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Monday, October 8, 2012

Hidden Treasures

This beautiful hidden treasure is in China, Guilin. The so called Crystal Palace lies 790 feet deep in the Reed Flute Cave. I was fascinated by the picture when I saw it. To me, it looks like a whole new world I would love to live in and explore. 

Then I thought, why on earth would God put something so incredible - 790 feet below the surface of the earth? At that depth, who can enjoy it's beauty and marvel at it's creation? It seems such a waste to have something so breath taking in a place that it can not be fully appreciated.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was just like God to do that. I believe that there are hidden treasures that we miss in a lot of places in our lives. Whether it is the snuggle of a child because we are to "busy", or stopping to admire a sunset because we are late to the next "thing" - we miss things because we don't actively search for God's hidden treasures in every situation and every moment of every day. 

Even in the toughest of times, His treasures are there. Like the friend who prays for you when God brings you to their mind, even though you may never know it.

So, take a moment and admire this beautiful underground wonderland and remember to  take time to find the hidden treasures God has for you each and every day. It's easier said than done, but I sure am gonna try. Why? Because it's worth it! 

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3

Saturday, October 6, 2012

In Name Only

I was reading an article out of the newest edition of Relevant Magazine (you should totally subscribe btw) about how our things are made. In one part of the article it highlighted the story that came out a few years ago about a man who bought an iPhone and while band new - was loaded with 1 picture on it. 

She became known as iPhone girl in the media and was the factory worker in China who helped get the phone ready for shipping to it's new home. The pictures went viral and all of the sudden the coveted technical device became so much more to people. Everyone began to realize the lives that were attached to each and every piece of consumer product we buy. This one in particular spawned a firestorm of media coverage highlighting the appalling work conditions of people in the factories in that part of the world. 

People became outraged as they found details about the people who work for mere pennies in horrid conditions to supply us with the things we think we "need" so badly. As I was reading I found myself joining that group who was outraged about this injustice. It is wrong - just plain wrong.

The question was - What could I do about it?

I find myself feeling this way from time to time. Moved by the injustice in the world and ready to go and fight for those who are effected by it. 

I am heart broken for those caught in the human trafficking trade. 

I am disgusted by the fact that so many go without clean water each day. 

And now... I can add sweat shop conditions to my ever growing list of things to pick up my sword for.


As quickly as I was up in arms, it seems I had moved on. Back to my comfortable life in suburbia. iPhone girl was a distant memory and my phone was once again the instrument that makes my life easy. 

Why is that? Why is it that I fall in to the complacency that plagues our society and leaves others in this world to fight for even the smallest measure of things that most of us consider our "rights" as those living in the good ole USA.

God has been challenging me over the last few days as I have pondered what I am to do about this pathetic problem I have. Am I going to be an activist in word only - or will me deeds speak louder than my words? Will I not just talk about it, but actually do something about it?

The same could be said for the majority of us I think. It is nice to know I am not in this boat alone, but I hope that each of you reading this will be as haunted by these questions as I am. 

This is not just about social activism here people. It is about the very lives of human beings. And as much as God's heart breaks for the injustice of this world he designed to be perfect and is clearly NOT, His heart breaks even more for the souls of people who do not know Him. The people who are going to spend eternity without Him. 

And why is that?

Because for most of us - we "talk" a better Christian game than we actually act out in our every day lives. (preaching to myself here)

I have felt a change coming in my life for a while now. I am still unsure what that means or looks like, but I know God is breaking my heart for certain injustices in this world and for those who do not know Him and His love for them.

God has been challenging me, so now I challenge you.

What are YOU going to do about it?

Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words. 1 John 3:18 (gwt 1995)

Monday, September 10, 2012


I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. Proverbs 8:23

Today is my husband's birthday. (Happy birthday babe!) As I was driving this morning reflecting on the gift that was born to this earth on September 10 some years ago, I had the realization that in God's plan, John had literally existed. There was never a time in eternity past that John's life did not have a plan and a purpose. 

I got to thinking about the fact that God had no beginning and has no end. I kind of pictured this "ring of time" that is eternity that just goes and goes and goes... seamlessly. Think about that long enough and your mind will blow, at least mine would. 

