Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ocean Foundations

Psalm 136:6(MSG)
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations, His love never quits.

I've said it before...but I have to say it again...I love Sundays!  There's just no better way to start off the day than in God's house worshipping with other believers in Christ.  The strength that is gained through standing together and calling out His promises in "one accord" is impossible to measure.  The confidence obtained by hearing the Word of God and speaking His truth over your situation is so profound that it's hard to even compare it to any earthly thing, but if I were to attempt it, the ocean would be a good place to start.

The ocean is such an incredible object in it's calm beauty and yet at the change of the tide it can turn to a monstrous fury.  You can stand at water's edge one minute and let gentle waves run over your toes and in the next minute be running in panic from the massive wall of water that can be stirred up by unseen forces.  As I see the waves form so intricately into delicate towers of water, combined with today's verse, I have to stop and thank God for His love that never quits!  He has given it all to us for our good pleasure.  What an awesome and amazing God we serve!

Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Cosmos

Psalm 136:5(MSG)
The God whose skill formed the cosmos, His love never quits.

It's pretty hard to gaze up at a beautiful starry night and not think of our incredible Creator.  Yet another way for us to visualize His overwhelming love and unmatchable skill.  His voice spoke into existence all of this!  Genesis 1:1-2(MSG) "First this:  God created the Heavens and Earth--all you see, all you don't see.  Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness."  

Thanking God tonight for His expression of love to us through the wonder of this world!  

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Miracle Working God

Psalm 136:4(MSG)
Thank the miracle-working God, His love never quits. event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws. (Webster's Dictionary)  I don't have to look any farther than across the room at my two children to be reminded of a "miracle-working" God!  Of course, all children are miraculous when you really stop to think about it, but since "scientifically" we were diagnosed as an infertile couple it seems to highlight the fact that God CAN do miracles in our life.  In fact....this is one of the ways He shows us His love!  I would never have chosen to walk through the struggles and pain that we went through at that time, but I am convinced that it was most certainly God's plan for our family, and I have grown closer to Him through it all.

So, in honor of children everywhere and the "children at heart", I am posting a most delicious and completely good for you popsicle recipe from Kristen Feola's book The Ultimate Daniel Fast.'s a great way to beat the heat!

Strawberry-Banana Popsicle
4 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
2 tablespoons Date Honey
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced

Place in blender and process until smooth.
Place in popsicle mods and freeze until hard.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Lord Of All lords

Psalm 136:3(MSG)
Thank the Lord of all lords.  His love never quits.

I saw a bumper sticker this morning while I was driving my son to his job.  It read:  Loving Kindness Is My Religion.  That made me sad and I have been thinking about this most of the day.  I noticed that the driver looked very tired as she stared ahead with her elbow resting on the edge of the window.  I wondered if she had completely worn herself out trying to work for His love or for the approval of others.  At first the statement sounded kind of know...helping people, that must be good, right?  But then when I pair it with today's verse, I recognize that a statement like this really diminishes what Christ did for me on the cross.  I realize that in this chapter, Psalm 136, God is listing the ways that He has shown His love to us.  Right here at the top of the list rests the number one act that reveals that amazing love....and we can't earn's a gift!

John 3:16-18(MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world:  He gave His son, His one and only Son.  And this is why:  so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn't go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.  Anyone who trusts in Him is acquitted;  anyone who refuses to trust Him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it.  And why?  Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to Him.

Our acts of kindness are not the way to eternal life....they are the evidence of Him living in us.  Our belief and faith in Christ is the only way to an abundant life here on earth and an everlasting spot in heaven.  I guess if I were to put a bumper sticker on my car it might read:   Loving Kindness Is My Response 

I am thanking God right the verse says....for His incredible gift of His son and our Lord!!  I am also praying that the sweet lady in that car today might know how much Christ loves her and find rest and peace in Him, not in her works.
This is my daughter kindly feeding "Anna-Belle" a sweet blade of grass.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The God Of All gods

Psalm 136:2(MSG)
Thank the God of all gods, His love never quits.

While returning from my run this morning, I noticed a large leaf stuck to the middle of the garage door.  We recently had some wind, so I figured it was just whipped up and tossed against the door, although it was perfectly in one piece.  This seemed a bit unusual sense normally the leafs are chewed up into small bits after our storms.  It afforded a closer look.  I moved right up to the door and was stunned to find that this wasn't a leaf at all!  It was a beautiful flying creature the likes of which I have never seen before! 

