Ed at Yosemite - falls close up brtAre you needing guidance from God? Perhaps a word of encouragement, hope, or comfort? Sunday Johnnie Morris preached an encouraging message from Leviticus. (Yes, encouraging. Yes, Leviticus.) One point was ~

God leads us into a dessert to re-introduce us to Himself before he leads us to our promised land.

I asked God for a word for 2016. Then I asked for confirmation. I sincerely wanted his reassurance that I’d heard right.

Well, over the next days he flooded me with signs of reassurance. It was as astonishing and powerful as encountering a Niagara Falls in the dessert. So many Scriptures, ideas, stories, people, information that on Sunday evening I actually whispered, “I have to unplug. My brain is jangled trying to grasp it all.”

[Can’t help smiling as I write this next bit.] On Monday morning as I was working on this blog post ~ a gigantic wrecking ball flew out of nowhere and smashed through our family. The devastation is severe and will be long lasting.

It’s taken a couple of days to get back to writing this post. And though there are likely more consequences of our wrecking ball to be revealed, we are at peace. Also incredibly grateful.

Grateful that as each of us learned the hard news, the first thing we did was call to God, “Help!” And he did. Many of those lessons and words and Scriptures he’d poured over me on Saturday and Sunday were just what was needed on Monday. Amazing.

Grateful that, as bad as the situation is, we all see it could have been much worse.

And I’m so grateful that God flooded us on Sunday knowing Monday was coming.

Silly, childish me, fearing that the God who answered my request so wondrously might drown me with blessing!

TREE in Fog POSTER - No Vision 2 crMy word for 2016 is vision. God certainly gave me a glimpse of life through his eyes. I aim to remember it as we walk through this dessert. I fall into “Be Thou My Vision.” Here’s a link to a lovely version.

Our words matter to God. I hope you can take encouragement from this experience of ours. I pray you see God’s flood of provision over you and your family. Please, let me know if you have a need I can pray for.

Blind? Blinded?

Anyone else need some help?Hello, friends. I haven’t meant to be a stranger. But with computer crashes, loaners, hibernating data, my library of blog posts and notes has been unavailable. That’s OK though because, really, outside of work, I’ve been so distracted by “the state of the world” [euphemism for barbaric murders abounding], nothing has seemed appropriate.

Have you ever experienced the temporary blindness when you step inside from walking through a snowy field on a sunny day? The momentary blindness after a camera flash goes off right in front of you?

Or the opposite, when you walk out of a pitch black cave into intense sunlight? Our eyes can’t catch up with the transitions immediately, and we’re unable to see clearly or keep our eyes open against the brilliance. That off-balance state is what I’ve been experiencing lately as I try to comprehend the state of our world. How about you?

In the 1930’s and early 1940’s, many people claimed they did not see the impact of Hitler’s advances through Europe. They did not see the systematic slaughter of millions of Jews and others deemed undesirable, “racially inferior” or enemies of the state.

What would I have done? What would you have done?

ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups are marching through the middle-east slaughtering thousands of “undesirables” such as Christians, Jews, opposing factions. The atrocities reported, even shown via video, is too awful to describe for me.

And too awful to ignore. Therein is the dilemma. I cannot go and fight. And who would I search out if I could? I can speak, write, … and others are doing that admirably. I cannot ignore it, wish it away. I cry, I rage. I turn down the volume. I work and read and distract.

Yet, what can I do to make an impact? To stop this evil, bloody tide? What could you do?

If it were next door to me, perhaps I could intervene. Protect. Help. Call attention. But the horror is thousands of miles away. (Yet as near as the next room! I can hear it on the news. Oh, I hate to hear it.) If I were a soldier, I could enter the fray. I am no soldier.

But I am a prayer warrior. So I pray. Though groaning and uttering words seem so paltry an effort.


One of my morning devotional books* continually urges me to:

Keep my eyes on God.

Rest in His Presence.

Hold His hand and follow Him step by step.

Immerse myself in His Presence.

Be still in His Presence.

So, as my word for this year ~ CHOOSE ~ calls me to do, I choose to obey. I continually pray and come back to His Presence, and trust that in obeying God’s guidance to me through His Word and His speaking to my heart, I am doing what I can.

I must say though, that turning from the brilliance of His Presence to attending to this world’s business, sometimes leaves me flash blind, and I am unable to see anything at all. Perhaps that is why faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as “the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of THINGS NOT SEEN.

*JESUS CALLING, by Sarah Young, 2004


Does your choice matter?

Do our choices matter?  I read two things yesterday that sparked off each other and melded into a crushing assault that reverberated through me like a Big Ben gong.

1.  “Our stories affect one another whether we know it or not. Sometimes obedience isn’t for us at all, but for another. We don’t know how God holds the kingdom in balance … but we can trust Him when he says press on, cling to hope, stay the course. He is always at work….” [quote from Jen Hatmaker ]*

2.  “Devon bought a gun and killed himself.” [personal email]

Awareness of the truth of the first, and shock and sadness of the second paralyzed me. The utter hopelessness he must have felt gnawed at me. I’ll be juggling emotions and thoughts and responses for a while. But one thing I know:  We are a part of each others’ stories. And somehow Devon slipped between the pages into darkness, and did not know he wasn’t alone or unimportant.

I also know that what Jen said is also true of our prayers. God works in myriad ways we are often not even aware of, and in mysterious ways beyond our understanding. But Scripture tells us to pray and that our prayers have impact. **

And I know that choices we make matter. I must be vigilant and remind myself of this fact. Even when industries and countries and churches and mobs of people in the streets shout:  “You are one alone and your little bit of action isn’t going to make any difference. Will not move the decisions of the powerful one smidgen.” Even when doubts are whispered to my spirit “Who do you think you are? Your effort, your prayer, will not put a scratch, much less a dent, in the collective needs of this world.” These taunts are lies and I must choose to remember that. I’m guessing you do too.

The truth is ~~ all of history is the accumulation of every action and word of every individual. And if I do not remember what is real and what is shadow, I might follow Devon into the hopelessness.

If you are in a dark, lonely place, please choose to reach out. At the very moment of your darkest hour, the lightning-bright answer may already be on its way!

*          Jen Hatmaker, 7, (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2012), 114.

**        “Pray without ceasing.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV]

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [James 5:16, KJV]