Ride to Greenville

God is so great and so faithful.  He recently taught me how small my faith truly is and, through that experience, how great He truly is.

I was recently at an airport flying from Atlanta to Dallas Fort Worth.  It had been a long travel day (two flights over 19 hours) and I was worn out.  I decided to read my Bible while waiting on flight number three.  (Don’t think highly of me, keep reading…)  A kind lady, we’ll call her Sarah, sat next to me and engaged in conversation about how much she loves God’s word, how different Christian speakers had impacted her, and so forth.  Through that conversation she mentioned that she intended to take an Uber from the Dallas Fort Worth airport to Greenville for a conference.

Greenville, Texas is not close to anything, especially not close to the airport.  Uber would be an expensive option and it was apparent that she hadn’t budgeted for the distance, and cost, that this Uber would entail.  We pulled up driving directions on my phone and yes, it was an hour and fifiteen minute drive.  There was no way she was going to be able to afford an Uber to Greenville.  After two flight delays, two hours of conversation and dinner together, we parted ways to board the plane. Our conversation ended with my saying “I’ll pray for a ride to Greenville for you.”

But if we’re being honest, there was no way she was getting a ride to Greenville.  At least, there’s no rational way she would get a ride.  I did pray for a ride for her, absolutely, but no one goes to Greenville.  There was no way she was going to find a ride.

I found my seat on the plane and sat next to a lady, whom we’ll call Chloe.  Chloe was on her third flight as well, headed home from a two week mission trip in Kenya.  Through her mission trip she had encountered Christ in the most unexpected ways.  We talked for the next two hours about all the great and mighty things Christ had done in our lives over the last couple of weeks.

It was an hour into our conversation when she mentioned that her husband and six kids (yes you read that right) were picking her up at the airport and then making the two and a half hour drive home.  She lived in a small town I’d never heard of and when I asked her where it was located relative to the airport and surrounding cities, she mentioned it was north of Greenville.  (Which is random in and of itself because no one talks about where they live in relation to Greenville!)  I about died right there in my seat.  I said “Did you say Greenville?”

You can probably imagine how the rest of the story goes.  In the end, Chloe, her husband and six kids gave Sarah a ride to Greenville.

The song “How Great Thou Art” keeps running through my head.  Within 1 hour of reading my Bible and pouring my heart into worshipping Christ I became doubting Thomas by not believing that God would really deliver a ride for Sarah.  Oh ye of little faith!

How often do we doubt God’s greatness?  God’s goodness?  God’s glory?

Our God is a great and mighty and faithful God.  He taught me that day that there are no small prayers, there are no ridiculous requests.  He can absolutely do miracles, big and small.  That day, even though I doubted, God delivered.  Even though I failed, God persevered.  Even though I stumbled, God did not fall.  He is greater and mightier than we’ll ever comprehend.

Never give up hope.  Never give up faith.  God is with you all the time.  Right now.  He’s with you walking beside you through life, good and bad.  He never leaves you nor foresakes you.  You are loved and cherished.  There’s nothing too big or too small for God.  Go to him, seek him, lean on him, talk to him.

May God receive the glory for the miracle he did that day.  Many thanks to Sarah and Chloe for playing a role in changing my life.

Ephesians 3:16-19 – That according to the riches of his glory he may grant to you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith –  that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is in the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Mark 11:22-24 – And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoevere says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Luke 1:37 – For nothing will be impossible with God.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Yield The Right-Of-Way

Okay, so super pet peeve ya’ll: yielding!  Do people not understand the meaning of a yield sign any more?  When you exit the freeway to turn into our neighborhood you have to immediately move into the far right hand lane in order to make the turn.  Which is totally doable if people yielded to the off ramp like they are supposed to.  But they don’t.  Which creates slow downs, backups on the freeway and wrecks.