So, if what I believe is true and God always knew that he would give John to the world as a gift on his birthday, the same would be true for all of us. God ALWAYS knew you and every thing about you. 

He ordained your birth, all your days and your death - infinity. He didn't sit down at a desk one day with pen and paper and "design" your life. It has always been there, ready for you to live it. 

So, what does that mean for today? For my day and your day? It means that God has always known what his plans are for us today and it is up to use to walk in His will and fulfill it. 

Infinity ago, God knew I would ponder this in my car, He knew I would write it down and He knew you would read it. Now... what are you going to do with it?

I don't know about you, but knowing that God ordained THIS day for me to live eternity ago bears some weight on how I will execute it. I hope I will not go through it mindlessly, not thinking about His plans but only my own. I pray that I will stop and look for those God ordained moments He laid out infinity ago and capture them and use them for His glory. 

Will you join me in that today. Live out your eternity today for His renown. 

Oh, He also knew you would comment on this post and let me know what you are thinking :)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, June 4, 2012

Attention Please

Have you ever gone to great lengths to get someones attention for something that was very important?

There once was a man who God had very very BIG plans for. But he couldn't quite see past his own agenda to the great things God had in store for him, so he continued on his own path, doing as he saw fit and wreaking havoc along the way, but happy with his progress. 

One day, God decided that enough was enough and it was time to get down to business. So, the Almighty got this man's attention in a way only the God of the Universe can. He struck him blind (after knocking him on his back side with a loud voice from the heavens.) I would dare say that would get any one's attention and it worked in this situation quite well. 

After letting him wallow a bit, think about his situation and ponder what he would do for a bit, God sent someone to the man to give him back his sight. The guy chosen for the job was a bit hesitant, with good reason, because the blind man had quite a reputation for being not very nice. But God reassured the messenger with these words: "Don't argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I'm about to show him what he's in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job." Acts 9:15 (msg)

So the messenger went on his way, the blind man recovered his sight and needless to say God had his full attention. 

Some of you may already know this is the story of Saul (later re-named Paul). Perhaps one of the greatest men in the Bible. You can read more of the story in the book of Acts starting in chapter 7. 

As I read this story again, the thought struck me -  How many times has God had to go to such great lengths to get my attention to do what He has planned for my life? What He has in store for me can never be compared with the meager existence I carve out for myself day to day. God sees so much bigger than my small frame of reference. His plans for my life, to be used up for Him and His purposes are infinitely better than anything I could even imagine. 

If God gave you breath this morning, which I'm assuming He did since you are reading this. Then He has a purpose and a plan just for you today, and every day after this that you wake up. What does He have to do to get your attention? How low does He have to let you sink before you realize he has a plan for your life and He just needs you to give yourself to Him? How far off course does He have to let you travel before you realize you are lost and need His help to find your way back home?

Let today be the day. Don't wait for the drastic measures to come. Tell Him even now that you are His and will do His will for your life today. I promise, though it may not always be easy - it will be the best adventure you could ever have with the greatest reward at the end.

If you not sure quite how to do that, message me on Facebook ( I would love to be the messenger God uses to bring real sight to you today.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


So I was talking to a friend the other day who is very new to faith. She had just bought a Bible for the first time and I asked if she had read it yet.I was so excited for her to dig in and to begin exploring and learning.  Her reply was one that took me a little off guard. She said "Not yet. It's a bit intimidating." This was not what I was expecting to hear.

Usually when I get something new, I want to unwrap it and use it right away. The excitement usually gets the best of me. However, as I thought about her statement it hit me and my response was this, "The Word of God should intimidate everyone. if it doesn't there is something wrong with you."

The more I thought about that conversation, the more truth rang in my heart about it and convicted me. If I look at the Bible as more than one of the books on my shelf or the thing I read in the morning each day and instead truly look at it as the inspired word of the God of the universe - man that rocks me a bit. 

I have so easily looked past the first word that appears on the front of many that I own: "Holy". I have read the words inside it many times and let it touch my heart and change my life, but can I honestly say that when I pick it up I think of it as something more than familiar? I think for me, and probably many of you, it has become to familiar. An old friend of sorts that we go to take comfort in and learn from, both honorable and desirable things. But it should intimidate us as well. 

