Friday, February 27, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 9 (Bloopers)

Okay, maybe I don't have bloopers to share, but since I started this process with a "pilot" episode 9 days ago, I thought I'd give a behind the scenes type of post tonight.

Yesterday was a difficult post.  I reread it today and it looks so neat and tidy.  There is a beginning, middle, and end.  A scripture, a song, a message. It's all there.  But what no one can see was the entire day it took to get to the last sentence.

I don't want to look back at that post and forget all it took to get there.  So here is the look behind the post, at what it took to get to the finished product.

8:20am - I had an unexpected extra 40 minutes before Moms in Prayer.  I decided to go for a walk and try to fit in my hour with God (should of figured I couldn't pull one over on Him).

8:30am - Walked past the off leash dog park, noticed a little dog trying to catch up to his master, when he finally reached him, he was welcomed with a treat.  I thought what a perfect illustration as we reach our master, He gives us a little treat.  No, scratch that...not a good illustration :)
Not inspiring...

8:35am - Walked past the red barns and noticed something I'd never seen before...was this the illustration of the day? (Spoiler alert: No)

8:40am - Daniel had noticed the tunnel under Steilacoom Blvd the other day. I decided to walk there and snap a picture, maybe this would inspire me.  When I got there, I was greeted by litter, goose poop, and graffiti...okay, scratch that one too.

9:00am - Moms in Prayer

10:45am - Home to my "meeting place" in hopes of inspiration.  I sat quiet with the Lord for quite awhile, too many thoughts in my head, so I wrote them out on a yellow steno pad. Nothing stood out.

12:30pm - Work, pick up kids, band, dinner, basketball, laundry, homework, life...

9:00pm - Blank page.  Cursor flashing.  What was God saying to me today?

I had so many thoughts for this day...good ones too.  I finally relented and asked God one more time, what was He saying?  I knew it had to include the character of God from that morning.  God is able.  And I felt like God was saying to make it personal.  This had to be something for me...I'm pretty good at deflecting and guarding my heart...this was not the time for that.

I asked God for an example from scripture of Him being able. I really wanted to use the story of Abraham and Isaac.  It is such a beautiful picture of faith and Abraham's belief that God was able to bring his son back from the dead if necessary, in order to fulfill His promise.

However, the story was to be Daniel's three friends and the fiery furnace.  At the same time I was listening to worship songs, trying to find the one God wanted.  I had the perfect one, God is Able by Hillsong...perfect right?  I listened to it probably 20 times.  No, that wasn't it.  I went through another list of songs and nothing.

I continued to write, finally digging deeper to what was happening in my heart.  I admitted to God how I had been disappointed with His "No" answers to so many of my requests.  My former blog "Benched" would not leave my thoughts.

I typed, deleted, listened, prayed, read scriptures.  It honestly was exhausting.  And then I came across the song I posted, Healer by Planetshakers. There is a line that says, "You walk with me through fire..." and it was if the whole day was coming together.  "God, that is why the story of the fiery furnace" I almost said out loud.  The song continues with repeating lines of "Nothing is impossible for You and I trust in You".  And the tears fell.  He finally broke through and gave me my treasure of the day.  (You'll have to read the post here to find out what it was.)

So the lesson for today?  There is so much more going on than what we can see. (see 2 Kings 6:17) When someone reads my blog, they see the finished work. They don't see all that it took to get there. The Bible says that God has begun a good work in us, I'm glad I cannot see all that it is going to take to complete that work.  But He promises to finish His work in me...and nothing is impossible for Him!

Song: Finish What He Started by MercyMe



Thursday, February 26, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 8 (When God says "No")

It's Thursday, which means it was a Moms in Prayer day. This week's attribute of God: He is able. We prayed 2 Corinthians 9:8 over each of our children:
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."

In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, Nebuchadnezzar, the king, had made a 90 foot tall golden image. He demanded that everyone would bow and worship it when the music played.  Well, these three guys knew better than to worship anything but the One True God.  Long story short, they refused to bow to this idol and were found guilty.  The punishment: death by fiery furnace.

And this is their response:

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Daniel 3:17-18

We know that God did deliver them.  In fact Jesus was with them in that furnace and not one of them even smelled like smoke, let alone were scorched!  A true miracle.

