It’s Not Always a Hop, Skip, and a Jump

You are beautiful.
Don’t look around or behind you. I’m talking to you.
Yes. You.
You’re beautiful.
You’re a work in
progress. Can’t see it? 
You, the one who
wonders if your dreams will ever come to pass.
You, the one who
teeters on the edge of tossing in the towel because your passion might be too
big after all.
You, who’s been told
“no” more times than you’ve ever been told “yes.”
You, who feels
unworthy for such big dreams, ministry, a family, a nice home, a great job,
children, extras.
You, who feels
abandoned by loved ones. By God.
You, who can’t make
sense of what’s going on in your life, why circumstances are bleak and painful.
You, who rolls into
a fetal position at night and cries so your husband doesn’t ask you what’s
wrong. You, who can’t admit the truth.
You, who longs to be
so much more for God but can’t get out of the rut you’re in.
You are a dot to
dot. Not a puzzle piece. Your life may be a mystery to you. But it is not
puzzle to God.
He knows where you
begin. He knows where you end.
“Your ears
shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in
it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the
left.” Isaiah 30:21
It may look like a
mess at times. Dot to dots can be tricky. One step to the  next may be a short skip.
And sometimes it’s a
long stretch to the next point. But each one is necessary.
Necessary to create
the beautiful picture called YOU.
You don’t see it all
right now. You’re going from glory to glory gazing into a dim mirror.
When the steps are
completed–in the proper order–you will see in full.
But know with each
stretch, no matter what.
You are beautiful.
God isn’t finished
with you yet.
He’ll get you to
each dot.
You’re made in His image. And that makes you…
 “For I know the thoughts
that I think toward you, says the Lord,
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Do you feel like a dot to dot or a puzzle and why?


Holy Thunder!


“When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the
ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing
from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.” Exodus 20:18

I am always awed by the holy sound of God. Can you imagine
the horn blowing from the heavens? No trumpeter to see. No horn to gaze on.
Just a holy blast.
Lightning in a slicing flash, so bright you’d have to
thunder that surpassed a mighty roar.
Last week at my mom’s, it stormed. A fierce storm. The
garage door was up and I opened the kitchen door to hit the button and let it
down, but the second I swung it wide, thunder cracked and lightning struck the
ground ten feet away. Pink and purple sparks flew like fireworks and the house
across the street lost power.
I’ve heard loud thunder. I’ve seen vivid lightning, but
never struck so hard and close that my chest shivered. It terrified me so much,
I shrieked and ran.
Before I had a single thought.
Before I could tell myself I was safe.
Before I could rationalize it was only lightning and thunder.
And I think that must have been what kept the people
trembling with fear at the foot of the mountain.
I think it’s why they refused to go back, telling Moses he
could relay God’s word to them but they would not get closer.
God is awesome. He is holy.


And our first reaction is to run as far away as we
can. We are sinful. The wages of sin is death. And we are to fear a holy God.

And that is why I am so thankful for a holy Savior—who came
so that when the awesomeness and holiness of God thunders, we bow. We fear, but
not in a dreadful manner. But with deep respect. We don’t run.
We draw near.
We are
safe. Thanks to Jesus. Thanks to His righteousness covering us.
“Christ ended the law so
that everyone who believes in him may be right with God.” Romans 10:4 NCV
This morning on the way to work, it was storming. Loud
thunder. Brilliant strokes of lightning.
And I was listening to this song–new album out from Kim
Walker-Smith with Jesus Culture. Take a few minutes and feel the holiness of

Absorb it. 

Tremble at it.

Bow to it. 


you ever watched lightning strike the ground? 


Bottoms Up!

