Tag: Scripture

What Does God Have to Say to You Today?

I’m a lake girl. I grew up learning to swim in a lake in Wisconsin that was big and deep and dark blue and often the wind whipped the waves into a frenzy. But it was a place I felt safe, treading water or diving under into the silent calm beneath the surface.

Friday I was not on a lake, but by the Pacific Ocean.

I walk along the beach wrapped the early morning air, cool and damp. The spray of crashing waves reaches out to tickle me every once in awhile. Fog shrouds the mountains encircling the bay, making them look like a watercolor painting or a dream – fuzzy in the distance.

My prayer is one common to me on my walks.

“Lord, what do you have to teach me about myself and Yourself today?”

There’s rarely an immediate answer, but rather, like an old-school photo developing in a water tray, something gradually emerges.

Usually.

I’m encouraged by this promise as I walk:

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Sometimes the picture that develops is heart-warming… encouraging. Sometimes it’s convicting.

Sometimes it feels profound, but often, like today, it’s just a series of small reminders as I reflect on the power of the ocean before me.

The Lord whispers, “You can let the waves wreck you or refine you.”

Lord, how powerful is your love!

The waves of Your grace relentlessly pour over me like the tide coming in.

Help me not to resist the waters of Your correction that smooth my rough edges like polished sea glass on the shore.

Your faithfulness teaches me I can remain safe in storms.

Do you not realize who I am? Do you not fear Me? Do you not shake in the presence of the Eternal, the Creator of all things? 

It is I who has drawn for all time the boundaries of the sea.

The waves may crash and roar against the sand, But the waters do not cross the lines I have drawn. Jeremiah 5:22 (Voice)

“God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.” Psalm 46:1-3

When we are mature – attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ – “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14 (NIV)

What are you learning about yourself and God today?

 

Soul Food When Injustice Seems to Overwhelm

I think this from Bustle on Instagram sums up what many of us are feeling at the end of a long week of upheaval, anxiety, and unrest.

So I’m thinking we need some good news for the weekend. 

This is my favorite picture from the week. The world is really just a small village and we belong to each other.

If you’re like me, you may resonate with the question Chris Nye poses in his article titled “Does Knowing ‘God is Sovereign’ Really Help”?

“There are times when God allows the consequences of human error to play out. And sometimes we have to suffer through it to learn, once again, to trust Him, whose kingdom and dominion never end.”

Read the whole article here.

I was so heartened to hear of lawyers offering free legal help to those immigrants confused and stuck at airports.  

But many are asking, “What can I do?” My friend Dale Hanson Bourke wrote a fantastic article titled, 6 Things Your Church Can Do During the Refugee Ban. Take a look!

And then there’s this song from the Brilliance that I want to keep playing on repeat.

When I look into the face
Of my enemy
I see my brother
I see my brother

Lastly, who can’t use a little bunny inspiration?

 

Have a great weekend, friends! Remember you’re not alone!

The Discipline of Different

I sit and stare. Very uninspired.

I’m doing a “Read through the Bible in a Year” plan.

The good part of this is that I don’t just get to choose my favorite parts to read each day – you know the blue sky promises, and the verses that support my own biases and self-righteousness.

The bad part is that I don’t get to choose my favorite parts to read each day.

This was part of my reading recently.

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You notice there is no highlighting, no notes written in the margin, no underlining. It’s God’s instructions for the Tabernacle in Exodus 26.

Bo.Ring. Continue reading

Soul Food Small Bites

Happy Friday friends! Just a few morsels today that I hope will encourage or bring a smile. May your weekend be filled with joy and refreshment!

First, an interview with Lauren Chandler that I thought was really valuable on how God wrings out praise from tough times.

“Worship is saying, ‘You are God. I’m not….'” Lauren Chandler

A dear friend of mine in New Zealand has been sending me posts like the one below, leading up to an event they are hosting called “Reboot, Refresh, Revitalize”. What a great way to start each day – with Scripture and a question to ponder!

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And if you need another reminder of the power and majesty of God this weekend...

