days and nights in the stomach of a sea creature for him to see that very, very clearly. My absolute favorite line in this book is “What I have vowed I will make good.” Jonah was speaking of the promises he made to God during his special one-on-one time that the Creator made possible. (Hehe) How many times have we promised things to God and not made good? God recalls and makes good on His promises each and every day, no matter our scenery or situation.He has made so many vows to us when we certainly don’t deserve them. My goal today is to just be, where I am, whether I like that place or not, and give thanks to the God Who deserves each and every one.

Hide and Seek

Standard

Life gets rough sometimes. I’m sure that’s not a newsflash to most. Whether you have money or none, material things by the truckload or little, are full of health or on your deathbed, this life is not easy. It’s when the road we’re traveling gets extra bumpy that we can get to choose. We can choose to lose it or we choose to follow the advice we would give our best friend in crisis or a toddler when they fall: Get up. GET up! When we fall down, we get back up. Shake it off. (I apologize for any of you who know the song and now have it stuck in your head for the next 72 hours.) What has happened to you does not define you. What you do is not who you are. What you’ve been through is different than what you’re going through. And you’re doing JUST that: you’re going through it. This situation is not where you stop. This isn’t where your plane lands. It’s plowing right through. It  may not be smooth-sailing, but you’re still sailing through. Now, 10 points for anyone who noticed I just referenced life to three different vehicles: a plane, a tractor, and a boat.)

When life gets rocky, we go to the Rock. We look to the One Who created us to recharge us and give us that peace that we simply can’t get anywhere else. Our hope, yes, we are still called to have hope in light of situations around us, is in Him. I personally don’t believe that means we have to wear a plastered grin on our weary face 24-7. The words we speak are meant to bring others up and show everyone that He is Who He has always been, not a mean, unjust Creator, but a loving and compassionate one that is tired of watching us try to do everything on our own. He is our tower, our strength, our shelter and so much more.

This world is not our home, but it is where we live right now. God’s yoke is easy and His burden light. Why do we feel so weighed down if this is the case? Because we’re trying to take on the world and change it to suit our liking. We want to mold and reform people into the way we want them to look. All spit-shined and polished so we can stand proud and say, “Look what I, er, I mean, God did!” Eek. Can we let God work in His own timing and in the way He wants to so badly? Can we “judge not, lest (we) be judged”? It’s not about us, it’s all about Him and His glory. If we’re struggling to find that place we can run and not grow weary, maybe it’s because that hiding place we seek is behind us. Perhaps we don’t have to look up, we need to look behind us and see God, our Father, calling us back to Him. Have you left the Rock that you used to run to? It’s really easy to find your way back. The path isn’t hidden at all. It’s the one in plain sight that you’ve traveled before. We know what to do. Turn back to His face, grab ahold of His hand, and let Him lead you into rest and peace. That peace is unexplainable and we’re called to show the world that peace in the face of terror, ugliness, hateful acts, and crime.

Peaceful Drama

Standard

What keeps you grounded? When you have a day where you think you’re gonna lose it (you know the kind right? The ones where you keep saying over and over to yourself, “I’m gonna lose it!”) who do you run to? For many of us, it may be a parent, a best friend, a sister or brother. What keeps us from automatically telling God what’s up? I think our pride gets in the way first off. Secondly, I think we secretly, although sometimes not so secretly, love the drama. Our flesh tries to thrive on it. If we have something to talk about, er, complain about, then we fit in here. We are a part of something, like the popular crowd in high school. (Oh man, did I just give away that I wasn’t a part of the popular crowd in high school? If you were in it, you didn’t call it the “popular crowd.” I have an audience of one nowadays, praise God!)
So, why do we want to be proud and dramatic? Were we created this way? An inherent design that we can never shake? We are to die daily, meaning that our wants become secondary to what our Creator wants. Our needs come second. We are to ask what He needs from us today and what He wants us to be today. Oddly enough, this is the recipe for joy. I’d trade drama for joy any day. We are to SHOUT for joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his holy name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
We do our best to be faithful to Him, which is extremely difficult some days, but we are to quit worrying because each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:31-34) and focus on what’s important. Have you ever worried yourself into peace? Yeah, me neither.

Be Still and Know

Standard

Once in a great while, we get to watch as God uses someone that no one expected Him to. No one really sees it coming. It could be the man on the barstool or the woman who introduces herself to men by sleeping with them. It might be the homeless family that lives in a tiny car or the baby that simply wasn’t “supposed” to be conceived or survive the procedure. One thing I’ve noticed is He isn’t using the individuals that appear to have it all together. God is perfect, but we don’t have to be. That’s not what He’s looking for to further His Kingdom.

So many believe, whether they’ll admit it or not, that we are to clean ourselves up, spit-shined and polished, before we could ever even talk to God. Our image of Him is skewed in that sense. He doesn’t expect us to wait until we’ve got it all together. He is not the One Who puts that thought into our heads, but He is the One desperately trying to convince us of His love. That perfect love that we can’t buy or get anywhere else, not even the store that begins with “W”. We can’t be who we are with anyone else until we are ourselves with Him. Freedom comes in admitting that our true selves could never be cleaned up enough to be in His Holy Presence anyway.