Luna Moth

I stared at it for quite some time, slowly inching my way closer hoping it wouldn't take flight.  I studied it's wing span which measured somewhere around four inches and gawked at the two fake eyes on each wing that I have since learned were placed there to scare off predators.  Once I soaked in the uniqueness of this amazing sight, I dashed inside for my camera hoping to capture him before he disappeared. 

I now know that what I was blessed to see this morning was an Actias luna, commonly known as the Luna Moth.  They only have an adult life span of seven days and while they are common, they are rarely seen.  What a treat!  What a creative God we serve!

This is a beautiful and timely verse as I study the fact that there really are no other gods besides the one true and living God!  What a treasured word to read and hold tightly to!  Thanking Him for so many blessings tonight, a few of which are: my dear family, precious friends, health, shelter, food, a church home, the word of God.....and intricately designed flying creatures!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

His Love Never Quits

Psalm 136:1(MSG)
Thank God!  He deserves your thanks.  His love never quits.

Psalm 136 has found it's way into my heart and life right now, as I search for His strength to carry me through a new and challenging season in my life.  In every verse of this chapter, I am told that "His love never quits!"  In the NIV and ESV, it is "His love endures forever!"  The chapter reads like a love letter listing item by item ways that the Lord God has shown His love to His people.....seriously fascinating. 

As we continue our Bible study by Kelly Minter titled No Other Gods, I am reminded that one of the things we are constantly searching for in our lives is love and acceptance.  That sense of complete fulfillment can only come from God our Father.  If we purpose to look to someone or something to fill that void, it will only end in disappointment and possibly disaster, because we set up an idolatry scenario with this action.   

I am serving a God who truly does deserve all of my thanks!  I am worshipping the real God who offers me true love that NEVER QUITS!  Now that is something to be thankful for indeed!!  I am choosing to live in an attitude of gratitude toward the one who gives me life.  Over the next twenty~six days (verses), I will be reminded of all the different ways He has shown me His unfailing love!

You truly are worthy of my thankful heart and words of unending praise.  Open my eyes to Your presence and love in my day today and help me to share that love with others.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Offensive Ways

Psalm 139:24(NIV)
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

As I have been reading the dreadful news coming out of Western Europe from yesterday's rampage carried out by one man, I shutter as I read this verse today.  I don't want to dwell on the darkness that seems to sweep over our world in torrent waves of evil, but I must reflect momentarily on the sadness that has been created by the action of just one person.  Until yesterday, I wasn't even aware that there existed an island in Norway by the name of Utoya.  Now, however, as an entire world looks on, we are seeing it's great beauty of tree lined shores and recreational paths from an altered perspective of premature death instead of the symbol of life and vitality that it should be.  All of this because of one man's actions! 

Heart breaking news of violent acts similar to this one saturate our news and media outlets.  Why?  I suppose it could be argued that it all comes down to this one verse...."offensive ways" within us.  Oh, of course, I am not even suggesting that everyone has this propensity for such evil action, but without the Lord....hmmmm....perhaps?  The thought of being without Him paralyzes me in my tracks....without His leading me "in the way everlasting"...I'm lost...and my actions are driven by selfish desires....of murderous proportion. 

As a child of God, I am constantly seeking and living in the "way everlasting".  If I understand that I serve a loving God...the Father...who loves me and gave His son's life for me....I will most certainly be asking Him to reveal any ways hidden within me that are grievous to His Spirit. 


So often I find myself starting prayers with...."I just don't understand why this happened."  Here I am again.  I don't understand the actions from this one man yesterday!  I can only guess at the incredible ripple effect of hurt that has been forced into people's lives through it.  I am asking You to bring peace and comfort to the broken hearts affected by the loss and tragedy within Norway's people.  I pray that you would restore the bodies of those who are clinging to life and give them courage to press on in You....Your son really is our only bridge to life!  
In Jesus Name,

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Psalm 139:23(NIV)
Search me, O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Anxious thoughts.  I wish I could say I never have them, but unfortunately I do at times.  It is also true that if I don't purpose in those moments/hours/sometimes seasons, to give those swirling words in my head to the Lord, they take over and I am bombarded with worry.  I don't like admitting that.  I feel somehow less Godly to confess that I have hours....sometimes days filled with dread. 