What amazes me is the trust and faith these men had in God. From the tone of the text, we don't see panic or fear or pleading.  We see quiet confidence, that God is a God of miracles.  However, if God would have had said "No" to these three men, their trust in God would have been unwavering.

Is it enough to know that He is able?  That He is all powerful?  Even if He does not answer our requests the way we desire? Does our trust waver if He says "No"?

I wrote a blog last year titled "Benched".  I was really struggling with the direction and purpose God had for me, I felt like He was repeating "No" over and over again, leaving my heart breaking for unrealized dreams.

What I see now is that God was able to say yes to all of those requests.  But in His great love for me, He said "No".  I still have some of those same requests and His answer remains the same. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this life is not what I expected.

And now I wonder if possibly each time God says "No" just maybe it isn't my heart that is breaking, maybe it is my will...being traded for His.  He is able to make all things new, even my hopes and dreams.  Pretty soon maybe they will match, my dreams and His dreams for me, and then His answer will be "Yes".

Song: Healer by Planetshakers

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 7 (Ashes and Oaks)

Today I was pondering brokenness in mourning.  There have been several deaths these last couple months in the lives of my friends and family.  The calendar is an annual reminder of an anniversary of the death of a loved one for many of us.  There is much to grieve.

I opened my Bible to Isaiah 61 and paused at verse 3:

"To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

I have always wondered why this verse says God will give beauty for ashes (as it says in the KJV). I love as we dig into God's Word how we can find deeper meaning into the words displayed.

The Matthew Henry commentary says:
"Here is an elegant paronomasia (a kind of play on words) in the original.  He will give them pheer - beauty for epher - ashes.  He will turn their sorrow into joy as quickly and as easily as you can transpose a letter: for He speaks and it is done."

I wanted more time to ponder this so I asked God for a meeting place. I've been exploring this idea of a "meeting place" with God for the past several months. It could be a favorite chair at home.  At times I imagine being in one of the Bible Stories. And sometimes I go somewhere. So when I asked God for a meeting place, we ended up at the cemetery. (appropriate right?)

New Tacoma Cemetery
It was very fitting as I drove into the cemetery to contemplate mourning that the gray clouds and mist were there to greet me. (It was all sun and blue skies yesterday)

This picture is taken near my mom's grave. I don't take it for granted that in this spacious burial place, this is the only spot with water and paths. No kidding.  The two things that speak to me most clearly, and they greet me every time I come here.

Anyway, I took a walk through the streets of this hallowed ground.  It was an unusual feeling to experience peace in the midst of a place associated with great mourning.  As I looked around I noticed the many oak trees. Wait, the end of the above verse mentions oak trees...

So I have ashes and oak trees.  What is the Lord saying through these two things? Covering oneself in ashes is an outward expression of an inner sorrow.  Oak trees are a outward example of inner strength. One is death, the other life.  The first rests on this earth, the second stretches toward heaven. As I think of that cemetery, the place of mourning I can't help but think of the contrast of the ashes below the headstones and the oaks above the dirt.  Mourning lasts for a moment but His joy endures forever.

And it is starting to make sense.  God gives us beauty, gladness, and praise in place of ashes, mourning, and a spirit of fainting. As we walk through our brokenness, God does His work in us...giving beauty for ashes, and we are strengthened. You know why?  So that we will be called oaks of righteousness. The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified!

And there is today's treasure.  This process of trading hurt for healing, sorrow for joy...is strengthening us.  And this is not for us, it is that the Lord may be glorified!  Beauty will come from these ashes.  We can trust that nothing is wasted, not our brokenness and not our mourning.

Song: Nothing is Wasted, Jason Gray


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 6 (Darkness)

My devotional this morning opened with this verse from Isaiah 45:3

And I will give you the treasures of darkness, 
And hidden wealth of secret places, 
In order that you may know that it is I, 
The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. 

When I am struggling with brokenness, it definitely feels like darkness is my constant companion.  I can feel alone and hopeless. What the enemy would like me to believe is that in the darkness nothing grows, nothing is seen, I am forgotten.  It feels like there is no purpose and these days, months, years are wasted.