I took my son to see
Monsters University on Monday.  Totally
cute movie and unlike Man of Steel, I
didn’t cry through the entire film. You can read my post Man of Steel vs. the Cross HERE.
But something hit me
for sure. (I don’t think I’m giving away spoilers, but it’s a kids’ movie, so
do you really care?)
All Mike ever
wanted was to be a scarer. But no one believed he could. Yet, he had
faith. It was his dream.
was going to show the world.
Enter Monsters
University and the Scare program. He worked harder and longer than
anyone–especially Sully. He had a lot to prove.
During an argument
(Mike once again proving he was good enough) he and Sully caused an accident
and it landed them out of the Scare program.
Mike and Sully’s
dreams seemed destroyed. Then Mike remembered the Scare Games–a competition
amongst fraternities. He bet the dean he could win them and if he did, she’d
have to admit she’d been wrong and he was the scariest.
again, Mike sought his dream. But it was for his own glory. His own good. His
own fame.
The most unlikely
band of monsters came together and they learned valuable lessons: Team work,
camaraderie, and even friendship. But Mike still had his eye (ha, don’t pardon
the one-eyed pun) on himself. His end goals.
While they seemed to
have won, Sully cheated. Because Mike, well…he just wasn’t scary.
That little diddy
landed their expulsion.
What happened to
Mike’s dream? Poof! Gone.
Was it?
What he learned
through a few more scenes was he was okay being just okay. And what Sully learned was, Mike wasn’t just okay.
He was brilliant. They never could have made it as far as they had in the games
or in that final battle had it not been for Mike.
Mike decides, you
know what? We’re not beaten. We’re not down. And he and Sully start out at the
Scare Company’s mail room. Photos in their work locker show them moving up in
the ranks. Starting at the bottom and working up.
Until finally, they
make it to the scare room floor.
And that’s when a
spiritual lesson hit me.
Sometimes we fail
because we’re chasing after our own glory. We want to prove we can do something
just for the sake of being somebody special.
you are special. I’m special. To God.
And sometimes our
dreams won’t always come in the ways we expect them. They won’t be big and
flashy. They’ll come small and steady. You can read about small beginnings
Sometimes it’s a
process of starting in the mail room, being diligent and persevering that
inches us toward our passion.
Sometimes, God keeps
us low, so He can go high. He has lessons in character building He needs us to
learn, and He wants the glory. If we are faithful with little, we’ll be ruler
over much.
is hard work. It takes time. Endurance.
“For God is not unjust to forget your
work and labor of love which
you have shown toward His name, in
that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
Hebrews 6:10
The question is, who
are you laboring for? Love for God or for yourself?
“Be…not lagging in diligence, fervent
in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing
in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;…” 
Romans 12:10-12


you say you’ve been enduring with diligence and the 
right focus or not? 