It has always been this way.  Sometimes it is obvious that the source is from external situations and circumstances of which I have little control.  At other times, however, there may be no apparent reason for this unsettling apprehension.  When I can't pinpoint the cause of fear, it becomes even more frustrating to me.  When I do know the source of my stress, I tend to spend a great deal of time begging the Lord to lift the yoke or change my situation, but there are times when it remains.  Reading this verse tonight causes me to stop and wonder if the origin of my challenging seasons could sometimes be some sort of a test from the Lord.  There is definitely story after story throughout the Bible wherein the Lord tested people....hmmm.......

I guess the bigger question should be, "Would my anxiety level dissipate if I knew that it was the Lord testing me?"  Would I somehow be able to quell my fear with the knowledge that I am being scrutinized by Him?  Or, would the reverse be true and that knowledge would actually serve to make my anxious state worse?  And finally, is it possible to will myself out of the state of apprehension that I am wallowing in, no matter what the cause of it? 

No, I am certain this mere enlightenment would not change a thing within my troubled state.  To know the reason for experiencing a tornado doesn't change the damage that will be incurred from it.  You can understand every aspect of why a tornado is occurring, but it won't make it stop or go away.  The only course of action is to survive the storm by taking shelter!

How do I sustain my joyful spirit during these periods of crushing anxiety and storms of uncertainty?  The answer is found in the book that lies in front of me on my desk.  Yeap....the Bible.  Speaking His promises will change my anxious thoughts and  serve as a refuge in the hours of doubt and fear.  Will He remove the circumstances that are creating my anxiety?  Maybe and maybe not.  Will He nourish me and be with me in the midst of it?  Absolutely and unequivocally YES!! 

In her study entitled:  No Other Gods by Kelly Minter, she provides several Bible verses from both the Old and New testaments wherein God provides us with His words as it relates to many different fears.  Here is the list that she has provided:

Joshua 1:9                       Isaiah 8:11-13             John 6:20
Psalm 56:3                      Isaiah 44:8                  John 14:27
Psalm 56:4                      Isaiah 51:12                Acts 18:9
Psalm 91:5                      Jeremiah 1:8               1 Peter 3:14
Psalm 112:7                    Jeremiah 39:17           1 John 4:18
Psalm 118:6                    Matthew 17:7
Proverbs 3:24                Mark 5:36

Thank you for providing Your promises for me to cling to in times of unsettled thoughts.  You created us and knew we would need that.  You truly thought of everything!  There must be someone else reading this right now who needs to feel You are with them.  Please give them the sense of Your loving hand on their shoulder and Your gentle whisper in their ear as You tell them how deep Your love is for them! Amen

Joshua 1:9(ESV)~"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friend Or Foe?

Psalm 139:22(MSG)
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.  Your enemies are my enemies!

Some kind of northern mountain snake that I
 encountered on a hike...enemy of not?

Yesterday we had our first meeting of the "NOG"gin's.  This is the name that I've chosen to call our group.  I am doing a Bible study called, "No Other God's" by Kelly Minter.  The ladies and I are meeting every two weeks throughout the summer to go over our renderings and put our "heads together" for practical application.....hence the word "Noggin's". Get it?  Heads...noggins?  You better be laughing right now...

Anyway, here's what's been happening in this mind (and heart) of mine lately.  I spent most of the day Friday working with my "Southwestern Sister".  She has been assisting me with my organization on this computer.  You see.....I love to take pictures.  Anything or anyone will do.  Nature, people, weather, inanimate get the idea.  The reason I love photography so much is because it seems as though you can stop a moment in time.  Expressions and emotions captured and frozen for life on a little sheet of paper are fantabulous (not in the dictionary) to me!!  The only down side to this hobby is that it can fill up your computer really fast if you don't have a plan for storing all of these amazing shots.  Adding to that problem is my apparent inability to clear out the "clutter pictures" and other useless documents that have found their way onto my lap top.  I just keep adding more and more photos and never remove unwanted trash, all the while keeping an eye on my space as it fills dangerously close to capacity....hence the need for my sister's computer expertise! 

Cue...the slowing down of the computer.  I knew it was know the dreaded  "computer crash".  I should have heeded the warning signs.  Slower search times, longer transition to get from spot to spot after know them all.  But, I ignored every one of them.  I thought I would deal with it later....until, that is, I went to turn the computer on the other day....and I got nothing!  Absolutely nothing!  