What is true is that there are treasures of darkness that God allows in our lives, in my life.

In Isaiah 45 we are introduced to Cyrus, King of Persia.  The thing is, we are told about what God will do through him, before Cyrus is even born!  Before this man even takes his first breath as a baby, God has treasures of darkness planned for him.  And the purpose? That he would know God. God calls him by name and has purpose for him, even in darkness...maybe especially in the darkness.

God shows His sovereignty in verse 7,  "The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does these."

The truth is, God forms light AND creates darkness.  These are both from God's hand.  Who are we to want only part of what God has to offer?  If God is in control of all things and allows darkness into our lives for a season, we can trust Him to mine for the treasure that is hidden there.

Kristian Stanfill sings one of my favorite songs, In Christ Alone.  One line stands out as I consider God's purposes, "When darkness falls, I find my hope in Christ alone."  When darkness falls.  If you've walked with Christ very long, you know darkness.  Have you considered it to be a treasure?  This is new for me, but I believe that in my broken moments, when darkness falls, we do find our hope in Christ alone.  There is no other.  

As Stanfill talks about this song he says, "Worship is our weapon that leads us out of the darkness."  It doesn't magically transport us to a better place, it leads us out...and this is my treasure today.  There is a way out of the darkness. This is part of my journey. Christ alone has the power to lead me out.  So I will worship and follow Him into His glorious light.

Song: In Christ Alone, Kristian Stanfill

Monday, February 23, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 5 (Treasure in Brokenness)


I've developed a fun hobby over the last few years, searching for beach glass. Any time we are on a rocky beach, it is always a treasure hunt to find the perfect piece of glass.  If the edges are sharp, we throw it back in the water since it is not quite "done yet". If the hard edges have become smooth and the color is just right, it is a keeper.
Kauai with Lily and Kaileia 2012

I have two favorite moments searching for beach glass.  One was on Kauai with my sister and niece and the other in California with Kirstin. Both of these beaches have an abundance of glass.  The beach in Hawaii was a garbage dump that started over 100 years ago.  Someones junk has literally become our prize.

And this introduces my time with God this coming week.

California with Kirstin 2013
For a few years God has been teaching me about brokenness.  Life has not been super easy.  There are broken pieces in my life, disappointments, unmet expectations, hurts, loss...the edges are sharp and unforgiving to this tender heart.  But just like the broken glass that gets discarded in the ocean, with a little tossing and churning, coarse sand, and time...something beautiful emerges.

I think God is asking me to spend some time with Him on this.  So, more like Washington beaches, where you have to really search for the valuable piece of milky beach glass...I will search for the treasure in brokenness.  I have to admit, I am doing this with caution.  I'm not sure I want to find all the answers.

I am resolved though since God confirmed this to me in multiple ways this morning.  In case I want to chicken out, here is a list of how He made the way clear for this part of the journey.

Within the first few hours of Day 5:

  • I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning.  I had an hour before the alarm was going to go off and I could hit snooze.  This rarely happens and when it does, my response every time is to go back to sleep, every time.  But God reminded me about our appointment and I got up.  
  • I read a devotional by Charles Spurgeon that was really encouraging toward this idea of brokenness and then on the way to work, the radio announcer quoted Charles Spurgeon!  
  • The quote, "Because He's the living God, He can hear.  Because He's a loving God, He will hear." Another confirmation that God wants to hear from me and wants to respond.
  •  And the final thing, the first message I opened this morning was a song sent to me by a dear friend with the line: "All who are broken, lift up your face..."  from Come As You Are by David Crowder (YouTube version)
So this week, I will lift up my face and seek His.  I'm pretty sure a treasure is waiting to be found.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 4 (Hello?)

I did another walk today for my hour with the Lord.  I really wanted to hear from Him, what He would have to say, with no agenda of my own.

I just cleared my head and tried to think of nothing.  I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing...but I succeeded.  It was a little strange since it seems there is a constant tape playing in my mind throughout the day.  (I sometimes think my brain has A.D.D. you know what I mean...squirrel!)

It was quiet for a long time and I have to admit I got a little bored.  I then tried to think of a little something generic to prompt Him.  Still nothing.  I ended up getting back in my car and driving home. No great revelation or special word.