Small Beginnings and a Big Finish

We want the big. We
want the great. We want the finish without the start. The grand finale without
the in-between.
In the book of
Zechariah, God is using him as a voice to the people. That’s why he’s called a
prophet. His ministry was to the exiles returning to Jerusalem.
(Babylonian empire) had invaded, taking the captive (including Daniel–the one
from the lion’s den) the people, and destroying the cities. You can read more on this in my post, Joy from Light bulb moments: A Lesson in Daniel. 
Then the Medo-Persian
empire took power and Cyrus began letting the people go back home to
rebuild–Jeremiah the prophet prophesied this. These were the scrolls Daniel
read (the ones Baruch had written for Jeremiah. You can read about that in my post, Pick up the Pen and Do it Again).
The exiles were
going to go back home to face utter chaos and ruins.  Imagine that. But like last week’s post, It
isn’t over until God says. He hadn’t forgotten His people.
In fact, they had a
constant reminder from Zechariah. Just by hearing his name. It means, “Yahweh Remembers.” Isn’t that
This book is full of
visions about the Second Coming of Christ and is very interesting, but what I
want to hit home today comes from Chapter 4, concerning the finishing of the
temple which had been destroyed when the Babylonians invaded.
God is talking of
Zerubbabel, the grandson of king Jehoiachin and leader of the first group of
returning exiles from Babylon.
Verse 9-10: “Zerubbabel has laid the foundation of this Temple, and he
will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord All-Powerful has
sent me to you. “The
people should not think that small beginnings are unimportant. They will be happy when they see Zerubbabel with tools,
building the Temple…”
In the
NKJV, it says in verse 10, “For who has despised the day of small
verse hit me hard. It reminded me of something a friend of mine always says
about publishing. That she’s okay with small beginnings. I agree with her. I am
too. If we are faithful with little, we’ll be ruler over much. Jesus said that,
not me.
But the
morning I read this, it really stuck with me. I was thinking over a twenty year
dream (not about writing) and things have been so small. A door is about to
open which is huge and yet…compared to my big dreams, it’s still a small
But small beginnings aren’t unimportant.
So, I
cross-referenced it for further insight and it led me to 2 Chronicles 16:9.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro
throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose
heart is loyal to Him.” 
word loyal stuck out to me. Here were a few of my thoughts directed to God in
that moment:
What do
you mean by loyal, Lord?
I feel
like I mess up so often, I couldn’t be considered loyal.
But I
want to be loyal.
translates kindness in some passages…what exactly is this?
But I
didn’t have time to pull up my Lexicon and see what that word meant in the
Hebrew. I decided I’d come back to it later.
grabbed my iPad and headed out to the gym with my husband. After our strength
training session, I climbed on the treadmill and pulled up a John Piper sermon,
using my Desiring God app.
The last
thing I’d read was 2 Chronicles so I clicked on a sermon from that book and
began to read. You can read the full version of his sermon HERE.
When you ask God questions, when you’re curious
about His Word, He answers.
Here is
what I read from John Piper:
one of my favorite verses in all the Bible. I hope you will learn it by heart.
‘The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his
might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless…”
The same
verse I’d read in NKJV earlier from 2 Chronicles. But he went on to share what
that word blameless (loyal) means.
i.e., wholly relying on Him, that’s what the context requires toward him.”
~John Piper
there the Lord spoke to me. Through His Word. And into my heart.
God is
looking, searching for those who will rely wholly on Him–to be strong on their
prayer on that treadmill was a picture. In my head I saw the menu screen of the
Shrek movie–where Donkey is pacing the crowd and jumping up over their heads.
me! Pick me!” He chants repeatedly.
I said,
“Lord, I will rely wholly on you. Pick me! Be strong for me! I’m just like
Donkey. Stubborn, run my mouth way more than I ought to and half the time
nothing of any substance comes out, I have off-the-wall ideas that generally
fall flat, but I’m willing. Pick me. Pick me.”
during worship (I can’t even remember the song), that image popped into my
brain but this time, strong hands took hold of Donkey’s face, calmed his spirit
and settled him down from jumping and pacing and begging, “Pick me! Pick
And He
whispered to my heart.
already picked you. Before the foundations of the world.” This was in
reference to my dream and what I desperately long to do. At this moment, I
can’t give the details (it’s not writing related at all) but when I can, I
will. But Sunday I was uncertain. Sunday, I just wanted to beg God to use me.
To try and convince Him, I’d rely on Him wholly.
And He reminded me: “Yahweh Remembers.”
we–I–let the areas I struggle with overshadow the areas I’m obedient and I
ignore that my heart longs and desires to be in God’s will. I forget that I am
trusting wholly in and on Him.
I need reminded: God didn’t ask for perfection. He asks for
commitment. To wholly rely. I’m progress. Not perfection.
And God
is moving on my behalf. And yours.
beginnings means there’s an end.
God will
perfect that which concerns me, and you.
He will
finish the good work He began in me, and you.
by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”
Zechariah 4:6:


What about you? 
Are you relying on Him wholly? 
How do you feel
about small beginnings?