I went straight to my computer husband of course....and he said, "It looks like it's not getting any power."  I said in my most whiny voice, "But it's plugged in!!"  (See, I do know something about these little boxes.)  He said in his gravest of voices, "It's bad then...".  Uggghhhh....Not now!  What does "bad" mean anyway?  Does it mean that I have lost all of my pictures?!!  (Heart rate going up...sweat beginning to form on brow, as I envision all of those captured moments slipping from my grasp.)  Does that mean a new computer?  What?! 

I frantically started following the cord from the wall to the computer.  Connected tightly to the wall~check.  Securely inserted into the computer~check.  But, wait, isn't there a connection to the big black box "thingy" in the middle of the thick black strand that is shoved back behind my desk?  Could that be loose?  I began wildly pulling the cord up from the dark recesses of the wall.  There it was.  Nearly holding my breath I pulled it up for closer inspection.  Was it firmly secured into the box?  No!  It was loose!  It appeared to be half in and half out.  I shoved it in tight and ....tadah....presto....power!!  Yay!

What in the world does this have to do with today's verse you ask?  Here's what I'm thinking.  As I have been reflecting on the Word of God through this study, I have been reminded  that anything/anyone that steals my focus from God has the potential to become an idol in my life.  I need to guard against that.  Just like the power to my computer, if I'm not plugged in securely to Him, I will be useless to fulfill the plan that He has for my life!    Equally important, I must have room on my hard drive...errr.....I mean room in my heart for the important pictures....I mean important words from God.  I have to clear out the clutter from my spiritual life and view these "other God's" as "enemies"!  If they have the power to capture my attention more than my God, and if they crowd my heart and make it sluggish towards Him, then I don't want any part of those things.  Instead, I want to be clearly focused on God's grace and His direction on a moment by moment basis each day that I climb out of bed.

Praying today for an increased awareness of those "enemies" that attempt to steal my time and attention from God and the purposes that He has for me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Godless Arrogance

Psalm 139:21(MSG)
See how I hate those who hate you, God, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;

I sheepishly climbed into the back of the van and slumped down in the seat.  I stared out the window at my "Western" sister on her mountain bike as she rode off in the distance with the rest of the pack.  How could this be?  I was supposed to be the one with all of the sporty ability!

I reviewed in my head what had led to this point.  It started with her invitation to join her on a trip to Hawaii.  It had been a dream come true for me!  The timing was perfect as I was single and had a great job with benefits and vacation time coming up.  She wanted to go to Maui and experience all that the island had to offer.  Everything had come together so smoothly that I knew it was a "no brainer" to snatch up the offer.    

When we got there, it was even more beautiful than the pictures could have told.  The island was covered in lush palm trees, green vegetation, and boldly colored flowers.  Sounds of tropical birds singing and the smell of sweet flowers filled the air.  I suddenly understood the term "Island Paradise".  We quickly gathered up all of the brochures for various activities and penned our list of "must do's". 

Topping the list, of course, was to attend a Luau.  We both easily agreed on that.  Next, we started noticing the more "adventurous" items, for instance learning to wind surf, sailing on a catamaran, snorkeling excursions, and biking down Haleakala...the volcano crater on the island.  I cheered us on and assured her that we were "fit and able to do all of it".  She wasn't as confident as I was, but agreed to try.  I again encouraged her that we could do anything we set our minds too. 

It all had gone so smoothly....from the windsurfing lessons to the incredible day on the sailboat.....until the trip to the crater that is.  We were picked up early in the morning, before the light of day, to travel up the mountain in a large (seemed top heavy to me) van.  Did I tell you that I am extremely afraid of heights?
Every curve we went around I was certain that it was going to be our last as I envisioned the speeding vehicle (topping speeds of up to 30 mph mind you) careening over the edge of the cliff.  I white knuckled it all the way up that thing let me tell you!  Did I mention that I am extraordinarily apprehensive when it comes to perpendicular distance?

My sister on the other hand started the day quite insecure with the physical part of the bike ride.  I told her I would take care of her and make sure that they knew of her "limitations".  I began by telling the leader all the way up the mountain that "my sister might not be able to make the whole ride."  I explained that "I wouldn't have any trouble, cuz I'm a runner and I ride my bike all the time...etc...etc...".  Do you recall that I am seriously anxious when it comes to upward elevation?