On the way home I admitted to God that I really did have several things for Him today and specifically a couple things that are really on my heart.  I'm not sure, but I think the reason He was quiet was because He was waiting for me to come to Him with those things.
Part of today's journey

What I realized today is that God made me with strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, joys and struggles.  He made me with purpose and with traits specifically to me.  Who I am is important to our relationship.  He doesn't speak to all of us in the same way.  He doesn't have saved speeches that He pulls out to recite to us.  ("Let's see, let's try number 487 today on Nancy")

He wants to know what is on my heart and He wants to respond.  Yes, He already knows what's on my heart, He is God after all, but He wants us to tell Him.  Then listen.  And we continue in this dance, until He is leading and we are responding.

So tomorrow is Sunday, my "break" from my 40 Day Journey.  I'm looking forward to a new week beginning on Monday.  Now that I know He wants to hear from me, I have a whole list of things for Him....this may take longer than 40 days!

Happy Sabbath to you all~




Friday, February 20, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 3 (Idiot?)

Today I took Daniel to Super Cuts to claim our free haircut. (See, it is worth hanging on to those punch cards for 2 1/2 years!)  There was a young Vietnamese guy just cleaning up his station. He quickly came over and helped us.  His accent was pretty thick and I had to ask him to repeat himself a few times. He was super polite and had a kind smile. He asked how we'd like Daniel's hair cut. I asked him to clip the sides with a size four blade and scissor cut the top. Then I said, "And can you just make sure you don't cut the bangs straight across?"

He smiled a knowing smile and said with a slight hesitation, "We don't want him looking like an...idiot."  He used that last word almost with a question mark and let it hang in the air for a minute.  I wasn't sure what to say until I realized he had been searching for the right word.  I just smiled and said, "Yes, he needs to look cool!"
My handsome boy!

This guy was so sweet, there is no way he meant to use the word idiot!  And I did not want to embarrass him by correcting him (after all, what word would I use?)

So what does this have to do with my hour with God today?

I was thinking how easy it is to misunderstand God, or something in the Bible. We read a word written in English that was originally written in another language and we "interpret' it in our own understanding.

A few of us are encouraging one another to memorize 24 passages of scripture this year. Debbie and I ended up both memorizing part of 1 Corinthians 13 (we all choose our own verses).  Verse 7 says, "it (love) does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth."  We were both curious about wrongdoing and truth being put at odds with one another. I decided to look up the original word and figure out what was actually meant.

Wrongdoing is translated from the Greek word "adikia".  It speaks of a disregard for that which is right, it is translated as unrighteousness or injustice.  In 1 John 5:17 it is defined as sin.

So back to the verse.  Love does not rejoice at sin, or injustice, or unrighteousness. Guilty. Why do I feel better about myself (rejoice) when someone else fails?  It's as if there is this magic measuring rod and if someone else can blow it bigger than I can, then somehow I'm not quite as bad of a person. Wrong!  The Truth is we are all guilty.  We all sin.  We are all unrighteous.

William MacDonald writes, " There is a certain mean streak in human nature which takes pleasure in what is unrighteous, especially if an unrighteous act seems to benefit one's self.  This is not the spirit of love.  Love rejoices with every triumph of the truth."

I was just hoping for a correct definition to a word in my time with God today, not for conviction!

So let's stop comparing ourselves to one another (rejoicing at wrongdoing).  And in the wise words of our new Vietnamese friend, let's not look like idiots. :)  Instead, let us rejoice with the truth, our common bond, we are all in need of a Savior.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 2 (God Rescues)

"Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; 
I will set him securely on high, because  he has known My name.  
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; 
I will rescue him, and honor him.  
With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation."        
                                                                      Psalm 91:14-16

Thursday mornings are one of my favorites.  A few of us gather to pray for our elementary school kids. Each week we focus on an attribute of God to pray over our kids and the staff.  Today's attribute was "God Rescues" (One who saves or delivers).  We each take a turn reading a scripture that relates to the attribute.

Often times the verses from our prayer time end up speaking to me throughout the day. Today was no different. Today I had to wrestle through it though.  I spent my hour with God meditating on this passage.  As I read Psalm 91, I could not stop thinking about those 21 precious Egyptian men, that loved Jesus and were beheaded last weekend.  Why didn't God rescue them?
 