We live in a day where nothing is holy. We no longer know the meaning, if we ever did. Before cell phones, Facebook, reality TV, and YouTube, there were certain areas of our lives we kept private, secret even. We did not tell a soul about what we had for lunch, how our bodies felt, the man who cut us off in traffic, or our deep revelations pertaining to french fries.

I believe we, as a whole, are searching for holiness. That place where we can get quiet and just be. “Being still and knowing that He is God” isn’t getting any easier. We have to take the time (our most precious commodity) to learn how. It doesn’t come easily or naturally but He’s got it under control. He loves us. He didn’t make any promises about how easy life was going to be. He never said we wouldn’t get sick, we wouldn’t lose people we loved dearly, and we wouldn’t have reasons to get discouraged.

It is in these times that we grow and change as we are molded into the willing vessels that God can use. God’s favor falls on each of His believers daily. We pray, recognize the power of God and His favor, and put into practice His beliefs. We get to know Him and find out what those deeply rooted beliefs are. We accept and wholeheartedly believe that He has the best plan, then move forward with that plan, whether one step or the entire layout is revealed to us. We are so blessed. Don’t waste time entertaining the notion of anything otherwise.

This article is dedicated to a loving friend, Sam Myers, who made the dash between these two dates count, May 31, 1950-May 17, 2014. Sam was the epitome of worship to me and remains an ever-present reminder that God willingly changes individual lives in a radical way, whereby creating a path for those individuals to allow God to change more lives. My heart aches each time I think about our loss here on Earth. I will forever miss that gorgeous smile that radiated a fierce love for others and His Savior, but I smile myself when I picture him lifting his arms and dancing as he worships the God he lived for in God’s very presence.

Eternity Echo

Standard

As I sit surrounded by my Grandma’s stuff I realize that we get to choose what kind of legacy we leave behind. I am so thankful that my Grandma was a praying woman who knew God better than she knew herself. She said “I fail my Lord daily” but I sure didn’t see it. She prayed, read her Bible, treated everyone with the utmost respect, wouldn’t miss church for any reason, and helped every individual she met, whether it was a homeless man, friend, family, or the new resident at the nursing home she visited.

I remember a time as a teenager I was having some issues and she simply sat on the steps of my aunt’s porch listening. Just listening. No one does that when you’re a teenager. Everyone knows better and wants to let you know how much they know. I don’t really remember her saying anything except we would pray about it. Well, if only it were THAT simple Grandma, I thought. I thought she didn’t understand. Now that I’m not a teenager anymore, I understand a little more. Some days I think a lot more, but inevitably something happens to remind me that God’s the only One Who knows it all.

I am so honored to have her kitchen towels (you know the ones that have lasted for 3/4 of a century and will probably be passed down to my children?) and her loaf pans that she gave countless loaves of bread to anyone and everyone that might be suffering from a “zucchini bread-deficiency” in their diet. I now have her apron, whose strings were probably tugged on by my father’s chubby hands. Her legacy and memories are spring eternal and lovely throughout my home, especially my favorite room of the house, my kitchen.

We get to choose the thoughts and the memories we leave in others’ minds when we’re gone. As any embroidered pillow (I have one of those too) or stepping stone in the cemetery will tell you, “Loved ones live in memory even when they’re gone.” Our lives echo throughout eternity and to the ears of the ones who still have a journey left.

He’s Got This?

Standard

If you can heal me and your will is to heal me, then why am I still dealing with these symptoms? I can’t make it through this day. I can’t do it. I’m gonna lose it. What in the world is Your plan here? Wait, less work? I don’t have any less bills, God. And I thought this was the year we were getting out of debt? My hubby’s still sick after a week of this junk. How do I trust for more if I don’t believe You heal for a common bug? What about Dad? I thought he was healed…he surely doesn’t look like it as he has to rest after 5 minutes of activity. A double ear infection God? What’s going on with this kid?? I thought he was done with all this garbage. He’s already got enough of a testimony if you ask me. God, I need you to jack-slap me whenever you catch me being negative. Where’s my faith? What am I doing wrong? Who cares? I’m tired of trying so hard, God.

Every one of these statements have left my mouth this past week. As I type them out and get to see them first-hand, I see how much worry and anxiety each are riddled with. I think the point here is, I’m trying very hard. Do I need to try so hard? Or can I simply let God do what God does best? Which happens to be taking care of His kids. No. I simply cannot. As it turns out, that takes some work too ironically. As a human being, or as me, I have to be doing something to “help.” God has been walking me through this, but it’s not easy to kick back and let Him. (I picture us biting our nails and hangnails as God tries to grab our hand while we walk along His glorious beach.) Breathe in, breathe out and trust. I’m gonna try to open my Bible more and replace the worry with Word. Do a dance today as God just sent you a reminder that He’s got this!