By the time we finally got to the top of the "hole", as I lovingly call it now, I had the leaders totally convinced that my "poor sister" was going to need a papoose to be carried down the mountain wrapped up like a baby.  I was most assuredly that obnoxious. 

We all exited the van upon arrival at the summit.  We stood dutifully in awe of the view from the top of this massively high and deep crevasse that the sun was now rising up from....yes...the sun was lower than the crater...or so it seemed to me, and then we put on our riding gear.  Keep in mind that anything over three feet is too high for me!  (It was a beautiful sight to that I  look back at the pictures from my ground level house.)

Beginning with the donning of our helmets and ending with the snapping of our leg covers, we were off....or some of us were off anyway.  I started with a wavering push from my foot, but it seemed to be stuck in cement.  I looked down to identify what in the world I had stepped in, but was shocked to find there was nothing there.  Curiously I tried again.  There...I got the bike to move and pushed forward.  I pedaled and attempted to steer down the road, but with each progression forward, fear crept into my bones like a spilled jar of molasses.  Cue the card that says...."She has a deathly fear of lofty places." 

Meanwhile, the rest of my group were ripping the roadway apart creating a very large gap for me to close.  My poor "frail sister" stayed back with me to try to coax me down the path.  All the while, I could hear the engine humming along right behind me.  It was the van that brought us up here.  It was also the van that would cart anyone down the mountain that was too weak to complete the trip. 

Finally, after having accumulated such a distance between me and all the other riders that I could no longer see them, the head guy poked his head out of the van and said, "Hey, you need to speed up a little bit."  Oh....Ok....I need to speed I didn't already know that!  I willed my legs to pump faster, but with each stride I felt like a force was drawing me off the edge of the road and down the mountain's edge!  I squeezed my breaks even harder.  That's when it happened!!  I froze in the middle of the road like an glass of water in the sitting in Antarctica.  I simply stopped dead in the center of the road.  I could not will my bike one more inch.  The van pulled up and told me that they were very sorry, but I would have to ride down the mountain in the van.  I was "holding up their progress." 

Webster's Dictionary defines arrogance as being full of pride.  Pride is defined as: "An unduly high opinion of oneself."  Yep that pretty well sums up that little experience.  I know first hand what godless arrogance is because arrogance by it's very nature is always without God.  It is focusing on ME instead of HE.  It is inflating my own abilities rather than giving glory to God for the talents He has blessed me with and confidently sharing them with others, while keeping God at the center.

Hana Highway bridge over Oheo Gulch
Hana Highway

I'm praying tonight that I won't have anymore "mountain top" experiences where I arrogantly think more "highly of myself than I ought."  Did I mention that being on tall things makes me tremble?

Stay tuned for a post on my honeymoon trip to Maui and our visit to Hana per the "Hana Highway" (pictured to the right).  A true test of my husband's depth of love and patience for me that's for certain!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cheap God Imitations

Psalm 139:20(MSG)
All the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations.

I don't believe in coincidences, so it is really phenomenal to me that this verse should "pop up" right now....after my little summer break.....during my regular Bible reading in Jeremiah where he is talking about the way the Israelites are chasing other "gods".  Add to this timing the fact that a dear friend of mine in my Life Group at church has orchestrated a summer Bible study titled:  NOGs...standing for "No Other Gods".  Accidental timing?  I think not!

God is not in the accident business.  I believe that He cares about me so much that He really would line all this up to bring home a wonderful message that He wants for me to hear and learn from.  Kind of sounds a little selfish I know...but I draw that conclusion after reading the beginning of Psalm 139 where David describes a God just like this.  He says in verse 139:5: "You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me."  If He is laying His hand upon me, then most assuredly He is lining up some good words to teach me!  

So...about today's says right before in 139:19 for people like this to "get out!!"   There is no room or place for belittling God...yet, it is so rampant in our society today...sadly.  What is even more intriguing to me, however, is the part about choosing other god-imitations.  I'm thinking that a little pondering about who I'm serving is probably in my future.  Just a little reality check and housekeeping to be sure that who I say I actually who is getting the majority of my time and focus.

Praying tonight for an exciting summer journey through the "NOGs" Bible study.  (No Other Gods: Confronting our modern day idols by Kelly Minter).  You can purchase this study on line or at your local Christian book store if you want to check it out!