The words in it are the words that God himself chose to share with us to mold and shape us in to who He created us to be. The words have the power to literally change lives. 

God spoke. 

To me.

To you.


And we have those words at our finger tips. Amazing? Yes. Intimidating? Heck YES! And it took a simple phrase from someone who is at this point exploring what it means to have a relationship with Jesus to remind me of that.  

I am thankful for the reminder and the glimpse of God's words through the eyes of one seeking. It changed me.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Warning: "Soap-box" issue at play.

 Bubbles. When you are a kid they are one of the most mesmerizing things you can play with. When you are a parent they are cheap and hours of fun for your kiddos. Winning! (not in the Charlie Sheen sense of course) My favorite was to watch the really talented people who could blow a bubble within a bubble. Even if you popped it - there was still a bubble. Cool! 

At one point in my life, many many years ago (yes - I am old), I remember watching a movie called The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. He had a disease that caused him to risk death if he came in contact with germs and therefore was place in a sterile "bubble room" to live. He even had to be in his bubble if he went outside for fear he would contract something that could end his life. To live secluded from other human touch and contact with the outside world was what he needed to survive. 

Some of you may have heard  people talk about the "Christian bubble". This phenomenon takes places when Believers (those who have decided to make Jesus Lord of their lives and accept His free gift of salvation) decide that in order to survive in this dirty, sickness filled world - they must seclude themselves from all things that could contaminate their Christian walk. Christian books, Christian music, Christian clothing, Christian friends, and the list could go on. Nothing that is not "of Christ" is allowed in if we can at all help it. It is to dangerous. In fact, I loved the bubble. It took time and effort on my part to create this safe haven and it was amazing.

I took part in the purging of all my Cd's that were not "Christian". I surrounded myself with the "bubble" and it was good. All my friends were believers, all my music spoke of the One that I worship with my whole life, I had plaques and reminders everywhere I looked of the One who is most important to me. Great! Awesome! Good for me! Except I slowly began to realize that the story I was telling with my life only had listeners who had the same story. I was preaching to the choir, so to speak. 

Now, I do believe with all of my being that one of the things I am called to is to disciple and spur on other believers in their walk with Christ. But I began to see the walls of my bubble and started to feel very claustrophobic. I began to realize that I couldn't think of the last time I had a spiritual conversation with someone who didn't share my love for Jesus, the last time I had had personal contact with someone diseased and dying. I began to see that although my life was sterile and as uncontaminated as a life on this earth can be - it was not the life that Jesus led and therefore calls me to as one who desires nothing more than to be like him. 

In fact, I slowly realized that Jesus had great disdain for people like me in His day.  Those that wanted nothing more than to immerse themselves in their religion and not let any of the "sinners" in to the bubble they so carefully created for themselves. I began to wonder at what point "Christian" became and adjective to describe the "things" I surrounded myself with and ceased to be the noun that told others who I am and the verb that described how I live my life. I began to hate my bubble and want desperately to escape it. 

I remember one particular day, driving down the road listening to my favorite Worship band on the radio and heard the Lord ask me how I could possibly relate to the lost and dying in this world who have the same passion for music that I do if I didn't speak their language. I couldn't name secular bands. I didn't know secular songs. It was that day that I turned my car radio to a non-christian station and there it has remained for the most part for the last several years. I decided to learn a new language for the sake of being able to open doors with other music people and hopefully share Jesus with them at some point. I had popped the bubble.

At the end of the movie I describe above, the boy decides it is worth losing his life to be in contact with the world. And so he does. He leaves the protective confines of his sterile sanctuary and braves the germ filled outside world. And his reward was more than he could ever have imagined. (you should really watch the movie some time)

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 says this: For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

How about you? Are you in the bubble? Do you need to get out? Ask God where to poke - I promise He will show you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are Your Comfortable with Church?

I am not usually one who is big on seeking out new experiences. In fact - I kind of HATE it. I am a wall flower by nature and a self proclaimed extroverted-introvert. There for, my "comfort zone" is usually very small and I am in control of what happens there.