And it’s not only the freeway off ramp, oh no, it’s at the roundabout too.  The roundabout has two lanes, an inner lane and an outer lane.  The outer lane oncoming traffic has to yield to the out-coming inner traffic.  But when the outer lane doesn’t yield the right-of-way it creates traffic mayhem.

And while I point the finger at so many fellow drivers for failing to yield, I realize there are four fingers pointing back at myself for failing to yield to God.  I want what I want when I want it in the way I want it.  The desire to yield myself to God’s will isn’t my first inclination.

God’s will for our lives is perfect, our way is full of wrecks.  We are called to daily take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  That means yielding what I want for what God calls me for.  Today I pray that I, and you, will be steadfast in our love for Christ and yield our desires for the purpose of His glorification.

Luke 9:23 – Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Hebrews 13:20-21- Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Micah 6:8 – He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Lick The Bowl

Addy and I made brownies one evening this week.  I had a sweet tooth craving and she didn’t feel like going to bed on time, therefore baking brownies together seemed like a logical solution.  Those sweet times are fewer and farther between these days, as she is wanting more and more time with her friends and less and less time with me.  But I digress.

After carefully cracking the eggs into the bowl containing the brownie mix (did I mention it was lazy brownies from a box?) Addy started the hand mixer.  After everything was sufficiently combined I poured the batter into the pan.  That’s when Addy asked to lick the beaters.  And I told her no.

She was so disappointed.  I mean, what is the point of baking brownies with your mom if you can’t even lick the beaters right!?  I told her she couldn’t lick the beaters because I knew I was going to give her the whole bowl to lick.  She didn’t know that was going to happen, but she trusted me when I said no.  Granted, she wasn’t happy, but there wasn’t a big meltdown either.

So often in our lives we ask God for the beaters and he says “no”.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and  not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  This isn’t a promise of prosperity, but it is a statement that we can trust in God no matter what.  God knows us.  He knows the greatness and the goodness that He has in store for us.  When we miss out on the beaters, sometimes it is so we can lick the bowl.

If you’re at a “no beaters” point in your life, be encouraged today.  God sees you, he loves you and He is going to grow you to be more like Christ with each day and every circumstance.  Hold strong in your faith; God is worthy of your trust, love and faithfulness.  The bowl is worth the wait.

James 5:10-11 – As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.  You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Psalm 8:3-4 – When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Romans 5:2-5 – Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 

 

Walking Past The Lucky Penny

Do you stop and pick up every penny you see lying on the ground or do you only pick up the ones that are heads up?  Supposedly if a penny is found heads up it brings good luck but if you pick it up when it’s tails up it brings bad luck.  I’m not sure how a piece of metal has that much power, but if we’re being honest there are times where I stop and pause.

Does the position of the penny make it any more or less valuable?  If not then why does it matter which side is up or down?  Why do we put our trust in something that is metal, cold, not breathing, not life giving?

What are you putting your faith and trust in?  Your job?  Your self?  Your kids?  Church?  Friends?  They are all going to fail you.  They are all going to let you down, be unreliable, hurt your feelings, fall through at the last minute.  There’s only one true source that we can trust.  Only one true source who will never let us down, never leave us, never abandon us, never show up late, never talk back and refuse to eat their dinner.  God is consistent.

God loves us no matter what.  It’s safe to be messy with him, to let our guard down, to let our real self be made known.  He already knows the ugly sides of ourselves and loves us anyways.  God will never fire us, he will never not show up when we need him, he will never lose the football game or fail to call on our birthday.  He is our one true constant, our always and forever.  Our knight in shining armor.  He is always there to love on us, pour into us, direct us, correct us and encourage us.

Next time you see a heads up penny stop, think in whom or what you should put your faith and trust.  Then keep walking.  Who needs a lucky penny when you have a supreme God instead.

Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Matthew 6:25-34 – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, not about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air:  they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown in the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 23: 1-6 – A Psalm of David.  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 139:7-10 – Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, you are there!  If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

 

Pure Exhaustion

You know those days when you sit in your car at the grocery store with the car still running, getting your stuff together, and then you start locking your car,  but you start locking it before you ever get out of the car, much less turn off the ignition?  Or those times when you are talking on the phone, trying to rush out the door all the while frantically searching for your phone, the same phone that you are talking on?  Yes, me too, all the time.

I think a lot of people can identify with this.  We run around at 90 mph all day from one thing to the next thing to the next.  We rarely stop, rarely slow down.  We run ourselves down past the empty point on our tank.  We are flat exhausted.  We have nothing left to give.

There isn’t joy when we live on empty all the time.  We are called for fullness of joy in Christ.  Not sometimes, not most of the time, but all of the time.  In our times of empty, in the times of overwhelmed, and during the “I can’t do this any longer”, we need to turn it over to God.  He wants nothing more than to fill us up when we are empty, to encourage us when we are doubting and to carry us when we can’t go any farther.

He will absolutely give us more than we can handle and then hold our hand, wrap his arm around our shoulder, and walk with us through it.  If you are overwhelmed, on empty and just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are not alone.  I am praying for you.  God is with you.  You can fight this battle, you can overcome, you can absolutely make it through this.

Rest in the confidence of knowing that your God is bigger.  He is mightier.  His love is more vast.  And you will absolutely experience His joy when you turn your life, and this moment in time, over to Him.  Expect Joy today.

Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Luke 10:41-42 – “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also glorify in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:17-18 – Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

Drag Racing Motorcycle

So picture this.  You’re driving home on a Friday night.  The moon is shining above, the freeway is quiet, almost empty, just a few cars within sight.  You’re enjoying the silence when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a motorcycle flies past you.  He’s going at least 100mph.  Then a car flies past you, right on the tail of the motorcyclist.  Your first instinct is to stop and pray because you instantly know the motorcyclist is going to end up dead.  There is no way a highspeed chase on a freeway at night is going to end well for anyone.

Now reflect on your life.  How many times today did you stop and talk to God before making a decision?  When was the last time you looked at scripture to give you direction in your life?  Is God in the driver seat of your life or are you driving?  If you aren’t running to God and letting Him lead you in your daily life, big stuff and small stuff, then you are losing the race.

If God isn’t the focal point of every moment of every day then you are on the freeway of life with You as the driver and not God.  You are the motorcycle driver who is on the freeway heading towards certain death.  Your only way of being saved, your only way of avoiding death, is to let go of the wheel and let God take the lead.  Lean on Him for everything.  He will never leave you, never forsake you.  He will never let you go anywhere where He won’t be right there with you to walk you through it.

You can rest in the comfort of knowing that you can trust your life to the best driver there ever was, the only true and trustworthy driver there ever will be, your Lord and Savior who loves you and has died for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Psalm 25:4-5 – Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Proverbs 16:9 – In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps

Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Isaiah 58:11 – The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

 

But It’s Kid Safe

“But it’s kid safe mom” said my 9 year old emphatically.  She has been begging to have her own YouTube channel for the last year.  Why a 9 year old wants to be on the internet making funny videos is mind blowing to me.  What happened to going outside and playing flubberball (kickball but the ball is deflated and you’re making due with what you’ve got) until dark and your mom hollers for you to come  home?

As adults we set loving boundaries up for our kids.  Anything from teaching them not to run in the street, to teaching them responsibility through doing chores, to restricting their internet access.  Our goal is to provide them a loving and safe environment in which they can learn how to make choices and suffer the consequences (good or bad).

Our heavenly father is the same.  He sets up loving boundaries in which we can operate.  We are safe in His arms and in His provision.  We can mess up, make bad choices, suffer our consequences and he still loves us the same.  He lovingly says “no” even when we want something super badly if he knows it is ultimately not the best thing for us.

Rest today knowing that God our father loves you.  He loves you so much he will say no.  He loves you so much he has something better for you.  We don’t have to have all the answers, we just have to follow in faith and trust that he is our good good father.