When It All Goes to Pot, Buy a Field

Can you imagine God sending you to the President of the
United States to tell him he’s about to lose the “throne” to an enemy because he’s
neglected God? And the President had all the power to put you in prison for
that…or worse? If there were no such thing as freedom of speech?
Well that’s sort of what happened with Jeremiah the prophet.
Check it:
“This is the word the Lord spoke to Jeremiah in
the tenth year Zedekiah was king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.  At
that time the army of the king of Babylon was surrounding Jerusalem. Jeremiah
the prophet was under arrest in the courtyard of the guard, which was at the
palace of the king of Judah.
Zedekiah king of Judah
had put Jeremiah in prison there. Zedekiah had asked, “Why have you prophesied
the things you have?” (Jeremiah had said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I
will soon hand the city of Jerusalem over to the king of Babylon, and he will
capture it. Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape from the Babylonian
army, but he will surely be handed over to the king of Babylon. And he will
speak to the king of Babylon face to face and see him with his own eyes.  The
king will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will stay until I have punished
him,’ says the Lord. ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not
succeed.’”)” Jeremiah 32:1-5
Didn’t matter that the king didn’t like what Jeremiah had to
say. Didn’t matter he imprisoned him for it.
“If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.”
God had a plan. It involved some serious discipline.
Intended to bring repentance. And it was part of a conditional promise God had
made to His people. They broke their end and turned after other gods.
Sacrificed their babies to the demon god Molech through fire on the very
rooftops of their homes.
And God allowed, key word here: allowed, Nebuchadnezzar to
be the instrument of discipline. He brought his troops in, over a period of
time, and ransacked the city taking many captive (including Daniel).
But in the following verses, God does something weird. He
tells Jeremiah that his cousin is coming to see him and to sell him a field. By
law, next of kin had rights to buy property (redeem it; like in the story of
Ruth) if a family member was in financial troubles.
Sure enough, the cousin comes and tells Jeremiah to buy the
field from him.
He’s just prophesied that their land was about to be in
ruins. Destroyed.
Jeremiah says to God, ““Look! The enemy has surrounded the
city and has built roads to the top of the walls to capture it. Because of war,
hunger, and terrible diseases, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians
who are attacking it. You said this would happen, and now you see it is
happening.  But now, Lord God, you tell me,
‘Buy the field with silver and call in witnesses.’ You tell me this while the
Babylonian army is ready to capture the city.” Jeremiah 32:24-25
In other words: Have you lost your mind, Lord? You’re making
me look like an idiot!
“Hey ya’ll Ole Neb’s about to do us in…well, you guys
anyway. Me? Well I’m gonna buy a field. Are you kidding me?”
The Lord said (paraphrase) “I am going to do these things. I
haven’t lost my mind. You see it’s not over until it’s over.”
it’s not over until God says it’s over.
“I am the Lord, the God of every person on the earth.
Nothing is impossible for me.” Jeremiah 32:7
He goes on to explain why He’s allowing this tragedy to
befall the people, but He ends with a promise.
“This is what the Lord says: “I have brought this
great disaster to the people of Israel and Judah. In the same way I will bring
the good things that I promise to do for them.” Jeremiah 32:42
Verse 44: “…They will again buy fields in the land of
Benjamin, in the area around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the
mountains, in the western hills, and in southern Judah. I will make everything
as good for them as it once was,” says the Lord.”
Do you
feel like things are crashing down around you? Burning to the ground? Do you
wonder where God is? If He even cares about you?
It’s through trials and tragedies, we learn to trust most.
He cares. What seems to be an ash heap, can be rebuilt.
Reborn. Reclaimed.
Sometimes it’s consequences for our sins and poor choices and
sometimes simple pruning (though nothing feels simple at the time, does it?)
that leads us into these kinds of circumstances.
In this context, the people had turned their back on God,
chasing other lovers. Putting things before God, after promising never to do
may last a night, but joy comes in the morning.
God planned to restore what was being lost. To bring back a repentant
Jeremiah buying that field at God’s request was a living
picture of God’s love for His people.
He loves you.
It ain’t over till it’s over.
Do you like reading the Old Testament?Why or why not?


Happy 4th tomorrow! What are your big plans?