Church is a comfort zone for me. I have been "in church" all my life and have worked at a church for almost half my life. I am VERY comfortable here. I know what it looks like, I know what is supposed to happen and there is control. But God has been changing that zone of late. The once controllable world I call church has become less so. 

Last Sunday was one of the rare occasions I find myself out of my local church. In a city that is unknown to me a friend was used by God to take away just a little more of my comfortability with church. He asked me to visit Church Under the Bridge with him. 

I had never heard of such a thing but he explained that it began as a ministry to the homeless (not in my comfort zone) and 30 years later, there is a full blow church that literally meets under the overpass bridge of a major freeway every Sunday (really not in my comfort zone!) 

My first instinct was to use my sleeping daughter as a reason for not going. But after a good breakfast, we decided to leave the comfortable and experience something new. And boy did we. I will try my best to paint the picture for you.

Church was a place where everyone served, setting up folding chairs, plastic tables, a portable stage and port-a-potties. Church was a place where they served a hot meal to anyone who came. Church was a place where the dividing lines of race and social status no longer existed - being under a bridge has a way of leveling things. Church was a place of worship in song so pure with no agenda, sung by a homeless man with mental challenges and a woman who sung in a language different than mine and yet every word spoke to my heart. Church was a place of being washed by the Word of God spoken with the passion of a woman who really KNOWS God. Church was a place of honest discussion about the things that we let divide us as we pondered MLK's dream. Church was a place of communion remembering the ultimate sacrifice made to rid the world of the division between God and man.

Church was reaching out and hugging a homeless man who just wanted to know he is loved (I think he may have been the church's self proclaimed greeter.)  Church was shaking hands with Richard, who was so very proud of his "church" that he picked up all the small bits of trash as they blew in the wind under the bridge, which was somewhat of a futile effort. Rain, snow, or summer Texas heat - these people meet here to be the Church. 

The word 'challenged' doesn't seem to quite encompass what I feel about this experience. But it is causing me to deconstruct what I have always known to be "church" and to question if it is OK for me to be comfortable there.

My daughter and I were debriefing our experience on the way home and as usual, she was an inspiration to me at the ripe old age of 13. She explained that on their summer mission trips to Mexico there are a lot of homeless people, and that she thought maybe God showed her this to somehow minister to them when she goes again this coming summer break. She said that her Student Ministries pastor (who is very wise) has told them to "get comfortable with being uncomfortable." 

I think I might need to work on that a little bit. How about you?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Breath Taking

There are not many things in this world that are truly breath taking, and the ones that are - many times we are to busy to notice. This morning I had my breath taken away.

My normal schedule is to wake up and make lunch for the boy and then take him to school (usually still in my pajamas) a bit bleary eyed. This morning, both my young ones had to be to school early, so off went at the crack of dawn. I am not sure if it was because I was more alert this morning, already having showered for the day, or what exactly, but when we drove out of our neighborhood this morning I literally gasped when I saw the sunrise.

It was truly magnificent. This picture was taken a full 15 minutes after I originally saw it and it had changed significantly, but it is still awe-inspiring. I had my daughter turn around to look at it out the back window of the car and reminded her that we were given the gift of that sunrise this morning. 

The moment so touched me that I have thought most of the day about the creativity of my God and how each morning He paints the sky like a fresh canvas, never looking exactly like any other one and then repeats the same thing each evening. I wondered what the sunrise in Pakistan this morning looked like and in Saudi Arabia as I read my Facebook news feed and chatted with friends abroad. All unique and yet beautiful and breathing taking for those who were blessed enough to take notice.

These thoughts took my mind to the very first sunrise and sunset with only God there to enjoy His masterpieces. How breathtaking that must have been.

It saddens me to think how many of these gifts I have missed because I am to sleepy or to busy to notice. So this year of 2012 is devoted to not missing the breathtaking moments as often as I am blessed to catch them. To hearing the still small voice of the Great Creator beckoning me to stop and see what He made for me to discover each day. 

Happy New Year and here's to a year of catching awe-inspiring, breathtaking moments and being thankful for each and every one.