 Clouds belched buckets of rain, Sky exploded with thunder, your arrows flashing this way and that. From Whirlwind came your thundering voice, Lightning exposed the world, Earth reeled and rocked… Psalm 77:16-19

And lastly, my favorite Instagram this week…Sometimes you just need a cute puppy pic.

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That’s it for me! What’s brought you joy or encouragement this week?

One Thing the Middle East and Sexuality Have in Common

I’m pretty sure I’m in Florida and it’s Friday as I write this, but I know I’ve missed posting on the days I usually do.  This week feels a little like being on the spinning cups ride at the fair – twirling from a set of controversial conversations where the narrative of one is at odds with the other in the Middle East, to another set of complex conversations around the issue of being gay and faithful to God’s Word.

I got home from Israel/Palestine on Tuesday so that I could be in MN for a conversation we hosted Wednesday night at our church between two friends – Jeff Chu and Wesley Hill.  Both happen to be gay Christian men who are trying to faithfully follow Jesus as best they can.

What do the Middle East and sexuality have in common?  Well-meaning, broken, faithful people are trying to find their way in a world that often feels hostile and unsafe.

The Wednesday night conversation was rich and honest and gentle. The overwhelming response I got from people afterwards was, “I can’t believe how gracious and kind the tone of the whole evening was…how thoughtful and respectful both guys were.”

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Yep, it’s sad that this is not what we’ve come to expect from dialog in the church over things we disagree about.  Why is that?  Why is there this anxiety about needing to be “right”?  Why do we use the Bible as an weapon to bash the other rather than an instrument of love to guide our conversations? Continue reading

One Word and God’s Word

As you read this I’m in Florida for a long weekend.  Ostensibly for a fund-raiser for World Vision, but let’s be honest, I’ll be with friends and the temperature will be above 30 degrees farenheit.  I’m not suffering for Jesus here.

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“Choosing life” is easy with beauty all around you.  Vibrant color, warm pavement under bare feet, up-lifting conversations.  But this week, living in the left-hand picture hasn’t been all Bougainvillea, sunshine, and Calamari.  Some experiences felt dismissive, some choices by others that felt unjust.  Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but a little bumpy nevertheless. The kind of thing many, many people experience daily for years and years.

How can we not deny the “death” parts, but still choose life in healthy, non-Pollyanna ways?  Still keep perspective? Continue reading

When You Read Scripture That’s Perfect for Someone Else

Because I like variety in my devotional life (or more honestly, because I’m spiritually ADD), I occasionally switch up my morning routine and end up like the little kid who picks one cookie off the tray, takes a bite and then puts it back in favor of another.  This can result in times when I’m a bit scattered, trying to decide if I should do this Bible study or that devotional, or Scripture memory or whatever.

Currently as I was scavenging, looking for a new “cookie” I landed on a Bible Reading Plan of themes of Scripture from the YouVersion app.  Right now the theme I’m on is judgment.  I know, you’re thinking “That sounds like so much FUN!!”, right?

Anyway, this morning I was dutifully reading Isaiah 5 as prescribed by THE PLAN, and I thought, “Wow!  This is like THE WORD for those Israeli Settlers, illegally cheating Palestinians out of their land!  Whoa Nellie!” Continue reading

The Words that Matter

Our friend Sharon always reminds us “Words matter!”

The truthful, timely word, the encouraging word, the destructive one.  They are all composing the story of our life.

Like a mess of Christmas lights though, we often get tangled up in the fearful words.  The “not enough”, “failing grade”, “grim prognosis”, “overwhelming odds” words. Continue reading

Praying Present

The other day I prayed a lot.

But not at all.

Not really.

I journalled thoughts kind of aimed at God like a wad of paper flipped haphazardly over my shoulder towards the trash can.

I repeated the words of the Lord’s Prayer in church along with everyone else.  Really fast like in a race.

Continue reading

Why to Read the Book of Numbers

Numbers 9:1-12 was my devotional reading the other day.

Notice all the underlining and notes I’ve scribbled in this part of my Bible??  Hmmm…

You probably have it memorized, but in case you don’t I’ll remind you.  It’s the one with the instructions about celebrating Passover and very specific instructions for the Israelites celebrating it if they were unclean.

Continue reading

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