How do I reconcile the fact that His Word says He rescues, yet these beloved men were held captive and then murdered in a foreign country.  I don't take this lightly, my heart genuinely breaks and wonders, how can these two truths fit together?

Focus on the Family was able to report some facts about these men.  The following is from their website:
  • These young Christians were in their early to mid-20's. They went to Libya in search of work to help feed their families living under the poverty line in Egypt.
  • In the days and weeks leading up to their deaths, their ISIS captors tortured them and attempted to persuade them to deny Jesus in return for living.
  • They all refused to deny Christ.
  • They all died on that beach singing songs to Jesus.
(Read the full article here: Focus on the Family Article)
I realized I was looking at these men in their orange jump suits waiting to be executed through my own eyes and not the Lord's. I found it ironic that these captors were offering "life" to these men if they denied Christ.  What the captors did not understand was that by claiming Christ these believers are now more alive than ever.  

God in His tenderness revealed to me that these very verses that I thought were a contradiction to these deaths were actually fulfilled in the most beautiful way. "Because they loved Jesus..." God was with them!  We see the images on the news, each face. What we don't see is Jesus, but He was there.

God did deliver them, He heard them, He answered, He rescued them and brought them home, and now He honors them.

The article I mentioned above made note that these men  were not mere victims, but that they are more than conquerors whose ultimate sacrifice is a powerful testimony to their faith in Jesus. (Romans 8:37)

So often my sight is limited by the boundaries I want to put on God.  I am one-dimensional in my view of the world. His ways are always higher and multi-dimensional.  I am pretty sure we will never know all ways this event will bring glory to God.  We won't see the lives that will be changed because of this moment in history when the enemy thought he had the victory.

If you are struggling with understanding a truth of scripture with an event in your own life, wrestle through it.  Ask God to show you how the two fit together.  I think He really likes it when we come to Him with our questions and doubts.  And He will answer...His Word says so.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The 40 Day Journey - Day 1 (Abide)

John 15:9  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

Wednesdays are my day "off".  I figured I should schedule my hour with God early in the day to make sure it happened.  I wanted to be outside and figured a walk would be a good way to be quiet and listen for His voice.  I had the perfect place.  Chambers Bay.  It has the Puget Sound on one side and trails and paths all the way around.  Surely God would speak to me in this place.   I began my walk and did all my "tricks" to quiet my mind.  Why is that so hard?  I asked God to remove all distractions and random thoughts and to allow me to hear His voice.

It was quiet for a long time, I focused on the sounds around me.  I decided to take a few pictures of anything that caught my eye.  A pothole.  The trail.  A sign.  I noticed a bench facing the water, I took a picture and then heard my first message.  Sit with me.  I reminded God that I only had an hour and I didn't have that much time. Alas, I consented and sat.  I listened.  The only thing that came to mind was Abide.  Just stay awhile, and that is what I did.  I just sat silently.  You know you are really comfortable with someone when you can just sit and be quiet together.

After awhile I sensed it was time to move on, I headed up the winding, steep hill.  I still wasn't sure what God had for me today so I kept listening.  At the top of this hill is an incredible view.  The islands, the water, the mountains, they are all breathtaking.  But all I was drawn to was the golf course below.  Really?  With all the things I love right in front of me, God spoke to me through a man made sports field.  (Yes, I am shaking  my head). 


A few things stood out, the most noticeable was that the landscape was very diverse. There are so many parallels to real life:  water hazards, grounds under repair, the rough, sand traps. There are spots that are smooth and rugged, flat and hilly, dangerous and safe.  This course took careful planning.  They just didn't sprinkle down grass seed and hope for the best.  There was measuring, planning, designing, shaping.


And this is my life, a long walk with ups and downs, hazards and greens, long stretches and beautiful views.  It has been carefully planned by the Master Designer.  I can trust Him.  My job is to abide, remain, stay the course.

