5 Anchor Verses in an Upside-Down World

anchor1Do we feel a tad squeamish when turning to the evening news? Do thoughts of what we’ll hear this time make our hearts tighten?

The state of our union has been discussed, analyzed, argued, and criticized. Every media source is loaded with “experts” telling us how to think and what to feel.

Everyone has an answer.

But no one seems to know what to do and where to turn.

Maybe a little perspective is in order. Continue reading

“We All Need Something”

1Peter 3 15In the aftermath of the Orlando tragedies, there is a chaotic blur of sorrow, asking why, placing blame, and searching for answers.

In the hours of news coverage, one survivor’s interview leaped out at me. I replayed the words several times and the weight of them sent me to the foot of the Cross.

 

I believe the words of this precious, hurting soul highlight our mission as Christians.

They are a call to action.  Continue reading

5 Verses for When We’re Sick (Unto Death) of Politics

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To say this has been an unusual political campaign season would be an understatement. Every news report of candidates hurling accusations and slurs makes the knots in my stomach tighten a little bit more. These folks aren’t just slinging mud—they’re rolling around like tawdry mud wrestlers while the gathering crowd works themselves into a frenzy. And the more coarse and vulgar the contenders, the more deafening the throng of onlookers.

If you’re like me, you are sick. Of. It.  Continue reading

Upside-Down, Indeed

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As I prayed about this week’s post, I couldn’t stop thinking about current events in our community, our nation, and the world.

For many, 2015 has been steeped in sorrow.

“Lone-wolf” shootings, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and government scandals rock the nightly newscasts. Human life is discarded like so much trash. Those who mock God’s laws are lauded as “heroes” while those who stand for righteousness are called “bigots.”

Not to mention Satan’s use of our political and justice systems to wage war against Christ-centered laws and precepts.

We do live in an upside-down world and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to wonder if God is still in control. But we have to remind ourselves…

He is.

Continue reading

What a RUSH

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There we were–two grown women–strapped into harnesses, attached to the same monster-kite, and tethered to a speedboat.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

My brain is firing on all cylinders – I. Am. Going. To. Die.

My sister and I were enjoying a get-away-from-it-all mini-vacation, and Charlene had talked me into going parasailing. As we sat on the back of the boat, waiting to be yanked off into our forever-home-in-Glory, Charlene and I had dramatically different mindsets.

She had already begun to hoot and holler, anticipating the adrenaline rush of soaring miles in the air. I was fighting nausea and reviewing all the things I should have said to my husband and children.

I thought of everything that could go wrong. I didn’t trust the hardware clipping us to the overgrown kite. I didn’t trust the harness, or the boat. I didn’t trust the driver of the boat. I didn’t trust the sharks that I assumed were circling beneath us. And I especially had no confidence in my free-spirited sister who was rushing me head-long into an untimely death.  photo

For the next ten minutes, two sisters soared over the earth, making lifetime memories. My cohort screamed with laughter and urged me to look around and soak it up. I kept one hand above the metal clips (just in case they were to fail…I would at least stay in contact with the parasail), and managed a quick smile for a sky-high selfie (way before selfies were cool). It was all over in a flash, and after being safely reeled back into the boat it hit me:

Charlene had experienced it.

I had survived it.

It all came down to trust. My adventure-loving sibling didn’t waste time worrying about the people or equipment involved. Because she trusted that all was in order, she was free to live the experience.

thI7UTI7RIIn our walk with Christ, it can happen in the same way. We can trust His heart, knowing that He works all for our good (the whole Romans 8:28 thing), or we can obsess and worry ourselves into simply surviving. What if God isn’t watching this time? What if this is actually out of His control? What can I do to fix this if He doesn’t come through on my timetable? What if, what if, what if…?

Jesus didn’t die on a cross, justifying me before a Holy God, just so I could worry myself through this life.

His sacrifice set me free to live the experience.

I can trust Him, because He is Faithful. I may be weak and inconsistent, but He is Faithful. I may be terrified of the surrounding storms and circumstances, but HE is Faithful and True. He invites me to keep my eyes on Him, not the surrounding chaos.

A trustworthy Savior Who loves me…

…now that’s an adrenaline rush!

Father, thank you for the peace You provide, regardless of circumstances. When I’m tempted to be distracted by the chaos around me, help me to keep my eyes and heart focused on You. Help me to remember that because I belong to You, You are working all things for my good.

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You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:19 (NLT)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV)

The Quiet Place

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I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.    John 15:5

I have the most beautiful place set aside for my daily quiet time. A small nook, alcove, right off the kitchen. Morning sunlight filters in and dances across bare floors. Surrounding windows provide a picturesque view of my tiny flower garden as well as ferns spilling from hanging baskets. An inviting place – lovely really.

I was headed there today when a most important matter caught my attention. Kitchen was a mess and something had to be done. “Don’t worry,” I said to Quiet Place, “I’ll be right there. This is really most urgent.”

With Kitchen momentarily appeased, I eagerly padded toward Quiet Place. “Wait,” I said, “I would be a much better steward of my time if I made a quick visit with Laundry. Then I would be accomplishing a chore while enjoying my time with Devotions.” Good thinking. Brilliant, actually.

Word, Pen, and Journal whispered softly from their special spot in the quiet place. “What about us? We’re waiting, you know.”

“I’m very aware of that. One more minute please.”

And so it went.

Laundry notified Vacuuming, Sweeping and Dusting. Children began their day and needed my attention. Quiet Place watched – quietly. Pen and Journal went silent. They had been here before. They were accustomed to neglect. Word, however, continued to beckon. “I’m still here, don’t forget…”

“I haven’t forgotten,” I stammered with some irritation. “Just a few more minutes, please. These matters really are most urgent.”

Telephone agreed. So did Bills, Groceries, and Yard Work. Even Church Work weighed in and became quite demanding. Fatigue and Anxiousness rang the back doorbell. Are you kidding me? Can someone else answer that?

In frustration I looked to my old friend for help. But Quiet Place wasn’t in his usual spot. Confused, I searched for him, missing him more each moment. I checked with Living Room where Children were entertaining Television and Video Games.

No Quiet Place.

I ran to Bedroom and shouted at Stereo. “Silence please! I’m looking for Quiet Place!”

Meanwhile, Fatigue and Anxiousness had recruited reinforcements. Discontentment and Irritability slipped in uninvited and made themselves at home.

I have the most beautiful place set aside for my quiet time. It’s lovely, really…

Father, please forgive me for not being still before You.Convict me to come to You in quiet and with a humble heart, that I may truly worship You in Spirit and in Truth.

No matter the season of life, there will always be something to distract us from being still and quiet before our Lord. What hurdles do you face as you seek those quiet moments?