I'll end with this quote, it really says it best:

Abiding in Christ is just meant for the weak, and so beautifully suited to their feebleness. It is not the doing of some great thing and does not demand that we first lead a holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept—the unfaithful one casting self on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us: the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform.
~ Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray on Prayer

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 40 Day Journey (Pilot)

We traded in our cable for Netflix a few years ago.  Yesterday Daniel noticed that several TV series had the same title for one of their episodes, Pilot.  I explained to him that the first episode of a new show is often called the "Pilot".

So here is my Pilot blog for Lent.  Many of you know that Lent is a season that leads up to Easter Sunday, beginning on Ash Wednesday.  This is 40 days before Easter (not including Sundays).

Bulletin board idea... "Lent is a journey that moves us toward the cross."I grew up in the Episcopal Church and I am grateful for so many of my rich experiences in a deeply traditional community.  Each year during Lent we gave up something in order to mediate on the very serious sacrifice Christ made for us.  We gave up chocolate, soda, TV, coffee....it had to be something that was difficult for us to give up (no giving up boiled brussel sprouts!).

I haven't kept this tradition very many times as an adult. This year I have been contemplating how to honor this season, do I give up something, do I somehow serve others daily, do I read a devotional? I've searched Pinterest and Google and nothing seemed to click, until a few hours ago.

I knew it had to be meaningful.  How can I spend my time in the most purposeful way these 40 days?  The answer was pretty easy.  Spend it with Jesus.  I've been reading a book with a couple of friends, Can You Hear Me?  Its purpose is to teach us how to listen to Jesus.  I can talk a lot to God, but listen?  Yikes, not my greatest skill.

I have noticed though, one way I hear Him is when I blog.  You see I don't just stream together a series of words hoping to inspire someone.  It is very personal.  I intentionally ask God what He wants to reveal to me.  I pray, I write, I delete, I worship, I cry, I get mad, I laugh, I hear God, then with trembling hands and a vulnerable heart I hit "publish".

So for the next 40 days, I am setting a goal of spending one hour with God every day.  Listening. They say if you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it.  So I choose to aim at this simple goal, fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)

As a way to keep myself accountable to this commitment, I plan on blogging most of these days,  I have a feeling this will be a diverse assortment of scriptures, writings, songs, stories.  I really don't know what the result will be each day.  I do know God has promised that if I call to Him, He will answer me and tell me great and mighty things which I do not know.  (Jeremiah 33:3)

So what do you think? Is God asking you to live these next 40 days a little differently?  Ask Him, you may be surprised at the answer.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why We Doubt

Why do we doubt?  More specifically, why do we doubt God?  Recently I have found myself in a place of unbelief.  Not an unbelief in God, I don't know if I could ever fully reject Him.  He has proven Himself too many times in my life for me to think He does not exist.  I feel myself becoming skeptical though, a little like Thomas. "I will not believe unless I see it for myself", I boast.  I want to see His hand at work, it is not enough to have His presence alone. (wrong!)

I am guessing that some of you have struggled with your own doubts.  I am naturally a "glass half full" girl, so when the darkness of doubt rolls in like the fog from the sea, it shakes me a bit.  What do I truly believe? 

Here is what I think.  I think we struggle with unbelief, I struggle...because of fear.  The opposite of unbelief is ...yes, belief.  Belief is defined as "confidence, faith, trust".  Why do we choose not to have confidence or faith in God?  I think the only answer is fear.  

I know some of you fear God's punishment, believing Him to be harsh. Some of you fear being "found out", as if we could hide from God (yes, Adam and Eve already tried that one).  Some fear the unknown.  You know what I struggle with sometimes?  I fear being over looked by God. Crazy, I know.  Completely not biblical or true.  But that is how fear works, it feeds you a lie and you choose to believe it.

And there it is.  We believe a lie instead of God.  The result: unbelief in the One that can be believed, doubting His character.

If you are in a place of doubt, I challenge you (beg you) to ask God what lie you are choosing to believe. The lie I have believed?  That Christ is not enough.  That somehow to be "whole" or "complete" I need something of this world to fulfill me.  

We sang a song in church this weekend with a line that says, "I lift my hands to believe again...You are faithful God forever".  So I choose to lift my hands, to believe again, to not fear. Not to believe the lie, but to believe God.  And there goes the doubt, fear being replaced with faith. He is always at work in my life even when I cannot see it, this I know is true.  This I believe.